Tour Report on November 26, 2017 in Asakusa

Thank you for joining our tour in Asakusa on November 26. We had 20 guests from America, Canada, Chile, Holland, Germany, Israel, and Singapore. I hope all of you enjoyed our tour in the old part of Tokyo in spite of congestion.

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It will be a fresh experience for you to take a boat cruise and watch a different angle of Tokyo on Sumida river. There are a few routes from Asakusa. I recommend the cruise to Hama-Rikyu Gardens for autumn color viewing. It takes about 30 minutes. The boat rolls but little. The departing area of the boat around Azumabashi Bridge commands a nice view of Tokyo Sky Tree and the beer mug-shaped building of Asahi Beer company, a major Japanese beverage company.

One of the beauties of Sumida River is a bridge. Every bridge has a different shape and color. The original Ryogoku bridge was constructed after the Meireki Great Fire in 1657 when a huge number of people drowned in the river. Eitai Bridge is famous for 50 mikoshi(portable shrines) passing on the occasion of nearby Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine Festival. From this bridge high-rise condominium buildings are seen on the island where the shipbuilding industry started. The last bridge is Kachidoki Bridge which used be movable until 1970. Then you will see the world’s largest fish market,Tsukiji on the right.

Final stop will be inside Hama-Rikyu Gardens. The garden is a typical daimyo(feudal lord) garden that features a tidal pond and its water level goes up and down with the tide. It’s autumn leaf viewing season now. The leaves are turning red and yellow. The garden was originally constructed as a residence for a daimyo and had duck hunting grounds during the Edo period. Then later it belonged to the Imperial detached palace and is open to the public. Visitors can enjoy matcha at the teahouse.

Since Tsukiji Fish Market is about five minutes walk, it will be a great fun for you to walk around the bustling seafood streets. The taste of sushi may be fresher and special.

The boat cruise from Asakusa to Hama-Rikyu is available almost every thirty minutes from 9:50am to 3:20pm. The fare is 980 yen per person including the garden admission fee. An advance booking is possible. You can cruise further to Odaiba as well. Ticketing Azumabashi Bridge is located five minutes from Kaminari-mon Gate and one minute from Asakusa Station of the Ginza Line.
Why not enjoy boat cruising to Hama-Rikyu Gardens?

(posted by Yoshi)

Tour Report on 25 November 2017, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

We thank many guests who participated in the tour.

On that day we welcomed over 42 people from Australia, USA, Norway, Austria, UK, Indonesia, Germany, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, and Nederland.

We divided into 5 groups. The weather was very clear. It was a best autumn day.

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The East Garden turned autumn colors already so we could enjoy beautiful scenes with red and yellow leaves. Not only in Tokyo but in Japan’s old capital, Kyoto was in autumn leaf viewing season. The middle age temples and gardens were crowded with tourists viewing the leaves. Some temples held light-up of the leaves at night. Light-up was magnificent.

 

Hotels were already packed so no reservation for a room was available. In Japan people enjoy viewing these leaves as one of autumn events, which we call “Momiji-gari.” It literally means hunting autumn leaves. But we do not hunt them but just view and enjoy the scenaries.

Unlike cherry blossoms season, we do not do picnic under the trees because temperature is low.

But some enjoy tea ceremony under the trees. One of the guides attended tea ceremony hosted by a Canadian tea ceremony master, Randy Channell Soei at Chionji Temple last Thursday. Having sweets and warm bitter-sweet Macha green tea viewing autumn leaves in a formal manner is greatest moment in life.

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After this, a colder climate covers the nation and the leaves are falling down then you might see white snow. Winter! Surely, we have lots of fun in winter such as skiing, snowboarding, and New Year festivals.

Why not join and enjoy upcoming winter in Japan!

Notice:Weekday Tour on Wednesday, November 29 .(The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace)

・Date/Time : Wed. Nov. 29 , 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 : November 18, 2017 (East Garden of the Imperial Palace)

We thank all guests joining our East garden of the Imperial Palace tour on Nov.18.
We welcomed 34 guests from 15 countries all over the world.

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Unfortunately it was rain, a little bit cold and windy. In this condition, we always worried about the way of tour because our tour is all outside. Now Gingko trees along the Gyoko Street colored yellow. We enjoyed it.

Speaking of Gingko trees, do you know Meiji Jingu Gaien?
Meiji Jingu Gaien is one of the park in Tokyo and was made in 1923.
It is known as the street lined with Gingko trees. Gingko trees of Meiji Jingu Gaien are planted in perspective. So we can see the beautiful landscape like paintings.
Especially in autumn, Gingko leaves change color from green to yellow. After that yellow Gingko leaves fall down and cover the ground. It looks like the golden carpet.
Around Meiji Jingu Gaien, there are a lot of nice café restaurants. I think it is the best place to stroll and eat out in autumn. I went there last week and enjoyed beautiful landscape. It was so nice!

(posted by Y. Hino)

 

 

 

 

Tour Report on November 12, 2017 in Asakusa areas

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Thank you for joining Tokyo Free Walking Tour in Asakusa areas.
On November 12, with the sunny and occasionally cloudy weather, we welcomed sixteen guests from the different corners of the world; South Korea, Israel, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Canada, Argentine, Brazil, Singapore and U.K.aB 集合写真Group C 集合

It was a long-awaited weather on that day.
On our previous tour in Asakusa, we had heavy rainfall and strong wind due to a powerful typhoon.
On that lovely day, at the time we arrived at Nakamise street, it was already full of visitors, and we were still moving into the shopping street.
This was because this shopping path would immediately be packed with enthusiastic visitors of Buddhist temple, Sensoji Temple.
This commercial street is the main landmark to the Buddhist establishment, which is the oldest Buddhist building in Tokyo.
Did you find your memorable and salable items at these preferable shops?

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Well, let me talk about an attraction in Asakusa, Yakatabune
The Yakatabune is a Japanese-style wooden boat used for tours. For two hours, the passengers of Yakatabune can experience Japanese cuisine while sailing on various rivers in Japan.
This Japanese wooden boat is around twenty meters long, and can accommodate roughly 50 guests per voyage.
This tiny ship aims to provide entertainment to guests by sailing along places with beautiful and spectacular scenery like the Tokyo Skytree along Sumida River in Asakusa, and other neighboring areas.


At the same time, this unique boat offers multiple courses of meals.
Usual meals on the boat include authentic and delicious Japanese dishes like sashimi, grilled fish, tempura, rice and soup.
Most of the ingredients are hand-picked and cooked to perfection by skilled chefs on-board. They aim to maintain the quality of the ingredients upon serving to the guests.
Historically, these cruise ships have rich backgrounds, which go way back to the Heian Period (794-1185).
In the past, these cruising accommodations served as pleasure boats for aristocrats and the Imperial court.
In Edo period (1603-1868), wealthy merchants and high-ranking samurais chartered the decorated boat, so they could host luxurious banquets with Geisya dancers, while on-going a sightseeing tour.
Nowadays, ordinary people and visitors of Japan can experience dining while sightseeing on a Yakatabune with their families or friends.

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Tokyo Free Walking Tour is a charitable organization that sends volunteer tour guides in hope of introducing Japanese cultures. The tour includes Asakusa, Meiji Shinto Shrine and the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.
Please check the calendar on our website and find your ideal tour while staying at Tokyo.
(By Arac)

 

Tour Report on November 11, 2017(Sat)

This afternoon was a little bit windy, but rather warm during the daylight. 

What a great day it was to stroll around in the last term of autumn.

The ginko trees along the Gyoko Street was expecially colorful enough to let us know that winter is much close. Every people walking around seemed to be relaxing and feeling at ease  of the comfortable season before getting heavy coats, mufflers, mittons to put on. 

We would like to appreciate all of our guests to find us from multiple choices of sightseeing places, attractive activities  in Tokyo. All of our guides really appreciate the occasion meeting every of you and sometimes it even makes us become enthusiastic!!  

This day, we could met around 20 people from U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Israel, Spain, Singapore, Cyprus, Argentina, New Zealand.

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We made five groups so every group was like a private tour.  We always look forward enjoying to walk in both small and big groups that depends on that day.

At the end of our tour, instant kimonos are also waiting for our guests to be put on. 

We were happy that our kimonos were quite busy on this day also.

For example, like a person for me, I am almost a beginner and

it would take 1.5 hour to put on a normal kimono but this ‘instant’ kimono is a miracle, you can wear it at thirty seconds. Our guides will quickly work to help you as a real staff!  Take a photo  of your Japonesque looking  and it will flash back your unique experience here at the East garden of Imperial palace later!!  (On the other hand,

we are afraid to say that depending on the situation, as weather condition or rotation of staffs, sometimes this kimono service would not be available.)

We are looking forward to meet you at the Marunouchi-gate of Tokyo station around 12:30 p.m. every Saturday. Your participation is always welcome!!

 

 

 (Posted by Noriko) 

 

 

Tour Report on November 5, 2017 at Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

Thank you, all of you, for accompanying us on our tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku district on November 5. It was absolutely wonderful weather in autumn. We welcomed 14 guests from Canada, Brazil, Italy, UK, Austria, Belgium and Russia. Four of the participants had kindly joined our tour to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace the day before which we appreciate. We enjoyed watching a lot of children wearing cute clothing, wedding parades and the chrysanthemum display on the way to the main building.

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November 15  is Shichi-Go-San(7-5-3) Day to pray for the growth of children of three, five and seven years of age. Boys and girls of three, boys of five and girls of seven are taken principally to the Shinto shrines such as Meiji Shrine by their parents to give thanks and blessings for the future. The girls we saw wearing pretty kimono and boys in hakama(divided skirts) were to take purification rituals.

In the old days infant death rates were high, so those ages were uncertain and critical in a child life. In fact Shichi-Go-San was a milestone in the health of children.
Shichi-Go-San is said to have 1,000 year history. The fifth Shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa prayed for good health of his oldest son on November 15 during the Edo period in the 17th century.  Since then common people started to follow this tradition on that day.  The reason for the odd numbers of three, five and seven are because those odd numbers are customarily considered a lucky number in Japan.

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Inside the main building purification rituals are performed for the children. The Shinto priest waves  Harae-gushi, a wood stick with white zig zag paper attached back and forth.  Following the ceremony a special candy is awarded to the children by the shrine. It is called Chitose Ame(thousand year candy) wishing good health and long life to the children. The candy is long, thin, red and white in the bag. Although Shichi-Go-San is officially November 15, the choice of the date is getting flexible in modern days. We see a Shichi-Go-San family with a happy face a couple of weeks before or after November 15.

Our tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku is held on a non-regular basis at present. We are looking forward to seeing you next time.

(posted by Yoshi)

 

Tour Report on November 4, 2017 (Sat)

Thank you all the guests who joined Tokyo Free Walking Tour in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace!!  We welcomed 51 guests from 17 countries all over the world.

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A comfortable sunny weekend finally came back – after four consecutive rainy saturdays.  Many people were enjoying the first nice saturday in a long while in the gardens.

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Due to the scheduled visit of U.S. president Mr. Trump in the following day, the security around the Imperial Palace was tight and people were making up a long queue for their baggage checks at the entrance.  We later heard that his daughter Ivanka had also been at the Imperial Palace in the morning.

At the ending point of the tour, we were welcomed by a large spread of national flags of countries all over the world lined up on the front of a building.  The display was to celebrate 1,000 days to the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The countdown has started!

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The street leading from Tokyo Station to the Imperial Palace was beautifully lined with ginkgo trees that have turned vivid yellow.  Maple trees in the Imperial Gardens will soon turn red.

You see the “autumnal color front” is gradually coming down to Tokyo.  The best season is expected to be mid-November to early December.

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Wishing to immerse yourself in the beauty of the fall season in Tokyo?  Don’t forget to plan your visit to Tokyo Free Walking Tour!

(posted by Keiko T.)