Tour Report on 23 April 2016

Thank you for joining us. On that day we welcomed 55 guests from Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Austria, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, USA, Lithuania, India, Russia, and Norway. We divided into 6 groups.

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The weather was cloudy at the beginning but turned sunny in later time. In the East Garden, spring flowers after Sakura, such as azaleas and wisteria are appearing.

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In this tour, we are always worried that if the flat turf in the East Garden, where the feudal lord, Tokugawa Shoguns’ castle existed dissappoints the guests. DSC_0893

The wooden castle buildings were all burnt down. Only stone bases and a stone warehouse are architectual remains.

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If you are interested in imagining what the castle as a whole looked like, there is a 3 dimensional miniture recreation exhibit at EDO-TOKYO Museum near Ryogoku Station in Tokyo.

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But that may not satisfy your expectation. So we advise you to see real castles in existence, which are similar to the castle we need to imagine. There are two places we recommend. One is Nijo-Castle in Kyoto.

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That was actually a second house of the Tokugawa Shogun. When he visited Kyoto to meet with Emperor, the castle was used. That is similar to Honmaru area, where reception, administration, Shogun’s private rooms, his wives’ rooms and servants’ rooms were contained.

The other one is Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto-city, Nagano Prefecture. P1060789It is 3 hour bus or train ride from Tokyo. It was built in 17th century. 5 story tower on a stone base. It is a magnificient view. You can enter the castle and then learn that the tower was never used as office or residence. Inside was ladder-like stairs. Not very convenient to live.matsumoto_ladder

As we explained to the guests, the tower was used as symbol of power, observatory and sometimes evacuation from enenmy’s invasion. When invadors came, a ladder was taken to upstair and the ceiling was sealed. The feudal lord and his retainers had stayed until their ally force came to rescue them.

Why not visit these places before or after joining our guide tour?

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 16 April 2016

Thank you for joining us. On that day we welcomed 56 people from USA, Australia, Singapore, Phillipines, Israel, Poland, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Malaysia, UK, Ireland, Korea, Taiwan, Belgium, and France. We divided into 5 groups.

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The main Sakura season, which the most popular cherryblossoms with pale white-pink petals called Someiyoshino were in full bloom was over but one can still enjoy other specie of Sakura, called Satozakura. It was a very good day for viewing it.

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Along with Sakura, the guests could enjoy getting along with kimono guides and wearing kimono.

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Speaking of kimono, what one can easily come up with is Geisha. Geisha literally means “Artist” or “Entertainers.” In Tokyo Mukojima, Asakusa, Shinbashi, Kagurazaka are the famous spots. They dance, sing and pour sake to their guests in a party room. The below photo was taken in Mukojima.

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A woman on the left in pink kimono is younger Geisha and apprentice, called Maiko or Hangyoku, the other is the pro Geisha. They not only have good skills of dancing or singing but art of conversation.

Geisha is not only an occupation for women but men. Male Geisha is called Taiko-mochi or Hokan. The below photo is one of them.

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They are more like a comedian rather than escort. What they usually do is make guests laugh by doing some funny talk and trick shows.

But they wear kimono and play music, sing, dance, and pour sake to guests like female Geisha do as well.

Such entertaiment might be too expensive for ordinary citizens to join.

But in this tour, we, the guides become Geisha for you. It is free and easy to join. Sorry, we cannot perform dancing or music plays like pro Geisha but we can provide good guiding, art of conversation and friendly atmosphere. Please come and join us.

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:April 13,2016(Weekday Tour)

 

The peak season of cherry blossoms is almost over. Now young green leaves started to come out. The most pleasant season in Japan has started.

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In spite of bad weather, we welcomed 15 Guests from the U.S, Bergius, Canada, Singapore, Australia, U.K., and New Zealand today. Although it rained on and off, we were able to enjoy various flowers such as azalea, rhododendron, and iris.

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By the way, do you know ” Yabusame ” , Japanese horseback archery ceremony?

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(Images taken from Taito City website)

Yabusame is one of the symbol of Japanese martial arts. From the 12th century to the 16th century, cavalry battle was the most common method of warfare. Yabusame take place at Sumida Park in Asakusa on every third Saturday in April and this year it will fall on April 16th. In the ceremony, three targets are arranged in the course. Archers in historical costumes on running horses draw their arrows and shoot at the targets. The archers run the path from one after another and every tome an arrow hits the target, spectators applaud!  If you are in Tokyo on that day, why don’t you visit Asakusa and experience this Japanese historical ceremony? It will fascinate you!

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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: April 9, 2016

 

In Japan, many people relate the cherry blossoms with the coming and going of friends and colleagues. This is because the season falls on the end/beginning of the academic and fiscal year.
Graduation ceremonies commonly take place at the end of March and newly grads start their professional career in April. No wonder there are countless pop songs about farewell under the cherry tree.

We were able to enjoy the final days of the cherry blossoms with over 60 guests at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. The cherries were nearing their end, but various flowers were coming up.

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# A series of large earthquakes have occurred around Kumamoto in the Southern island of Kyushu. There is confusion among transport and other services. It is best to stay away from the area. Those of you  already in the area please follow instructions by local authorities.

Notice: Weekday Tour on Wednesday, April 13

・Date / Time :  Wed. April 13, 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: April 2, 2016

Thanks to all the guests for joining and having a good time with us!

It’s cloudy and chilly day, but cherry blossoms are in full bloom. We welcomed over 100 guests 2 weeks in a row and we divided into 7 groups. It’s natural that most of the groups took their group photo at the front of cherry blossom trees.

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Some guest told me they already visited famous place of cherry blossom, ex. Ueno-park, Meguro-river. I recommended Chidorigafuchi to those who are searching famous cherry blossom place close to the Imperial palace area.

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Then during this tour I noticed that famous picture work “Setsugekka (Snow, moon and flower)” will be displayed at the Sannomaru Shozokan (the Museum of the Imperial Collection) in next exhibition term (29th Apr – 22nd May). This Museum is also free!

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<Setsugekka (Snow, moon and flower)>

Artist of this work is Uemura Shoen, she is a famous artist of Japanese style painting in beautiful women and first woman who received the Order of Culture in 1948.

This picture was ordered by Teimei Empress( Empress of TaishoEmperor) at the end of 19th century. At that time she was already famous artist, so she had a lot of orders of painting. And also she thought she needed to concentrate her pure mind to achieve this noble order. Perfect condition to start painting required long year, finally it took 20 years to finish and dedicate this work to the Empress in 1912. She said “this work is the work I poured my whole energy”.

I like her elegant women in her works and this exhibition is first time for me to watch the work “Setsugekka”, so I’m really looking forward to it and I hope some of you will visit our tour and this museum after reading this report!

 

We have regular tour every Saturday afternoon and I think we can also enjoy cherry blossom in next week (9th Apr).

 (Reported by Nao)