Tour Report on 26-November, 2016, Saturday

Thank you the guests who kindly joined our tour on 26th of November. We had 39 guests from 17 countries, divided by five groups.

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Though we had a freezing and snowing on Thursday herein Tokyo, this Saturday was lovely sunny day and a good day for walking tour.  We enjoyed many colored leaves during our tour. At the beginning of the tour, it was warm but we felt a bit chilly at the end. I felt winter has already started.

An advent period has started, and we will have one month more by Christmas day. We hear “Black Friday” these days but it is not a popular word yet in Japan. Japanese Christmas is a couple’s or friend’s event, whereas “a family event” in many other countries. Japanese family “come-together” event is on New Year’s Day. Most of us cerebrate the first day of New Year with family. Usually, all Christmas decoration or ornament takes away on 26-Dec and instead of them, we put “Kadomatsu” (New Year’s decorative pine trees) instead. I think  this practice comes from two reasons: 1. we Japanese are very punctual (!). 2. it comes from Japanese animism’s point of view: we believe “Toshi-gami-sama” (a incoming God) and we should welcome him into our home respectfully. We clean whole one’s house on New Year’s Eve to do so. If you have a chance to stay Japan around Christmas day, please enjoy the special atmosphere and such sudden change on 26th.

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(Posted 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 websitefacebook and tripadvisor.

Tour Report on November 24

Thank you to all the guests for joining our tour.  Although it was snowing in the morning and freezing day, we welcomed 12 guests from US, Philippines and Taiwan. Thank you very much!

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It was the first snow in this season, and first November snow in 54 years in Tokyo!  We had a guest from Philippines, and it was first snow experience for him! So in a sense, it was quite memorial day!  Actually, it is quite rate to have snow in Tokyo. We usually have snow day twice or three days every year. Tokyo is not snow area, so once we have snow, many public transportations get confused, i.e delay or stop. Nevertheless, we could have tour as usual.

 

If not snow, Tokyo is now the season of ginkgo yellow. You would find lot of ginkgo trees in Tokyo, as it is the symbol tree of Tokyo.

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Symbol mark for Metropolis of Tokyo is ginkgo leave design!  image

One of the famous place for ginkgo tree in Tokyo is Meiji Jingu Gaien (Meiji Shrine Outer garden).  This place is often used for TV drama shooting or for advertisement. Along the 300m street, there are 146 beautifully shaped ginkgo trees. And in the peak season of yellow leaves, the road turns to yellow carpet.

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This season, the mix of green, yellow and red leaves can be seen in many places in Tokyo, of course in Imperial Palace East Garden, also many other Japanese gardens and parks.

You can enjoy red leaves in Tokyo for another half month or so.  The weather is generally fine those days, though it is getting colder day by day.  Please visit Tokyo and enjoy beautiful season.

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We have regular tour every Saturday p.m. and also some irregular tour on Sunday and weekday. When you plan to come to Tokyo, please check our website and see if there is any tour planned.   We always welcome you!

(Sachimi)

Please visit our website and Facebook, and drop your comments on our TripAdvisor page!

 

 

Tour Report on November 19, 2016

Thank you for joining our tour last Saturday!
Although it was drizzling and cold day, we welcomed 21 guests from US, Australia and Canada, and enjoyed the tour with the gorgeous autumn scenery.

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Now it is one of the best seasons to travel Japan. Autumn leaves are beautiful everywhere, weathers are nice and foods are excellent (meaning delicious Japanese dishes become much delicious in this season!).

 

By the way, many guests ask us the best souvenir in Japan. Of course there are billions of choices, but if you’re looking for something unique, how about going antique market?

For instant I sometimes go to Oedo antique market, which is held random weekend in Tokyo, and on last Sunday I got this lovely Obi (kimono sash belt) for just 500yen!

Apart from that they sell dishes, dolls, jewelries, kimonos, chests, bags, buttons, posters, watches, something fabulous or something wired, so you won’t be bored to spend your time there.

Hope your stay in this county full of excitement! And we Tokyo Free Walking Tour always welcome your joining.

(Ayumi)

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Tour Report on 12-November, 2016, Saturday

Thank you the guests who kindly joined our tour on 12th of November. We had 35 guests from nine countries, divided by five groups.

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Friday was a cloudy & very cold day, but Saturday was a warm & sunny, i.e. the very best day for walking tour. The leaves are already turning red and yellow in Tokyo, and yes, we can enjoy such beautiful autumn view during our tour. Also, we can enjoy chrysanthemum flowers as well. Do you know the flower has much to do with the royal family? The Japanese imperial crest is in a shape of a chrysanthemum.

 

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By the way, we can see so many runners on the way to Ohtemon from Tatsumi-Yagura in our tour. A road around the palace grounds is very popular running course in Tokyo. One big reason might be five kilometers per lap (it is easy to count), and it is a kind of “cool” course in Tokyo (it is my guess ;-)). Anyway, some of TFWT members loves jogging (me included), and we took part in a road relay race on the next day, 13-Nov. The relay was totally 20km, i.e. 5km/persons for four. We named our teams “Team Tatsumi-Yagura” and “Team Fujimi-Yagura”, since both Yagura (watch-tower) are in our TFWT tour. After the race, we enjoyed the glass of beers as well. I had a lovely weekend.

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(Posted 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 websitefacebook and tripadvisor.

Asakusa Tour Report: November 6, 2016

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9:30 in the morning Asakusa was not as crowded as you would expect on such a beautiful Sunday in autumn.

I started out with the first guest of the day with my team mate. The three of us first climbed to the top of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, where we were able to have a good view of the entire area. We then went on to see the Senso-ji temple and the Asakusa shrine.

What I find interesting is how this temple and shrine, two facilities of different religions, can coexist in the same premises sharing the stories of their origins. It is also a very difficult topic to explain accurately and clearly, and I hope I cleared up at least some of our guest’s questions!

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Asakusa tour is still a new activity for us at Tokyo Free Walking Tour, and we very much welcome your feedback. It is conducted on a non-regular basis, and we will post on our website when we schedule our next tour.

(Yohei)

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Please visit our website and Facebook, and drop your comments on our TripAdvisor page!

Tour Report on November 5, 2016

Hi!  Thank you for all the guests who joined our tour last Saturday!  We welcomed 52 guests from the US, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Switzerland, Philippine, Singapore, the UK, New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, Ecuador, Poland, and Russia. What a rich various regions comes from! It must be so easy for you guys to image how we enjoyed chatting each other during the tour.

He must be the youngest participant that day, 14 months old.  I’ve never seen such a cute little ambassador before!

Fortunately, it was sunny day and good for walking tour.  Autumn is the one of the best season for sight-seeing around Japan.  You maybe able to enjoy seeing such a beautiful autumn leaves and some autumn flowers, such as chrysanthemums.

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One of the guests said he had ever joined our tour before, that was his second time joining us. Unfortunately his last guide didn’t work this time, we all guides felt so happy. It was really nice to see him again.

We always wait for you, why not come and join us?

(Hisako)

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Tour Report on October 29, 2016

We were delighted to have 57 guests from UK, Malaysia, USA, Canada, Hungary, Chili, Italy, Singapore, Czech, Germany, Australia, Norway, France,    New Zealand, Portugal & Japan (with her cousin from Singapore).  It is always a impressive learning that we have guests from such a lots of countries.

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It was cloudy and a bit windy but was not too cold.  We observed that leaves had just started turning red and yellow.  If you are interested in fully colored leaves in Kyoto or Kamakura, let us recommend you to travel to Japan late in November.

By the way, is there anyone who visited Japan recently?  Did you notice that Japanese society enjoyed “Halloween” as seasonal event?  The famous Shibuya Crossing was packed with young people in costumes.  In order to avoid traffic confusion, the streets in the area was partially vehicle-free controlled by the Metropolitan Police Department.  Huge number of Halloween related events were held nationwide.  Kids in line walked in the local shopping street and enjoyed “trick or treat”.  Even Japanese traditional sweets shop put Halloween decoration and banks also supported events offering sweets to kids.  There is an increasing amount of Halloween special merchandising, such as  cakes, cookies, ice creams, flower arrangements and more.

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As you can easily imagine, Halloween is not a traditional Japanese event.  According to source, the two things that have really made Halloween in Japan are Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan. Tokyo Disneyland held its first Halloween event in 2000, followed by USJ. Disneyland and USJ provided an easy way for Japanese people to enjoy Halloween and laid the groundwork for the Halloween to expand to other businesses hoping to cash in.

 

For us Japanese, this kind of “valuing diversity and practicing inclusion” is natural and ordinary things.  We celebrate traditional events based on Shinto and Buddhism and also enjoys Christmas and Halloween as seasonal events.

 

One of my tour-guide colleague enjoyed original nail decoration on the day!

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Reported by Akemi