Asia Japan

Tokyo with Koji

Written by Mark McElroy

Instead of getting lost on the subway and paying big bucks for a mediocre meal, hire Koji. You’ll discover secret sights, cover more ground, and feast on sushi, tempura, and delightful local treats.

How do you tour a city as sprawling, vibrant, and busy as Tokyo in a day? It’s simple: you hire Koji

You can’t see everything in a morning and an afternoon, but with Koji’s expert guidance whisking you from subway to shrine to shopping street, you’ll maximize whatever time you have in the city. Instead of getting lost in the bewildering transit system, you’ll take the shortest path from Shinjuku to Shibuya. Instead of eating bad food in a shop that brags about its English menus, you’ll eat perfect jewel-like sushi in a hidden restaurant only locals know. And instead of being packed with dozens of howling foreigners on a sight-seeing bus, you’ll spend an unhurried but busy day seeing Tokyo as only a local can.

Koji is a quiet, gentle, fun-loving soul who quickly and easily updates the day’s itinerary to match your needs. We weren’t much interested in buying souvenirs — and, like a magician, Koji replaced shopping stops with the hard-to-find foodie adventures we love. We ate sushi. We sampled saki. We nibbled on grilled exotic meats. We sucked up soba noodles. We gobbled down treats filled with sweet red bean paste. And somehow, we also found room to try some of Tokyo’s best tempura shrimp.

(Especially if you are a foodie, be aware: there is a food tour in Tokyo that offers three stops over two hours … and charges what Koji charges for an entire day. Given Koji’s knowledge of the food scene alone, his tour is a tremendous value.)

Prefer shopping to dining? Koji’s got you covered. We walked a variety of shopping streets, from Tokyo’s youth-obsessed clothing district to the Japanese Champs-Elysee. (Friends back home wanted green tea Kit-Kats. Koji found these — and more.) Prefer history? How about a visit to a popular shrine that’s been greeting pilgrims since the 600’s? It comes down to this: let Koji know what interests you, and he’ll get you there — quickly, easily, and effortlessly. Want to stroll elaborate gardens? Sip matcha at a traditional tea house? Koji’s got you covered.

Need more evidence of how thorough Koji can be? At the end of our day, our pedometers said we’d covered eight miles in eight hours. (If you want to move at a more leisurely pace, just tell him.) And if you have no idea what you want to see or do, no worries — Koji has a “greatest hits” itinerary that is perfect for folks who just want to relax while someone else does the planning.

Long story short: in the time you’ve taken reading this review, you could have booked Koji — and you should, right now, before anyone else does, and before the secret gets out and he’s booked up months in advance!

We’re so happy we spent the day with this smart and friendly young man — and you will be, too. If you want to see Tokyo with a good friend who knows all the best places, Koji is the guide for you. You can see an overview of his services on his website.

Note: I found Koji through As always: the reviews on are unbiased and truthful. I pay for my own tours with money from my own pocket, just as you do. I received no compensation or discount of any kind in return for this review, and Koji was unaware that I write about travel or recommend guide services.

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Mark McElroy

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