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Dohoku Local "FAQ" icon.

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About Booking & Participating

This section will answer any questions you may have about our Dohoku Local experiences.

Can you do a custom experience?

Unfortunately, we don't have the resources for this at the current time and the only experiences we can offer are as listed on the Dohoku Local website. In the event that none of our experiences appeal to you, we’d be happy to refer you to other local providers who might be able to help!

Can you pick me up from my hotel / station / city / airport? 

Unfortunately, we can't. The pick-up point is as specified on each experience page and cannot be changed due to time constraints. You are responsible for making your own way to the meeting point and your own way home again.

I don’t want an experience, just the guide. Is this possible?

Head on over to, our sister website, and Dohoku Local founder Hattie would be happy to discuss the possibility of being your interpreter guide for a day or two!

Are the experiences private or shared?

All experiences are private. Once you book, your group will be a closed group, meaning you won’t be sharing your time with strangers or anyone not part of your booking.

My group is larger than the maximum number, can I still book?

We can be flexible depending on the circumstances. However, we like to keep the group size of our experiences as small as possible to make sure it’s a special, memorable time for everyone. As such, we cannot provide experiences for groups larger than 6.

Can I change the time of an experience?

In some cases this is possible, but often the time we have chosen is for good reason, such as daylight hours, temperature, store operating times and so on. Please let us know if you wish to tweak the experience time slightly when you make your booking request.

Can I bring my child?

We have a minimum age requirement on all of our experiences, ranging from age 6 - 12. Please check the relevant experience page for details. This is negotiable depending on the experience in question and your child’s temperament and ability to handle the demands of the experience.

Can I bring my pet?

Yes— but on walking experiences only and you must take full responsibility for them and their behaviour. For pets joining our experiences, we except them to be socialised, well-behaved and friendly towards other people and animals. Your pet must be on a leash at all times and you must clean up their mess and carry it with you (many towns in Hokkaido do not have dog mess bins so you will be expected to carry it with you for the duration of the experience and dispose of it down a toilet later). Bad pet behaviour is grounds to terminate an experience, as is your failure to take responsibility for your pet. Please note that pets cannot ride in taxis in Biei, so if your pet decides they are done halfway through the experience, you will have to be responsible for carrying them back to the start point.

Can you look after my luggage?

We do not provide a luggage storage service. If you would like to leave your luggage somewhere during the experience, we suggest leaving it with your hotel’s front desk, entrusting it to the nearest tourism information centre or using luggage lockers. Please do this before the start of your experience to avoid losing time! (If we start the experience too late, we have to cut it short to finish on time.) You are responsible for the safety of your luggage, including any valuables, for the duration of the tour. Dohoku Local bears no responsibility for the damage, loss or theft of any items left in the care of any luggage storage services.

When is the latest I can book?

Food experiences can only be booked 2-3 days in advance as time is needed to prepare. All other experiences can be booked up to 24 hours in advance.

I’m running late! What should I do?

Please call us on the number given to you by your Dohoku Local as soon as you can and inform us of your ETA! We can wait for you for up to 20 minutes. Please don’t email us— we may not see it in time! However, after 20 minutes, your delay will begin to eat into your experience time. If you think you will be delayed by more than 20 minutes, we will discuss the possibility of either rescheduling for later in the day or the following day. If this is not possible, the tour will be cancelled. We cannot waive cancellation fees even if you are late and even if the reason for the delay was not your fault. However, to show our appreciation for letting us know in a timely manner, we will reduce the cancellation fee to just 25% of the total tour cost. It sounds a bit harsh, but please understand that your Dohoku Local may have cleared their schedule or turned down other customers or business to accommodate you and we would like to compensate them for their lost time.

About our Operations

Here are some nitty-gritty questions and their answers!

What’s your Cancellation Policy?

Cancellation is free up to 24 hours before the start of the experience. Within 24 hours / No Show - 100% This policy applies if you, the customer, contacts us to cancel the tour. The fee applies from the moment you send us cancellation, not the time at which the cancellation request is received. Unfortunately we cannot accept the following as mitigating circumstances. You may be able to claim a refund on the tour cost through travel insurance if any of the below are reasons for cancelling the tour. We will provide you with a receipt for your claim. Illness Injury Travel delays (e.g. delayed train, missed flight) Where Dohoku Local has to cancel an experience due to poor weather or your Dohoku Local’s circumstances, a full refund will be given.

Are you insured?

Yes! We have liability insurance to protect you and ourselves in the unlikely event that you have an accident or injury on tour due to events outside of our control (a speeding car, etc). Our insurance also covers damage or breakages to our equipment (snowshoes etc). As such, we will never ask you to sign any waivers or similar when joining our experiences. However, we do ask that you as the traveller also ensure that you have booked travel insurance as an added precaution.

Are you a licensed tour operator?

No, we are not. However, due to a national shortage of multilingual guides, the laws in Japan changed in 2018 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics to allow citizens who speak multiple languages to offer tourism experiences for a fee. While we may not be official, rest assured that everything we do is above board! However, under current legislation, we are not legally permitted to charge guests for transportation fees or accommodation fees, hence these costs are never included in our experiences.

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