Tour to the East Garden, 19 January 2019, The Year of New Era

Many thanks to 29 guests who joined the tour from Singapore, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, India, Italy, USA, Russia, and Portugal on that day.

The weather was fine and not too cold for 2 hour walking tour.

We are actually very proud of welcoming such wonderful guests from all over the world.

In this tour route we walk through Japan’s heart area like Capitol Hill in Washington, Kremlin in Moscow or Buckingham Palace & Westminster in London. The tour route is not just special for foreign tourists but all of Japanese.

This year is known to be a special year for Japanese nationals because 2019 is marked as last year of Heisei and the first year of new era whose name is yet announced. Heisei began with death of former late Emperor Hirohito who was father of current Emperor Akihoto. It was 1989 in the year of our Lord, 30 years ago. So this year is addressed Heisei 31 in Japanese official calendar.

In coming May, new Emperor Naruhito will ascend the throne and current Emperor will abdicate. He reigned for almost 30 years. Before Heisei, there were 3 eras in modern time Japan since 1868. Meiji (1968-1912), Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989).

In Kyoto at a lobby of Takashimaya department store, the actual carriage used for wedding ceremony of current Emperor and Empress  in 1959 when they were crown prince and princess was exhibited in memorial for Heisei Emperor and Empress.

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For the brand new era, we, Tokyo Free Walking Tour is introducing a new guide tour, 4th tour route in our guide history. The walking tour to Ueno Park, which is famous not only for greenery and landscape but collection of museums and temples, a zoo and the statue of “The Last Samurai.”

The trial tour is scheduled on February 11, National Foundation Day. It surely marks a new era of our organization and Japan’s sight-seeing. Why not plan to join?

(Masa)

Tour Report on Jan. 12. 2019 (The East Garden of the Imperial Palace)

Thank you for joining our tour visiting the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on January 12th. We welcomed 19 people from Australia (16), U.S.A.(1), Canada (1), Japan (1). This time we have a lot of Australian guests, who I hope enjoy Japan’s winter particularly skiing.

A_IMG_8757B_Group20190112Group-C_集合写真20190112_D_集合写真According to weather forecast it is bad weather, but we are not caught in the rain. Usually plum blossoms start to bloom in February and they are a symbol of coming the spring. Some of the plum trees in the Imperial Palace East Gardens are starting to bloom.

In Japan, the second Monday of January (this year it is 14th) is Coming-of-Age Day. On this day, youths who have reached the age of 20 are cerebrated. Municipal governments hold grand ceremonies. So you may see the young men and women dressed in formal wear such as kimono. They can legally drink alcohol and smoke.16078026959_dae435063a_o(posted by N)

Tour Report on January 13(Asakusa) . Ueno Park Tour kicks off soon

Thank you so much for your participation in our tour in Asakusa on January 13. This is our first Asakusa tour in 2019. We welcomed five people from Australia and Italy. I hope all of you enjoyed our walking tour in spite of the congestion of the worshippers visiting Sensoji Temple in the New Year period. Another walking tour at Ueno Park in Tokyo is scheduled on February 11 which will be referred at the end.

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Komagatado Hall is a vermillion building located within 7 to 8 minutes walk from Sensoji Temple Kaminari-mon gate to the southern edge of Asakusa beside the Sumida River. It is the spot where the principal image of Buddhist Kannon, Goddess of Mercy housed at the Sensoji Temple main hall was discovered by the two fishermen in the Sumida River and pulled up on land about 1400 years ago. Apparently Komagatado Hall is standing at the birthplace of Sensoji Temple.

The original building was built over a thousand years ago. During the Edo period the port was congested with ferryboats for pilgrims visiting Sensoji Temple every day from the early morning because its main gate is said to be located around the place. Before heading for Sensoji, the visitors paid tribute to Komagatado Hall. In fact this was the starting point of Sensoji pilgrimage. The entrance of the building originally faced the river but while the building was repeatedly fired like the buildings of Sensoji, the front door began to face behind the river over time. The current building was reconstructed in 2003.

Komagatado literally means a horse-shaped hall leading to the name of Komagata bridge within a stone’s throw and the nearby town. The enshrined image is Bato Kannon which means horse-headed Bodhisattva of Compassion holding a horse’s head on its head like a crown. Since horses were important for farming and an essential means of transportation in old times, the Bodhisattva is regarded as the god of traffic safety and beneficial to safe journey. If you are around Asakusa or the Sumida river area, it is highly recommendable to drop in Komagatado Hall.
PS TFWT will have another walking tour at Ueno Park starting on February 11. Ueno Park is one the first Japanese public parks and full of tourist attractions including trees, museums, monuments, statues, temples and shrines. It is known for the most popular spot for cherry-blossom viewing in Tokyo in spring but is beautiful no matter what season of the year you visit. The tour will be held on a trial basis for the time being. Please visit our website and click the tour calendar for details. We will be looking forward to seeing you in Ueno as well.
(posted by Yoshi)

Happy New Year! TOUR REPORT ON JAN.5 (EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PLACE)

Happy New Year to all of our friends in various places in the world. We appreciate your having keen interest in Japanese culture, history, customs, and people in 2018, and we hope you to have more in 2019.

Year 2019 has just started, and our free walking tour also stared its regular operation. January 5th is the day of our first tour in 2019, and we welcomed 24 guests from Australia, Argentina, Singapore, Canada, UK, Taiwan, Denmark, and US. Thank you for sharing good time with us in such a wonderful condition under clear sky and in warm climate.

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It is often mentioned that a good thing about Japan is there are 4 distinct seasons, and every season appeals in its unique way. Winter season in Ninomaru Garden is excessive case. Please look at this breath taking photo. You may sense the sound of silence from the scene.

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Look at the family below. It is our biggest pleasure to witness such a wonderful scene, like confirming strong family tie, and having fun with Instant Kimonos.

In 2019, there are many things going to happen in Japan. The new Emperor will take a position on May 1st, and many related events will be hold before and after the day. Count down to Tokyo Olympic Game keeps ticking, and many associated events will happen. Also Rugby Football World Cup will take place in autumn.

If you have been thinking of coming to Japan but not yet made it happen, it’s time to make up your mind. If you have already visited Japan before, you will find more next time. We welcome you all!

(By Takeshi)

Tour Report on Jan. 6 (Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku Tour)

Thank you for joining our 1st Meiji Jingu Shrine & Harajuku Tour in 2019.   We welcomed 8 guests from Australia and Germany.

<Group A: 3 guests and 2 guides>

 

<Group B: 1 family and 4 guides>

From Jan 1st to 3rd, more than 300,000 people had visited the Meiji Jingu Shrine to make wishes for the coming year.  We could feel the special atmosphere of the busiest shrine in Japan.

We Tokyo Free Walking Tour is going to have the 10th anniversary in this year!  From now on, we will keep doing our best to provide the valuable tour for all of you, so why not come and join us?  Thank you!

(written by H.S)