Tour Report on Mar.3, 2019 (Meiji Shrine & Harajuku)

Today we welcomed 9 guests from China, Poland, Singapore and US.

Despite of the shivering low temperature and the cold rain, we enjoyed the walk in the tranquil Meiji Shrine and the busy streets of Harajuku.

The Meiji Shrine is said to be one of the powerful spots where you could receive positive energy. Once you enter the shrine compound from the Great Torii gate, you will feel the clear energy flow into your system. It is better to visit shrines early in the morning rather than in the afternoon.

groupBgroupAgroupC2DSC_0141Inside the shrine, we notice people writing something on a wooden tablet. The wooden board is called”EMA” and visitors write their prayers, then hang it on the specified booth along with offertory. Common prayers would be “prayers to pass important exams”, “Safety for one’s family”,”prosperity in business”,”prayer for health” and “success in romance”. Today, some of our guests stopped by the Ema booth and took time to write their prayers for safety of their family and for prayer to pass entrance exam on behalf of her brother. Hope their wishes come true 🙂

We thank our guests for joining us in the cold rain today, and wish everyone a pleasant stay in Japan and a safe trip to their next destination.

Be the next to join the Tokyo Free Walking Tour!

Report by Asako

Tour Report on September 2 MeijiJingu and Harajuku

Today in Tokyo it was raining and temporally  heavily. We are grateful for our nine guests from all over the world who joined, regardless of the bad weather conditions.

 

.jpg      Group A集合

Group C 集合 (1)

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Meiji Shrine is famous for its religious  meaning, but I think Meiji Shrine has another aspect. Let me introduce.

Group A2       A group 1

B 竹下通2     B 太田美術館

B 原原宿駅

In Meiji Shrine Meiji Emperor and Shoken  Empress spirits are enshrined. And this year our country has welcomed 150 year anniversary of the Meiji Restoration. Meiji Restoration means the change from ‘samurai’ warrior’ governing system to democratic governing system. And Meiji Emperor was the first emperor ofthe new era. And at the beginning  of the Meiji period, Meiji Emperor declared the 5 pledges to the world. Along this approach to the main hall the signboard where the 5 pledges are written is built.

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Simply speaking , the content of this 5 pledges is as follows;

We must carry out discussions, and all politics decisions must be decided by public opinion.

We should abolish bad old traditions of the feudal period, and we should absorb advanced knowledge, culture from foreign countries. Meiji Shrine is the good place for us to remind the beginning of democracy.

Thank you for your joining  our tour today, we hope all of you will have a good day in Japan.

( posted  by  Masahiko.Sato )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SHINTO DEITY GENEROUSLY HOSTED A LOT OF JAPANESE CULTURAL EVENTS. -17 JUNE 2018

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour.
One day during the rainy season in Tokyo, we had a cloudy sky and a ray of sunshine.
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On that same day, 17th of June, we welcomed 15 guests from, U.S.A., Australia, Argentina Singapore, Italy and Germany in front of Torii, or the Shinto Shrine gate, -the Meiji Shinto Shrine in Harajaku.

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The weather condition didn’t hinder the people to explore and feel the freshness of the mysterious tunnel made by more than 100,000 trees in the Shinto shrine ground.
While looking around the woods in the shrine compound, we saw some moisture still descending from the trees above us.

We enjoyed witnessing a few Japanese traditional events while strolling in the Shrine compound.
We were able to watch the demonstration of wagashi-making, or making of Japanese traditional sweets.
The other event was a Japanese traditional wedding ceremony.
Both of the events fully attracted the guests’ attention and became subjects of their photos.
Our guides normally introduce to the guests the distinctive events on the spot.

Interestingly, there was another event held in this sacred area at the same time.
The kyudo competition, or also known as Japanese archery competition was also hosted in the same location. However, it is out of our tour route.
—– What is “kyudo”? —–
Kyudo commonly refers to Japanese Archery in English. Like typical archery, players use a bow to shoot arrows. What differentiates it from regular archery is the equipment’s size and the material it is made from, and the player’s clothing.
The bows in Japanese archery are typically made of bamboo material and are around 2 meters long. The arrows, on the other hand, are also made of bamboo or carbon materials and are longer than that of western style archery.
In addition to that, the shooters also wear a special uniform called “Hakama”. This resembles a long skirt, usually black in color, partnered with a white shirt.
The players also have to follow certain actions and manners while shooting the target. (Below is the picture showing these actions.)


It is called “Kyudo hassetsu” which is referred to as the eight fundamental movements and forms in Kyudo. It is significantly important for Kyudo enthusiasts to master them adequately to improve their technical progressions.
This educational way helps players stabilize their upper bodies and assume proper posture in drawing the bow until in firing the arrow. At the same time, this helps Kyudo players concentrate well all throughout the procedure of firing arrows and they can maintain the proper position, like standing firmly, even though the target has been hit.
Kyudo admirers practice this traditional sport primarily to train not only their bodies, but their minds and spirits as well. This is because aiming at a target requires great concentration like having a clear mind, and also discipline.
Don’t miss the chance to seeing Japanese traditional sport.
(By Arac)

Tour Report on June 3 at Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

I sincerely thank you for taking the time for joining the tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku on June 3. We had nine guests from the various countries of Canada,America,Mexico,Columbia,Chile,UK and Philippines.  Four of the guests had participated in our tour to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on the previous day which we appreciate very much. The weather was perfect on this day prior to the rainy season. I hope all of you enjoyed walking with us.

AKits.

As you might have been guided, Harajuku Station is the Tokyo’s oldest wooden station, the gateway to Meiji Shrine/Takeshita Street and the symbol of Harajuku. The landscape is lovely with a little turret on the roof, the wooden beams on the walls and the old but artistic clock. It is regrettable that this beautiful building may be demolished.

Current Harajuku Station was constructed in 1924 shortly after Meiji Shrine had been built. It was the year after the Great Kanto Earthquake. During WW2 the building was not destroyed by the airbombings and survives in its original form for nearly 100 years. This is half-timbered or the Tudor style often seen in the British countrysides.

Not many people know that there is the separate platform exclusively used for the Imperial Family. Since it is conveniently located, an unnoticeable presence and quick riding is possible, the Imperial Family used to  come to this platform 10 times a year. However, due to the congested train schedule it became difficult for the Imperial train to operate. 2001 is the last time when the Emperior came to Harajuku Station. This is the only one Imperial platform in Japan. The door of this building is normally closed.

By the way Harajuku is the former name of the area. Hara means plain field and Juku means post-town. Harajuku village was on the highway from the south to the north and there were some inns during the feudal periods. Harajuku was replaced by Jingumae(in front of the shrine) and disappeared due to the change of the local regulation except the name of the station about 50 years ago. The local people are attached to the name of Harajuku.
There is an interesting fact. The average number of the passengers at Harajuku Station is about 74,000 per day. 65% of those passengers have no season tickets. They may be tourists, shoppers or pleasure seekers. Majority of the passengers are non-season-ticket holders. Apparenty Harajuku Station has the largest percentage of the passengers without commuter passes in Tokyo.

Since the building is getting old, deteriorated and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are approaching, construction of the modern structure is underway. It hasn’t been determined yet whether the old building will be preserved. I really hope that JR East will retain at least some of the beautiful part of the building.

It is recommendable for you to see quaint and charming Harajuku Station before it disappears. Please join us at that time.

(posted by Yoshi)