My Hometown Project

My Hometown Project

My Hometown Project

Let's connect people and their stories, not just our places. This project asks participants to share a VR tour of their hometown in Japan. See where people went to school, met their best friend, or other personal stories told as you virtually tour Japan.

Student Driven Virtual Tours

Sustainable Tourism with VR

Connect people to people over people to places, the heart of community based tourism and the drive for sustainable development in tourism. Students are telling personal stories in guided tours of lesser known areas of Japan to create human connections and relieve overcrowding and concentration.

Tour Map

Below is a listing of personal tours created of someone's hometown. Browse and tour each on the web or in VR.


Tips for becoming a great tour guide

Giving a great tour is an art, part performance, part technical, and part skills/knowledge. It will take training and practice to become a great tour guide. Giving a virtual tour has its own set of challenges too. It takes planning, design, great communication, and a good performance to make it work great.

1. Face the crowd, not what you’re talking about. Tour guides often get so wrapped up in their subject they forget to face the peple they are addressing. One secret to avoid this is to “deputize” somebody in the crowd to interrupt you if they can’t hear you.

2. Be personal. No matter how much we love buildings, it’s a fact that people connect with people. So it’s good to have a few personal anecdotes ready, even if they’re just about past tours you've done. You’ll build a more personal connection to your group and create a memorable tour.

3. Tell a story (historical or contemporary). Make sure you have a few fun and compelling stories to tell about the buildings and sites you’re looking at. People are more likely to feel engaged when they are listening to a story, rather than a list of dates and names.

4. Get moving right away. Tours often get bogged down before they ever begin with tour guides doing the “big wind-up”―introductions, setting the theme, providing context, etc. Plan to scrap 90% of it.

Hint: If you have a script, the first line should tell you: “Move thirty feet up the street before you say anything.”

5. Don’t worry about being perfect. People don’t expect you to be perfect. Set the stage for human imperfection by acknowledging that people who may know more than you should speak up and share their knowledge with the group. The more interactive the tour is, the better!

6. Get help to get organized. Try to get a volunteer to check people in so you can chat with tour goers. People give tours for many reasons, but a big one is to meet new people, and the time before the tour is a great chance to get to know your group.

Hint: If you don’t have a volunteer beforehand, ask somebody on the spot. (They’ll love it!)

Tell a story, share your passion, get your tour group engaged in the places and sites you're excited about.

7. End on time. (Or try very hard to.) Try like crazy to end on time. Nobody wants to feel like they are in tour jail. Tours on paper always seem too short and on the ground are always too long. Two hours is the absolute maximum. An hour to an hour and a half is better.

8. Limit your number of speakers. It’s hard to talk for just five minutes, so when you have multiple guides talking about different subject areas, it’s easy to lose track of time. Avoid it if you can, but, if you do have several different guides with you, designate one as the lead guide and the others as experts in a specific area.

9. Send a follow-up email. Follow up with an email―it can be as simple as a “thank you” note. If you can follow the tour with another contact, by email or otherwise, that’s another step towards creating a better link between the tour taker and your organization.