Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Won't Miss #425 - guided tours in Japan

Actual tour guide with flag followed by actual tourists, but I wasn't a part of the group. 

When it comes to taking guided tours in Japan, I've gone on two. The first was when I first arrived in Japan in 1988 for a vacation and went to Nikko. It was a whirlwind of dashing from place to place with little time to see much of anything and they insisted that my husband and I not touch each other in the group picture (and no one smiled except us). The second was on a guided tour of a sumo stable and, while not quite so fast, it was all in Japanese and hard to follow (particularly at that time, less than a few years into my stay in Japan). Here's the thing, if I'm going to fork over a goodly sum of money to go on a tour somewhere, the last thing I want to have to do is struggle to keep up with and understand some tour guide as she trots along with her little flag and speaks a thousand miles an hour. This is not my idea of a good time. While there are English language tour guides, their tours are few and far between and cover a limited area because of logistics and the overall lack of demand. 

Sometimes, I'd like to go on guided tours of various areas so that I have more information and have hotspots pointed out to me, but the super fast pacing and the language differences make them far less attractive, so I will not miss them.