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TOKYO SGG CLUB: Volunteer Organization That Offers Travel Guide for Visitors from Abroad

Recently, there are a few, but people that seem like tourists from abroad are seen around tourist attractions in Tokyo.

When walking around one of them, Asakusa, I saw a complex facility called "Asakusa Bunka Kanko Center (Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center)" catty-corner from Kaminari-mon (Thunder Gate). Posters, some written in Japanese, others in foreign languages, and signage of currency exchange (temporarily closed) came into my sight. tokyo-sgg-club-volunteer-organization-that-offers-travel-guide-for-visitors-from-abroadThen I went into the building and found an information guide that provided services in non-Japanese languages. The facility also had a tourist information section where travel magazines were available to read, an exhibition space, a viewing deck, etc.


Later, I looked up the facility on the internet and found that one of the member groups of Japan's volunteer guides network, the TOKYO SGG CLUB (Tokyo Systematized Goodwill Guide Club) [1], is offering services in the building. This club works for travelers from abroad so that they can have a pleasant time in Japan, including tour guiding. We interviewed with the club and would like to share its summary and characteristics, so please stick to the end.


[1] Tokyo Systematized Goodwill Guide Club [hereinafter TOKYO SGG CLUB]


Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center



The summary is as follows.


With the cooperation of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and Taito Ward, etc., the TOKYO SGG CLUB has been offering travel information and consultation for visitors from abroad for almost 40 years, mainly around the areas of Asakusa, Ueno, Yanaka, and the Imperial Palace.


Check out the website for TOKYO SGG CLUB's activities.


Photo: PIXTA



Characteristics:

  • Each member that gives a tour, including to local spots, makes creative efforts so that the guests can have a great time.

  • Each member enjoys meeting and interacting with people from other cultures through volunteer activities.


According to the TOKYO SGG CLUB, they had to stop their activities after the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, which is understandable. However, over these two years, through online meetings and trainings, members could have communicated with other members whom they did not usually meet. As a result, they found new things and felt closer to each other, and the years became significant time for them.

I believe this will lead them to be able to convey the goodness of Japan and the Japanese further.



View from a viewing deck of Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center



Although the restrictions to enter Japan were eased on June 10th, 2022, the entrance of tourists from abroad needs to meet conditions, such as that only group tours conducted by Japanese travel agencies are allowed. ※N.B. Under the circumstances, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, for now, the TOKYO SGG CLUB provides guided tours by reservations only in the Asakusa area and the tours need to be booked at least 7 days in advance. Check the website and Facebook page of TOKYO SGG CLUB for details.


N.B.: Circumstances keep changing. Check the latest information from the link below. https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html


We took this topic because we are happy if this could be useful information for your family and friends when they visit Japan in the future.

We are planning to interview the TOKYO SGG CLUB again about their activities when the restrictions for entering Japan are eased further and the spread of COVID-19 declines. So, please don't miss our articles!


If you know of any organizations of volunteer tour guides in cities of your home country, share them from the comment section at the bottom!





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