10 Top Rated Virtual Japan Tours To Beat The Pandemic

Experiences

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Rob Dyer The Real Japan

I hope you enjoy reading this post.

If you want me to do your trip planning for you click here.

As much as we'd all love to be exploring the sights, hidden gems and back streets of Japan right now, unfortunately the global pandemic has other ideas.

But we won't let that stop you experiencing The Real Japan!

Here's our guide to 10 of the best-rated virtual Japan tours, based on genuine customer reviews... 

10 best virtual Japan tours The Real Japan

10 Top-Rated Virtual Japan Tours
by Rob Dyer


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How The Tours Were Shortlisted

To compile this list I turned to the Viator website. Viator is owned by Tripadvisor, so is a reliable site.

Viator's website makes it easy to discover and book something you'd love to do in Japan (or any other popular tourist destination). They focus on quality and their excellent service includes free cancellation.  

I reviewed all the virtual Japan tours available through Viator and then applied a strict rating threshold to come up with our shortlist. I filtered the tours by applying a traveler review rating of 5 stars - the highest possible review rating on Viator.

Tours had to have at least three 5-Star reviews in the past year to be included.

With the exception of one (Gion tour in Kyoto), every entry included is 5-Star rated by genuine Viator customers. That's real people who have actually taken these specific virtual tours.

To give you a further feel for what to expect, I've included a representative review by a  genuine customer for each of the tours. 

If you take any of these tours (and you should!) be sure to let me and others know what you thought of them by leaving a comment below.

Let's get started!


The Virtual Tours - Quick Guide

MOUNT FUJI

5/5

Virtual Tour To Discover Mount Fuji

This online experience gives you rough idea of Tokyo's popular sightseeing spots and culture. It's about a 45-60 minutes experience via Zoom and can be used to get a better understanding of what you could see in Tokyo when you're able to visit in person.

virtual Mt. Fuji tour The Real Japan

TOKYO

5/5

Tokyo Highlights Virtual Tour

This online experience gives you rough idea of Tokyo's popular sightseeing spots and culture. It's about a 45-60 minutes experience via Zoom and can be used to get a better understanding of what you could see in Tokyo when you're able to visit in person.

Best Virtual Tokyo tour The Real Japan

TOKYO - IMPERIAL PALACE

5/5

Tokyo Imperial Palace Historical Virtual Tour

In this tour, you'll visit Tokyo's Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station, two of Tokyo's finest and historic sites. You'll get insider travelling tips at each location, illustrated with images, videos and 360-degree photos, that will help you plan your next trip. 

virtual Imperial Palace tour The Real Japan

TOKYO - SHIBUYA + SHINJUKU

5/5

Tokyo Online: Virtual Experience in Shibuya and Shinjuku

Share the excitement of two of Tokyo’s most popular and exciting districts online. Travel around these two iconic areas from the comfort of home. Grab a snack and some drinks to enjoy while you hang out.

virtual Shibuya Shinjuku tour The Real Japan

KYOTO

5/5

Kyoto Virtual Tour

This is a virtual tour using Zoom, the online conference system. This one hour tour brings you to one of the most beautiful and historical cities in Japan, Kyoto. Two friendly hosts will make your experience more interactive.

Zoom Kyoto virtual tour The Real Japan

KYOTO - GION

4.5/5

Gion Walking Tour by Night with Virtual Option

Discover Kyoto’s magical Gion district, which is known for being the city’s Geisha area. This virtual option is conducted simultaneously with the live 'real' group tour by making use of the Zoom video conferencing application.

Gion at Night Kyoto virtual tour The Real Japan

OSAKA

5/5

Osaka Virtual Tour

This one hour long tour brings you to one of the most unique and fun cities in Japan, Osaka. Two hosts use not only photos or videos but also handmade materials or actual goods from their own homes, adding a personal dimension to the experience.

Best Virtual Osaka tour The Real Japan

TAKAYAMA

5/5

Virtual Guided Tour of Takayama

This is a live tour of the streets of Takayama's old town, which guest can join via Whatsapp, Line, Facetime or Skype. It includes all the town's most distinctive features, including the red bridge, a local Shinto shrine, and an explanation of sake tasting.

virtual Takayama tour The Real Japan

VARIOUS

5/5

Studio Ghibli Spots Tour

This online experience will take you to the places which are said to be the inspiration for Studio Ghibli films. It's a 45-60 minute experience via Zoom and operated with the aim of expanding your wishlist places when you next visit Japan.

Best virtual Studio Ghibli spots tour The Real Japan

VARIOUS

5/5

Japan: The Bathing and Sento Experience

This online experience will introduce you to Japanese bathing culture, starting from fancy Onsen (hot springs) to local Sento (public bath). Learn the customs and rules of taking bath in Japan, get knowledgeable and prepared for your next trip to Japan.

virtual bathing sento tour The Real Japan

BONUS!

5/5

Cocktail Connections: Online Happy Hour in Japan

Join a local expert for a virtual cocktail session, live from Japan. With 20 years experience in the food and beverage and tourism industries, your host will share some fun DIY cocktails and help answer questions you may have about life in Tokyo.  Kampai!

virtual cocktail tour The Real Japan

The Virtual Tours - In Depth

Virtual Tour To Discover Mount Fuji

Rating:  5/5 Stars

Duration: 45-60 minutes

virtual Mt. Fuji tour The Real Japan

This Mt. Fuji Virtual Tour is a good way to get to know the most iconic and majestic symbol of Japan.

Mt Fuji is very special to the Japanese,  representing faith and admiration. This online experience shares Mt. Fuji and the areas around it from a local’s perspective. You will get to hear about the history, culture as well as stories from the locals who live in Shizuoka prefecture.

You will discover some of the things to see and do and the best food that you must try when you visit in person.

* NOTE Tour times are Japan Standard Time . You'll need to convert these to your local time before making your booking.


What's Included

  • Post-tour resource guide with links and information
  • Information about Japanese food and Japanese culture in general
  • Time to find out more about your Japan wish-list

Customer Review

virtual Mt. Fuji tour The Real Japan

What I Like

Several customer reviews are from people who have previously visited Mt. Fuji in person, and even they thought this virtual tour was great, and that it adds new information that can be used when next visiting in real life. 



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Tokyo Highlights Virtual Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars

Duration: 45-60 minutes

Best Virtual Tokyo tour The Real Japan

This online experience gives you rough idea of Tokyo's popular sightseeing spots and culture. It's about a 45-60 minutes experience via Zoom and can be used to get a better understanding of what you could see in Tokyo when you're able to visit in person.

* NOTE Tour times are Japan Standard Time. You'll need to convert these to your local time before making your booking.


What's Included

  • Explanation about Tokyo city
  • Tips to visit iconic places and recommendations from a local guide
  • Q & A session about Tokyo and Japan

Customer Review

virtual Tokyo tour The Real Japan

What I Like

Several customer reviews specifically mention how useful this tour is for future trip planning.



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Tokyo Imperial Palace Historical Virtual Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

virtual Imperial Palace tour The Real Japan

In this tour, you'll visit Tokyo's Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station, two of Tokyo's finest and historic sites. 

Both locations are engrained into Japanese culture and history, which is why you should know more about these two if you are interested in Japan. You'll get insider travelling tips at each location, illustrated with images, videos and 360-degree photos, that will help you plan your next trip.

This virtual tour is very interactive and includes quizzes about Japanese culture.

* NOTE Tour times are Japan Standard Time. You'll need to convert these to your local time before making your booking.


What's Included

  • Live Q+A throughout - your guide will answer any questions
  • Tour handout sent in advance to follow along with and help guide you live
  • Includes virtual stops at Tokyo Station, Imperial Palace and Soto Sakuradamon Gate 

Customer Review

virtual Imperial Palace tour The Real Japan

What I Like

Customer reviews frequently praise the knowledge of the virtual guide, saying that afterwards it felt like they had actually been there in person. 



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Tokyo Online: Virtual Experience in Shibuya and Shinjuku

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 1 hour

virtual Shibuya Shinjuku tour The Real Japan

Overview

During this online experience, you will share the excitement of two of Tokyo’s most popular and exciting districts.

You can travel around these two iconic areas from the comfort of home. Bring a snack and some drinks to enjoy while you hang out. 

Meet and connect with your local expert host who will take you on this virtual adventure! This tour team has hosted over 27,000 guests on walking food tours, sharing stories, history, information, local tips as well as Japanese foodie culture. 

Tours take place at 21:00 JST (Japan Standard Time), so be sure to see what this is in your local time before booking.


What's Included

  • Resource guide with links and information shared during the tour
  • Information about Japan and Japanese culture in general
  • “Ask Me Anything” time to find out more about your Japan wish-list

Customer Review

virtual Shibuya Shinjuku tour The Real Japan


What I Like

This tour is a great way to hear first hand about Japanese life and culture in two of Tokyo's most famous and lively districts. The guide is happy to answer questions about your future trip planning for Tokyo and Japan.



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Kyoto Virtual Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 1 hour

Zoom Kyoto virtual tour The Real Japan

Overview

This is a virtual tour using Zoom, online conference system. This one hour tour brings you to one of the most beautiful and historical cities in Japan, Kyoto. Two friendly hosts will make your experience more interactive.

We use not only photos or videos but also handmade materials or actual goods from guides' living room, that makes you feel livelier. 

You can ask them anything about Japan, Kyoto and other popular tourists spots by chat or by talk session after the tour. This tour will provide helpful hints for your future trip to Japan.

*NOTE the tour time is Japan Standard Time. You need to make adjustment to your local time when booking.

What's Included

  • National Licensed English speaking local tour guide
  • Interactive communication with local guides
  • Fun quizzes and giveaway

Customer Review

virtual Kyoto tour The Real Japan


What I Like

This tour includes not one but two hosts, both of whom are local experts. Each bringing their knowledge and expertise to your virtual experience. 



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Gion Walking Tour by Night with Virtual Option

Rating:  4.5/5 Stars
Duration: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Gion at Night Kyoto virtual tour The Real Japan

Overview

Discover Kyoto’s magical Gion district, which is known for being the city’s Geisha area.

Don't worry about language barriers, as your guide translates and explains the difference between maiko, geiko, and other relevent Japanese words. The unmarked narrow streets of Gion can make it easy to get lost at night, but this is not a problem with a guide to navigate and lead the way. 

This is usually an in-person tour. However, for those who cannot join the tour, a virtual option is available. This is conducted simultaneously with the 'real' group tour by making use of the Zoom video application.

During the tour, you are allowed to ask questions by texting through the 'Q+A function' of Zoom.

*NOTE: tour times are Japan Standard Time. Make adjustment to your local time when making your booking. 


What's Included

  • No getting lost - your guide navigates you down Gion’s narrow alleyways
  • Learn where to find hidden places in the Geisha district
  • Go to areas when Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed
  • Learn about Geiko and Maiko from your guide

Customer Review

virtual Gion Kyoto tour The Real Japan


What I Like

While all other tours here have a 5/5 rating, this one is just so popular, with over 180 reviews, I thought it ought to be included. It's also one of the longer tours. It has a rating of 4.5/5.



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

RELATED: You might want to read our Secret Moments of Maikos post


Osaka Virtual Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 1 hour

Best Virtual Osaka tour The Real Japan

This is a virtual tour using the Zoom online conference system. This one hour long tour brings you to one of the most unique and fun cities in Japan, Osaka.

Two friendly hosts make your experience interactive. They use not only photos or videos but also handmade materials or actual goods from their own living rooms, adding a personal dimension to the experience.

You can ask them anything about Japan, Osaka and other popular tourists spots by chat or during the Q+A session following the tour. This tour will provide helpful hints for your future trip to Japan.

*NOTE: tour times are Japan Standard Time. Make adjustment to your local time when making your booking.

What's Included

  • Interactive communication
  • Post tour Q+A session
  • Two virtual guides

Customer Review

virtual Osaka tour The Real Japan

What I Like

This virtual tour includes not one but two hosts. Both of whom are local guides. The customer reviews on Viator are full of praise for them both. 



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Virtual Guided Tour of Takayama

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 30 minutes

virtual Takayama tour The Real Japan

Host Luca created this online live tour in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is a live tour of the streets of Takayama's old town, which guest can join via Whatsapp, Line, Facetime or Skype. It includes all the town's most distinctive features, including the red bridge, morning market, a local Shinto shrine, and an explanation of sake tasting.

Information provided along the way includes historical aspects of the city, and both how politics and commerce have played key roles in the history of the town.

 *NOTE: tour times are Japan Standard Time. Make adjustment to your local time when making your booking.

What's Included

  • Glimpse Takayama's famous historic floats used in annual festivals
  • Features several of Takayama's most distinctive sights
  • English, Italian and Japanese speaking host 

Customer Review

virtual Takayama tour The Real Japan

What I Like

Host Luca has made it really easy to join his live tour of this wonderful town, with guests able to join through Whatsapp, Line, Facetime or Skype.



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Studio Ghibli Spots Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars

Duration: 45-60 minutes

Best virtual Studio Ghibli spots tour The Real Japan

This online experience will take you to the places throughout Japan which are the inspiration for some of Studio Ghibli most famous films. Ideal if you're unable to visit the Ghibli Museum in person.

It's about 45-60 minute experience via Zoom. Operated with the aim of expanding your wishlist places of your next visit to Japan. A question and answer session is included covering both Studio Ghibli films and Japan in general.

*The time of the tour is Japan Standard Time. Please exchange to your time before booking.


What's Included

  • Ghibli related spots throughout Japan from Hokkaido in the north,  to Kagoshima in the south
  • Q & A session about Studio Ghibli and Japan
  • Meet a local Ghibli fan and share their love for Ghibli animated films

Customer Review

virtual Studio Ghibli tour The Real Japan

What I Like

What a great idea! Studio Ghibli is well-known for drawing inspiration from real locations throughout Japan, and this is a great way to easily see some of them.



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


Japan: The Bathing and Sento Experience

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 45 minutes-1 hour

virtual bathing sento tour The Real Japan

Overview

This online experience will introduce you to the Japanese bathing culture, starting from fancy Onsen (hot springs) to local Sento (public bath).

Learn the customs and rules of taking bath in Japan, and get prepared for your next trip to Japan (hopefully in the near future!). What you discover here you can then apply when you visit in person. 

*All times specified are in Japan Standard Time. Please check your time zone before booking.

What's Included

  • Explanation about Japanese bathing culture
  • A list of recommended onsen and tatoo-friendly sento/onsen in and around Tokyo
  • Q +A session about bathing culture and Japan

Customer Review

virtual bathing sento tour The Real Japan


What I Like

A great example of how to use virtual tours to learn about Japanese culture before you come to Japan. Includes a list of tatoo-friendly sento/onsen in and around the Tokyo area.



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance



BONUS! Cocktail Connections: Online Happy Hour in Japan

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 1 hour

virtual cocktail tour The Real Japan

Overview

Join a local expert for a virtual cocktail session, live from Japan. With 20 years experience in the food and beverage and tourism industries, your host will share some fun DIY cocktails and help answer questions you may have about life in Tokyo.

She will also share some hidden gems, tips and tricks in the city, and show you how to make your own delicious Japanese-style cocktails and mocktails at home. Learn some bar basics - AMA “Ask me anything” format to answer questions about cocktails, Japan, and Japanese culture and food travel.

This experience is great for locals living in Japan, as well as Japan and bar fans around the world. 

Sessions take place on Saturdays at 9pm. They also have time slots for 10am Wednesdays and 12pm Fridays. All times given are JST (Japan Standard Time), so be sure to see what this is in your local time before booking. 


What's Included

  • Learn 2 Japanese cocktail recipes that are easy to learn and recreate
  • Information about Japanese drinks and culture in general
  • "Ask Me Anything" format on cocktails and Japanese food and drink culture

Customer Review

virtual cocktail tour The Real Japan


What I Like

OK, not strictly a tour at all ;-), but if you can't go out, have a few drinks and hang out with friends at the moment, why not try your hand at a cocktail or two with an expert all the way from Japan!?



Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible

Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance


When you take any of these tours be sure to let me and others know what you thought
of them by leaving a comment below.

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10 best virtual Japan tours The Real Japan

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Leave A Comment

  • Elliott Reid says:

    Amazing! Thank you so much for the time putting this together, Rob

    • You’re welcome Elliott!

      Let’s hope it isn’t too long before you can do all of this (and more) in person!

  • Each tour looks like it rocks Rob. We plan to visit down the road, for sure. Japan is on our list.

    • Thanks Ryan – glad you enjoyed it.

      And if you can’t get to Japan soon, then these virtual tours are a great option to get your fix of The Real Japan in the meantime! ;-)

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