posted by Heather Wilson, USA
date of activity: April 1, 2006
I’ve been living just north of Tokyo for almost two years now, so I don’t really have any trouble traveling around by myself or with friends. However, my family was coming to visit Japan for the first time and I was really nervous about showing them around Kyoto because I had never been there and didn’t know much about it!
I found out there are a lot of organizations that offer free tour guides, and while researching these, I found Aitai Japan. I soon got in touch with Kuri, to show us around Kyoto, and she was soooooo much help right from the beginning!
For instance, one of the main things we were interested in was seeing Gion and the Miyako Odori; she got us reservations – something I would have had a lot of trouble doing with my limited Japanese. She was a great guide, showing us the popular shopping areas and places to see the cherry blossoms, etc.
My father really wanted to try some sake, so she took us to a department store where we could have many samples. She wasn’t shy at all about asking people for favors, and she helped us to get many pictures of women dressed up like Geisha and wearing other traditional costumes.
We really enjoyed talking to her and hearing her knowledge of the area and about Japanese culture. There were some things, of course, that we asked and she couldn’t answer… but she did some research and contacted me with the information a couple of weeks later!!
We couldn’t have asked for a better guide, I highly recommend this organization, and more specifically, Kuri, to anyone!