So I’m not a real tour guide, but I know a shit-ton about Japanese culture…enough to keep us from getting lost, yelled at, arrested, etc. However, it would still be nice to get a local to show us around. Now, I’m not talking about your typical boring-ass tours where they make you all wear matching hats and a lady with a megaphone and a flag hustles you all over the city. Fuck that. No, I looked for tours that we’d be interested in as young adults who want to see all the cool shit Tokyo has to offer.
Here are my two recommendations:
This is a 6 hour tour that will cost us $120 each. Here are the routes and more information about the tour. The price covers:
- Tour guide
- Bike rental
- Tax & Insurance
- Bento lunch
I’m leaning towards Route C, the “Cool Tokyo Ride,” which looks like a blend of trendy city spots, nice scenery and a few traditional spots in between. However, it’s not always available, so my back-up plan is Route A, the “Tokyo Bay Ride,” which looks like a nice cruise near the waterfront, a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market (we’re going here on our own anyway, so this route isn’t a must) and some nice cultural attractions.
$120 doesn’t seem that bad for a 6 hour bike tour of Tokyo, plus, this company has some stellar reviews on TripAdvisor. (Check out the visitor photos; looks fun)
“Lights on Tokyo” is a night on the town in the heart of Tokyo with a Japanese local. Is this really necessary? Not really. I already have a list of places to go to, I’ve been to some of the places that are listed on the tour and I can speak Japanese for us just fine. However, I’m not a local and I’m positive there is some cool shit that the guide can show/teach us that might make this tour worth it…but is it $90 worth it?
That’s the price of this night out with a local – $90 each. Here’s what that fee comes with:
- Yakitori dinner and first alcoholic drink (not sure how much food we’ll get, but I estimate this at @ $20-25 value)
- Shibuya crosswalk (uh, you absolutely do not need a guide to cross a street, even if it’s a famous one. $0 value)
- Tour of Golden Gai (like I said, the guide might know about some cool shit, or hidden gems that I wouldn’t. $10 value)
- Hanazono Shrine (It’s a fucking shrine. Why is this on the tour? If anything, I hope it’s intended to help us pray away our sins after some crazy debauchery in Golden Gai. Highly doubt it. Oh, and it’s walking distance from our hotel, albeit, a long walk. $0 value)
- Kabukicho (The site says “impressive neon of Kabukicho.” C’mon. If you’re going to Kabukicho just to look at neon lights, you’re kidding yourself. That’s like saying you go to stripclubs for the music. Kabukicho is the red light district and is also walking distance from our hotel. Follow the link to see my write-up of the place. I’m assuming the guide will just take us to the bars in the area or just walk around with us. Value $5. However, if the guide knows a trick to keep the annoying Nigerian touts away from us, the value goes up to $30).
- Skyscraper View (The site doesn’t even say which skyscraper. I’ll tell you right now, we’ll get a free view from our room. Value $0).
If you do the math, the only thing I find worthy of this tour is if the guide can keep the touts off our backs. If not…meh. However, the tour company has some nice reviews, although none are for the night tour, which in my opinion, is the only one worth taking…if that. It also looks like the tour company stands behind it’s business and really looks out for the customer, so it may be worth a look. Vids below!
Here is a terrible video of Hanazono Shrine:
They couldn’t have picked a better time to film? It looks dead. And that depth of field camera focus shit makes my eyes bleed.
And that’s it for the tour section. Let me know your thoughts. I say we go on the bike tour for sure.