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East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

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Tour Report on 12 March 2016

  • 2016.03.13

Thank you for joining the tour. On that day we welcomed 35 people from USA, Canada Australia, Ireland, UK, Italy, France, Germany, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Columbia. We divided into 6 groups. It was a very cold day despite middle March. In the East Garden, Ume (Plum) flowers were almost fading away. Instead, red Kanzakura (Colder-climate suited cherryblossoms) were in full bloom. The flowers entertained us in the period between Ume and white-pink cherryblossom.   Many of our guests want to know how the Tokugawa Shoguns (1603-1868), who were the former owner of the East Garden and built the castle on it, successfully governed, unified the nation and protected national sovereignty without having internal wars and never being colonised by other nations. There were 3 major policies to note.   First one is alternate visit to the Shogun. All the province leaders called daimyo had to visit Shogun to pay respect once every 2 years. Their wives and children were forced to live in the city as hostages, so they had to do that.   Second one is Seclusion. It was a policy to limit access to Japanese ports for foreign traders. Since Seclusion had implemented, no foreign nations except China, Korea and Dutch were allowed to enter and […]

Tour Report on 6-March, 2016

  • 2016.03.07

I was a bit concerned because the weather forecast said that it would be rain, but unexpectedly it was sunny(sometimes slightly drrizled,though). furthermore, it was relatively warmer than typical early spring,luckily. We got 23guests from U.S.,Poland,Spain,Canada,Ireland.Our tour began at Marunouchi central gate of Tokyo Station at 10:00. We were so fortunate because we were able to see  cherry blossoms and plum blossoms at the same time in the East Garden of the Palace. Cherry blossoms are the national flower, and Japanese people like plum blossoms,too. Plum blossoms were supposed to be at their best in February and most kinds of Cherry blossoms blooms in April, but some earlier speces blooms in March.The tour was finished around 12:30. After that, we moved to Asakusa to hold a optional tour.Tokyo. Sensouji-temple is one of the most famous historical sight-seeing place of Tokyo. We enjoyed to see some historical things, try Japanese sweets, fortune telling, and making a wish for the god of the temple. written by Akira Hoyanagi

Tour Report on 5-March, 2016, Saturday

  • 2016.03.07

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our Saturday tour on 5th of March. We totally had 32 guests from twelve countries. Spring has almost come! We have bloomed-plum-tree flower already from Jan. and also, the early-bloom cherry blossoms (kan-zakura) has been bloomed from late Feb. With warm winter in this year, it is sure the flowering season comes earlier more than usual, in addition to the global warming.  In Japan, the most popular cherry blossom (Sakura) type is Somei-Yoshino. Last week, The Weather Forecast Agency announced the blooms’ forecast of the Somei-Yoshino at each site in Japan. At Imperial Palace area in Tokyo, it is 23-Mar. Forecast is forecast, not 100% sure, but please keep this date in mind if you have a plan to visit Japan in March. By the way, we have one of unforgettable days soon, 11-March. As some of you kindly remembered, we had a big earthquake in north part of Japan in five years ago. According to the Reconstruction Agency of Japan, 3,407 people have passed away (as of 30-Sep-2015) and 174,471 people live out of their hometown (as of 12-Feb-2016). Many issues are still on-going, like the big issue of Nuclear Power Plant […]

Tour Report on March 1, 2016, Tuesday (Weekday Tour)

  • 2016.03.04

Today we welcomed guests from USA, Ukraine, Turkey, Korea, UK, Switzerland and Australia.The wind was quite cold & strong this day, and guests were shivering.. We appreciate everyone for getting through the tour with us despite this condition. We thank our guests again for their participation, and wish everyonea wonderful stay in Japan. As for myself I had an opportunity to participate in the Imperial Palace tour on the next day. Since the Imperial Palace is next to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (where we give our free tour),I thought it would be worth a visit to understand more about the samurai era & modern Tokyo. You need to pre-book online, and tour duration is 1.5hrs with a guide on megaphone. English audio guides are also available. http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/   Once inside the palace ground, you could get a spectacular view of both Fujimi and Fushimi watchtowers up close, along with massive stone walls. Both are original of 17-18th century.   Fushimi watchtower is moved from the Fushimi Castle (in Kyoto) in early 1700s. Fujimi watchtower is a 3 story watchtower, which served as the main watch tower since 1657. Be the next to join our friendly guides on Tokyo Free Walking Tour(Every Saturdays: 13:00 -15:00) […]

Tour Report, February 27,2016

  • 2016.03.03

Thank you for all the guests on Feb27! It was a nice weather, and luckily, we could enjoy plum and a kind of cherry blooming. In general, Cherry blosssoms bloom in late March or early April, but there are some species of winter-blooming cherry trees in the east garden.   By the way, in this season, many of Japanese put on masks and  one of guests asked me why. Some of them put masks for prevention of flu or getting cold, but I think major reason is for their pollen allergy (including me!!). Actually, it is said that 25% of Japanese has pollen allergy. In Japan, after the Second World War, many forests were cut down for economic revival. But the sudden forests reduction caused many disasters, then Japanese plant many  Japanese cedar trees as a countermeasure. However, in 1980s, after 30years from the planting,cedan trees grew up and  cedar pollen had started to fly, then Japanese nose showed rejection to a large quantity of pollen. Since then and still now, we have been suffering from pllen allergy in this season.(especially form February to May) You can check various masks in convenience stores or drug stores, such as pollen masks, masks which can keep humidity, or perfectly fits […]

Tour report, February 23, 2016

  • 2016.02.23

Thank you for all the guests for joining the tour. Today we welcomed 19 Guests from Canada, Australia, Brazil, the U.K. Indonesia and Philippine. It’s a little bit cold but we can find herald the coming of spring during the tour. The early-blooming cherry trees are already flowering at the Island of cherry blossom in the East Garden. This lovely pink really fascinates us. By the way, do you know Tofu?  It is Japanese traditional food made from soybean. It’s so soft and easy to break. Let me introduce the unique event using Tofu in Japan. The needle memorial service is held every February 8 at Sensoji temple in Asakusa. Many women visit Sensoji temple on this day and place broken needles in Tofu and make wishes for their progress in sewing skills. However, why is Tofu used? It’s because needles work so hard. Sometimes they need to sew tough materials. They need to be placed on something soft and take a rest from the hard work days! (Images taken from Taito City website) We have a regular tour every Saturday and have weekday/Sunday tours irregularly. Please check the calendar on our website, Facebook and TripAdvisor.

Tour report, February 20, 2016

  • 2016.02.21

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our tour on Feb 20. We had  29 guests from 10 countries such as  U.S.A. Italy,Germany,Indonesia, Singapore, and etc. We formed 4 groups , and each group had about 10 people including some our newly joined  tour guide members. As usual, we started tour from Tokyo Station , and ended it up at the Hirakawamon Gate. Unluckily, it was raining all through the afternoon, and it was cold. Then we tried to take a course to get out of the rain from time to time. There are some shelters on the course, such as Ote rest house, Honmaru-park rest house.   The weather itself is beyond our control, but we would try to make this tour comfortable. Please come and join our tour!

Tour report, February 13, 2016

  • 2016.02.14

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. It was very warm day, even in the middle of winter season. We enjoyed our tour with 30 or more foreign visitors. Let me attach some photos of today’s participants. Near the rest house in the East garden of imperial palace, there are some MITSUMATA trees planted which are used as raw material of Japanese bill paper. And MITSUMATA means “pronged to three” in Japanese. Can you see the branches are forked into three in this photo? By the way, 14th Feb. is St. Valentine’s Day. In Japan, – Girl or lady hands chocolate to boy or gentleman. – In place boy or gentleman will give back anything after a month (which is called “white day”.) -Lady in the office serves obligatory-gift chocolate to colleagues or bosses. (although it has been decreasing lately.) -School girls exchange the chocolate with many girl (same gender) friends just for pleasure ( which is increasing as our new trend) I have investigated each situation in other countries from our guests. From Canada: Man hands chocolate to woman only if he really loves her. From Singapore guy: Only from man to woman, no return, no way! From American lady: It […]

Tour Report on 11 February 2016, National Foundation Day

  • 2016.02.12

Thank you for joining us on the national holiday, called “National Foundation Day.” On that day we welcomed 19 guests from USA, Australia and Spain. It was cold but the sky was very clear. We were divided into 3 groups. Why this day is called “National Foundation Day” is that it is believed that first emperor in history was inagurated on that day more than 2600 years ago. The name of first emperor was Jinmu. Some scholars claim it was a legendary figure. Current emperor Akihito, is 125th from Jinmu. To commemorate this day, one group of the guests were escorted to Nijubashi, which is irregular tour route. Nijubashi is on west side of the imperial palace. It is the main entrance to the imperial palace, emperor’s residence. Many foreign guests want to know how we view emperor these days. Emperor is symbol of national unity. In the old days he was worshipped as a god but now he is considered a human-being. But he is still most respectable person in this country. When you hear about emperor, he might look charismatic and very nationalist. But current emperor has rather soft image among us. In 2004 he met with a conservative member of Tokyo education board, Mr. Yonenaga at a garden party. Mr. Yonenaga said to His […]

Tour Report on 6-February, 2016, Saturday

  • 2016.02.09

Thank you for the guests kindly joined our tour on 6-Feb. We had 21 guests from 6 countries such as U.S.A. Australia, U.K., Finland, Singapore, and Thailand. Some guests came to Japan to enjoy skiing, although it was Super bowl weekend, and in the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere. We realized ski is Hot!! We formed 4 groups and each group had 9-10 people including our newly joined members. The # of the newly joined member exceeds 50, and last week all of them had classroom orientation. From this time on, some of them join the first on site training with us, and quite soon they will make debut as this tour guides. As usual, we walked from Tokyo Station to the Imperial Place East Garden. The sky was grey and it was chilly these days, but early-blooming cherry trees were already flowering. Please come to join us, we always welcome you.

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