2018年1月

Tour Report on January 28, 2018 in Asakusa

  • 2018.01.29

Thank you for joining our tour in Asakusa on January 28. We had seven guests from Singapore,Chile,America and China. It was cloudy and cold, but nevertheless I hope all of you enjoyed the atmosphere of old Tokyo. February 3 is Setsubun,literally splitting the season when Mamemaki or bean-throwing festival is held at Sensoji Temple. It is the day before the first day of spring. Actually it is New Year’s Eve according to the Old calendar system. On this day people throw beans to ward off demons and welcome good fortune. (Photoes:The Asakusa Tourism Federation 365 ASAKUSA) This tradition dates back over 1,000 years. In Japan it is believed from ancient times that demons come out in the changing of the seasons. Hence, there were year-end ceremonies to cleanse away all the evils and diseses of the previous year prior to the new year at the Imperial Court in Kyoto during the Heian period. Then this event developed into bean-throwing ritual since beans were believed to have the power to dispel evil spirits. Bean-throwing festival is not a national holiday but a major event in February throughout the country. It is held at home but many people gather at temples and […]

TOUR REPORT ON 27-JANUARY, 2018, THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE

  • 2018.01.29

We explored the East Garden of the Imperial Palace with 17 guests from Australia, Philippine, Portugal, Brazil, Russia, UK, Spain, Belgium, China, Chile, and the USA. The start point is the Tokyo Station. The traditional western style red brick building is so impressive.   We walk through the Marunouchi district. It is the core of the Japanese business center. Then we approach to the Imperial Palace East Garden. The palace is the former Edo Castle, which was the headquarters of the Samurai’s military government in the 17-19 century. The castle was also the residence of the Shogun, the top commander general of the government. You can enjoy not only beautiful sceneries but also learn about Japanese history and tradition. Our guests asked many questions to us. What is the difference between a Samurai and a Ninja? How many wives did the Shogun have? Was the Ohoku in the Shogun’s palace like a harem? Why there were many fire disasters in the old Tokyo? When was the year the Samurai government was finished? Is there a noble class other than the royal family and the commoners? Very interesting questions! Last week, we had snowfall in Tokyo. The snow depth was 23cm. Snowscape […]

TOUR REPORT ON 20-JANUARY, 2018, THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE

  • 2018.01.23

  We thank all our guests who joined our East Garden of Imperial Palace tour on Jan.20th. We welcomed 17 guests from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Taiwan and USA, including an 11-months baby boy. We hope you enjoyed experiencing the Edo period adventure with us. It was a little bit cold but it was a good day to walk around the garden (former Edo castle). Even in the middle of the winter, we enjoyed watching the nature around the Edo castle. The moat is a good place for various kinds of birds, such as spot‐billed ducks, swans and so on, to inhabit. If you will have the opportunity to join our tour, make sure to look for these adorable creatures! Like in the previous tour report, the flowers of the plum in the Imperial garden are in bloom one by one. Actually, during the earlier times, plum blossom viewing was more popular than cherry blossom viewing. Japanese people had different culture in the Nara period (8th Century). They used Japanese words “花 (flower)” in waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) to mean Japanese plum flower. There are 118 pieces of waka talking about plum, compare to 42 pieces of […]

Tour Report on January 21,2018 at Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

  • 2018.01.22

Many thanks for joining our tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku area on January 21. The weather was unusually mild and comfortable in the middle of winter. We welcomed eight guests from America,Australia,Israel,Canada and Thailand. I hope you enjoyed walking with us. On our tour route there is lovely Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Harajuku. It is located at the quiet place between Takeshita Street and Omotesanso street. This museum is one of the most outstanding museums specializing in Ukiyo-e woodblock printing in Japan. The museum opened in 1980 and has 12,000 pieces which late Seizo Ohta, former president of a large insurance company collected through his life. They change the exhibition every month.   The current performance displays the new forms of Ukiyo-e art in the turbulent transitional period between the end of the Edo and the beginning of the Meiji Period when Japan was becoming modern and industrialized. 150 pieces are shown in the light of the 150th year from the Meiji Restoration which continues until February 25. Ukiyo-e is a style of woodblock printing created and developed in Japan about 300 years ago during the Edo period. ‘uki’ means floating, ‘yo’ means world and ‘e’ means picture. […]

Tour Report: January 18, 2018 (The East Garden of the Imperial Palace)

  • 2018.01.22

We thank all guests joining our East garden of Imperial Palace tour on Jan.18. We welcomed 11 guests from U.K., Germany, Australia, and Argentina. It was nice and comfortable day like spring. Some plum flowers started to come out! In Japan we can enjoy the plum blossoms in  February. The most famous plum blossoms is at Kairakuen in Mito-City which is a Japanese Traditional Circuit Style Garden where a lot of plum trees. Kairakuen was established in 1842 by Tokugawa Nariaki. It takes one and half hour long from Ueno Station to Kairakuen by express train and Bus. Please go there if you have a chance. Especially in February!   By the way,  we saw the Coach Parade at the Tokyo Station on that day. We were so happy to see it. The Coach Parade is offered when the newly appointed foreign Ambassador visits the Emperor to present a credential letter. The newly appointed foreign Ambassador can choose the way to travel to the Imperial Palace by carriage or by car. It is said that almost all of newly appointed Ambassador choose carriage because it is memorable and wonderful experience for them. Only a few countries offer it, for example […]

TOUR REPORT: JANUARY 14, 2018 IN ASAKUSA

  • 2018.01.16

Thank you for joining our first Asakusa tour this 2018. On the day of the tour, 14th of January, with cold temperature and clear sunny skies, we welcomed ten guests from South Korea, Hong Kong, U.S.A., Canada, and Argentina. Not surprisingly, the cold winter weather did not chase the visitors of Asakusa away. We were able to greet enthusiastic visitors not only from every corner of the district, but from other countries as well, despite the weather conditions in Japan. As usual, after greeting everyone and introducing ourselves, we made our regular tour in Asakusa for 90 minutes. Starting at the red painted gate, called Thunder Gate, we proceeded to the last spot,  Asakusa Shinto Shrine. Despite the cold weather, the Sensoji Buddhist Temple compound where we started our tour was full of people. Looking around the huge temple grounds, we can see that it was jam-packed with visitors who were happily shopping for souvenirs and eating delicious food from stalls in the compound. Known for its’ religious areas like Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines; big historical events; short cruises along the Sumida River; and delicious food available from street stalls; Asakusa is one of Japan’s most iconic and must-see […]

Tour Report on 13-January, 2018, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2018.01.14

We thank many guests joining this tour on that day. We welcomed 20 guests from USA, Philippines, Hong Kong, Canada, Spain, Hungary, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand. The sky was blue, but it was very cold day. We could enjoy Japanese apricot (Ume) blossom. Ume blooms earlier than any trees in the winter and has a variety of flowers of white, red or pink, single or double-flowered. It has been considered as symbol of “energy of life” and “good omen”. In addition, the fruit will be used for Ume-boshi(pickled plums) and Ume-shu(plums liquor).Both of them are very popular as healthy food or drink, because it contains a lot of organic acid including citric acid. Most of Japanese wear western clothes everyday, and it is not easy even for Japanese to put a Kimono on by oneself. However, Japanese still wear Kimono on special occasions and seasonal events, such as wedding, funeral of family member, as well as Coming of Age Day, Shichi-go-san (a festival day for children of three, five and seven years of age), and New Year’s Day. Formal Kimono made of pure silk is very expensive, but can be worn from generation to generation. It is often the […]

Tour Report: January 7, 2018 (Meiji Shrine and Harajuku)

  • 2018.01.11

Thank you for joining our first Meiji Shrine and Harajuku tour of the year! This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, or the transition of political power from the Tokugawa Shogunate to the Meiji Constitutional Monarchy. The Shoguns had virtually closed down the country for over 250 years, until in the year 1868 when the Emperor took over and eventually opened the county to learn modern technology and culture from western powers. I, among many other people, find this transition very interesting, and it is something I like to share with guests who join our tour. Meiji Shrine built to commemorate the Meiji Emperor is an ideal location for such conversation. It being the final days of the New Year season, there were still many people at the Meiji Shrine for “Hatsu Moude” or the first visit of the year to shrines to wish for good luck. There were also various food stalls out that we don’t normally see, and our guests were quick to try some bites. On the second leg of the tour we strolled around Takeshita-dori street and Omote Sando street. This area has long been where the latest pop culture are born. There is always something new to find […]

Tour Report : January 6, 2018 (The East Garden of the Imperial Palace)

  • 2018.01.10

Thank you very much for joining our first tour of the year 2018!  We 16 guides welcomed 24 guests from Australia, US, Netherlands, Canada and Germany, and divided into 5 groups.  Fortunately it was clear and not so cold, and the best day for walking outside.  We hope all our guests enjoyed all the spots of the tour.     Anyways, I heard that many foreign tourists spent this new year holiday in Japan.  Did you try to visit to the shrines or temples at the midnight of January 1 for “Hatsu-moude” or  first visiting to there for good luck of the new year? Or did you try to eat the special meals for the new year called “Osechi” ?  Osechi are special dishes for the New Year holidays.  A variety of ingredients such as fish, black beans, rolled kelp, and vegetables are prepared and arranged artfully lacquer boxes.  And we also drink New Year’s spiced sake called “Otoso” in the hope of being healthy.   And there is another traditional custom of eating rice porridge with seven kinds of spring herbs, or “Nanakusa-gayu”, on January 7.  This is very healthy as these herbs are abundant in fiber and minerals, […]