Should we get a tour guide that uses public transportation or a guide with a private car?
Should or should you not is yours to decide. The vast majority of foreign visitors explore on their own, but there are also some people who hire a professional guide or ask for a volunteer good-will guide.
I think Kyoto should be walked actually, and the interior of temples such as Sanju Sangendo visited. By riding a car only what you might see is just a contemporary Japanese city in road congestion, although some professional driver-guides should know where to park and let the client explore by walking.Edited: 07 June 2018, 22:21
How have you traveled on other trips? <<a tour guide that uses public transportation or a guide with a private car?>>
What are your expectations and what are your requirements?
Definitely the one with a car if you're ok shelling out more. But, um, in case you do not know, drivers carrying passengers for money are required by law to possess a Class Ⅱ license, just like cab drivers are. So unless the professional(?) guide in question has his/hers, they just don't/can't drive around guests in a car... If the unlicensed get caught doing that then they will lose guide certificates or/and be fined. Yes, the national guide law was changed already this year, so every Tom, Dick and Harry in this country can lawfully be a hired guide if they so wish. Yet that doesn't mean they can work as a tourguide-cum-cab driver any day if they are not Class Ⅱ licensees. I may be wrong, but in case they don't charge you anything for the drive, per se, (or possibly an all-inclusive cheaper tarriff they act on) that's a moot point, I gather... But anyway, you'd want to make sure you're insured against an accident just like you are when on a taxi, would you not?Edited: 07 June 2018, 23:39
There are increasing news reports of clandestine cab drivers and repeat offenders getting arrested in places like Kyoto - some identifiable as they have plates numbers that are considered lucky to people of our neighboring country like 8.
Mr. Doi frequently appears on publications and he is of course legitimate :-).Edited: 07 June 2018, 23:47
Thank you everyone. We will be hiring a guide since I would like to find out more about the city, history, etc.It would also save us time to learn to navigate the city by ourselves. I just need some advice on what type of guide we should get depending on how Kyoto is better explored - by public transportation or by a personal vehicle. Since we have never been there, I have no idea on how the traffic is if using a car. A personal vehicle option would not be just a drive by, they would take us to the spots and act as guides. Private English Tour has good reviews on Tripadvisor, they show Kyoto in their vehicles, we would have to pay parking fees. I also heard that buses get really crowded. So maybe trains and taxis would be a better option if not using a guide with a personal car.
OP, ''Private English Tour'' looks to me to be perfectly legitimate, probably run by (a group of) individual owner cab drivers. The Hyatt looks/sounds by far nicer in their promo video than in real one. ;) Yes, a car/cab is a godsend to the tired feet of many visitors, imo. You know what? You need to walk a lot particulalrly once in Kyoto to do the sights there. Yes, pricey... Whether it's worth it or not is up to you/the driver, imo.
True, re post #5 above, so KIX airport officials and cab drivers alike now keep close tabs on pseudo-cabs with white license plates, it is said. A couple of months ago, TV said police smoked out a newbie taxi company based in Sakai City, who distributed green plates (Class-Ⅱ) to their cars all right, yet hiring Class-Ⅰ registered drivers. The said company, needless to say, had been bought out with overseas capital.Edited: 08 June 2018, 00:52
If just doiong Kyoto (and no long distances), a private guide should use simple/quick transport. A private vehicle can have its own problems (nowhere to park), and can be expensive. I wouldn't consider using buses in Kyoto (I think they are terrible in the city - crowded and slow), and an air conditioned taxi is a nice way to make the trips between sites in comfort - especially in the hotter summer months. The differnce between taxis and buses is not really that much in terms of cost, but a big difference in time saved and overall experience.
We have, on occassion, hired a driver for our groups so they could worry about things like hassle of parking while taking people directly to different attractions - yes it cost more, but for those groups it was value for money for them.
As to what option you chose, the price and time actually sightseeing should be major factors, as well as your comfort across a day.
Thank you everyone!