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The Very Last Tour in Heisei Era, 29 April 2019, UENO Park

  • 2019.04.29

Thanks to 3 guests who participated in the tour from Australia and Iran. The weather was cloudy. This was in fact the very last tour in Heisei Era. As mentioned in other articles, Japan has its own calendar year name by Emperor reigning era, so called Gengo. Until this year’s April is called Heisei. From 1989 till this year was Heisei 1 to 31. Then from May,  Gengo is changed to Reiwa. This year is Reiwa 1. Until today’s tour, UENO Park course was conducted on irregular basis as trial. But we have decided to conduct it as regular tour, twice a month, every other Sunday afternoon. That is our new plan in Reiwa era. One of attractions of UENO park is collection of museums along with temples, shrines, a zoo and greenery. There are 6 museums within the park premise. Tokyo National Museum, exhibiting arts and archaeology, which is like Musee du louvre in Paris or Great Britain Museum in London, National Museum of Nature and Science The National Museum of Western Art, mainly painting exhibition, which is like Musee d’orsay in Paris. The building was designed by Swiss architect, Le Courbusier and designated as the World Heritage site. Tokyo Metropolitan […]

The Last Regular tour in Heisei Era, 28 April 2019, Asakusa Temple & Shrine

  • 2019.04.28

Many thanks to 9 guests in the morning and afternoon tours at Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine in Asakusa town. Our guests were from Hong Kong, Italy, Estonia, Finland and Israel. It was really clear and dry Sunday, which was very suitable for walking tour. We were glad to have wonderful guests in a very great moment in our history. The tours were very historic in the sense that these tours have become our last regular tours in Heisei Era. Heisei is Japan’s own calendar year name officially used along with Gregorian calendar. Heisei started from 1989 when Emperor Hirohito, father of current Emperor died and the current Emperor, Akihito ascended to the throne. Then this year was 31st year from 1989, which is Heisei One. On 30 of April, Emperor Akihito abdicated, and then next day, 1 of May new Emperor Naruhito ascends to the throne. This Enthronement day is start of new calendar year name, Reiwa. This year 2019, is marked as Heisei 31 and Reiwa 1. It sounds complicated so that is why we use Gregorian calendar together. Due to such big events, from this weekend to next weekend and following Mondy, 6 of May, are holidays. […]

Tour report on THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE on 2019.4.27

  • 2019.04.28

Thank you for joining TFWT hosted tour visiting the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on April 27. We welcomed 13 guests from Finland, USA, France, Australia, Hong Kong, UK, Germany and The Philippines. Now in Japan, we are all excited about advent of new Japanese era, Reiwa, which is effective on 1st May. Japan is a unique country in the sense that we deploy two different calendars, western and Japanese own calendar or Gengo. This Gengo can be described as the name of emperor’s reign and only changed when a new emperor is ascended the throne in accordance with the current Japanese law. However, in the past, it was changed multiple times for a variety of reasons within the same emperor’s reign. For example, in Meiwa 9 (1772), a major conflagration swept through the central parts of Edo (current Tokyo) which left around 20,000 deaths including 4,000 who went missing. This great fire of Meiwa is later presumed as one of the three greatest fires happened during the Edo period (1603 – 1868). Confronting this massive disaster, people started rumoring “The great fire happened because of Gengo – Meiwa 9, which sounds exactly same as the Japanese word: “Meiwaku” […]

Weekday Tour of the East Gardens of Imperial Palace on April 24th

  • 2019.04.25

Thank you very much for joining our weekday tour to the Imperial Palace East Gardens on April 24th. We welcomed 26 guests from USA, Israel, UK, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Estonia, and Turkey. We divided our guests into 4 groups. Unfortunately, It was raining, but everyone enjoyed walking in the gardens with full of nature. The season of the cherry blossom is almost over in Tokyo though, some double cherry blossoms were blooming, and we could see other beautiful flowers and lush greenery. Especially we enjoyed walking in the Ninomaru Japanese style garden. The pond, carps, stones, waterfall, trees and flowers made us feel calm. Around Ninomaru garden many Azaleas were beautifully blooming. So guests enjoyed taking a lot of photos. Azalea is very common in Japan. We can see many azalea bushes in various places such as streets, parks or gardens. One of the famous places for viewing azalea is Nezu Shrine, which is one of Japan’s oldest shines. It has a famous spacious hillside garden with thousands of azalea bushes including Goyo tsutsuji azalea, the symbol of princess Aiko. This week I visited there and I could see many kinds of azalea blooming beautifully pink, white, red, and […]


  • 2019.04.22

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour in Harajyuku area of Tokyo. On that day, April 21, we were honored to welcome 26 guests to our walking tour. These people came from different regions of the world, incl­uding Australia, Canada, Greece, Italy, Mexico Spain, U.K. and U.S.A. It is already the peak of springtime in Japan. In Tokyo, we can no longer see magnificent sakura or cherry trees blossoming. Most of the fragile petals of the sakura trees have fallen due to the wind blowing, or occasional rain. Most of these trees have shed their blossoms naturally, because these flowers only last for 3 weeks, at most. In effect, more and more green leaves are visible as days go by. This significant event of cherry blossoms blooming truly lead to the sense of fragility of springtime, and an early transition into summer. Under these seasonal atmospheres, we met 26 people in the Harajyuku tour. After greeting our guests, we managed to form the three groups with one or two guides. Punctually beginning our strolling at the torii gate of the shrine, we proceeded to the next attraction through the ever-green forest. Upon arriving at the main building’s square, […]


  • 2019.04.21

Thank you for joining our tour to the East garden of the Imperial Palace on April 20. We welcomed worldwide 57 guests from U.K, Australia, U.S, Spain, Indonesia, Argentina, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany, India, Denmark, Mexico, South Africa, Ireland, Switzerland, including a cute baby guest. We made five groups for the guest and 2 guides accompanied them respectively. The weather was so perfect, Bright Sunshine, 18℃(64℉), Gentle wind. Due to such pleasant climate, the tour was longer than usual. We really appreciate all guest for sharing your precious time together and enjoyed our tour with the guests. In the garden this season, late-flowering cherry blossoms (Double Cherry Blossoms) remain, and Azaleas and Irs Japonica etc. are full bloom. From now on, wisteria also begins to bloom. We are expecting the season when the flowers grow thick.   Consecutive holidays from the end of April to the beginning of May in Japan are called “Golden Week”. Since May 1st is also a holiday of “Accession of new emperor” this year, many people will enjoy 10 consecutive holidays from Apr 27th through May 6th. In fact, Japan have a lot of national holidays. There are usually 16 holidays in the […]

Ueno Park Tour scheduled on April 29/National Treasures of To-ji Temple

  • 2019.04.21

Although cherry blossoms have fallen at Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum is displaying the breathtaking arts of Esoteric Buddhism from Toji-Temple Kyoto. To-ji Temple has the 1200-year history which is the Japan’s first esoteric temple associated with Kukai or Kobo Daishi. Toji-Temple is designated as a world heritage property and a number of the treasures are gathered together from the Temple. The special exhibition features an extraordinary 15 out of 21 Buddhist statues counting 11 national treasures and 4 important cultural properties housed at the Lecture Hall of To-ji Temple. In addition, outstanding paintings, calligraphy and fancy artworks representing the pinnacle of Esoteric Buddhism are also on display. All of these objects are handed down for nearly 1,200 years at To-ji Temple since its establishment. Shingon Buddhism was founded by Kukai, one of the most influential monks and demonstrates Kukai’s world representing ultimate happiness and enlightenment. Mt. Koya is its birthplace and has been the object of pilgrimage from ancient times. You will be mesmerized by the dignified beauty and taken to the unrealistic world. It is recommendable to see this special performance regardless of whether you will go to Kyoto or not because the major items are now in […]

Lovely Spring Sunday in Asakusa (April 14 Asakusa tour report)

  • 2019.04.16

We welcomed 21 guests from France, India, Hong Kong, Mexico, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey & USA.   Wow, we are happy to know our guests cover 5 continents! It was a lovely sunny spring day though it gradually became cloudy and windy at the end of afternoon tour.  Period of  “sakura”(cherry flowers) in full bloom  has almost finished in Tokyo.  OK. Please do not disappoint!  A flurry of cherry blossoms blown in the wind is so romantic.   Senso-ji in Asakusa is one of the most visited and photographed temple in Tokyo with long history which is some 1400 years.  Thus, there are lots of events & ceremonies related to Senso-ji temple and its neighborhood districts.   One of such events, “Shirasagi-no-mai or White Heron Dance” was performed on Sunday in front of Senso-ji temple.  This was first performed in 1968 to commemorate the century anniversary of Tokyo as the capital of Japan.  The beautiful dance was demonstrated by participants in historical costumes such as white heron, pole carrier, parasol carrier, warrior and musician. by Akemi

Tour report of THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE on 2019.4.13

  • 2019.04.14

Thank you for joining TFWT hosted tour visiting the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on April 13.   We welcomed 53 guests from USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Brazil, Vietnam, Spain, India, UK, Germany, France and Mexico. The day was actually the best tour day with comfortable temperature and bright sunlight.  Additional gift for us was Cherry blossom.   We could enjoy blooming cherry trees, especially varieties of late-blooming trees.   Relatively low temperature until the day before might have been prolonged their transient life. Also, we could enjoy lovely red and pink colored flower of Azalea starting to bloom at Nino-Maru Garden. Now, the historical event; the ceremony of Transferring Throne from current Emperor to his son prince has been approaching.    Imperial Palace is the main stage of the ceremony.    It was announced that greeting ceremony of  Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will be held at Imperial Palace on May 4th.   Everyone will have a chance to participate in the General Public to the Imperial Palace grounds and celebrate His Majesties the Emperor and Imperial family at there.  Because of this ceremony which will be held in the middle of so called “Golden […]

Tour Report on Apr.4 (Weekday Tour of The East Garden Of the Imperial Palace)

  • 2019.04.08

Thank you for joining our weekday tour of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace  on Apr.4. We had 24 guests. They were from Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and U.S.A. It was a warm day, and moreover cherry blossoms were fully blooming. Our guests enjoyed taking pictures of them with historic sites. In Japan, April is the beginning of the new year at school and work. Many Japanese make a start on their new classes, schools and jobs. However, this April differs from the usual. As the new emperor will accede to the throne on May 1, the anticipated new name of era was annonced to the public on Apr.1. The new name is Reiwa meaning “beautiful harmony”. The first era was Taika in AD645 and Reiwa will be the 248th. Since the middle of 19th century, the name of era has been replaced by each imperial succession. We hope the new period will be beautifully harmonized as it was named. This spring is surely the beginning of a new period in Japan !!   ( by Rei )