Tour Report on Thursday, February 23 (Weekday Tour)

Tokyo Free Walking Tour thanks all four wonderful guests, who joined the tour on February 23.

It was a cold and windy day, slightly raining at the beginning of the tour.

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One of the guests said he is going to participate in the 2017 Tokyo Marathon next Sunday.
35,500 people from all over the world will run the central Tokyo on the new course, starting from Shinjuku and finishing at Tokyo Station.

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Tokyo Station and Gyoko-dori Street (the wide street which connects Tokyo Station and Imperial Palace) are on our tour course.

On Monday’s newspapers, you will probably find a runner crossing the finish line, in front of Tokyo Station as a backdrop.

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Tour in 2016

 

The Tokyo Marathon 2017 will be held under strict security.

More than 10,000 security officers and 230 security cameras will keep watch over people along the course. The course will be patrolled also from the sky, by drones and airships.

The unique way of patrolling might be the “Running Police” installed since 2015.
94 physically-trained police officers are going to run the marathon course with runners, taking turns in 10 kilometers. If you stand by the course, you will find them in every couple of minutes.
The role of the Running Police is to find a suspicious person or object mixed among the crowd; they carry wearable cameras with GPS, which send images simultaneously to the police headquarters.
Runners in the past Tokyo Marathon actually said that they could feel safe with Running Police in the same lane.

 

We are looking forward to the world’s safest marathon!

(Images from Tokyo Marathon Foundation, news sites (Mainichi, Nikkei, Sankei, Minkei))

By Hiroshi N.

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Tokyo Free Walking Tour has regular tours every Saturday and has irregular tours in weekdays and Sundays.
If you are in Tokyo, why not come and join us?
Visit our website, Facebook and tripadvisor for the latest schedule!

Tour Report on 19-February, 2017, Sunday (Asakusa)

Thank you for joining the Tokyo Free Walking Tour for Asakusa area.
Half of the year has already passed since this Asakusa strolling tour started.
Today, we welcomed several guests and had a tour for an hour.
We were very lucky to have perfect weather so we were able to enjoy our travel.

We started at Kaminarimon Gate, which is the entrance of the Buddhist temple, Sensouji temple and were strolling five locations.
Aside from visiting historical buildings, we also introduced some attractive souvenirs.
Did you find memorable souvenirs in Asakusa?


Well this time let me talk about a notable alcohol, named “Denki Bran”.

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This brandy is called Denki-Bran, which is a compound word, composed of the words “Denki” which means electricity, and Bran which is an abbreviation of the word brandy.
Speaking of the historical background of this interesting alcohol.
This liquor was launched in 1882 at a bar named “Kamiya Bar”, which opened at Asakusa in Tokyo.
The alcohol’s percentage was higher than the usual alcohol content.
This name came from the fact that the “Denki” was attractive word for drinkers to imagine it to be modern.
This was because most of the customers thought products were imported from Europe or US.

 

Actually, electricity wasn’t available yet for most parts of Japan during those times unlike those countries mentioned.
In addition, this word efficiently helped drinkers rise their awareness of strong alcoholic effects like numbness.
This salable brandy reminds the elderly of an old Tokyo once they get to taste it because it is the long-lasting product of all times.

Even in mid twenty century Japan, the word “Denki” was frequently used to promote home appliances like  A Denki Washing Machine, A Denki Refrigerator, or A Denki Rice Cooker in associating with modern images and upgraded technologies.
At the same time, it also symbolized the high growth of the Japanese economy.
Whenever I visit Asakusa I purchase this legendary drink at Kamiya Bar.
(By Arac)

Tour Report on 18-February, 2017, Saturday

Thank you the guests who kindly joined our tour on 18th of February. We had 24 guests from 9 countries, divided by four groups.

The Saturday was cloudy and chilly day. However, we had very strong wind and warm day on Friday. Such wind in February or March is called Haru-Ichi-Ban (春一番), which literally means “first wind in Spring”.  Such changeable weather indicates that Spring is just around the corner, and we have to take care ourselves to keep fit more than usual.

 

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By the way, I went to Izu Peninsula last week for relaxing at Onsen(hot-spring). We see stone walls in places in our tour, and we always explain that such stones were cut and delivered from Izu Peninsula. When I dropped off at Izu-Inatori station, I saw the evidence. There was a stone display (see below photo). Seeing is believing. The trip was so lovely, not only for relaxing but also for making sure my understanding about the stones.

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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 website, facebook and tripadvisor.

Tour Report on Thursday, February 16 (Weekday Tour)

Tokyo Free Walking Tour thanks all four wonderful guests, who joined the tour on February 16.
It was a warm, pleasant spring morning without strong wind.

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Many guides in this volunteer group shout “Say SUSHI!” when we take photos of international tourists.
One of the unique points of Japanese cuisine is that people eat raw fish very often.
Sushi and sashimi, both raw fish, have been traditional food in Japan since the time when we have no refrigerator.
Raw fish have to be very fresh, but how has it been possible?

Japan has the world’s sixth largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) located in the Northwest Pacific, which is one of the major fishing grounds on earth (accounting for 24% of the world fishery production volume in 2014).

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Japan’s EEZ has large continental shelves, terrace-shaped shallow sea areas at a depth of around 200 meters, which are suitable for habitats of bottom fish.
Moreover, both sides of the Japanese Islands form ‘Avenues of Fish’, mainly composed of the Oya-shio Current (rich in nutrient salts from the north) and Kuro-shio Current (brings fish from southern areas).

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In addition, did you know that 67% of Japanese land is covered with forests? Abundant forest resources in land area also provide nutrient salts from soil and contribute to fishery production.

The unique environment around Japan enables us to catch fresh, nutritious fish and to eat them raw without ‘smell of fish’.
There may be several sushi restaurants in your country, but try ‘real’ sushi and sashimi IN JAPAN! It should be worth trying, even in a good price.

(Data and images from MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations))

By Hiroshi N.

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Tokyo Free Walking Tour has regular tours every Saturday and has irregular tours in weekdays and Sundays.
If you are in Tokyo, why not come and join us?
Visit our website, Facebook and tripadvisor for the latest schedule!

Tour Report on Sat. 11-February, 2017

Thank you for all the guests kindly joining our Saturday tour on Feb 11. We had 35 gentle guests from various countries, such as Australia, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Italy, Chile, Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. We divided into 4 groups and hope all enjoyed the tour. It was a little bit chilly but so clear sky and nice weather for walking.

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The plum blossoms are at their best season now, there are so many trees are in full bloom at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace.  Nowadays, so many overseas visitors look forward to feeling the spring from cherry blossoms, but in fact there are 3 different flowers which mark the begging of spring in Japan. First of all, a plum flower comes out at February.  Even though it is still chilly weather, people can feel it’s almost spring when they find the plum flower.  Next we will find a peach flower at the first of  March, and finally cherry blossoms out at the end of March.  We also enjoy eating the fruits of these flowers, especially we make many things from the plum!  I recommend to drink the plum wine at the Izakaya, bar.

At the end of our tour, guests can enjoy putting our easy kimono and taking pictures.  Why not come and join us anytime you want?

Thank you very much everyone, and see you again!

Tour Report on February 8, 2017 (Weekday tour)

We welcomed 12 guests from Sweden, Germany, Australia, France.

We divided them into  3 groups.

It was very windy, and we could see the beautiful blue sky.

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In the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, we could enjoy walking in the

Japanese plum blossoms.

Now the Spring is coming.

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(Reported by Keiko N)

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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 4-February, 2017, Saturday

Thank you the guests who kindly joined our tour on 4th of February. We had 32 guests, divided by five groups.

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The day on this tour was Risshun (立春) on the old Japanese calendar. It is observed as the day when winter ends and spring begins. As the calendar says, it was very warm like spring and the best day for walking tour.

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A day before Risshun, it is called as Setsubun (節分). We have two major events on Setsubun. One is Mamemaki: we scatter roasted soybeans in and around the house to 1) drive out sickness and misfortune, represented by a demon (saying “oni-wa-soto”), and 2) invite fortune and happiness, represented by a smiling goddess (saying “fuku-wa-uchi”). Also shrines or temples often hold gatherings to throw fuku-mame (lucky beans) over the assembled audience. Catching and eating these beans is thought to bring good luck. The other event is to eat Eho-maki (恵方巻き). It is a sushi roll that is eaten while facing toward the year’s “lucky” direction (north-northwest direction in 2017). This custom has originally started in the western part of Japan, but was spread throughout Japan in early 20s. Do you know the reason why it became popular? It was a strategy of sales-promotion by some convenience stores. No matter what it is on commercial basis or not, Japanese people enjoys “the event”, so Eho-maki became one of popular practices on Setsubun.

(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 website, facebook and tripadvisor.

Notice : Weekday Tour on Wednesday, February 8

・Date/Time : Wed. Feb . 8, 2017 ( 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 !