Tour Guide / One Day in Tokyo

<p>I will be traveling to Tokyo for business at the end of this month. I have only one day (and frankly probably only part of that day) for touring. Any recommended private tour guides and / or suggestions for must-sees? Any other helpful cultural hints?</p>

<p>I was in Japan when I was in college, but that was 30 years ago so I have very few memories.</p>

<p>Thanks in advance. (Don't know what area I'll be staying in yet.)</p>

<p>I do not have any direct experience with this group, but two years ago when I was planning a trip to Japan (unfortunately cancelled) a friend forwarded me the info on this organization: TOKYO</a> FREE GUIDE - Volunteer Tour Guide Service in Tokyo which she had used and enjoyed.</p>

<p>I think I have heard of that service. A very good idea, staffed by Japanese who want to work on their English, which can be quite bad. Maybe not bad with those guides, but bad in general, though perhaps things have improved in recent decades. </p>

<p>A few years ago my sis in law had sabbatical in Tokyo, and I was lucky enough to spend a week with them. The fish market is a must see, but you need to get there early and on the right day, which I failed to do. The Meiji Shrine. Wander any Japanese department store, top to bottom. Ginza I'm sure had a few, as do the underground malls surrounding tube stops. My favorite is the basement, which has food in resplendent variety, with tastings for many items. Ginza also had some specialty shops, pottery, paper products, and it is really fun to look at the variety of beautiful goods. And just wander, through neighborhoods, parks. Enjoy the amazing careful detail in so many things Japanese.</p>

<p>I'm willing to pay for a private guide as I really want to make the most of my time there. Unless the consensus is that a guide isn't needed at all.</p>

<p>I am likely staying at the Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku if that helps anyone (my business is in that area).</p>

<p>You might want to contact the hotel and ask them if they have a recommended day tour operator that regularly provides tours for their customers.</p>

<p>The Shinjuku area has a lot of activity in stores etc. I haven't been there in a while but it used to be THE place to buy a camera and I bought a Canon F1 there. You can do a lot of wandering around there. </p>

<p>The Akihabara area is known for its stores selling electronics. It can be interesting wandering around there and seeing what's available in Japan vs here and just how many of these stores are there.</p>

<p>The Ginza is worth wandering around and has lots of restaurants (and bars) and Pachinko places.</p>

<p>Not far from the Ginza area is the Imperial Palace - sort of in the center of Tokyo. It's wandering around it for the history and the relative tranquility from the bustling streets.</p>

<p>You can get around much of Tokyo by walking and the subway. The shopping/restaurant outlets underground at some of the subway stations, including Shinjuku, are interesting as well.</p>

<p>If you wish to make the most use of your time, I would reserve a tour guide. When I took my kids to Tokyo several years ago and tried to book a day tour for the next day with the hotel concierge, they were completely booked up.
Finally, I just picked up a day tour itinerary and we did our own highlight tour by subway. I had been to Tokyo several times before so it was not completely unfamiliar. However, very few Japanese speak English or they were too shy to offer assistance so I would hesitate to do touring on your own with limited time.</p>