Kyoto is one of Japan’s best cities to visit, but with all the great shrines and temples it can be a bit confusing. Which ones are best? How do I find out about the histories and beliefs behind them? There are so many ways in which a volunteer travel guide can help.

sakura_kyotoSakura Volunteer Guide Club

This well respected club for volunteer guides, they take can you to major sites and tourist attractions with different plans available. One nice thing about this club is that for events, such as festivals, they organise special get-togethers for a small fee.

Make a reservation

good_samaritan_guidesGood Samaritan Club

Another popular service, the members are local university students hoping to meet and show foreigners around. Usually one-day tours.

Make a reservation

Visit Kansai

For those visiting places such as Osaka, Kyoto or Nara, Visit Kansai is a great choice. They have loads of bubbly volunteer guides who want to give tourists a real behind-the-scenes experience.

Goodwill Guide on Kyoto Handicraft & Historical Sites

As the name suggests, this group focuses on traditional Kyoto, so is good for a more in-depth tour experience.

Make a reservation

Kyoto Free Guide

A friendly volunteer guide group, with some information about your guides before you choose.

Make a reservation

More volunteer guide services here. Volunteer guides for smaller towns are listed on each place’s page.

Want to know all the best volunteer guides, all over Japan? Check out my new budget travel book!

Perfect for backpackers, budget travelers, families on a tight budget, students and those who are new to Japan.

More info


About the Author:

Hi there! はじめまして! I am a writer and designer, and I focus on budget travel in Japan. I have lived in and out of Japan for nearly a decade now and know all the tricks! よろしくお願いします!


  1. Ronald Brass October 13, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    We will be in Kyoto from 7th -12th November. Would it be possible to have a guide sometime?

    • Matt October 14, 2015 at 6:10 am

      This site is just an online travel guide 😀 Please contact the guide services yourself

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