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Tokyo Now


Tokyo Now #33: Starting from 24 September !!!

  • 2022.09.10

Japan has just opened borders to overseas travelers on unguided tours from September 7. With this movement, Tokyo Free Walking Tours has decided to resume our walking tours step by step since March 2020. Kicking off on September 24 (Sat) with “East Gardens of the Imperial Palace” in the afternoon, tours will be followed by “Asakusa” in the morning & “Ueno Park” in the afternoon on the 25th (Sun). As for “Meiji Shrine & Harajuku”, currently planned as early October. Introduction & details of each tour will be posted shortly. For latest schedule and details of new procedure, please refer to our website. https://tfwt.jp/ Tips of “East Gardens of the Imperial Palace” tour Asakusa Ueno Park Meiji Shrine & Harajuku Looking forward to welcoming & escorting YOU soon!! TFWT PA&C

Tokyo Now #32: Shinjuku, Cool & Clean

  • 2022.06.27

Shinjuku is the station with the largest number of passengers with an average of 3.5million people a day. The interesting point of Shinjuku is that it has quite different characteristics by area. The Nishi-Shinjuku area is called the “Shinjuku Subcenter” and is known for the concentration of high-rise business complex represented by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. You can enjoy 360 degree amazing view from its observatory is amazing, though currently not open to public as is used for corona vaccination site. While just a block away, near Shinjuku station, there are side streets with dense tiny retro establishments, izakaya & pubs. Outside of the east exit of Shinjuku station is like Times Square in Japan. Looking forward to your visit to Tokyo, Japan! (Took photos in mid May. Currently it is bustling with many people.)

Tokyo Now #31: Two New “Trii Gates” in Harajuku

  • 2022.06.05

Rebuilding work of the first trii-gate of Meiji Jingu Shrine is going smoothly. The main approach road will be opened to public early July after Shinto ritual. Another symbolic stands at the entrance of “WITH HARAJUKU”, a new commercial facility in front of JR Harajuku Station, which just celebrate 2nd anniversary. The first city-center shop IKEA in Japan in WITH HARAJUKU is so cool. In addition to cafeteria, IKEA convenience store is also available at the basement floor. Early summer flowers, such as Iris and water lilies, are starting to bloom in the Inner Garden of Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Tokyo Now #30 : Sanctuary and Source of Trend

  • 2022.04.28

Tokyo has many aspects and it is constantly changing. You can observe a good example at Harajuku, two stops from JR Shinjuku St. Across the railroad track, a vast sanctuary forest and a source of the latest trends are facing each other.  They are Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku/Omotesando. Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken and celebrated a centennial anniversary in 2020.  It is one of the most popular shrines in Japan, especially during the new year holidays. Over 100,000 trees, many rare birds and insects, and a fascinating part of Japan’s history will make you freshen up and give you relaxation.  Harajuku is famous for its unique youth fashion represented by “kawaii.” There are many reasonably priced and unique clothing stores for middle school to high school students, mainly on Takeshita Street in Harajuku. On the other hand, Omotesando, a neighbor of Harajuku,  is a most pleasant and luxurious street lined with Zelkova trees. Over these 3 years, there have been lots of changes.  Not a few popular shops were impacted by the epidemic.  The lovely old JR Harajuku station building was transformed into a modern building. A new complex facility now […]

Tokyo Now #29: Step by step, preparing for the resumption of walking tours

  • 2022.04.25

TFWT has just started on-site warming up training on all 4 routes for our members. Let us introduce you the scene from the Ueno Park route training held on last Sunday.   Ueno Park, one of the first public parks in Japan, was designated as such in 1873.  It locates between popular tourist sites in the downtown area, i.e. Asakusa and Yanaka. Ueno Park is a treasure house of timeless history and culture & art.  You can enjoy plenty of cultures like temples, museums, performances, the zoo, and other attractions in this beautiful greenery place. Just strolling around this park could be good relaxation but you are also able to focus on your interests, say 400 years of history, architecture, painting and sculpture or nature. Ueno Park is especially popular during Hanami – viewing of 1200 Sakura cherry trees of 50 types.

Tokyo Now #28: Sakura Sakura

  • 2022.03.31

Sakura, the cherry blossoms were almost in full bloom in Tokyo last weekend. And now its petals are dancing in the air and floating on the water. It’s like raft. Shidare-zakura, weeping cherry trees. Just beautiful. Lovely spring flowers follow.

Tokyo Now #27: Speaking of spring fun…

  • 2022.03.18

The weather is getting more & more spring-like. I can feel spring in the air as I’m allergic to cedar pollen. It is not quite poetic to see beautiful scenery with a running nose (sigh). According to the 8th forecast released by JMC ( Japan Meteorological Corporation),  cherry blossoms will start to flower on March 22 and reach full bloom around March 30.  JMC’s cherry blossoms forecast is for famous & popular Somei Yoshino. Early this week I enjoyed my 1st Hanami and Obento (lunch box) this spring but not seeing Sakura but admiring Ume (Japanese Plum) in Inogashira Park which is known with Ghibli Museum.  Inogashira Park is located about a 5-minute walk from Kichijoji station, just a 20min. by JR Chuo line and has a lot of things to offer such as a temple, a pond, a zoo, an aquarium, museums, and a wide greenery area. The Ghibli Museum showcases the work of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio, The cherry blossoms of Inogashira Park are famous, and many people come here every spring to view them.

Tokyo Now #26: Ume, Japanese Plum, in full bloom

  • 2022.03.12

Plum Blossom are messengers of Spring at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace As of today, Tokyo is under pre-emergency measures for Covid 19 pandemic. Number of newly infected person has sharply increased since the end of the last year, and is still high but getting peak out. Feb 23rd is the Emperor’s birthday and a National Holiday in Japan. Normally, many people gather at the Imperial Palace to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday, but this year the ceremony was canceled and the area around the Imperial Palace was quiet. The people of the East Garden of the Imperial palace were also sparse and the time was going by very slowly. In the garden, there is the place where about 50 plum trees are planted. Like pine and bamboo, plum is considered to be an auspicious tree in Japan. And above all, Plum Blossom is a messenger of spring in Japan. We enjoy them in February, then welcome Cherry Blossom from late March through beginning of April. Spring will come soon in this garden.

Tokyo Now #25: March 3rd, The Dolls’ Festival for Girls and The Peach Festival

  • 2022.03.04

Are there any celebration days for girls’ growth and development in your country?  On March 3rd, Japan holds the Peach Festival (Hina Matsuri). It’s the day to pray for healthy growth and happiness for young children. On this day, families set up unique ornaments to arrange tiny dolls, called “Hina dolls” in Japanese. Hina dolls, which represent the Emperor, the Empress, their servants and musicians, are usually placed on a seven-step platform. They are dressed in imperial ancient costumes. Then, why is the Peach festival held on March 3rd? In the beginning of spring under rapid temperature changes, we are likely to fall sick even nowadays. Especially in ancient times in Japan, due to underdeveloped medical conditions, many little children lost their lives during this season.  Therefore, in March, old Japanese people had the purification custom of floating paper dolls into rivers or in the sea to drive away evil spirits with them. After the medieval era, wealthy samurai or aristocrats began to make the costly and valuable dolls, then they started displaying them once a year instead of setting them afloat. This is the origin of the Peach Festival (Hina Matsuri). In the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, […]

Tokyo Now #24 Greeting from Asakusa

  • 2022.03.02

Hello  Greeting from Asakusa first time this year and after 9 months good rest! March began with warm weather like April here in Tokyo. It will take several months before on-site tour resumes. But we will be keeping you posted with latest views and movements in Tokyo. Our new project is now underway something related to on-line tour… Hope we will soon welcome you to our tours. See you soon! By TFWT PA&C

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