Tour Report on October 29, 2017, Meiji Jingu & Takeshita Street

Thank you for joining Tokyo Free Walking Tour for Meiji Shinto Shrine&Takeshita Street area.

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On that day, 29 October, we welcomed four guests; U.K., South Africa, Canada, Singapore and Brazil.
We really appreciate your participation despite a terrible weather condition.

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Typhoon number 22, internationally called as typhoon Saola, was heading to the direction of the sea on the east side of Japan.
Gradually decreasing in strength and intensity, Saola left torrential rain in Tokyo, since early morning, and was expected to head to the northern part of Japan.
Even under the circumstances of rain and cloudy skies, we still conducted our tour. We started the tour in front of a big Tori, or a Shinto shrine gate.

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We proceeded to the main shrine building of the Meiji Shinto Shrine. On our way, we encountered some displays in the shrine compound.
One was a showcase featuring Kiku, or Chrysanthemum. The other display showcased bonsai plants, or miniaturized trees.
These plants gave us fairly adequate amounts of topics that we used to introduce different aspects of Japanese culture.

Immediately before reaching the shrine’s main building, there was a heavy downpour. We waited for the rain to stop while spending time in the shrine.
Despite the gloomy weather, most of the guests remained energetic enough to arrive at our final location which is in Takeshita Street.
We were extremely moved by the guests’ curiosity and interest in Japanese culture.

Currently, this tour, from Meiji Shinto Shrine to Takeshita Street, is held on a trial basis.
We, the tour guides, are eagerly awaiting for you to participate in our Tokyo Walking Tours. We will be preparing appealing and interactive materials and topics to welcome and share to you the culture of Japan.

(By Arac)

Tour Report on October 28,2017

Today we welcomed 26 guests from U.S.A., Canada, Israel, U.K., Mexico, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, China, Taiwan.
It was a rainy day but our guests enjoyed beautiful scenery and taking pictures a lot !!

 

 In Japan when it comes to autumn. We say autumn is the best season for arts and entertainment in Japan. This is probably because it’s the time of year when art galleries and exhibits are organized.

 Have you ever heard of “Hasui Kawase” ?  From the Taisho period to the Showa period, Hasui Kawase intended to restore Ukiyo-e with new woodblock prints (Shin-hanga) and left behind many works that utilized the woodblock multicolor printing technique of Ukiyo-e.

These postcards are my favorite Hasui’s Shin-hanga prints.

Hasui’s works are as popular as ” Hokusai”and “Hiroshige ” abroad.  Steve Jobs was one of fervent collector for Hasui.  If you have a time, please go to his exhibition!


Autumn is one of the best season of the year for a walk in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. Our next tour will be on November 4th.   Come meet us at the Marunouchi Central Gate at Tokyo station by 13:00.

We hope to see you next tour !  

Reported by Keiko

 

Tour Report on October 22, 2017, Asakusa

Thank you for joining Tokyo Free Walking Tour for Asakusa area.
On that day,  22 October, we welcomed four guests; Spain, Argentina and Netherlands
We really appreciate your participation despite a terrible weather condition because we had torrential rain since early morning.
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Predicted as a typhoon with an unprecedented size, strength, and scope of destruction, typhoon number 21 with the international name typhoon Lan was approaching the direction of the Kanto and Tokai regions, which include Tokyo and neighboring prefectures.
The violent storm was expected to make its landfall in those areas on Monday morning.

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Not surprisingly, the gloomy weather did not chase the visitors of Asakusa away. We can still see enthusiastic visitors in every corner of the district, despite of the weather condition in Japan.

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We can rarely see a huge lantern like this, folded up.

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There are only two occasions when this iconic lantern is being tucked to itself.
First is during the time when it needs to give way for portable shrines. Portable shrines are usually carried out of temple compound during the Sanja festival in the month of May. The lantern is folded to avoid it getting punctured by the portable shrines.
The other time is at the moment a typhoon might hit the area. It is to prevent this historical property from being damaged by rainwater and heavy winds. At the same time, it is folded up to make it more secure and keep it from falling down and potentially hitting visitors.
This huge hanging ornament can be seen at the center of the Kaminarimon Gate, and it serves as a symbol of welcoming visitors and pilgrims to this historical town.

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FInally, the Asakusa walking tour has been promoted into a regular tour, just like the Imperial Ground’s East Garden walking tour is.
It is usually held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month and it welcomes an influx of visitors wanting to experience Tokyo.
Hopefully, it could be one of the in-demand and favorite strolling tours of our Tokyo Free Walking Tour.

(By Arac)

 

Tour Report: October 21, 2017

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

Though it’s rainy day, we welcomed 34 guests and divided into 2 groups.

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I talked our guest about Typhoon which is coming Japan islands and will land next Monday. This is reported as one of the biggest Typhoons ever seen.

One of our guests asked me what should we do on the Typhoon day. I replied it’s better to stay in your hotel, though they want to go out. They are a little afraid of the Typhoon, but a couple from Vancouver seems to be expecting it because this is first experience of Typhoon for them.

Anyway we’re happy because we welcomed a lot of guests than we expected and every guest seemed to enjoy the tour, though it rains during all the time of the tour today.

Then I hope the guests from Poland to safely return to your country, because they mentioned their departure flight schedule is on next Monday of coming the Typhoon.

(Reported by Nao)

Tour Report in October 18th, in Asakusa

Today we welcomed 13 guests from many countries.

 

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In Tokyo these days it had continued to rain, but today it was fine, very lucky for us. So,we could pleasantly advance  the tour.

We told them the history of the Sensoji temple  with seeing some buildings ,sign boards and rules, manners of Shintoism and Buddhism with experiencing those.

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They were surprised to know the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism. Perhaps they could know a little bit of Japanese religion.

 

Today in the Sensoji temple there was the special event ,that is “Kinryu- no- Mai” ,the golden dragon dance. This event  has been held since 1958 as  a commemoration of the reconstruction  of  the main hall. This dance performance comes from the myth  where long years ago a gold dragon descended from the sky to protect  the principal image.

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Anyway now we have 3 courses to guide you, the  East Imperial Palace Garden, Asakusa, the Meiji -Shrine and Harajyuku. We are waiting for you. Please confirm details from our home page. (http://www.tfwt.jp) Than you very much.

(posted by Masahiko-Sato)

 

 

Tour Report on october 14, 2017

Thank you very much for your participation in our tour on October 14. We had 49 guests exceeding our expectation in spite of somewhat drizzling weather. The guests were from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa which were divided into four groups.  I hope you could enjoy the moment with us and the exciting instant kimono afterwards.

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One of the pleasures of travel is eating delicious food. In Japan there are approximately 32,000 ramen noodle restaurants. Ramen is very popular and considered a national dish. I have never heard anyone who dislikes ramen.
Eight most Tokyo’s representative ramen restaurants join each other in Tokyo Ramen Street in the Yaesu side exit(Basement level) of Tokyo Station. .                                            The origin of ramen is not clear but ‘Rairaiken’ in Asakusa seems to have started in 1910. Before that all noodles are considered brought from China as ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters for Lo-Mein and ramen developed in its unique way in Japan.

So much for the history. Eight ramen restaurants at Tokyo Ramen Street compete each other and are proud of their tastes. The price is identical for about 1,000 yen. Each one has their own originality by using such as beef tongue, pork bone or vegetables. There are two types of ramen. One is the noodles in the broth which is conventional, while tsukemen(dipping noodles) separate the noodles from the broth.
Among these ramen restaurants Rokurinsha is most popular specializing in tsukemen. Cold noodles and warm broth are in the separate bowl. The soup is rich and the noodles are extra thick. Just dip the noodles in the broth and eat. The inexperienced can easiy grab the thick noodles with chopsticks and enjoy the chewy taste. One of the merits of tsukemen is to appreciate the materials of the noodles compared with those already mixed with the broth. In the broth is a green onion, a slice of chashu pork and fermented bamboo etc. Wait in the queue, follow the kind staff and order from a vending machine by looking at the photo. No English menue is needed.

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The problem is that because it is one of the Tokyo’s famous ramen restaurants, you may likely have to wait in the long queue such as 30 minutes or more. It’s worth the wait though. If you don’t want to wait, you may come in the morning to avoid the long queue since they are open from 7:30am to 11:00pm (except 10:00am-11:00am). Or try the other ramen restaurants at the street. They are also just as good as Rokurinsha with not too long waiting line.

How about joining our tour at the Imperial Palace before or after dropping in at Tokyo Ramen Street?

(Posted by Yoshi)

Tour Report on October 12, 2017(Weekday Tour : East Gardens of the Imperial Palace )

Thank you very much for all our guests who joined “October 12, East Gardens of the Imperial Place Tour”

We had 12 guests from Spain, Russia, USA, Australia, Italy and France.                      We divided them into 2 groups before our starting.

It was a little hot day. We enjoyed the tour and we could feel the autumn.                 We imagined the autumn day of 300 years ago inside the East Gardens.

 

In Japan,  autumn is a nice season for traveling. Comfortable temperature, pleasant humidity, blue sky, huge harvest,  delicious fruits, beautiful scenery of mountains, etc.

TFWT’s regular tour of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace is held every Saturday 13:00-15:30. You are in Tokyo, please come and join our tour.

We guides are always looking forward to seeing you.

(posted by Keiko N.)

Tour Report on 7-October, 2017, Saturday

Thank you the guests who kindly joined our tour on 7th of October. We had 22 guests from nine countries, divided by four groups.

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Autumn has come here in Tokyo. It was very chilly day on Friday. On Saturday, it rained in the morning, but turned lovely day with sunshine in the afternoon. It was a best day for walking tour! I give you one good knowledge for visiting Japan in autumn. Everybody knows the cherry blossom flower (Sakura) in Japan bloom in spring, but do you know we can see it in autumn as well? It is called Jugatsu-zakura, which blooms in October. It blooms twice in a year, one in spring and one in autumn. Some article says Sakura originally bloomed in autumn and its DNA has gradually changed blooming in spring only. It means such Jugatsu-zakura keeps original character. We can see such Sakura in our tour, after entering the Otemon gate’s reception, near Sannomaru Museum.

Recently we can smell a fragrant olive (Kinmokusei in Japanese). When we smell this, we recognize the autumn has come. I like it very much, not only the smell itself but also the language of the flower: noble, modesty, truth, first love and intoxication. Yes, we can smell it some part of our tour, so you can notice the visit of autumn like Japanese people does.

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Kinmokusei (a fragrant olive)

(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 Thursday, October 12 . “The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace”

・Date/Time : Thu. Oct. 12, 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 !

 

Tour Report on 30 September 2017

We thank all the guests joining our East garden of Imperial Palace tour on Sep. 30.

It was  cloudy. But it got fine at the beginning of tour and good condition. Summer has gone!
We welcomed 45 guests from 13 countries.
We divided into 6 groups and started from Tokyo station. Every group walked around Marunouchi area. During the tour in Marunouchi we saw some wedding ceremonies.
Now Japan is the best season for wedding. There are a lot of wedding ceremonies in autumn.

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Speaking of autumn, in Japan we think autumn is a perfect season to have a good appetite. We call this “Autumn appetite.”

The reasons are
1. Many ingredients come into season in autumn.
2. Japanese summer is terrible hot and wet. Japanese people intend to lose appetite in  summer.
3. When it gets cool in autumn, people feel hungry.

If you want to feel Japanese Autumn appetite, I strongly recommend to eat a “Sanma-Shioyaki”
Sanma is a slender shaped fish which is called Pacific saury in English. Shioyaki is one of the cooking way to grill ingredients with salt. “Sanma -Shioyaki” means ” salted and grilled Pacific saury.”

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The best season of eating Sanma is autumn. Its nourishment reach a peak. So we enjoy grilled Sanma with grated Daikon radish and half cut of Japanese citrus Kabosu on the side.
Let’s try!

(Posted by Y. Hino)