Tour report on 27th May, Saturday

Thank you for joining our tour.
Although it was drizzling the previous day, the weather was very nice that day.
We were honored to have around 60 people from the different corners of the world came and joined this tour.
We split them into six groups and started our tour.
The guides were very responsive to the inquiry of the guest because most of them were very attentive and curious at the same time.

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Normally, our strolling is two-hour long and it consists of two parts.
The first locations are the modern Japan and its cultural assets like Tokyo Station.
Next is to showcase the old Japan like the Edo Castle, which is now the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.

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We hope all of you can enjoy the view of these historical sites.
Aside from explaining the historical background of each site, guides are talking about the relevant stories like anecdotes or new findings.
Moreover, instant-kimono experience is one of the highlights in our tour.

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In Japan, Tsuyu season is coming soon.
“Tsuyu” is referred to as the rainy season in the beginning of summertime in Japan that usually starts in early June and lasts until the middle of July.
Annually, Japan Meteorological Agency forecasts the beginning and the end of “tsuyu”, along with the regions where it will occur.
Normally, people have a lesser chance in doing outdoor activities during this wet and rainy season.

However, we can still find magnificent beauty during these rainy days.
Why don’t you visit some flower gardens?
You can see Hydrangea flowers blooming during the days when the rain falls.
Hydrangeas are one of the flower species that are native to Japan. The Hydrangea shrub typically grows up to 2 m tall and 2.5 meters wide, with large clusters or heads of delicate pink or blue flowers. They usually bloom during summer and autumn season.
These flowers are appealing enough to visitors and their beauty captures the guests’ attention and entertains them, even though it is drizzling or overcast in places in Japan.
This is one of the attractions on our tour of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, where the flora and fauna will welcome and amaze you.

(By Arac)

Asakusa Tour Report on Sunday,28th May

Thank you so much for joining our tour in Asakusa on 28th May.We are glad to receive 20 friendly guests from eight countries. The weather was fine and the streets were congested with people as usual. Some of you might have seen a Shinto-style wedding ceremony at Asakusa shrine.I hope all of you enjoyed a short walking tour with us.

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Now the beautiful five-storied pagoda has just been uncovered. Renovation and repair works have been underway since June last year and almost completed. The height is about 53 meters or 15 to 20th floor of a building and it is the second tallest pagoda in Japan. We are pleased to get back the beautiful landmark of Asakusa.
The current pagoda was built in 1973 and the former pagoda had been standing at the opposite side of the street for about 300 years.It was destroyed in the firebombings during WWⅡ in 1945.

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Some pagodas were destroyed by fires,typhoons and lightning. Currently there are approximately 80 five-storied pagodas existing in Japan and there is no record that pagodas have been broken down by earthquakes.
Apparenty pagodas including this tower are an earthquake resistant structure with many flexible joints which resembles a snake dance and absorbs the vibration of the building. With this traditional construction method, earthquakes are controlled.
Incidentally five-storied pagodas originate from an indian stupa, dome-shaped tomb typically known for Buddha’s ashes which are kept on the top floor of the tower as a treasure. Buddha’s ashes are officially gifted from a Sri Lankan temple. The pagoda is not open to the public except the supporting members.
The vermillion five-storied pagoda of Sensoji Temple has been renewed. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Asakusa.

(posted by Yoshi)

Tour report on 20th May,Saturday

I want to express many thanks for sparing your precious time and joining our tour to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on 20th May. We welcomed 71 friendly guests throughout the world.The weather was fantastic but in spite of the heat of the early summer I hope you could enjoy the tour and the instant kimono afterwards.

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By the way I presume many of you have seen Fujimi Yagura(Mt. Fuji viewing fortified tower) from outside. This is the highest building at the Imperial Palace, so the leading figures in the olden days might have enjoyed viewing Mt. Fuji from the top. It is not possible to see the mountain now because the tall buildings get in the way of viewing.
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters and located about 100 kilometers from Tokyo and is really most beautiful in Japan. The mountain is an active volcano which last erupted about 300 years ago.

Mt. Fuji is sacred and has accepted the pilgrims from the ancient period. The mountain is regarded as a symbol of the country and mental support for the Japanese people.

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When snow melts, climbing season will come during July and August.Approximately 300,000 people climb to the top in every summer to witness the sunrise. If you are planning to visit Japan at that time, it is recommendable to keep this as an option.  Otherwise one day trip to the fifth station (2,300 meters) is alternative from Tokyo by the Shinkansen or bus. You can enjoy a panoramic view as well as the cool air. Besides, there are hot spring resorts around the lakes at the foot of the mountain. Why not getting relaxed at onsen after climbing Mt. Fuji?

(posted by Yoshi)

 

Tour Report on 13 May, Saturday

It was a terribly rainy day. Despite such a bad weather, more than 30 people from all over the world participated in the tour. We were glad to welcome that many people in such unusual weather in this time of a year.

Usually, May is best month for outdoor activity. Its climate is best in a year. It is beginning of summer but not too hot and not too wet with very few rainy days. That is why many outdoor events are held in May.

On first weeked annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride Event and Parade were held in Yoyogi Park and mainstreet in Shibuya Ward. The Shibuya is known to be most fashionable district in Tokyo. In the event stage shows were held and many booths were set up for forums and sales. Some booths were from foreign embassies.

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Then the march was held to the main street, where big department stores showed rainbow billboards to show their support. Around 6000 people marched saying “Happy Pride.”

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A lot of foreigners joined the parade. This symbolised how considerate Japan has become in terms of LGBT issues to correspond to global trend, which is being LGBT is what one is born with, not one chooses to do, so no one should be discriminated against based on that, so accept them and understand their way of life. Recently Japanese parliament members launched multi-partisan group to promote LGBT rights. The marchers included lawmakers. It was part of preparation to host 2020 Olympic held in Tokyo.

On 2nd weekend, Kanda Festival was held near the back gate (Hirakawamon) of the East Garden. The Mikoshis (Portable shrines) were carried and exhibited on public roads. Showing off the mikoshi means how we attach to gods. Mikoshi is something like “Lost Ark.” Inside is a god body. Carrying such divine box is very honourable. Those carriers looked very energetic.

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Next weekend May 19-21 is Sanja Festival, another Mikoshi festival, to know the detail please read this article written by our Asakusa guide.

Please enjoy best month of the year!

Tour Report on May 6 2017, Saturday

    Thank you to all the wonderful guests who joined our tour on May 6, 2017.

    It was a beautiful sunny day but it felt a little hotter than a usual spring afternoon, so it was a good day to have some ice cream during the tour. (There is a place where you can buy ice cream inside the Imperial Palace East Gardens.)

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    When we gathered at the Tokyo station, it seemed the people walking around were a little bit fewer than usual. Maybe it’s because it was during what we Japanese call the “Golden Week”, a week that contains 4 public holidays starting from the end of April till the beginning of May where many people go on short vacations outside of Tokyo.

    Although there were no cherry blossoms anymore, there were many other flowers blooming inside the East Garden. Especially the wisteria in Ninomaru Garden (a beautiful Japanese garden inside the Imperial Palace East Gardens) were amazing.

    Pretty soon the iris will be blooming (there are more than 80 kinds of them in the Ninomaru Garden!), so if you are in Tokyo during May and June, please try to include the Imperial Palace East Gardens in one of your destinations. We will be honored to guide you through the beautiful garden.

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Asakusa Tour Report on May 3, 2017

A big thanks to all the people who participatd in our tour on May 3rd in Asakusa. We welcomed 20 people from  Europe, North America and Australia. I would like to express my deepest appreciation for choosing our tour. The weather was lovely.It was the Constitution Day, a national holiday in Japan and the streets in Asakusa were very crowded with peoople prior to SANJA Matsuri(Festival). I hope all of the participants enjoyed the moment in the old town of Tokyo.

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After cherry blossoms have been blown away, the matsuri season will come. During the month of May a number of the traditional matsuri are held througout the country. Among them Asakusa SANJA Matsuri may be most famous and spectacular in Tokyo to be held in mid May (19-21th this year).This is the festival  of Asakusa Shrine where three founders(Sanja) of the Kannon statue of Sensoji Temple are enshrined as Shinto gods.Sanja Festival features about 100 powerful mikoshi, portable shrines in which Shinto gods are symbolically placed and parade the streets to bring good fortune to the local residents.

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Mikoshi is decorated with gold sculpture and painted with gold leaf. Each one weighs about 1,000 kilograms carried by approximately 40 people. You may be amazed and excited at the power of those mikoshi and impressed by the hot soul of the Edo currently Tokyo natives. Over a million spectators are to come to Asakusa for three days every year, so I must say all the places are full of people. However if you are around it is worth to come to watch this enjoyable event.

(posted byYoshi)

For our tours,  please check the calendar on our website,facebook and tripadviser.

Tour Report on Sunday, April 30th ( Asakusa )

Thank you for joining Tokyo Free Walking Tour of Asakusa area.
We welcomed more than ten guests on that day.
Did you enjoy the tour?
Did you find your ideal items?
The weather was perfect at around 20 degrees Celsius.

 

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As this chart shows, we started with Asakusa Tourist Info. Center and ended at Asakusa Shinto shrine.

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In this historical location, visitors can have a lot of options like shopping salable items or strolling in historical assets like Sensoji Templ and Asakusa Shinto Shrine.
Furthermore, we hope you’ll get interested in the two types of diets you can see in these religious compounds as follows.

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“Nio Statues” & “Koma-inu Statues”( An excerpt from guide scripts)
Let’s take a close look at the mouths of these statues.
These statues are called Nio Statues and they are often in pairs. It can be seen in most temples, not only in Japan but also in other neighboring Asian countries.
The statue on the left side is call “A-gyou” because it has an open mouth resembling the way the sound of letter A or “AH” is pronounced.
It instructs us to be open to spiritual awakening and be thoroughly insightful in engaging and doing everything. It also enlightens us to seek the truth with open eyes.
On the other hand, the statue on the right is call the Um-gyou. It is named for the same reason as A-gyou, because it is similar to the way the “Um” sound or “NN” is pronounced with a slightly closed mouth.
This statue urges us to drive away evil, which can take advantage of our spiritual weaknesses such as anxiety, anger, depression, and others. Therefore, both guardians work together to give us useful lessons in line with our personal difficulties.
Similarly, we can see the same type of paired statues but this time in form of a lion-like animal. They are called the Koma-inu and can be found in Shinto shrines.
Both the Koma-inu’s positions and mouth styles are totally similar to these statues found in Temples (Nio Statue).
This means that both religious places — temples and Shinto shrines– have co-existed in Japan for a long time.

(By Arac)

 

Tour Report on Saturday, April 29th

 We welcomed more than 70 guests from all over the world to our regular tour on Saturday, April 29th.

 

It was so nice a day until the last minute when sudden drizzle occurred as weather report just had told in the morning.   But it wasn’t a big problem.

We could see full of smiles on this day as usual!

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We must say good-by to cherry blossoms this year,  but flowers after flowers continue to bloom.

 

Azalea

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wisteria

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And some beautiful flowers which I don’t know!

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I am really happy to be born in a country full of flowers in every season.

In my garden, roses (but still buds) start to bloom this year, too.

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Roses, Irises, and hydrangeas will be coming soon!

Why don’t you join us?                         By Kyoko