Hato Bus Tour, Tokyo
For a reasonable price, we met at a central location and spent the afternoon touring some of Tokyo's most famous landmarks. On the list was Asakusa Cannon Temple, World trade Center, Tokyo station, the Imperial Palace, Ginza, and a 40 minute boat ride. Since we had limited time in the city it was a great way to see the major sites ina short period of time, instead of spending a day lost looking for the right train station. The tour guide spoke perfect English and she was extremely friendly.
Hato means pigeon and Basu is Bus. Bus Pigeon are to Tokyo like sand is to the Sahara. The oldest city tours company in Tokyo and the one offers more choices, especially if you adventure in a tour trip in Japanese language. Hato Basu will take you in 6 and half hours to all the "ad nauseum" beaten path, which are the must see in accordance to the “elite” wisdom. You will realize soon that Tokyo is big in population but small as a handkerchief (an used one!). Your next time in the city, life will be more enjoyable cause you can now go and discovered the real city and leave the "more than evident places" to "serious" tourists that will be prepared to write a book on spots they have visited just for few minutes.
I hate bus tours. I prefer to explore a city on my own and on my own timetable. But Tokyo can be overwhelming. My first day in the city I was tired from jet lag and suffering from culture shock. So it was nice to sit on a bus and be told what to do and see. Its kind of like reading the “To Do” tips on virtual tourist. A good overview – and a way to begin. When the tour completed I knew I would not go back to the Asakusa Cannon Temple but that I would spend more time at the Imperial gardens.
The highlight of the tour for me was meeting our guide Niri. Not that I really got to know her beyond the context of a tour guide. But I was enchanted by the way she spoke English, very practiced and very shy. I wonder where the shyness comes from, perhaps a desire to speak well and to be understood. The bus negotiated its way through the city streets and Niri chatted about what buildings we were passing, the fountains and the squares. Then when we would arrive at our destination she would deliver precise instructions about where to go and how to find our way back to the bus. There was a formality and politeness about the vocabulary she picked that was amusing.
As the finale of the tour we boarded a boat and journeyed down a river that winds its way through Tokyo into the harbor. This gave Niri some freedom from chatting at us via a speaker. She spent her time visiting with each person on the tour personally, something I have never seen a tour guide do. Niri made the tour worth while.
We went on two of the Hato tours. One around Tokyo for the morning and the other a full day tour of Nikko.
The tours were very interesting and the guides had a excellent sense of humour. They often talked about their own lives and how they have grow up in Japan.
The tours leave from the bus port however they do offer a hotel pick up service.
The bus station also has plenty of vending machines for some supplies!
Hato (pigeon) Bus Tour is an hour closed-air bus tour around some of the major sites in Tokyo. Starting out at Tokyo Station, you are welcomed on board. Try and get right up at the front windows. There are English headphones that translate the spoken-tour. (I was on the "Hello Kitty" bus, oh, so Japanese). It's worth it if you have limited time, don't love walking, or have kids (but they may be bored on the bus). I'd give the tour itself a "B-", there are better ways/places to see with your time. Hato is also a large company that owns some hotels, and sometimes you can get some deal/packages.
Hato bus is an Icon in Tokyo and the most popular touring comapny in the tokyo area and nearby surrounding. they offer assorted tour packages for morning, afternoon, night tours and whole day and multi day tours in tokyo and nearby areas and even via shinkansen bullet train to nagoya, osaka, mount fuji, hakone, kamakura, kyoto and a lot more. They offer pick up and drop off services in most major hotels in tokyo but it depends on the type of your tour like if you are having the mount fuji tour with shinkansen bullet train return, there is no drop off service. the prices of the tour depends on the length like a dynamic city tour is 11,000 yen and a mount fuji tour with bullet train return is 16,000 yen. you can visit their website below before planning a tour of japan.
You can get an English speaking half-day, full-day, and nigh tours of the city with Hato Bus. It will pick you up and drop you off at a major hotel. They also offer walking tours.
If the tours are anything like the common Japanese tours, you will be rushed from place to place and spend too much time at souvenir shops. Might be worth a try tho if you're rushed for time and don't know your way around Tokyo.
Another good choice to see Tokyo is riding the Hato Bus. I didn't do it but many people told me that. It has several tours from where to choose.