Tour Report on Saturday, June 24

Many thanks for having participated in our tour at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on June 24. We welcomed 75 guests from 23 countries. In spite of hot and muggy weather, I hope you could enjoy the moment and the instant kimono afterwards.

Group A

Group B  Group C   Dグループ Group E   Group F A1E1

 

 

 

 

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In the Japanese history there was the time when the government died during the Warring States period in the 15th to 16th century for about 140 years until the peaceful Edo period. There was a strong samurai feudal warlord, poet and a Buddhist monk named Dokan Ohta known for constructing the original Edo Castle at the age of 25. It was 150 years before the Tokugawa’s modern castle was built in the same place. The first Shogun of the Edo period, Ieyasu Tokugawa remodeled and expanded the castle over the foundation made by Dokan.

Dokan

Although Dokan’s castle was not as great as the Tokugawa’s exquisite one, the fortresses were considered to be sufficiently secure from every kind of attack from the enemies at that time. Apparently Dokan fought in about 30 battles and never failed in the Kanto region.
There were about 200 fortified castles in the area and Dokan selected Edo for its topography and the possibility of economic growth. Dokan was the lord of the castle for 30 years.In fact the site was the place where earlier the Edo family had kept their residence.
Unbelievably he was assassinated by his boss in the conspiracy typical of the lawless period. Many people in the Kanto destrict even now keep in their mind that Dokan was the person to build the original Edo Castle, create a path to prosperity and died a tragic death even though 560 years have passed.

Monument

There are twelve bronze statues of Dokan in the Kanto mostly at the battle sites. Outside Hirakawa Mon Gate, the last of our guiding spots at the East Gardens, a stone monument of Dokan Ohta silently stands behind the tree.
Let’s get together at our tour and share the Japanese history, culture, etc. with you.

(Posted by Yoshi)

Tour Report on 17 June 2017, Saturday

On that day we welcomed around 45 people from Australia, U.K., Singapore, USA, Canada, Chile, Spain, Hong Kong, India, Denmark, France, Phillipines, Vietnam, Argentina, and Switzerland. We divided into 7 groups. It was sunny and hot in the afternoon.

Recently, front square of Tokyo Station has become wide-open so we can have a better view of surrounding area including a white building just next to the Tokyo Station.

jptower

The building is central post office, which was established in 1931. It looks simple but that was advanced-garde style in that era. It is called modernism style like BAUHAUS in Germany. Compared to Tokyo Station established in 1914, it is very simplified. It may be said that this style is basis for modern architecture, which emphasises functionality rather than goergeousness with decoration. One can learn history of architecture by standing on the square.

The building was renovated in 2012 so that the white building is combined with high-rise glass building. Left side of the building turned to be shopping mall with stairwell from the ground to the top. The white building was preserved as a cultural heritage just as Tokyo Station building was.

From rooftop of the white building one can view the Tokyo Station from the above and its front square and Shinkansen (bullet trains) on platforms.

Speaking of 1930’s stuff, there was a great invention of fashion by Japanese in that era. In Hawaii, Aloha or Hawaiian shirt was invented by Japanese immigrants settled there. They made the shirts converted from kimono fabrics. Design of Kimono matched with Hawaii’s tropical atmosphere. Then it was developed to be more fancy and became common clothes in Hawaii and then one of the most popular fashion in the world. One of the guides wore revival of the very original Aloha shirt, which was reformed from the old time silk kimono. Comparing with kimono one of the other guides wore, one can learn kimono was basis of Aloha shirts.

In this tour, guests can learn many of the old things which relate to current matters.  Past is in the past. But we are living in modern days that succeeded the old time matters. In Japanese, there is a saying Onko-chishin (温故知新), “Learn the past to have better forecasting of the future.”

We are providing such great opportunities. Please come and join us.

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Tour Report on Saturday, 10th June

Thank you for coming the regular tour of the Imperial Palace and the East garden.  We welcomed 55 guests from all around the world and divided into 4 groups on that day.  Even it has already started the rainy season this year since last week, it was nice and sunny early summer day which is good for the walking tour.

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June, the rainy season, is the best timing to see Japanese iris.  There are many place you can enjoy irises around Tokyo (eg. Meiji Jingu Shrine, Hama Rikyu Garden,  Kiyosumi Garden, etc), and my best recommendation is here, Ninomaru Garden, Imerial Palace. There are 4 fields of iris and 84 kinds of Japanese iris blooms from early to mid June. So many people come to the Ninomaru Garden with camera to enjoy these flowers. Some of them (including me!) tries to make this flower by Origami. 🙂

Hope all guests enjoy the rest of their days in Japan, and all guides always look forward to meeting them at the next tour!!

 

Tour report on Saturday, June 11th, Asakuasa

Thank you for coming Asakusa areas.
We welcomed around 20 guests on that day and briefly introduced ourselves. Right after that, we start our tour with climbing the roof top of Asakusa Tourist Information Center, where we enjoyed seeing the breathtaking views of these historical areas.
Normally, we visit seven spots in this Asakusa strolling and conclude at Asakusa Shinto Shrine.

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We hope we can have a number of Asakusa tourists as well as the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.

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Are you looking for serene and historical sites in Asakusa? You can visit Sensoji Buddhist Temple, Asakusa Shinto Shrine or Kaminari Gate. These are certainly beautiful and appealing places but would you like to visit a hidden place? I think the Kumeno-Heinai Do will interest you.
This is an amazing and fascinating spot in Asakusa.
“Kumeno-Heinai” was a samurai in the early Edo period, at around 17th century.
On the other hand, “Do” means a tiny temple.

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This small memorial building enshrines this samurai’s statue and there are many stories about him.
One of the most popular stories about the samurai is the legend that Heinai was a great sword master and he was able to kill many people over the years.
Later in his life, it was said that he lived in peace in a Buddhist Temple, where he devoted his life to religious services as a way of lamenting and honoring the souls of the people he killed.
This was because he was fiercely repenting the misdeeds that he committed.

 

Moreover, it is said that just before he passed away, he ordered his followers to carve a figure of him on a stone and to bury it on a busy street in the temple’s compound, so that the visitors of the temple would “step on” his statue.
He did this because he was hoping that the sins he committed in his life would be expiated.
Afterwards, the stone statue was eventually dug up, restored and placed in this small and humble temple.

Aside from his very colorful past, there is an additional episode to this spot.
Do you believe that the samurai Kumeno-Heinan is also considered as the God of Marriage?
The word ” step on ” can be translated to “fumu” in Japanese language and the pronunciation of the word is close to the word “fumi” which means letter.
The word “fumi” is often associated with love letters, especially by young women. This is a play on words between “fumu” and “fumi”, thus, resulting to Kumeno-Heinan to be considered as the God of Marriage. This location is also considered as a pilgrimage site on the way to visiting the Sensoji Buddhist Temple in Asakusa.

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It is extremely ironic that a once-fearful samurai’s symbol lures the Japanese female’s interests, though, it’s uniqueness might be a great help for you to meet your ideal partner.
Good luck!

(By Arac)

 

Tour report on Saturday, June 3rd

 We welcomed around 50 guests from all over the world to our regular tour on Saturday, June 3rd.

It was a beautiful sunny day for a tour. We enjoyed a wonderful walking tour in East Gardens of the Imperial Palace with our friendly and cheerful guests from all over the world.

The starting point of our tour is Marunouchi Exit of Tokyo Station, JR. The front of the Marunouch Exit has been under construction for a long time. And we’ve found today that the part of area is now open towards the Imperial Palace. At the open space, we took a group photo with all our guests.行幸東京駅前全員

The construction of Marunouch was planned to complete in spring this year, however, it looks like being delayed. According to the completion drawing, there will be a wide open space with greenery. Once the construction has been completed, we can enjoy more walking through Gyoko Dori towards Imperial Palace.イメージ

During our tour at East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, we enjoy not only historical spots in Edo Castle but also beautiful gardens of roses, bamboos, cherry blossoms, tea trees, orchards of classical species and others in the four seasons. At the Ninomaru Garden, a lot of species of irises are now blooming. It is the best time to visit for viewing beautiful irises.アイリス

グループD集合TFWTグループAグループD(Posted by Akiko)