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Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

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Tour Report on Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku Tour, 19 May 2024; Is Shintoism a “Religion”?

  • 2024.05.20

Thank you very much to the guests who joined the tour. The weather was cloudy but the temperature was moderate just as this time of the year. On this tour we hosted 9 guests from USA, India, Singapore and New Zealand. We hope everybody enjoyed the tour and conversation with us and other guests. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. As we explain on the tour, Meiji Jingu shrine is where Meiji Emperor and Empress are enshrined as the divine gods. This follows Shinto philosophy that any dead soul can be a god along with the nature of this world. Shrines have been the places to make prayer, hold wedding ceremonies, host festivities as well as making wishes to come true by writing the wishes on tablets or papers. But Shintoism may not be defined as “Religion” like Christianity or Buddhism. Our guests ask what is Emperor’s religion. Until late 19th century when Emperor had lived in Kyoto, imperial family were Buddhists but in modern time Japan designated Shinto as national religion modeling after British Anglican Church in order to establish the Nation-State. So Emperor has become a symbol of the […]

Does even deities change his clothes for summer season…? : Tour Report of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on May 5, 2024

  • 2024.05.11

Thank you so much for having choose our walking tour on May 5, 2024 at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku. We welcomed 11 guests from US, UK, Poland, Finland, Singapore and Argentina, and had a precious time with them. Here are many good pictures we took during the tour attached. We hope all you enjoy! At this day, Meiji shrine had one of the annual event called “Onzo-sai”, which was for changing deities’ clothes from winter ones to summers ones. Almost all priests of Meiji shrine might have participated the special worship in the main hall. We had met so many priests that just have finished the ritual them came out from the hall. They looked so solemn. Once again, thank you so much for joining us on our tour. We always make efforts to improve our tours and highly appreciate your feedback on our TripAdvisor/Facebook etc. Your comments would makes us happy and give us more strong motivations to keep our volunteer activities. And also we’d be glad so much if you would recommend your family and friends our tour. Hope to see you again at our another tours too, such as East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Asakksa, and Meiji Shrine/Harajuku. […]

Tour Report of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on April 21, 2024

Thank you to those who participated in the Tokyo Free Walking Tour (TFWT) at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku.  We welcomed 8 guests from the USA, Canada, Australia, and Taiwan.  We hope you all enjoyed and shared interesting and joyful conversations with each other during the tour. Unlike “Omikuji” (fortune telling slips) offered in most shrines, Meiji Shrine offers a very unique “Omikuji”.  How unique?  Most omikuji tell us good or bad luck concerning our daily life like health, money, love and so on.  On the other hand, Meiji Jingu’s omikuji is the form of Waka poems.  Waka poems are the Japanese traditional poems consisting of 31 syllables in the pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.  These Waka poems included in omikuji were composed by Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, both of whom are enshrined in the shrine. How to draw omikuji in the shrine:  1. Put ¥100 into the offering box.  2. After shaking a wooden box in order to mix well sticks inside, turn the box upside down. 3. Draw one wooden stick from the box. (There is a small hole so that only one stick can come out.) 4. After finding a number written on the stick, put it back into […]

Tour Report of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on April 7, 2024

Thank you to those who participated in the Tokyo Free Walking Tour (TFWT) at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku. Today was such a perfect day for walking under the evergreen trees of the Meiji Shrine forest and finally Sakura in Tokyo is in full bloom.  We welcomed 6 guests from Brazil, Mexico and the Principality of Monaco.  We hope you all enjoyed and shared interesting and joyful conversations with each other during the tour. The Meiji Jingu enshrines Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, and April 11 is the 110th anniversary of her passing.  Prior to that day, the exhibition: A Ceremonial Court Dress of Empress Shoken, has just begun on April 6 and her oldest full court dress is open to the public at Meiji Jingu Museum.  According to the website, this big project of researching and repairing the dress started in 2018 with a lot of researchers, artisans, and experts from various countries and different areas of expertise involved.  The passion of this project resembles that of the time when the Meiji Jingu was built 100 years ago.  Those days, 100,000 trees from all over the country were donated to the shrine, and 110,000 young volunteers planted them. Why don’t […]

Tour Report of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on March 17, 2024: Sakura season is just around the corner!

Thank you to those who participated in the Tokyo Free Walking Tour (TFWT) at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku today, which was a little bit windy, but a sunny and crispy day.  There was a St. Patrick’s Day parade on Omotesando street, and also because more and more tourists are visiting Japan looking forward to viewing Sakura, Cherry Blossoms, both Meiji Jingu and Harajuku were so crowded. We welcomed 8 guests from the USA, Germany and the UK.  We hope you all enjoyed and shared interesting and joyful conversations with each other during the tour. As mentioned in the title, the Sakura season is coming soon.  According to tenki.jp, the flowering date in the Tokyo area is expected to be March 21.  One of our guests said he planned the itinerary after carefully researching the flowering period. Of course, Japanese people often check the flowering date of cherry blossoms because the cherry-blossom front is moving northwards in a short period.  Just when you think it’s blooming, Someiyoshino, the most popular kind of cherry blossom, quickly falls apart like in one week or so. However, please don’t worry!  For those who might miss the cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo, how about including […]

Tour Report of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on March 3rd, 2024 : Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival Day)

Thank you to those who participated in the Tokyo Free Walking Tour (TFWT) at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku today.  Today was the most suitable and comfortable day for walking.  Moreover, today was “Taian,” the most auspicious day in the old Japanese 6-day calendar, so our guests luckily met five or six traditional Shinto wedding processions and several families with a new-born baby. We welcomed 5 guests from Switzerland, USA, and Germany.  We hope you all enjoyed and shared interesting and joyful conversations with each other during the tour. Today, Doll’s Festival or Girl’s Festival called “Hinamatsuri” in Japanese was held.  Most families with girls display dolls for the Doll’s Festival.  This is an occasion to pray for young girls’ healthy growth and happiness.  Hinamatsuri is celebrated each year on the 3rd of March.  The display of the dolls depicts the wedding party of imperial families.  A traditional set of dolls includes the Emperor, the Empress, three court ladies, five court musicians, the minister of the left, the minister of the right and three servants.  But, these days, most sets of dolls are getting simpler, that is the pair of dolls, the Emperor and Empress because of the recent housing situations.  […]

Meiji shrine and Harajuku tours on Feb 18

  • 2024.02.18

Thank you for choosing our tour at Meiji shrine and Harajuku on Feb 22. We welcomed 15 guests from Morocco, Australia, Netherland, Argentina, New Zealand and USA. I hope all of you enjoyed and shared interesting conversations with us during the tour. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. <Group A> <Group B> Sometimes our guests stop and gaze at this shop in fascination when we walk along a Harajuku street. The name of the shop is FENDER FLAGSHIP TOKYO. Fender is one of the most popular electric guitar. Many famous musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy page loved and love Fender guitar. Additionally, it is only one flagship shop in the world and newly opened two month ago. From 30thousand to 100million yen range, so many guitars are displayed fashionably. Why is it opened just in Harajuku? How lucky we are! If you have some interest in electric guitar, don’t miss it!! Fender Flagship Tokyo | Fender our feedback is important and helpful to us. If you enjoyed our tour, please considerposting a review on our TripAdvisor/Facebook etc. Your comments will help contributeto higher-quality tours. Once again, thank […]

Tour Report: Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on February 4th, 2024

Thank you to those who participated in the Tokyo Free Walking Tour (TFWT) at Meiji Shrine & Harajuku today.  On a cold, rainy first Sunday of February, we welcomed 10 guests from Germany, Canada, Taiwan, USA, China, Singapore and the Philippines.  We hope you all enjoyed and shared interesting and joyful conversations with each other during the tour. The guests are curiously watching the wedding procession. You can be shown on the screen at the gate of Takeshita Street! Takeshita Street, included in this tour, is a source of pop culture and fashion especially among teenagers.  Speaking of the most popular sweets around the street, it’s been crepe since the 1970s.  Now, what are the most popular sweets in February?  The answer is “chocolates” for St. Valentine’s Day! Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is becoming one of the biggest events out of the Japanese annual events.   However, the Japanese custom of Valentine’s Day might be a little bit different from other countries’ and has been changing from its old custom.   In Japan, women usually give men chocolates on that day.  Women used to give chocolates to whom they really love or to whom they secretly fall in love.  On the other hand, […]

Tour Report of Meiji shrine & Harajuku: Jan. 21, 2024

  • 2024.01.27

Thank you so much for coming our tour of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku on Jan. 21, even though we had a cold rain at that morning. We 4 guides wecomed 2 guests groups from United Kingdom and Australia. Thanks to both groups that had a great interest about that place which was one of the biggest shrine and our culture, we all guides think we could try to do our best to introduce our traditional and modern culture to all. We felt happy that the guests were also fond of our Japanese traditional sweets such as “Mitarashi-Dango”, dumpling, or “Wata-gashi”, cotton candy! “Mitarashi-Dango” is a dumpling made from rice flour coated with saulty-sweet sauce. Cotton candy is called “Wata-gashi” by Japanese, and one of the typical sweets sold at the Japanese traditional festival. And this way to big rainbow coloered cotten candy is very popular at the Takeshita-dori shopping street of Harajuku. Each different colors has different tastes! Why not come our next tour and try these tastes? Once again, thank you so much for joining us on our tour. We always make efforts to improve our tours and highly appreciate your feedback on our TripAdvisor/Facebook etc. Your comments motivate […]

New Year : Tour Report of Meiji Shrine and Harajuku on January 7th, 2024

  • 2024.01.07

Thank you for choosing our Meiji Shrine and Harajuku tour on January 7th, 2024.We welcomed 7 guests from Germany, Australia, US and Greece. I hope all of you enjoyedand shared interesting conversations with us during the tour.As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached to remember the fun times we had. GR A GR B GR C GR D The number of worshipers for Hatsumode in Meiji Shrine is the largest in Japan every year.Hatsumode is the first visit of the year to a shrine and is Japan’s original custom.It is over three million people from 1st to 3rd of Jan. At that time it was too much crowded.And today lots of people came to shrine. Do you know osechi that are Japanese New Year Food. “Osechi” are traditional foodswhich are eaten by a lot of Japanese on New Year’s Day. It includes many kinds ofJapanese traditional foods, and they are packed together in “Jubako”,which is a special box that resembles bento boxes. The representative food is Kuromame, Kazunoko, and Tazukuri.Kuromame is sweet black soybeans. Eating Kuromame means that you can stay healthy and strong.Kazunoko is herring roe. Kazunoko is a lot of roe, so it means “descendants prosperity”.Tazukuri is […]

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