Buddhism and Christianity, 9 December 2018 Asakusa Tour

We thank guests who participated in the tours of that day. We met 13 wonderful people from Australia, Canada, UK, Chile, Portugal, USA, and Singapore.

The weather was cold. It seemed real winter season started. From this time of the year, it is just getting colder. December is actually the start of winter. As a symbol of winter season, you can see illumination or Christmas trees all around the city. It may look strange because Japan is known to be predominantly Buddhist nation. Only 1 percent of the population is Christian. For most Japanese, Christmas may be like a festival.

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The tour route, Sensoji Temple is a Buddhist temple and has been worshipped for more than a thousand years. In feudal era, Christianity was banned by the authority. In modern time the ban was lifted and Christianity has become familiar to us. Although Christianity is a minor religion, but the influence on society is not small like Christmas events seen in the city.

You might say it was not just festivity but some commonality with Buddhism. What are common things in both teachings? Both religions preach all the people are equal regardless of social rank. And both religions respect sincerity of a person.

There is an exact match of describing importance of sincerity in both religions. Very similar tales exist in two religions.

In Christian bible, there is a tale called “The Poor Widow’s Offering” which is about a woman who donated a small amount of money to the temple but was praised by Jesus because she gave all she had while the rich donated much bigger amount from what is left over after they consumed as much as they wanted.

In Buddhism, there is a story titled “The Poor’s Lantern” a very poor woman came to see the temple to listen to the Buddha’s preaching and offered a lantern with small amount of oil to light up the corridor of the temple at night while the rich offered great number of lanterns with huge amount of oil. She sold her hair for the small amount of oil. Next morning, fires in lanterns the rich offered was all put out but the lantern she offered had continued to light up.

Sincerity is important in every aspect of our life. Learning from these stories, we are sincerely committed to this volunteer activity. Please come and join us.

(Masa)

 

 

 

 

 

SHIFTING FROM DRESSY COLORED LEAVES TO WINTER EVENING ILLUMINATION (DEC.2, SUNDAY-TOUR)

Thank you for your participation to our Meiji Shrine and Harajuku route tour on December 2. Lovely guests we welcomed counted 9 from Canada, Netherlands and US. The weather was cloudy and rather cold but not windy.  Probably because of seasonality, both Meiji Shrine and Takeshita Street in Harajuku town were less crowded thus we could enjoy walking leisurely.  Autumn colors were still bright, but it became closer to the end of its season.  Lucky for our guests, we could see traditional Japanese style events such as 7-5-3 (family event celebrating healthy growth and wishing longevity of their 7-5-3 years old children), and  wedding-procession dressed in classic Japanese costume.

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During the tour, we take short break at “Forest Terrace” rest house near by main entrance.  Having pleasant chat and networking among the group is also not a little enjoyment of our tour.  You can gain local information both from us, local guide and other guests from abroad.  Also,  you can have a quick bite of some Japanese snacks such as baked dumpling with soy sauce during this break time.

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Evening illumination events are one of the popular tourist attractions in winter.  You can enjoy the illumination viewing at various spots in large cities and at some sigh seeing cites all over Japan.  Omotesando Illumination is a classic and popular winter illumination event in Tokyo.  The 1.1km street is lined with 150 zelkova trees lightened up with approx. 90.000 LED lights in champagne gold color during Christmas season. Some of the trees were planted almost a century ago, witness of the history of Harajuku indeed.

(posted by Akemi)

Tour Report on 1-December, 2018, Saturday afternoon

Thank you the guests who kindly joined our afternoon tour on 1st of December. We had 13 guests from six countries, divided by four groups.

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Hard to believe that it was already in December: it was very warm and a best day for walking tour.  I enjoyed the tour with our lovely guests, rainbow at Wadakura Fountain park, and very beautiful autumn leaves during the tour. In particular, we could see the reflection of such autumn leaves at the pond in Ninomaru Park. Awesome!

Speaking of Ninomaru park, I recently found a “zigzag” bride over the pond. It makes us to walk more slowly and enjoy the surroundings, compared to a normal straight bridge. This structure is not only for the bridge in the park, but also the pathway in town. In particular, we can see it in castle town in Japan. The structure is defensive strategy against the enemy: they have to walk slowly through such zigzag path to reach the center of the castle.

Talking about castle, some colleagues here in TFWT like castle and we had a hiking at Odawara castle last weekend. Edo castle’s tower was not rebuilt after the last burn in 1657, but the tower in Odawara castle was reconstructed again and again. It was originally constructed in 15th century. We can reach Odawara from Tokyo station in ca. 1.5h with local train (JR or Odakyu line) or 35m with Shinkansen bullet train. If you look for something historical monument around Tokyo, I strongly recommend you to go there. Enjoy it!

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(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  facebook and tripadvisor.

East garden of the Imperial palace welcomed us in a full dressy color (Nov.29, weekday-tour)

Time passes away…, so we settled off with a empty boat for a while.
Finally, 4 trippers were so generous to take a ride on the way.
Well, here comes the joy boat!! Also, we would like to thank our guests
teaching us about  their beautiful country, France and Australia.
When we have a talk like this, we just wish to visit there soon.

Needless to say, the color of the autumn trees were in full change.
The sky was so blue so the contrast with the trees were extremely vivid.
The Ginko leaves in full yellow, witch hazel leaves in yellow and red,
Maple leaves in red and green,  evergreen trees, the fruitful orchard garden in orange,
On weekends, the east garden of the Imperial house are usually lively with many visitors.
However, this day, we could see less people walking around.
So, it was like a private garden!

The moderate morning walk was a like a fantastic adventure and
we really appreciate our guests to take part in to share their each precious time.
The heartwalming talk with our guests, the warm color of the trees,
we just appreciate the time we could spend with you all.
Thank you very much again and hope that all of you could enjoy your stay in Japan!

(posted by Nori)