WE ARE BACK!!! Reserve your spot in our next tour from our new Tour Calendar!

Collection of Hon’ami Koetsu and the Golden Hall of Chusonji Temple on exhibit, the tour report of February 21

  • 2024.02.22

Thank you for joining the Ueno Park tour on February 21. We welcomed four people from Germany, Canada and Netherlands. Although it was a little cold and rainy all day, I hope you enjoyed walking with us. As you may know, Ueno Park is one of the best cherry blossom spots in Tokyo. There are about 800 cherry trees in the park and they are estimated to start to bloom on or around March 19. The following 7 to 10 days may be the best time to see them.  Photos taken during the tour are posted. As we referred during the tour, the two special exhibitions are currently underway at Tokyo National Museum, Japan’s oldest and largest museum in Ueno Park. Hon’ami Koetsu(1558-1637) is one of the great multi-talented artists in the beginning of the Edo period. The exhibition specializes in Koetsu’s works and you may be able to see the six national treasures represented by Writing Box with a Pontoon Bridge and many other awesome artifacts. Koetsu developed his own style in wide range of fields: calligraphy, lacquerware, tea bowls, paintings, and decorative arts. His works had a significant impact on Japanese culture. He established a reputation for a […]

Tour Report : East Garden of Imperial Palace on February 17th, 2024

  • 2024.02.18

Thank you for choosing our tour at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on 17th February. We welcomed 3 guests from Australia.  It wasn’t so cold we expected. I hope all of you enjoyed and shared interesting conversations with us during the tour. As promised, group photos and snap shots are attached to remember the fun times we had. Next Thursday is our Emperor’s birthday and national holiday. Imperial Household Agency takes place in the Visit of public to the Imperial Palace for His Majesty’s birthday. Anyone can meet the Imperial family at the Imperial Palace. If you stay in Tokyo on that day, let’s try. Before going to the Imperial Palace, please visit their website. After the celebration, you can also enjoy plum flowers in the East Garden of the Imperial palace. Speaking of the plum flowers, they have been deeply related to Tenjin-shrine. Tenjin-shrine and Tenmangu are dedicated to Sugawara Michizane who was a higher-class legendary scholar of thousand years ago. He was so smart that he promoted faster than others. As the result he was jealous and demoted to Kyushu Dazaifu far away from Kyoto. He could never return to Kyoto and finally died at Dazaifu. He loved plum […]

Meiji shrine and Harajuku tours on Feb 18

  • 2024.02.18

Thank you for choosing our tour at Meiji shrine and Harajuku on Feb 22. We welcomed 15 guests from Morocco, Australia, Netherland, Argentina, New Zealand and USA. I hope all of you enjoyed and shared interesting conversations with us during the tour. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. <Group A> <Group B> Sometimes our guests stop and gaze at this shop in fascination when we walk along a Harajuku street. The name of the shop is FENDER FLAGSHIP TOKYO. Fender is one of the most popular electric guitar. Many famous musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy page loved and love Fender guitar. Additionally, it is only one flagship shop in the world and newly opened two month ago. From 30thousand to 100million yen range, so many guitars are displayed fashionably. Why is it opened just in Harajuku? How lucky we are! If you have some interest in electric guitar, don’t miss it!! Fender Flagship Tokyo | Fender our feedback is important and helpful to us. If you enjoyed our tour, please considerposting a review on our TripAdvisor/Facebook etc. Your comments will help contributeto higher-quality tours. Once again, thank […]

Perfect weather for walking tour in National Foundation Day: Tour report of Asakusa and Ueno Park on Feb. 11th

Thank you so much for joining our tours at Asakusa in the morning and Ueno Park in the afternoon on Feb 11h. We welcomed 15 guests in total from Australia, China, USA, Korea, Canada and UK. We hope all of you enjoyed and shared interesting conversations with us during the tour. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. (Asaksa AM) (Ueno Park) (Asakusa PM) It was a perfect day for a tour where we could feel a little bit of spring sunshine. There seemed to be more Chinese tourists than usual in the precincts of Sensoji Temple, probably because of the Lunar New Year holidays.Japan switched from a solar-lunar calendar to a solar calendar in 1872, and now there are almost no customs of celebrating the Lunar New Year.This day, February 11th, was National Foundation Day. The national flags were also hoisted at Nakamise-Shopping Street. According to legend, this is the day when the first emperor ascended the throne in 660 BC. This day falls on January 1st of the solar-lunar calendar and February 11th of the new calendar, so this day is considered the National Foundation Day. I think it can […]

Snowfall was expected in Tokyo: Tour Report of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on February 10, 2024

  • 2024.02.11

Thank you for choosing our tour at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on February 10, 2024. We welcomed 15 guests from US, Mexico, and India. I hope all of you enjoyed and shared interesting conversations with us during the tour. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. Heavy snow was expected from February 5th to 6th. Some sections of toll roads in Tokyo were closed as a precaution to prevent vehicles from being stuck due to snow and icy roads. It was the first time to do this measure in Tokyo. Many business people worked from home or left for home earlier. Snow and lighting occurred at the same time around 9 pm on February 5th, and it was a rare phenomenon worldwide. We heard our guest met snowfall during their stay in Japan. Today was a sunny day and we enjoyed a pleasant tour with our guests. There are three Japanese historical incidents related to heavy snow. These are “Ako incident”, “Sakuradamon incident”, and “February 26 incident”. The story of Ako incident is guided at Matsu-no-Oroka, Great Pine Corridor in the Edo castle area during our tour. The 47 […]

Tour Report: Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on February 4th, 2024

Thank you to those who participated in the Tokyo Free Walking Tour (TFWT) at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku today.  On a cold, rainy first Sunday of February, we welcomed 10 guests from Germany, Canada, Taiwan, USA, China, Singapore and the Philippines.  We hope you all enjoyed and shared interesting and joyful conversations with each other during the tour. The guests are curiously watching the wedding procession. You can be shown on the screen at the gate of Takeshita Street! Takeshita Street, included in this tour, is a source of pop culture and fashion especially among teenagers.  Speaking of the most popular sweets around the street, it’s been crepe since the 1970s.  Now, what are the most popular sweets in February?  The answer is “chocolates” for St. Valentine’s Day! Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is becoming one of the biggest events out of the Japanese annual events.   However, the Japanese custom of Valentine’s Day might be a little bit different from other countries’ and has been changing from its old custom.   In Japan, women usually give men chocolates on that day.  Women used to give chocolates to whom they really love or to whom they secretly fall in love.  On the other hand, […]

Tour Report of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on 3 February 2024 – Wait for Spring time

  • 2024.02.04

Thank you for choosing our tour at East garden of Imperial Prerace on February 3rd 2024. We welcomed 5 guests from Germany, and India. Start with a family with 7month cutie kid from Berline/Germany, at Wadakura-mon gate we welcomed a Family from India. I hope all of you enjoyed and shared interesting conversations with us during the tour. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. Feb 3rd, it is called “SETSUBUN” as a last day of winter, and now we are standing  just before Spring, “RISSHUN”, according to a Japanese luna calendar.  We could see a “Mamemaki” (throwing roasted soy beans) event at most Shrine and Temples, saying “Oni wa soto(Devils out), Fuku wa Uchi(Happiness in)” .  It is said people eat beans as many as your age, then you could alive more with happiness. How come if my age is 70 ? Also there is an old song, DODOITSU that initially introduced at late EDO Era. “UME WA SAITAKA? SAKURA WA MADKAINA?” mean Does Flower of Plume open ?  How about Cherry Blossom?”  It is really song of current time of season.  By the way , we could see Plume blossoms […]

Explore the origin of an offertory box. The tour report of January 31st.

  • 2024.01.31

Thank you for joining our tour in Asakusa on January 31st. We welcomed 7 people from America, Australia and Philippines. It was sunny and unusually warm as if it’s April. There was a plum tree blossoming beside Hozomon Gate which has the delicate flavor of the plum. Plum blossoms tell us the arrival of spring. Cold season will continue awhile but we feel that spring is just around the corner. As reported in our last blog, preparation to build a stage for bean throwing ritual in the Setsubun Festival on February 3rd is underway. Various photos are posted.   There are certain differences between Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, but they always have something in common. Do you know what they are? One of them is an offertory box. You might have made a donation. This box is to receive money while people pray to make a wish or give thanks for the wish which has come true. Shinto originally had a ritual called ‘Sanmai散米’ meaning scattering rice and precious rice wrapped in paper was offered by visitors to the Shinto gods.  About 800 years ago during the Kamakura period(1185-1333) when money was put into circulation, money was offered to […]

Enjoy Annual Setsubun event at Sensoji Temple on February 3rd.(The tour report on January 28th)

  • 2024.01.29

Thank you very much for your participation in our tour at Asakusa and Ueno Park on January 28th. We welcomed 9 people from Austria, Taiwan, China and Philippines. The weather was cloudy and a little cold, but made us feel that spring would not be far away. As mentioned, various photos are posted. February 3rd is the annual event called a Setsubun festival throughout the country. Setsubun literally translates to the seasonal division and is the day before the start of new spring, just like New Year’s Eve in the traditional calendar. On the Setsubun day, the most commonly performed ritual is the throwing of beans. At home, families scatter beans with shouting ‘Demons out! Happiness in!’ By throwing beans, people ward off demons and draw in good fortune. After throwing beans, we eat the same number of beans as our age praying for good luck for the year. Also, people eat an entire  long sushi roll called ehomaki in silence while facing the year’s lucky direction (east-northeast in 2024) to bring good fortune. A convenience store offers a delicious ehomaki. On that day, temples and shrines hold Setsubun festivals. Among them, the Sensoji’s event is historic and popular. It’s […]

Tour Report of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on 27 January 2024, What do you expect from Japan in winter time?

  • 2024.01.28

Thank you very much for participating in the tour of that day. I’m Masa, one of the guides of the tour. We welcomed 19 guests from USA, Taiwan, UAE, Ireland, Mexico, India, Argentina, France, Turkey, New Zealand, Zambia, Jordan, and Japanese who accompanied some of others. 17 of them were young, energetic international tour group which was traveling around the world. It was a cold day but the sky was very clear and nice sunshine showered on us. Apricots, winter to early spring flowers started to bloom in the garden – were very beautiful and releasing the unique smell. Although it was a cold winter day, we could share wonderful moments during the tour. The below is the group photos of that day. Speaking of winter, many foreign tourists visit Japan for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Japan is in fact, ski paradise. I went to Togari Onsen Ski Resort in Nagano prefecture last weekend and stayed at Togari Inn managed by British-American couple, Lianne and Sam. The two met in Nagano when they were English teachers there, got married and decided to settled down in Togari district of Iiyama city, Nagano prefecture. They now manage the inn […]

1 61