Japan Tour Guide (JTG) is an online portal that aims to match volunteer Japanese guides with visitors coming to Japan. Read about their tours put together for tourists by these friendly local guides in this regular column!

We received a request from James and his mother Debra who are tourists from Kentucky, USA.
They wanted to go to some traditional buildings in Kyoto and have some lunch together.
The guides were university student, Yuto Nakahata and workers, Kyoko Kawaguchi, Ryoko Yasuda . We met with them at 8:15 a.m. at JR Kyoto station.
The first stop was the famous Kinkakuji (Golden temple).
We got on a local bus.

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It was the first time for Debra to ride on a local bus in Japan. She was kind of surprised by how clean it was!
We passed a Subaru car dealer on the way, which James loved, so he was very excited when he saw it.
His reaction was funny to us because it was nothing special thing for us, but he said there are only a few Subaru dealers in USA. .
After 40 minutes, we got to Kinkakuji.

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Kinkakuji was built in 1393 as a retirement villa for Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (1358-1409).
There were a lot of tourists, and some security guys were trying to speak English to them but they could not speak very well. That’s why we were there with them as local guides!☺

After looking around, we moved to Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto imperial palace) by bus.

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Usually they close the main door so we cannot go into the main area, but this time they opened the door for tourists only for 5 days completely for free!
Of course we knew about the special deal!! They came to Kyoto during the perfect season!!
There were many traditional buildings and they were awesome.
We learned that Ms. Debra likes trees. There were some big Matsu trees that left her pretty impressed by their old age.

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After we enjoyed the big imperial palace, we walked to our next destination, Nijyo-jyo (Nijo castle).

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It took about 20 minutes. While we walked, we talked about our school systems.
Actually, Kyoko was an international nursery school teacher until last month.
And Debra was a 6th grade science teacher who recently retired.
They exchanged their opinions and Kyoko asked Debra how she should be good teacher at school.
It was good opportunity for Kyoko to talk with her.

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After a while, we came upon a lot of cherry blossoms by the road!!
As you know, April in Japan is the time to see beautiful cherry blossoms.☺
So we told them, “You guys came to Japan during a great season!!”
Then, they told us that in the USA they also have some cherry blossoms that came from Japan as gift of friendship. We didn’t know that!! What a surprise!! It was nice to hear that!!

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Finally, we got to Nijyojyo, our final spot for sightseeing.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures in Nijyojyo. They don’t allow it.
But it was very interesting for us, so quiet and holy.

After all the sightseeing, we went to have some lunch.
We decided to have hamburg steaks. We were totally hungry so… we forgot to take pictures ;(
Sorry about that.
The reason why we decided to eat hamburg steaks was that they had already had some Japanese meals and it is unfamiliar for Americans to have only the hamburger patty as the main dish.
It would be nice experience to try it in Japan. Maybe you can tell the difference between the Japanese and Western styles! If you ever get sick of eating Japanese meals in Japan, just try it out sometime!!

After lunch, we took them back to the closest station for them to head to the next place by themselves, and said goodbye.

That is just a small look into one of the many adventures you can have with Japan Tour Guide.
We are looking forward to guiding you around the city and showing you the ins and outs of Japan!!

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