Tour report on July 17th(Weekday tour of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace)


Thank you for coming our weekday tour of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. We welcomed 14 guests from France, UK, USA, and Mexico.


We divided the guests into 3 groups and started tour respectively. Unfortunately a half of the main castle building area was closed because of preparing the Daijyosai (one of the ceremony of the Imperial inheritance). But we enjoyed the tour of that day!

Last Wednesday was cloudy and so humid. But we didn’t need to use umbrellas. It was so lucky in this rainy season. We also welcomed two kid guests. They challenged charm hunting tour with their parents during the tour. They completed their mission of charm hunting tour. Congratulations!

By the way, do you know that Japanese like to feel the exact season? Especially in Cha-do “Japanese tea ceremony” it is said that to show the seasonal atmosphere a little ahead of the season using the various tools like flowers, hanging scrolls, flower vases, and bowls for the tea is very important. In addition, ahead of the season is well, but delay of the season is not good. It is so important for Cha-do to match exact season or to take ahead of the season.

My teacher of the Cha-do always decorates the Tokonoma which is an alcove in a traditional Japanese Tatami room with the seasonal flowers and the hanging scrolls. Flowers are absolutely seasonal but also hanging scrolls are. She always says that Collaboration of both flowers and hanging scrolls shows Japanese sense of season and hospitality.

If you go to the traditional Japanese restaurant, Ryokan hotel, or Tea ceremony’s house where has the Tokonoma, please check the flower and hanging scroll that match the season exactly or take ahead of the season. You can find and enjoy their sense of season and hospitality.

From now Japan is getting into the Summer holiday season. Tokyo Free Walking Tour have 4 free tours,  Meiji Shrine and Harajuku tour, Asakusa tour, Ueno Park tour and East Garden of the Imperial Palace tour. Please join these tours during your staying in Tokyo. Please visit our tour Calendar and make sure the tour schedule.

Don’t miss it!

Posted by Yumi H




We  Tokyo-Free-Walking-Tour welcomed cumulative total number of 17 guests from Spain(6), UK(3), Canada(2), Austria(2), Germany(2) and France(2) to Asakusa morning / afternoon tour & Ueno Park tour held on July 14th Sunday. 

We appreciate a lot for all of the guests joining our tours and would like to express special thanks to the guests who joined plural tours of us!!

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Above mentioned each area has their own unique history and traditional culture.  We have been expanding our activity from East Garden of Imperial Palace to the other areas and now we came to cover total four tours in Tokyo as shown in the map.   As you can see, Asakusa and Ueno Park are just near by which enables efficient combination.  We hope all of guests had memorable experience at our tours.

We have now a special plan of Weekday tour on coming July 17th at East Garden of Imperial Palace.  Please check “tour calendar” of this site for detail. 

Map2.002   By the way, now is still in “Tsu Yu” or rainy season in Japan.   The day was light rainy day, unfortunately.   However, good point is, this level of rain sometimes makes young green leaves more brilliant and attractive.    Also, “Tsu Yu” is a very important period for Japan to obtain a lot of water for rice cultivation and for drinking water.   From this point of view, this year is perfect!!   

Now,  “summer” must have approaching just around the corner.   Because, July 21th is the typical day of the end of “Tsu Yu” in Tokyo area based on statistics. 


Well, let me introduce one of traditional Japanese useful tool to travel comfortably  in Japan during coming hot summer season.     That is; Folding  fan called  “Sen-su”.    Various kinds of attractive drawings or characters are displayed on them.    You can find many kinds at souvenir shops and/or even in 100 yen shop!!     In addition, the shape of fan is said a “good luck charm”, because the width becomes wider and wider toward to the top.  I recommend you to get some during your stay in Japan not only for souvenir but also for your own use to make yourself comfortable!!

(posted by Masao)


Thank you for joining our tour to the East garden of the Imperial Palace on July 13th.
We welcomed worldwide 12 guests from Philippine, UK, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Finland. Divided into 3 groups with a few guides respectively. The weather was not so bad for the rainy season. Cloudy and little rain in the last minutes of the tour. 27℃ (81℉), gentle wind but very humid. We really appreciate all guest for sharing your precious time together and enjoyed our tour with the guests.

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Our tour explores Japanese modernization after middle of 19th and goes into the former Edo castle area (now the east gardens of Imperial palace). We had a pleasant conversation with our guest today, too. Sometimes a question from a guest brings us awareness. I love such exchanges very much.
In the gardens, the preparation of the Great Thanks Giving ceremony by new Emperor, so called “DAIJOSAI” in Japanese, on Nov. 14th and 15th, is on going. A restricted access area is beginning to emerge in the preparation. However, don’t worry, we carefully select the places where we can enter in and strive to provide a satisfying tour.

In Tokyo, the rainy season still continues, but it is expected that the rainy season will end in late July. When the rainy season is over, it will be summer at a stretch. This late July to August is also the fireworks season in Japan. Many large and small fireworks displays are held throughout the country. Even if it counts only the main thing, it will go up to 11 places in July and 28 places in August. For instance, in Tokyo metropolitan area,
July 20th (Sat) Adachi Fireworks Festival
July 23rd (Tue) Katsushika Noryo Fireworks Festival
July 27th (Sat) Sumida River Fireworks Festival
Aug 1st (Thr) Koto Fireworks Festival
Aug 3rd (Sat) Edogawa Fireworks Festival, Itabashi Fireworks Festival
Aug 10th (Sat) Jingugaien Fireworks Festival

It is said that, in 1613, Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, saw fireworks as the entertainment firstly in Japan. After that, Yoshimune Tokugawa, the 8th Shogun in 1733, was said to have launched the fireworks in the Sumida River for the repose of the dead in the famine and cholera that were prevalent at that time, the roots of the “Sumida River Fireworks Festival” . At the Sumida River Fireworks Festival, 950,000 people watch 20,000 fireworks today.

In overseas, fireworks are often launched on special days such as historic anniversary and New Year holidays, but in Japan, many fireworks are launched at this season with the meaning of calmness and coolness. In addition, Japanese fireworks are characterized by being spherical, spreading concentrically, and changing the color of stars. Of course you can also see fireworks of other shapes in the fireworks display.
Hand-held fireworks also have a different flavor from launch style fireworks. The ones I like are sparklers. When the fire is turned on, it changes with the flow of “thunder”, “peony”, “pine leaves”, “willows” and “scattered chrysanthemums”, and finally a red ball falls to the ground. I think it’s a fireworks with an ephemeral but dignified beauty.
Fireworks are called “HANABI” in Japanese, “HANA” is a flower, “BI” is fire, so literally “Fire of Flower”. It is a beautiful flower that colors Japanese summer nights.

In the daytime, you can visit Japan’s history and features on our walking tours in “The east garden of Imperial palace”, “Meiji shrine and Harajuku”, “Asakusa” and “Ueno”, and watch the large and small colorful flowers at night.
(Posted by Toyo)

Quintessential Ueno Park Tour on July 14 at 1:30pm

Welcome to Tokyo Free Walking Tour! We offer the four different walking tours in Tokyo and Ueno Park is the latest tour. Our tour is operated by the volunteer guides but all of them have unrivaled knowledge and experiences with some jokes. Since the tour usually has small groups of people, you will enjoy an intimate atmosphere with us and we won’t give boring lectures.
Ueno Park is about 140 years old and was indeed the family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan in the feudal period. Take a walk through the Park in the heart of Tokyo for about two hours and experience the fascinating nature, entertaining history, classical and modern architectures along with others. You may be able to hear something or a behind-the-scenes story you won’t find yourself.
There is no admission fee. You don’t have to book in advance and just turn up at the meeting place between Park Exit of JR Ueno Station and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan at 1:30pm tomorrow (Sunday July 14). It is accessible from Tokyo Metro and Keisei Ueno Stations as well. Incidentally Asakusa is a nearby town and you could join our Sensoji Temple tour at 10am and continue to come to Ueno. Please refer to our Website for details. We will be looking forward to seeing you and enjoying the exciting tour with you at Ueno Park tomorrow (July 14).




(posted by Yoshi)


July 7 Meijijinngu and Harajuku tour: It rained here How was it at the Milky Way?

Today it rained continuously during the tour and we felt chilly for the month of July. Despite the weather we could welcome 11 guests at the starting point, the first Torii gate of the Meijijingu shrine. All the guests were from USA except for a guest from Germany.

We divided the guests into four small groups, 2 or 3 guests for each, so that our guides could be as attentive as possible to each individual guest.


The shrine’s inner garden and the Takeshita-dori Street seemed to be a little bit less crowded than usual. That was good for us as we always held umbrellas during the tour.

Meijijingu shrine:

Harajuku  Takeshita-dori Street:

We noticed a bamboo ornament for Tanabata festival at the Shrine gate and another at Takeshita-dori. Tanabata(七夕) festival, held on the 7th day of the 7th month, is one of the traditional five seasonal festivals.

In the summer night sky you can see two bright stars, Vega and Altair, facing each other at the opposite side of the Milky Way.

According to the legendary tale, Orihime-star(Weaving Princess, Vega) and Hikoboshi-star(Cowherd, Altair) once got married but were separated by the God of Heaven for some reason. After that they were allowed to meet only once a year, on 7th of July.

A legendary tale says that when it rains on that day Orihime cannot cross the Milky Way to meet Hikoboshi as the water level of the Milky Way gets too high.

Today people write their wishes on colored paper strips and hang them on bamboo branches to celebrate Tanabata. The custom started in Edo period. At that time people wished only to improve their literature skills. Today they can wish for everything!

(Posted by Chino)

Tour Report on Jul. 6th (Tour of The East Garden of the Imperial Palace)

Thank you for joining our tour of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on Jul. 6th. We had 22 guests. They were from Australia(3), Brazil(2), Canada(5), Germany(1), Sweden(2) and U.S.A.(9).

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Even though in the middle of the rainy season, it did not rain and was luckily cooler than usual. Our guests enjoyed taking pictures of historic sites covered by verdure.

The Star Festival called “Tanabata” based on the legend from China is held on the night of Jul. 7th in Japan.

The legend is about a young couple who were separated on each side of the river. They worked hard to be allowed to meet each other once a year. Nowadays, the couple eventually changed into two stars laying along the Milky Way and people celebrate it by writing down their wishes on narrow long paper slips. Slips are hung on bamboo branches, so that their wishes will change into smoke and reach the stars to come true. These bamboos are set in many places and make people delight even in the rainy season.


( by Rei )