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Tour Report on December 24, 2017 in Asakusa

  • 2017.12.26

Thank you for spending your time and joining our tour on Christmas eve,December 24 in Asakusa. In fact it was our last official tour this year. The number of the guests was three from America and Israel. I hope you enjoyed with us. Now that 2017 is coming to an end, the new year is quickly approaching. As soon as the clock strikes 12:00am midnight on December 31, the doors of the main hall of Sensoji Temple opens and tens of thousands of people waiting outside make traditional new year’s wishes for the coming year. The temple precincts will be packed with the visitors during the first three days of the year. The first visit of the year to a temple or shrine is called Hatsumōde which is actually not a long tradition. It started about 140 years ago in the Meiji period. Hatsumōde became popular along the development of rail transportation. People were curious to take a train and visited the distant famous temples and shrines during the new year holidays. Now 80 % of the Japanese people is believed to do hatsumōde. During the Edo period the new year’s activity was generally not uniformed. Some people stayed at […]

Tour Report on 20 December 2017 Wednesday, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2017.12.21

We thank 13 guests who joined this year’s last tour to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. The guests were from Austria, Australia, Greece and USA. We divided into 3 groups. It was clear but very cold day. The East Garden will be closed from Saturday 23 December, Emperor’s birthday until opening in 2018. So no more open on Saturday this year. That is why we held the weekday tour. Unlike regular Saturday afternoon tour, the station and the East Garden were very quiet and much less crowded. Now the year end is near. You might wonder what we do in the year end period, how we are going to pass 2017 to 2018. Do we have anything like “Dinner for one” show for Europeans? Yes, we do. We have a singing show on national broadcasting station titled “Red and White Singing Contest” on New Year’s Eve. Red and white are colors of Japan’s national flag. Popular singers in a show that red group are female, white group are male sing one by one and at last all of contestants sing Japanese version of “Auld Lang Syne”, which we call Hotaru-no-Hikari  (Light of Firefly) in chorus, which is imported […]

Tour Report on 17 December 2017, Meiji-Gingu Shrine and Harajuku-Omotesando district

  • 2017.12.18

Many thanks to the guests joining this tour! That was the fifth and last tour to the Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku-Omotesando district this year. In the morning we welcomed 5 guests from Russia, New York, and Singapore. It was so clear that from the rooftop of the building you could view Mt. Fuji, whose height is 3776 meters and which is 100 kilometers away from Tokyo. But it was very cold. In this tour, you could find Meiji-Shrine, very traditional Japanese building and see traditional ceremonies such as Shinto wedding. But outside of the shrine is very much westernized so that you could view very beautiful Christmas illumination on the Omotesando Street. 1500 illuminated trees light up the shopping street which big-name brand shops line up along the trees until Christmas day.  Some shops decorate their show-windows with Christmas trees. French people living in Tokyo call the street, Mini-Les Champs Elysees. In fact, it looks like that especially at night. Omotesando is as famous as Ginza, the biggest shopping district in Tokyo. That matter is related to late Meiji Emperor enshrined in the shrine because he was enthusiastic in modernizing Japan by importing western cultures to His nation. Preserving […]

Tour Report on 16 December 2017, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2017.12.17

We would like to show our appreciation for those joined our tour on 16 December, 2017. We welcomed total 26 guests from around the globe including Australia, Malaysia, USA, Austria, Canada, Ukraine, Latvia, Singapore, Germany and Ecuador! The weather was fairly good and it was unusually warm despite the fact it was in the middle of December. Thanks to the perfect whether, both guests and guides enjoyed strolling around the East Garden of the Imperial Palace or former Edo Castle. Although the place had a lot of historical attractions, you might notice only a few buildings or structures are remained from the Edo period (1603 – 1868) when the Shoguns resided there. In addition, the absence of Tenshu building or the Donjon makes us even more difficult to imagine those days when the place was politically and militarily centered of Japan. Edo castle is not the exception. Unfortunately, Tenshu buildings in most Japanese castles have been disappeared and today we only have 12 Tenshu remain intact. If you want to explore existing Tenshu, we would recommend you to visit Matsumoto castle in Nagano. You can take an express train “Super Azusa” from Shinjuku station which takes around 2.5 hours to get […]

Tour Report on December 10, 2017 in Asakusa

  • 2017.12.12

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour in Asakusa areas. With the sunny and occasional cloudy weather, we welcomed around ten people from different parts of the world like Germany, Singapore, U.S.A., and Canada. After the brief introduction, we went to Asakusa Information Center to look at the breathtaking view of the historical site from its rooftop. Then, we went through Kaminarimon Gate, or Thunder Gate and proceeded to Nakamise Street. Nakamise street is the shopping road and the approach to Sensoji Buddhist temple, which have been main landmark in Asakusa for a long time. When we arrived at the commercial street, it was already crowded with tourist while walking through the prominent street. A lot of sign boards hanging above this lovely street truly display the atmosphere associated with the new-year season in Japan. Another interesting topic that we talked about the upcoming New Year is “Shichifukujin” Shichifukujin it is a compound word made up of the words “Shichi” which means “seven” and “fukujin” that translates to “lucky gods” in English. These gods are believed to have arrived aboard a ship full of treasures and their tasks are to bring people good fortune when it comes to […]

Notice : Weekday Tour on Wednesday, December 20, “ The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace”

  • 2017.12.10

  ・Date/Time : Wed. Dec. 20, 2017 ( 10:00―12:00 ) ・Meeting Place : Tokyo Station Marunouchi Central Gate (ground floor) ・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. We are looking forward to seeing you soon! 

Tour Report on 9 December 2017, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2017.12.09

Thank you for joining our tour on this day. We welcomed over 25 guests from UK, Malaysia, Canada, USA, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. We divided into 5 groups. The weather was cold but very clear so the sunshine was strong. It was a historic tour since it was the first time in 10 years of our guide history that the square in front of Tokyo Station became fully open. So no more fences and no construction yards that blocks straight-forward tour route to get out of the station. When we launched this volunteer tour, renovation construction was already underway. Guides and guests had to gather in a narrow space surrounded by fences. We now have bigger spaces to gather after the completion of renovation. On one corner of the station square, a statue was placed. It is the statue of INOUE Masaru, which had been displaced for years due to the renovation construction. This man is called “Father of Japan’s railways”, who was a minister of railway and contributed to establishment of  Japan’s railway network from late 19th  to early 20 th century. That was a time Tokyo Station building was established. He studied railway management in England […]

Tour Report on December 2 (East Garden of Imperial Palace)

  • 2017.12.07

We thank all guests joining our East Gardens of Imperial Palace tour on Dec. 2. Number of guests counted 23 from 13 countries all over the world. It was a lovely warm day and our guests enjoyed the tour under blue sky. Autumn foliage around the tour route were still on season.  Red and yellow colored leaves and falling leaves were shining. If you stay in Tokyo this week, recommend you to visit the limited time only events at the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace opens Inui Street to the public for the first time in a year and a half to let people view its autumn leaves. Visitors can walk along the 750-meter road, which runs from the entrance, Sakashita Gate, to the Inui Gate between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from Dec. 2 until Dec. 10.  The Imperial Household stated the visitor count on the first day reached approx. 21,000 people.   Following the street,  you can see a part of Imperial Palace where the royal family greet to public twice a year (Emperor’s birthday and new year on Jan. 2.  In addition to that, there are lots of view point, e.g. classic wood and stone walls, authentic gate, […]

Tour Report on December 3, 2017 in Harajyuku areas.

  • 2017.12.05

Thank you for joining the Tokyo Free Walking Tour. December 3rd had a fairly pleasant weather and moderate temperature. We welcomed around 15 guests coming from different corners of the world — USA, Germany, China, Australia and Singapore. This is the fourth tour in the locations of Meiji Jingu and Takeshita Street, which is still held on trial basis. We, from the Tokyo Walking Tour, greatly appreciate your attendance, which is steadily increasing in number. Majestically nested in an evergreen forest and enclosed by fresh air, the Meiji Jingu or Meiji Shrine is one of the most notable shrines in the city of Tokyo. Although it is easily accessible from Tokyo’s busiest districts like Shinjuku and Shibuya, this location remains as a truly peaceful and sacred place of worship. However, during the month of December, the otherwise serene Meiji Jingu transforms into a busy area, as it is the season to prepare in welcoming visitors for Hatsumode. Hatsumode literally means “the first visit to a Buddhist temple or Shinto Shrine in the first few days of the new year”. It is a tradition among Japanese people to visit these religious buildings and to pray to deities in hopes of good […]

Tour Report on November 29 (East Garden of Imperial Palace)

  • 2017.12.02

Thank you very much to all the guests joining the tour.  We had lovely sunny morning and we welcomed 18 guests from US, Australia, Spain, Philippines, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia and India. We divided into 3 groups. It was very sunny and warm day as at this time of the year, and while walking we had to remove the jacket by the end of the tour!! The East Garden is very beautiful with autumn leaves with multiple colors, -green, yellow, orange and red.  Although we don’t see flowers in Ninomaru Garden, which is famous for various flowers, still it is one of the best seasons with autumn leaves.   It’s now December!,  probably the busiest time of the year.  We enjoy Christmas, but more important for Japanese is cerebrating New Year.   Before welcoming new year, people may have many opportunities to have “forget the year” party with friends, colleagues and community, and so on.  We have drink together to forget all the past (and bad) things and wish and commit for coming year, but for some people, this is just excuse for drinking!?? and some people may have party consecutive nights! We also prepare Christmas presents for family and friends, at the same time prepare […]