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Brand-new “O-waraji” at Senso-ji Temple (October 28, 2018)

  • 2018.10.30

Many thanks for joining our tour in Asakusa on October 28. We met 12 wonderful people from Australia, Finland, Philippine, Sweden and USA. In addition to the well-known a big red lantern of Kaminari-mon Gate, Senso-ji Temple has another massive ornament of the giant straw sandals hanging on Hozo-mon Gate on the way to the main hall. The enormous sandals are called “O-waraji”. “O-waraji” is one of the largest in Japan, 4.5m in length, 1.5m wide and weighing almost 500kg, made of rice straw ropes. The first pair of “O-waraji” was donated to Senso-ji Temple by the volunteering group in the Murayama City, Yamagata prefecture in 1941. Mr. Toshizo Matsuoka, who is a House of representatives from Murayama City, took an initiative in developing the enormous sandals to Senso-ji Temple. Having strong faith in Senso-ji Temple and contributing to the political solution of the snow damage of the city. Mr. Matsuoka offered sandals to Senso-ji Temple with thanks. However, they had been burned together with the temple, during the WW II air raids in 1945. After that, the second “O-waraji” was donated in 1964 again, and replaced roughly every 10 years since. Special rice seedlings are planted over a year […]


  • 2018.10.27

We conducted the tour to the East Gardens of Imperial Palace on October 27, 2018. The rain from the early morning brought humid air and high temperature, which made us a little sweaty, but the autumn sunshine after the rain reflected beautifully on the lawn and made the East Gardens more cheerful. On this occasion our guest came from Mexico, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Finland, Australia, Canada and USA. All these countries have many attractive viewing spots. I can’t help but thinking how Japan and Japanese can be looked from the people coming from such beautiful countries. I asked one of our guests what is the charms of Japan. The answer was “difference” from their home country. Yes, difference attracts many tourists. Then I wonder, what do the tourists think about the appearance of Tokyo station when I give them an explanation of it as a historic architecture? It is a magnificent construction but, at the same time, a complete imitation of the Victorian style. Whenever I explain about the Tokyo station to our guests, I slightly feel embarrassed. How could I explain it proudly to people who belong to the western culture? Victorian style is not our culture but […]


  • 2018.10.21

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour in Harajuku area. On the 21st of October, with sunny and occasionally cloudy skies, we welcomed 8 guests, people from the U.S.A., Singapore, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Japan, to our walking tour. We started the 90-minute tour in front of the torii or shrine gate of the Meiji Shinto Shrine, and concluded it at the Omote Sando Avenue. Going through the torii, with brisk footsteps that sound like “zaku zaku”, we proceeded to the shrine’s main building which is nestled in the center of the evergreen forest. This sound, “zaku zaku” is an onomatopoeia giving life to the vibrations made by visitors stepping on the gravel that serves as pathways in the religious compound. Strolling on the grounds of the Meiji Shinto Shrine is one of the most extraordinary experiences that people can do to escape the highly urbanized area of Tokyo. When it comes to the historical background of the Meiji Shinto Shrine, our guides show the pictures of the Meiji Emperor. This is because this place is dedicated to commemorating the soul of the Emperor and Empress, who ascended to the throne around the 1900s. The spirit of the […]

The great ramen in Asakusa(October 14)

  • 2018.10.16

The best season of the year has come! We at TFWT appreciate your participation in our tours in Asakusa on October 14. 15 people kindly joined our tours from UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Iceland, America, Mexico, China, Singapore and Australia. I sincerely hope that all of you enjoyed walking with us despite the congested streets. Ramen is the Japan’s popular food together with sushi you’ll find on the must-try list of almost all the visitors to Japan. Not many people know that Asakusa is the birthplace of shoyu(soy sauce) ramen at the restaurant named ‘Rairaiken’ which opend in 1910. Rairaiken was the first restaurant specializing in shoyu ramen which was very popular but unfortunately the restaurant is not in business anymore. In Asakusa there are a number of excellent ramen shops. I recommend the three authentic shoyu ramen restaurants. Right close to the Kaminarimon gate is Yukikage which started just two years ago. Yukikage is focusing on chicken base. The noodles are exquisite topped with generous slices of superb char-siu chicken(barbecued chicken), a half-boiled egg and green onion in harmony with the delicious shoyu chicken soup. In addition the topping is assorted with big Nori seaweed which are torn […]

Autumn has come to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (October 13)

  • 2018.10.15

Thank you for choosing our tour to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on October 13. We welcomed 21 people from U.S.A., Germany, Israel, Italy, China, Finland, Iceland, Turkey and Australia. The weather was cloudy but very comfortable. We felt like autumn more and more. I hope all the guests enjoyed walking with us and perhaps instant kimono as well. It is too early to see the autumn foliage in Tokyo but we have subtle sign of autumn at the Gardens. There is a small tea green field around the main compound where the tea trees have just started to blossom. These white flowers bloom behind the leaves and smell delicately sweet. The Blooming period of the tea trees here is between early October and mid- November In fact, the trees of green tea, black tea and other tea are produced from the same tea tree’s leaves. Fermentation decides the type of tea. Japanese tea is not fermented while black tea thoroughly fermented. Other tea such as oolong tea is partly fermented. Among the Japanese tea cultivation process is different. The leaves of green tea are grown naturally with the strong sun, while the matcha leaves are shade-grown with […]

The Day 1964 Tokyo Olympics was held, 10 October 2018, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2018.10.11

We thank the guests who paticipated in the tour of that day. We met 9 wonderful people from USA, Singapore, and Romania. We divided into 3 groups. The weather was still hot like summer but it is getting milder day by day recently as we are entering autumn season. In Japan, Autumn is said to be season of Appetite, Reading and Sports due to mild climate. As for autumn for sports, that day was the day 1964 Tokyo Olympics was held, 2 years later from this year is second Tokyo Olympics, construction for the new stadium and other facilities are underway in the city. As remembrance for 1964, it is recommended to visit Yoyogi Park just behind Meiji Jingu shrine, where our another regular tour is held twice a month. Remaining one house in the housing complex which was used when the place was the Olympic athlete’s village that accommodated many athletes from all over the world. For us, every tour is like Olympics because we meet many people from all over the world. Olympics is not just for sports competition but good chance for many kinds of people to get together. So Tokyo Free Walking Tour is another Tokyo […]

Tradition and Westernization, 7 October 2018, Meiji Jingu

  • 2018.10.10

We thank many guests joining this tour. On that day we welcomed 20 guests from UK, Australia , USA, Belgium, Spain, Nederland, and Indonesia and then we divided into 4 groups.   It was really a hot day, unbelievable in this time of the year. So the groom and the bride we saw should have felt very hot. Their costumes are typical Japanese Shinto Shrine wedding style. However, a groom costume, black suite and gray stripe trousers is kind of, western. Black was never used as formal ceremony cloth color, even for funerals before modern period. In late 19th century when Japanese officials held western type ceremonies or parties, to get along with westerners attending ceremonies, black and gray color kimono became standard for men. Then black turned formal clothes color for every occasion in modern time. Some kind of adaptation of the West was seen, just like Meiji Emperor memorized in the shrine was actively acquiring western customs. Meiji Emperor was the first man who cut off folded hair on head to look after western men. In those days men without folded hair was considered outcast. So he became a model for modern Japanese men. Westernization was modernization in […]

JAPAN EMBRACES DIVERSITY, 6 October 2018, The East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2018.10.08

We are always delighted to welcome diverse people from all over the world. On that day we guided 43 guests from India, Spain, Belgium, USA, Australia, Canada, Argentine, New Zealand, Germany, Philippines and UK. We divided into 5 groups. The weather was hot like revival of mid-summer. It was unusual in this time of the year. But soon temperature will drop and it will turn Autumn. In Tokyo or other parts of Japan, we meet many foreigners every day. Many different colors of skin, hairs and different features of faces can be seen. We wonder how foreign people view Japanese people. It is believed that Japan is homogeneous society and mono-racial. One might find that by looking at guides. But it is actually not true. There are several athletes who share different race or ethnicity and participated in Olympics or World Cup Soccer tournaments as Japanese nationals. Recently in US Open Women’s Tennis, a player named Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams of USA and became the champion of the grand slam tournament. Osaka is a bi-racial woman between Haitian father and Japanese mother. She might not look typical Japanese but we are proud of her as a national hero who […]


  • 2018.10.03

Thank you for joining our walking tour on September 29th.  We welcomed 10 guests from USA, UK, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Canada even though Typhoon Charmy was approaching to Japan.  We tried to keep you dry during the tour but it was heavy rain occasionally. We really appreciated walking with us. Typhoon Charmy was 24th typhoon in 2018.  From middle of July to August  many typhoons were continuously exist around Japan for 38 days.Since then typhoon or low pressure occurs almost every week in September.  It rained all day long and it sometimes rained suddenly.  Raincoat was not an option due to high humidity.   You have to have an umbrella in this season.  Do you think is it too much hassle to bring an umbrella when you are traveling?  Don’t worry.  When you are caught in unexpected rain showers, you can get one at convenience stores or 100 yen shops.  A plastic umbrella is very popular in Japan.  The clear plastic covering umbrella can be better than normal one to walk around sightseeing spots.  You can view outside well.  Another option is purchasing compact foldable umbrella that weight is lighter than your smartphone.  There are many kinds of compact umbrella at […]