Translated by MATCHA_En
TOMODACHI GUIDE - Enjoy Japan With A Personal Guide Like A Friend
Written by MATCHA
TOMODACHI GUIDE is an original guide service offered by Huber. Inc., in which the guide and the guest travel around Japan as friends, sharing the same experiences. Be sure to try the unique experience of traveling with a friend during your stay in Japan!
To really get know a foreign country, it’s best to ask a local!
With a professional tour guide you can learn of that place.
But is that really enough? Maybe the guide would be pretty formal with you, or the tour didn’t cover what you really wanted to do, or you didn’t feel that the guide was willing to adapt the tour to satisfy your wants.
That’s why we’re introducing “TOMODACHI GUIDE” by Huber. Inc., for those of you looking for more than just the standard kind of tour.
What is TOMODACHI GUIDE?
“Tomodachi” means “friend” in Japanese. Huber.’s TOMODACHI GUIDE service links people from abroad who want to get to know locals with local people who want to introduce their local spots and favorite activities, and makes it possible for you to have a personalized tour experience as if traveling with friends.
Three Reasons To Choose TOMODACHI GUIDE
There are three main reasons we recommend TOMODACHI GUIDE.
1. Experience Japan With A Personal, Friendly Guide!
Unlike typical tour guides who give explanations while tourists simply look and listen, guides in TOMODACHI GUIDE tours share the same original experience with their guests throughout their tours!
Whether it's visiting a shrine, eating in a local restaurant, or making Japanese food in a kitchen, everything you do on a TOMODACHI GUIDE tour is going to be unique and special for you as well as for your guide.
2. A Guide And Interpreter On Every Tour
There may be times when tourists have to just stand and wait in a typical tour if the tour guide needs to converse with someone at a shop or site. This is unlikely to happen in a TOMODACHI GUIDE tour, because there's always two people: one organizing the tour and the other interpreting.
Both a guide and an interpreter accompany you, so you won't be left aside.
3. A Custom Tour Designed To Suit Your Wants And Needs
With TOMODACHI GUIDE, you can either talk with your guide to arrange a custom plan from scratch, or pick one from the wide choice of pre-planned tours and adjust it to suit your preferences.
Want to try on a kimono? Need to go in restaurants with halal food? TOMODACHI GUIDES work their best to suggest a plan that suits your wants and needs, so if there’s anything you would like to do, just request it!
Watch the video below to get an idea of what it's all about!
For further information, visit the TOMODACHI GUIDE website.
What’s a real TOMODACHI GUIDE tour like?
To learn more about the TOMODACHI GUIDE service, we joined an actual tour!
Simon MÉRY on the left and Yahia-Saïd (Yaya) MKEZEZA on the right.
Simon and Yaya from France let us go on their tour with them.
At The Meeting Point
The tour took place in Asakusa, a popular area with many traditional Japanese streets and restaurants, along with a wide variety of souvenir shops.
First it’s time to meet up at the agreed place! Rena and Jade wait for their guests at a subway exit.
With TOMODACHI GUIDE, guests get to talk over in detail with their guide before the tour actually takes place. A meeting place is decided and contact details are exchanged so that nobody gets lost.
Simon and Yaya were welcomed with Rena and Jade’s self-introduction cards and hot green tea lattes to warm up.
You can see the Asahi Beer headquarters building and the Tokyo Sky Tree peeking in the background too! Both are major attractions in Asakusa.
After some talk about themselves and their plans for the day, the group set off on their tour!
First, they head to Sensōji Temple, the most famous temple in Asakusa. It's best known for its Kaminarimon gate, where the group took a photo.
Rena explains about the dragon sculpture on the bottom of the huge lantern. In between casual conversations, she gives explanations based on what she knows about Asakusa.
The two guests were amazed at everything they saw on Nakamise-dōri, a road with many shops selling Japanese treats and souvenirs.
Nakamise-dōri leads to all the way to Sensōji Temple from Kaminarimon. At the temple, they decide to try "omikuji", a type of fortune telling mostly seen in temples and shrines.
Jade explains what omikuji is, and shows them how to choose their fortune paper.
What did it say...?
All four of them had a "kichi”, meaning “good fortune”! The guides explain in detail what each of the fortune papers say. Simon’s omikuji said he will have a wonderful encounter with new people; this tour certainly was that!
As they walk around in Asakusa after leaving Sensōji, the guests are led down side streets and into small stores they would never have entered without their guides. Rather than clinging to a detailed plan, they decide to go with the flow.
Melon-pan ("melon bread") is one of Asakusa's local delicacies. It seems that Yaya really enjoyed it!
A TOMODACHI GUIDE lets you to check out places that never show up in guidebooks, or only have explanations in Japanese. They have become to be completely frank with each other through local experiences.
After coming across a tanuki statue, which is said to bring good luck, they take photos with a face-in-the-hole board! The group travel together without any worries or inhibitions.
Get Your Very Own "Kanji Name" At Kanji House!
The group chose "Kanji House" for the tour's final destination. There, people from abroad can create their very own kanji name with the Kanji House's unique method of picking out kanji to match their personalities.
Choosing kanji for Simon's ‘si’-sound to begin with. There are many kanji that are pronounced the same, but they all have different meanings! With the help of a kanji dictionary, they look for a kanji that suits him the best.
They had fun eagerly deciding on kanji, one by one, to match Simon and Yaya's personalities.
After creating their kanji names, they try writing it in "shodō", Japanese calligraphy.
This was the first shodō experience for both of them. They each timidly hold a Japanese calligraphy brush and practice writing their kanji names with help from Jade and Rena.
Look at their works! A kakejiku hanging paper scroll with your kanji name will be a memorable souvenir.
That was all for this day's tour! The guides and guests said farewell to each other just outside Kanji House. It was sad to part since we had such a good time!
After this trip, Simon and Yaya gave their review of today's tour.
What do you think? If you want to discover Japan in the way known only by the locals, if you want to travel around Japan in a way suited personally for you, or if you would even just like to make new friends in Japan, TOMODACHI GUIDE is the perfect service for you.
Anybody can become a guide or interpreter for TOMODACHI GUIDE. If you’re interested in showing people around Japan, click “become a guide” at the top right of the Huber. TOMODACHI GUIDE website to learn more
Price range: starting from 4,000 yen per person
Meeting place: Asakusa Station
Tour length: aprox. 2 hours
Reservations: Eating while walking, smiling and enjoying Japanese culture in Asakusa
* The contents of the tour plan can be adjusted to your preferences.