Request a Guide (Guide Services Policies, Terms and Conditions)
Please read and agree to the following TFG Guide Services Policies before booking a free guide.
Revised on April. 23, 2019
Acceptance of the following policies, terms and conditions is required for participation in the TOKYO FREE GUIDE program.
1. About TOKYO FREE GUIDE
TOKYO FREE GUIDE, hereafter referred to as TFG, is a purely volunteer group formed to encourage understanding of Japanese culture and people and to promote cross-cultural friendship.
2. Guides and Guests
1) Members of TFG and TFG guides are volunteers who provide guide services out of their own goodwill. TFG makes no claims or guarantees as to the qualifications or experience of its guides.
2) Any and all persons who request and/or utilize the services of TFG will be referred to as “guests” hereafter.
3) Guests should be an individual tour person or group not exceed 6(six) persons. The applicant who requests a guide to TFG shall be an adult and not younger than 20 years old.
4) TFG offers one (1) guide per group of guests. There are no predetermined routes of destinations. TFG guides will do their best to suggest custom itineraries based upon the needs of each group of guests. TFG reserves the right to refuse requests or itineraries that TFG deems unreasonable for any reason. TFG guides are unable to reserve events, tickets or otherwise act in as intermediary booking agents.
While TFG guide services are free of charge, guests are responsible for the following expenses:
1) TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE GUIDE while conducting a tour for the guests. These include any and all public transportation fees incurred after meeting the guests at the appointed meeting place. Guests are not responsible for costs incurred by the guide while traveling to or from the meeting place both before and after the tour period.
2) ADMISSION FEES to museums, temples, events etc. incurred by the guide while providing guide services.
3) MEALS eaten by the guide while providing his or her services to the guests.
4. Inappropriate Conduct
TFG and its guides reserve the right to terminate guide services at any point during the tour if the guests exhibit any of the following behavior’
1) UNSAFE or ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR.
2) INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR or advances. This includes sexual behavior initiated by the guests toward the guide, occurring among the guests and or that initiated by the guests toward persons outside of the tour group.
3) INTOXICATION AND ILLICIT DRUG ABUSE.
4) REFUSING to cover expenses incurred by the guide as outlined in the above section on expenses.
5) ANY CONDUCT, BEHAVIOR, OR ACTION that the guide feels is inappropriate or offensive or reflects poorly upon his or her self or TFG.
5. Statement of Limited Liability
TFG and its guides are not responsible for any illnesses, injuries, thefts, losses, or any resulting damages incurred by the guests while using TFG services. The guests accept(s) full responsibility for any damages, injuries, or losses that he/she/they may incur while using TFG services.
6. Right to Refuse Service, Conflicts of Interest
TFG can refuse to offer its services and/or terminate its services to the Guests at any point for the following reasons:
1) The Guests provide false information through the application form when requesting a guide and/or e-mail exchanges with TFG or the guide(s).
2) The Guests attempt to profit or gain monetarily from TFG services or operate(s) a business which attempts to profit or gain from TFG services.
3) TFG is a non-profit organization of volunteer guides and must remain separate from commercial activities. Therefore we cannot accept third party requests from hotel concierges, intermediaries, private companies or travel agencies.
4) The Guests who request for Guides to drive vehicles or to ride with on not public transportation.
5) The Guests request to engage in “sexual tourism” in any form or fashion. This includes but is not limited to requests to visit brothels, sexual goods shops, adult book stores and other similar venues which TFG deems inappropriate for its guide services.
6) The Guides may cancel appointments with due notice if unavoidable reasons or extreme circumstances (e.g., extreme weather conditions, natural disaster, health condition, etc.) occur.
7. Sudden Cancellation by Guests
TFG reserves the right to refuse service to guests who have previously cancelled guide appointments without due notice. This excludes cases in which cancellation was for unavoidable reasons or extreme circumstances.
8. Process for Being Appointed a Guide
Guests agree to adhere to the following process when requesting a guide from TFG.
1) Guest applies for a guide using the relevant form on the website (http://www.tokyofreeguide.com).
2) Guest receives a confirmation of their request by an automatic email from TFG.
3) A guide is arranged to the guest and contacts the guest via email directly.
4) If the guest does not receive an e-mail from a guide up to within two (2) days prior to his or her requested tour date, it means that no guide could be found. No further correspondence from TFG to the guest will be issued.
9. Cases in Which TFG May be Unable to Provide a Guide
In the following cases, TFG may be unable to provide a guide to the guest:
1) There are too many guide requests and or a shortage of available guides.
2) A guide cannot be found who speaks the language requested by the guest.
3) A guide cannot be found who is able to meet the guest’s request (e.g., starting a tour from 7 a.m., visiting a facility, venue or attraction that requires an advance reservation, visiting a sumo stable, showing the guest to areas not covered by TFG, and etc.).
4) Guest fails to submit his or her request at least two (2) weeks prior to the requested tour date.
Acceptance of Policies, Terms and Conditions of Tokyo Free Guide (TFG)
I, the guest, by clicking “Agree” in the form below do hereby state my absolute acceptance of the policies, terms and conditions of TOKYO FREE GUIDE (TFG) as outlined in this agreement.
You can request a guide up to two months in advance of your intended tour date.
Guide Policy FAQ (This is a part of TFG Guide Service Policies.)
Q1. I am currently 17. Can I book a free guide?
A1. If you are under 20 years old, please find an adult person who is 20 years old or above to accompany you.
Q2. We are a group of seven people. Can we still request a guide?
A2. We are sorry but we cannot accept a tour request from a group with more than six persons. To maintain the safety of the guests and the quality of our volunteer guide service, we limit the number of guests in a group to no more than six. Thank you for your understanding.
Q3. I’m a travel agent. Can I request a guide on behalf of my client?
A3. We don’t accept requests from travel agencies or for-profit organizations. Please advise your client to send their guide request directly to us.
About Guide Services
Q4. How much does it cost to use this service?
A4. Our guide services are totally free of charge and no tips are necessary. However, please be prepared to pay all the expenses of the guide during the tour, such as admission fees, restaurant meals, transportation fees, etc.
Q5.What language do guides speak?
A5. Currently, many of our members are English speaking guides. Also some of them are Spanish, Italian and French speaking guides. We have few numbers of Korean, Chinese, German, and Russian speaking guides.
Q6. For how many days can I request a guide?
A6. You may request a guide(s) for as many days as you wish, but we can’t guarantee the availability of guides for all the dates that you have requested.
Q7. Can I request a guide for weekdays?
A7. Yes, you can. However, we would recommend booking a guide for weekends or Japanese holidays, as more guides are available on weekends and holidays.
Q8. What are the basic guide hours?
A8. Our basic guide hours are from 9 or 10 am to 4 or 5 pm. However, you can request a guide for a longer or shorter period. When your guide is arranged, please discuss with him or her and agree to the time period of the tour.
If you request to start your tour early in the morning (for example, 7 am) or to last until late at night (for example, 11 pm), a guide may not become available. Please keep in mind we are all volunteers and many of our members are employed.
Q9. When is the busiest time for TOKYO FREE GUIDE?
A9. The largest number of guide requests are during the cherry blossom season (from middle of March to middle of April) and the summer season (August).
Japanese people traditionally return to their homes for the new year holidays and in the middle of August. Many guides are not available during that time.
Requests which we may not accept
Q10. Can I request a guide to pick me up at the Haneda or Narita airport and take me to my hotel?
A10. We do not arrange a pick-up service at the airports.
Q11. Can we observe a practice at a sumo stable?
A11. It is difficult to arrange a visit to a sumo stable.
Q12. Can I request a guide who can guide me to Nikko, Hakone and Mt. Fuji?
A12. We arrange guides for Tokyo and its vicinity only. We do not cover those areas because they are far from Tokyo.
Q13. I’m traveling alone. Do you have any tours that I can join?
A13. We don’t provide predetermined group tours. You can request a guide just for you.
Q14. Can you recommend any accommodation?
A14. It is not appropriate for TFG to recommend any accommodation to our guests.
Q15. When should I request a guide?
A15. Please submit your request about four to six weeks before arriving in Tokyo. You can submit a request up to two months in advance, but you may need to wait for several weeks or more before your guide is arranged. We are not able to comply with last-minute requests. We need a minimum of two weeks for the arrangement.
Q16. I haven’t booked our accommodation yet. Can I request a guide now?
A16. Yes, but we recommend that you request a guide after you have finalized your accommodation. It is difficult for us to arrange a guide for you before your accommodation is finalized.
Q17. It seems my request didn’t go through. Is your system working correctly?
A17. Please try to book from another computer. In most cases, the problem is solved by using a different computer/device.
Q18. How long do I need to wait before I am contacted by a guide?
A18. We cannot tell when your guide will be found. In many cases, our guides make an appointment with the guest a couple of weeks before the requested date.
Q19. I want to make sure my request was made.
A19. If you received the automatic email titled of “Your User Account was created & Confirmation of Receipt of Your Guide” for new guests or “Confirmation of Receipt of Your Guide Request” for registered guests, your guide request is registered.
If you didn’t, your request may not have been received by TOKYO FREE GUIDE. Please login and check whether your request was properly made. The login button is located in the upper right corner of the Web Page or click here. After login, you will find a calendar. Please check if you find your name on the calendar of the month you plan to visit. If you don’t find your name, your request was not received by TFG.
Q20. What if there is no guide available?
A20. We have more requests than we have available guides. Please understand that if you do not hear from a guide by two days prior to your requested tour date(s), it may mean that no guide is available for your tour. In that case, you will not be notified of the unavailability.
Q21. I received an automatic message “Your guide has been assigned!” but my guide hasn’t contacted me.
A21. Please check your spam folder first. If you don’t find his/her email, please contact your guide directly. The email address of your guide is provided in the automatic message.
Q22. We are coming to Tokyo next month but I haven’t booked my accommodation yet. Can I request a guide?
A22. Yes, but we recommend you request your guide after your accommodation is fixed. Your guide usually comes to your accommodation to pick you up so the information is important to arrange your guide.
If you request a guide with your accommodation “TBD,” there may be less chance that a guide will be arranged, as your trip will appear to be in the planning stages.
Q23. I want to change the date of my tour (or hotel, places to visit, etc.).
A23. Please login from here, or push the login button on the upper right corner of the Web Page, and find your name on the calendar. Please click your name, then make necessary modifications, confirm and push the “Register” button.
If your guide was already assigned, please tell him or her the change directly by email.
Q24. I want to cancel my request
A24. If your guide hasn’t been arranged yet, you can cancel your request by yourself. Please login from here, or push the login button on the upper right corner of the Web Page, and find your name on the calendar.
Please click your name, then push “Cancel Request” button, provide the reason of your cancellation, and push the “Register” button.
If your guide was already assigned, please tell him or her of your cancellation directly by email.