Tour Guide-Interpreter System
Last Update : 2017/1/23
Individuals who want to accompany international visitors and provide them with travel guide services using a foreign language for remuneration have to pass an examination given by the JTA Commissioner and acquire a license issued by a prefectural government. This section explains the Tour Guide-Interpreter System and the requirements for becoming a Tour Guide-Interpreter.
What is a tour guide-interpreter?
"Tour guide-interpreter" is a national qualification. Under the Guide-Interpreter Business Law, "individuals who accompany foreigners and provide them with travel guide services using a foreign language for remuneration have to pass an examination given by the JTA Commissioner and acquire a license issued by a prefectural government (Articles 2, 3, 18 and 36 of the Guide-Interpreter Business Law)." Performing tour guide-interpreter duties for remuneration without a license will result in a fine of no greater than ¥500,000 (Article 40 of the Guide-Interpreter Business Law).
How to Become a Tour Guide-Interpreter
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) administers the guide-interpreter examination on behalf of the JTA. The examination is conducted once a year and the subjects, dates and locations are as follows:
- Foreign language (English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Korean and Thai)
- Japanese geography
- Japanese history
- General knowledge of industry, economy, politics and culture
- Practical tour guide-interpreter ability (actual communication ability in the language selected for the written test; character assessment is included )
- First-round examination: late August to early September
- Second-round examination:
- For those taking the English test: early December
- For those taking the test in languages other than English: mid-December
- First-round examination:
- Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Naha, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei
- Second-round examination:
- English/Chinese: Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka
- Other Languages: Tokyo
About the Region-Specific Tour Guide-Interpreter System
The Region-Specific Tour Guide-Interpreter, who conducts guide-interpreter duties only within a specific prefectural or metropolitan region, became an approved qualification on April 1, 2006. Prefectures were also empowered to administer the examination. Since the Region-Specific Tour Guide-Interpreter examination is administered only by interested prefectures, there may be regions where this qualification is not available. As of 2008, the Region-Specific Tour Guide-Interpreter examination has been introduced by a total of six prefectures: Hokkaido, Iwate, Tochigi, Shizuoka, Nagasaki and Okinawa.
Tour Guide-Interpreter Search
This website provides international visitors coming to Japan with the ability to search for qualified guide-interpreters. The user can find a guide-interpreter and search by region, knowledge area, language, and other search criteria, and then directly contact the guide-interpreter to make a booking for their services.