take a free guided tour of countryside japan
from the comfort of your home
guiding in real time by a real guide
your guide's user name on vtime: hans in japan
We depart the second Monday every month Japan Time, the second Sunday US Pacific time. Sign up to join the next tour!
DISCLAIMER: Our guided tours are free and we are not selling real world tours commercially. The tours are commissioned by the Tajimi Tourism Association to promote inbound tourism.
how it works (3 min. video)
Prepare for the tour
- The experience: You will be personally guided along with two other participants through a series of 360 degree photo spheres shot in the city of Tajimi and its vicinity. Your guide will be a long time resident with local expertise and a background as a professional guide.
- Recommended equipment: We strongly recommend a VR headset (Oculus Go or better)
- Software required: vTime (free). See further information here below. You will need to register a free account and familiarize yourself with the platform in advance.
- Guide: You will be guided by Hans O. Karlsson (vTime user name Hans In Japan).
- Fee: The tour is free of charge
- Registration: Mail us. We can only accommodate for three participants per tour. We fill the seats as you turn up on a first come first served basis. We can therefor not guarantee that you will have a seat even if you have registered.
- Other: The tour will be recorded and broadcast on YouTube and FaceBook. You will appear as an avatar with a username of your choice. No personal information will be disclosed.
Free, Expert guided tours, best experienced in a VR headset
Tajimi is the first city in Japan to offer guided tours to foreigners in virtual reality. The benefit for you is that you can visit places in a small group (3 people plus the guide) and really feel like you are being there. This means that you can "try before you fly", experiencing places off the beaten path that you would probably never have discovered otherwise. There are any number of wonderful places and people in Japan that completely lacks PR. We want to give you the opportunity to experience what Tajimi can offer in a personal and friendly format. If you have a headset like the Oculus Go the journey will also be immersive, meaning that we will travel inside 360 degree photo spheres like if you were really visiting us. All of this is free of charge.
Please contact us at any time about the tours. No question is too silly to ask!
Hans O. Karlsson will be your guide during the experience. He is a resident of Japan since 1989 and has worked in media, academia, and as a professional tour guide for three decades. He is now the producer of this site.
How do i participate?
We are using a free software application called vTime. You can download it from their official site. It works with many devices, but a VR headset will give you the best experience.
- If the below steps seem complicated don't worry. All you really need to do is to register and join vTime on the date and time of our appointment.
- We send out invitations on FaceBook once a month.
- You will need to message Hans on Facebook to let him know your username.
- Use your computer or smartphone to register a vTime account.
- Download the software to your device from any of these stores.
- Start the application.
- You can now choose between three viewing modes
- Virtual Reality using a headset (recommended)
- Magic Window using your smartphone screen
- Augmented Reality using your smartphone screen
- If you use your smartphone you must have your earphones plugged in. They must have a microphone so you can communicate - otherwise the system will complain.
- You will now enter "The Study", which is the default spawning environment (the space you first appear in):
After entering vTime
- Note the gray ball up in the right corner. This is the main menu.
- Use your controller (or finger if you use a smartphone) to open the menu.
- If you use a headset, point your controller upwards until the grey ball appear under the ceiling. On the Oculus Go, use the thumb pad to click.
You will see the below screen:
TAP "+" TO ZOOM
Customize your avatar and take vtime for a spin
- Note the "Avatar" button to the far left. This is where you design your avatar (if you want)
- Above the "Avatar" button is the "Destinations" button where you can choose environment
- To the far right is the "Connections" button which opens up a screen with all the people currently in vTime
- You can join a group by tapping their icon (up to four people can join)
- You can similarly invite a person that is not currently in a group
- Try out the application, go to different environments, join discussions and invite people to discussions if you like.
learn more about vtime
Here is a helpful page with guides to various functions of vTime. We encourage you to have a look, it will help you experience this software in more fun and useful ways.