Italian tour in Japan : Opinion

Licenced guide

TEXT: Aya Minagawa

Tour guide / Interpreter/ Translator (Italian, English)

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Graduated from Japan Women's University, Japanese Literature Department.
Worked for Uno A Erre Japan Co., Ltd as commercial assistant.
Lived in both Italy and England, obtaining her Master's in Business Communication Management from Rome. 
Her interests in cultural exchange with foreigners started when she was in school.  In addition to being a tour guide, she is also an Italian-Japanese, English-Japanese interpreter.


Website: http://studioitaliano.net
E mail address: ayamina@bridge.ocn.ne.jp
Tel. & Fax. +81(0) 90 2552 9571


Q. What kind of interpreter-guide jobs in Italian have you been doing since you became qualified in 1999?

I do group and individual tours through several different agencies.  I work as a tour guide representing tourists spanning from the Kanto to Kyushu area. I conduct "popular" tours as well as so-called incentive tours. 

My work with public agencies has been as interpreter-guide on invitation programs organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for business mission dispatchees through the Italian government.

Moreover, by requests through the guide search engine sites and from friends, I work as a tour guide for individual guests.

Not only do I work as a tour guide but also as an interpreter and translator.


As for interpretation jobs, I deal with fashion-related business such as apparel, shoes and jewelry, as well as business meetings and events related to machinery, cosmetics, building material, food, and wine.

When it comes to translation, I deal with business-related translation regarding marketing, management, correspondences in various fields such as machinery, pharmaceutical products and tourism documentation.

I also do video translation.


Q. Which is the most frequented tourist site by Italian visitors?

Please tell us the reason.

I think Takayama is one of the most popular places.

There are many historic spots from the Edo era that can be visited on foot in the downtown area. Guests can thoroughly enjoy the town in convenience.

I also think that Takayama has history that characterizes Japan , such as gorgeous festival floats, traditional festivals, historical wooden buildings; including beautiful Shinto shrines. Surely, the food is very delicious as well.

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Visitors are very interested in culturally traditional things that are unique to Japan. Not only Kyoto and Nara, but also Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Magome, Tsumago and Kurashiki are popular.

On the other hand, they also seem to be interested in the places like Nagasaki, with a long-standing history representing the West and Christianity. And to this day, Nagasaki remains to be a historical junction between Japan and the West.

Recently, I have been receiving more requests for Japanese cultural experiences such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement, visits to sumo beya, making of Japanese paper. These requests are not only from Italian guests but other foreign guests as well.


Q. Please tell us your necessary gadgets or stuff for the tour guide jobs and some tips for them.

I bring my original files full of different topics. I talk and explain about these in a private bus during the tour.



I always prepare different topics like Japanese tea, trees, Imperial Family and interesting stories on places to visit. I think of my guests' interests. 

During the tour, I try to stand out in a crowd so that the guests can easily find me. For example I carry a pointer with plastic finger on the tip, or use an umbrella with slightly bigger water drops on a rainy day.  

For my Italian guests who like espresso, I bring some chocolates with real espresso inside. I think they like my way of hospitality and welcoming. 

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Even though I'm very familiar with popular spots, I revamp the itinerary of the tour and its contents. I take into account different conditions such as seasons, the number of the guests, their ages, and so forth... I do make sure that my guests can enjoy being comfortable during their trip.

For these reasons, it is crucial to visit and research places beforehand.

In order for me to do my job well, I swimming and take dance to maintain physical strength.




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September 2012

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