Notice: Weekday Tour on Tuesday, March 1

  • Date/Time: Tue, Mar, 1, 2016 (10:00-12:00)
  • Meeting Place: Tokyo Station Marunouchi Central Gate (ground floor) [more on where to find us]
  • * We leave at 10:00. Please take care to arrive on time!
  • Participation Fee: Free
  •  Reservation: Not required  
  • Participants: Foreign tourists and residents, and their accompanying Japanese friends, families, etc.

                                                                                      

========== For more information on our tour, please visit our website, Facebook, and TripAdvisor page!

Tour report, February 23, 2016

Thank you for all the guests for joining the tour. Today we welcomed 19 Guests from Canada, Australia, Brazil, the U.K. Indonesia and Philippine.

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It’s a little bit cold but we can find herald the coming of spring during the tour.

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The early-blooming cherry trees are already flowering at the Island of cherry blossom in the East Garden. This lovely pink really fascinates us.

By the way, do you know Tofu?  It is Japanese traditional food made from soybean. It’s so soft and easy to break. Let me introduce the unique event using Tofu in Japan. The needle memorial service is held every February 8 at Sensoji temple in Asakusa. Many women visit Sensoji temple on this day and place broken needles in Tofu and make wishes for their progress in sewing skills. However, why is Tofu used? It’s because needles work so hard. Sometimes they need to sew tough materials. They need to be placed on something soft and take a rest from the hard work days!

tofu(Images taken from Taito City website)

 

We have a regular tour every Saturday and have weekday/Sunday tours irregularly. Please check the calendar on our website, Facebook and TripAdvisor.

Tour report, February 20, 2016

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our tour on Feb 20.

We had  29 guests from 10 countries such as  U.S.A. Italy,Germany,Indonesia, Singapore, and etc.

We formed 4 groups , and each group had about 10 people including some our newly joined  tour guide members.

As usual, we started tour from Tokyo Station , and ended it up at the Hirakawamon Gate.

Unluckily, it was raining all through the afternoon, and it was cold.

Then we tried to take a course to get out of the rain from time to time.

There are some shelters on the course, such as Ote rest house, Honmaru-park rest house.

 

The weather itself is beyond our control, but we would try to make this tour comfortable.

Please come and join our tour!

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Tour report, February 13, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming.
It was very warm day, even in the middle of winter season.
We enjoyed our tour with 30 or more foreign visitors.
Let me attach some photos of today’s participants.

16年2月13日写真集合B16年2月13日写真集合A.JPG16年2月13日写真集合C16年2月13日写真集合D.JPG

Near the rest house in the East garden of imperial palace,
there are some MITSUMATA trees planted which are used
as raw material of Japanese bill paper.
And MITSUMATA means “pronged to three” in Japanese.
Can you see the branches are forked into three in this photo?

ミツマタ四角ミツマタアップ

By the way, 14th Feb. is St. Valentine’s Day. In Japan,
– Girl or lady hands chocolate to boy or gentleman.
– In place boy or gentleman will give back anything after a month
(which is called “white day”.)
-Lady in the office serves obligatory-gift chocolate to colleagues or bosses.
(although it has been decreasing lately.)
-School girls exchange the chocolate with many girl (same gender) friends
just for pleasure ( which is increasing as our new trend)

I have investigated each situation in other countries from our guests.
From Canada:
Man hands chocolate to woman only if he really loves her.
From Singapore guy:
Only from man to woman, no return, no way!
From American lady:
It is rather special day to date for couples.
From New Zealand:
Rose flowers are set with chocolate.
From Taiwan lady:
We have another V day at the star festival in Luna calendar.
From Korean boys:
We are not sure because we do not have any girlfriend yet.
(No no! That is why you have to do your best at the V day!! )

チョコケーキ16年2月13日写真集合ume16年2月13日写真集合baby

Anyway, exchanging daily life information is another fun in our tour.
Please come and join us!

Y.A.

Tour Report on 11 February 2016, National Foundation Day

Thank you for joining us on the national holiday, called “National Foundation Day.” On that day we welcomed 19 guests from USA, Australia and Spain. It was cold but the sky was very clear. We were divided into 3 groups.

A Group_group photo

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Why this day is called “National Foundation Day” is that it is believed that first emperor in history was inagurated on that day more than 2600 years ago. The name of first emperor was Jinmu. Some scholars claim it was a legendary figure. Current emperor Akihito, is 125th from Jinmu.

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To commemorate this day, one group of the guests were escorted to Nijubashi, which is irregular tour route. Nijubashi is on west side of the imperial palace. It is the main entrance to the imperial palace, emperor’s residence.

Many foreign guests want to know how we view emperor these days. Emperor is symbol of national unity. In the old days he was worshipped as a god but now he is considered a human-being. But he is still most respectable person in this country.

When you hear about emperor, he might look charismatic and very nationalist. But current emperor has rather soft image among us. In 2004 he met with a conservative member of Tokyo education board, Mr. Yonenaga at a garden party. Mr. Yonenaga said to His majesty “My duty is to let all the schools in Japan fly national flag and let all the teachers and students sing national anthem at ceremonies.” Then His majesty replied “Forcing others to do so is undesirable.” Emperor knows principle of democracy.

Recently it is reported 80 year-old emperor renewed driver license, which he claimed last renewal in his life. After the story was reported, everyone talked about this.  He sometimes gives us common topic so that we can share unity as one nation.

Unfortunately he only drives within the imperial palace. That is his life. So we sympathise with his position. That may be one of the reasons that he is respected.

When you visit the imperial palace, please imagine Emperor Akihito driving a car. It is like the Queen Elizabeth of U.K. driving a car in a Buckingham palace. It looks gracious!

Notice: National Holiday Tour on 11 February 2016, Thursday

  • Date/Time: Thu, Feb, 11, 2016 (10:00-12:00)
  • Meeting Place: Tokyo Station Marunouchi Central Gate (ground floor) [more on where to find us]
  • * We leave at 10:00. Please take care to arrive on time!  
  • Participation Fee: Free
  • Reservation: Not required  
  • Participants: Foreign tourists and residents, and their accompanying Japanese friends, families, etc.

Why not ask your guide why this day is called “National Foundation Day”?

Tour Report on 6-February, 2016, Saturday

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our tour on 6-Feb. We had 21 guests from 6 countries such as U.S.A. Australia, U.K., Finland, Singapore, and Thailand.

Some guests came to Japan to enjoy skiing, although it was Super bowl weekend, and in the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere.

We realized ski is Hot!!

We formed 4 groups and each group had 9-10 people including our newly joined members.

The # of the newly joined member exceeds 50, and last week all of them had classroom orientation.

From this time on, some of them join the first on site training with us, and quite soon they will make debut as this tour guides.

As usual, we walked from Tokyo Station to the Imperial Place East Garden.

The sky was grey and it was chilly these days, but early-blooming cherry trees were already flowering.

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Please come to join us, we always welcome you.

Tour Report on 4-February, 2016, Thursday (Weekday Tour)

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our weekday tour on 4th -Feb. We totally had 4 guests from USA, Canada and Germany.

groupphoto

Since we only had four guests, the tour itself became very cozy and friendly, like a private tour. For example, a guide prepared “Charm in the Park Hunting” game, or another guide made “Origami” balloon with our 12-years-old guest.

After the tour in East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, we went to Asakusa (Please note this Asakusa tour is our special tour so far, subject to the guides’ schedule). We had a lunch at Udon (Japanese noodle) shop, walked Nakamise (main shopping arcade at Asakusa), dropped at Ningyo-yaki (doll shaped cake with bean paste inside) shop, did Omikuji (a fortune written on a piece of paper) etc. It was soooo fun!

By the way, we have some annual events based on Chinese calendar or Japanese old calendar. One example is “Setsubun” on Feb-3. This festival takes place on the day before Risshun, the first day of spring on the Chinese calendar. Roasted soybeans are scattered in and around the house to drive out sickness and misfortune represented by a demon (this custom is called “mame-maki”). Recently, some shrine or temple holds such mame-maki event openly: some well-known people (like Sumo wrestlers etc.) or even common people like us perform the bean-throwing ceremony. Guess what, I did such mame-maki at a shrine in Tokyo! The bean thrower wore Happi (simple & short pattern of Kimono) and thrown the packed roasted soybeans to the audience from the stage. They must shout “Oni wa soto. Fuku wa uchi” meaning Demons out! Happiness in. This is my first time to do this, but I really enjoyed and want to do this again next year!

 

Since such Risshun is over, the spring has already come, based on the calendar, but of course, we have cold days still now. Let me give you one tip to enjoy our tour in winter: Japanese vending machine has warm drinks, as well as cold drinks. The photo below shows both: red rebel under the price means warm drinks, whereas blue one means cold drinks. Hope the hot drink through vending machine will help your wonderful stay in Japan.

vending machine

(Report by Katsumi)

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We have a regular tour every Saturday and have weekday/Sunday tours irregularly.
Please check the calendar on our website, facebook and tripadvisor.

Tour Report on 30-January, 2016, Saturday

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our tour on 30-Jan. We totally had 23 guests from several countries, divided three groups.

 

It was very cold & gray day on last Saturday. Weather forecast said we would have snow here, but fortunately (unfortunately? for some people), we didn’t. Usually we have snow once or twice in a year here in Tokyo. It means Tokyo people are not good at snowy weather and have unusual problem EVERY TIME, like subway/railway delay or suspension, some fractured people by slippery snow etc. I love a day with snow, if I can stay home and keep warm, but otherwise, I don’t like it. However, we had relatively warm days by mid-January, so the plum tree bloomed already. Unbelievable! It usually blooms in late-February, but we can enjoy the plum flower this year already.

ume   ume B

By the way, we had an orientation for incoming guides in the afternoon on the same day. We had almost 50 new joiners. They had a lecture about the tour from experienced guide, including the history of Edo, an imperial family, each monument in the garden etc. Each guide has each script, so if you kindly join our tour several times, you can enjoy different script at each point. And then you will understand more.

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We sometimes have repeat guests. On the last Saturday, we did. I met a guest who joined our tour two years ago. He was my guest last time and we met again after two years! What a coincidence!!! This time he joined another group, not mine, but I believe he enjoyed the tour with my colleagues. Repeat guests are also always welcome!

ume A

We have a regular tour every Saturday and have weekday/Sunday tours irregularly.
Please check the calendar on our website,  facebook and tripadvisor.