Let’s enjoy rainy season in Japan:   June 23 ASAKUSA & UENO tour

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you for your participation to “Tokyo Free Walking Tour – Asakusa Route & Ueno Route” on June 23 Sunday.  We welcomed 20 guests from Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, India, Switzerland, UK & USA.

The clouds hang low all day, thus during the tours we worried when it starts to rain.

But the deity of weather was on our side!

 

Probably you might be aware that it is the rainy season in most part of Japan right now and we’ve been having humid weather.  Does this sound depressing? That makes sense. But let me share you some enjoyments during rainy season.

The early summer rainy season is called tsuyu and written with kanji characters meaning plum rain. Because it is the when plum trees bear fruit.  Water plants produces beautiful flowers, such as irises and water lilies.

Fireflies can be added to the attractiveness of this season.  They can be found flying about at night near the clean water’s edge, while emitting light from their lower abdomens.  The myriads of tiny blinking lights creates fantastic atmosphere.

569B9794-ED03-46F0-8B96-F757C27B7723L0001--IMG_1182.JPG

Special ceremonies “Chinowa kuguri” are held at shrines on the last day of June as it marks the halfway point of the year. Stepping through a large hoop made of kaya (pampas-like grass) that is placed in the shrine land is said to expel misfortune.

 

Hope you enjoy Japan even on rainy days

(Reported by Akemi)

TOUR REPORT ON June 18, 2019(THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE)

Thank you for joining our tour to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on June 18.     We welcomed 21 guests from USA, UK, Israel, Italy, Canada, Taiwan, Germany, Pakistan, and Bolivia. We divided in to 4 groups. The weather was humid and  hot like summer.

We enjoyed our walking tour and wonderful conversation very much.  And we enjoyed various kind of beautiful iris flowers in Ninomaru garden. (Typical Japanese Garden)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Introducing hot springs in Japan. We Japanese love onsen! It is not too much to say that Japan is a country of onsen (hot springs).  Japan is a volcanic country and one result of this is it has lots of onsen(hot springs). There are some 3000 hot springs around the country. The water quality is excellent as well. There are various colors of water depending on the water quality.  Although most Japanese onsen are colorless and transparent, there are white water called nigoriyu ,brown water, black water, and emerald green too.  It contains various minerals and provides a lot of medicinal benefits such as warming the body, stimulating circulation, increasing metabolism and relaxing your body and mind. People who have disease stay at bathhouse for long time to cure disease.  A lot of Japanese people enjoy hot springs for socializing and for health benefits. Most hot springs have open-air bathes called roten-buro. While bathing in a roten-buro, you can enjoy beautiful nature, the seasons and the weather all at the same time.

Some of them are in beautiful places like Kusatu Hot spring in Gunma Prefecture, Kurokawa Hot spring in Kumamoto Prefecture and Kinosaki Hot Spring in Hyogo Prefecture which is popular recently. You can enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of Japan’s good old days there. Now it is rainy season. After rainy season, we have a hot, humid summer. You can enjoy the hot spring in summer too.  It is wonderful to take a bath in a roten-buro on an early summer morning.  Why don’t you try taking a bath in many different kinds of water in Japanese Onsen?

Thanks again to all guests for joining us. We have been introducing our activities at Facebook and Trip adviser.  TFWT is going to hold a walking tours at Meiji shrine, Asakusa and Ueno Park.  Please check our website for more details.

Posted by Keiko.A

Sunny Day Tour During Rainy Season — @Meiji Jingu Shrine & Harajuku on June 16, 2019

Thank you so much for joining our tour at Meiji Jingu Shrine & Harajuku area on June 16.  We welcomed 12 guests from Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and France!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The rainy season had already started in Tokyo, but we were blessed with sun during this tour.  We could enjoy to see the Japanese traditional wedding at the front of the main Pavilion of Shrine, or many young people enjoying playing dress-up at the Takeshita-dori Street!

On June 16 was the Day of Japanese Confectionery, so the Shrine gave any visitors a Japanese traditional sweets and tea.  In 868, the Emperor supplied gods with the sweets or dumplings for preventing the epidemic from spreading further, then it worked well.

CEA60A29-1A58-4C79-8F29-066E98697B7FL0001--IMG_1040.JPG
Soft dumpling with sweet bean paste (Anko).  They looked like Japanese irises.

 

We have a Japanese garden inside of the Meiji Jingu shrine and anyone can enjoy watching Japanese irises with the admission fee.  One of our group visited there.

Now is the flowers high season, we highly recommend to visit there !

(reported by Hisako)

 

A bad weather for the outdoor tour, 15 June 2019, the East Garden of the Imperial Palace

Many thanks to 20 guests who participated in this tour from USA, Germany, Spain, Greece, Belgium, India and Indonesia. We divided into 4 groups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The weather was terrible so it was not a very comfortable tour for all of us. We really  appreciated our guests’ patience on that day.

Actually, June is a rainy season in Japan. The phrase “June Bride” does not match with Japanese climate. June is not popular wedding month in Japan. In that sense, the guests experienced a very typical June weather although it was not desirable for outdoor guide tour.

It is recommended to enjoy indoor tours in such season.

Where in Japan is best for indoor tour?

How about Todai-ji Temple in Nara prefecture?

1AFF8E37-FF6D-4400-90F2-C183AD61F0EE

It is a big hall and you can view middle age made Buddha statues inside. If you are interested in Buddhism, that is the place where you can spend an hour inside.

Another big hall is Higashi-Honganji temple in Kyoto. There is the world’s biggest wooden-made building. Inside is a very spacious straw mat floor that you have to take off shoes to get on.

35FBD53F-55CF-46BE-9DCC-BC1783E8C475

Rainy season is the time when you should think about indoor tours.

Within our presenting Tokyo Free Walking Tours, Ueno Park has such sites. The museums!

If you join Ueno Park held every other Sunday afternoon, you can learn about it. Why not check our website for schedule?

IMG_0003

(Masa)

 

Is that the bell from Ueno or Asakusa? (A tour report of Asakusa and Ueno Park on Jun 9)

Thank you so much for joining the tours in Asakusa and Ueno Park on Jun 9. We welcomed 17 guests from USA, UK, Germany, Mexico, Philippines and India.
Tokyo entered the rainy season on June 7. The weather forecast told that there could be raining but thankfully it was not happened. Cloudy and a little humid but not so hot. It began to rain after night, so we were lucky.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


We really appreciate all guest for sharing your precious time together and enjoyed our tour and conversations with the guests. We are often inspired by unexpected questions and information from our guests and today’s tours were definitely the ones. We wish our guests had the good time with us, too.
Speaking of time, June 10 is “Time Day” in Japan. It is not a national holiday, but I think it is one of the candidates because there are no national holidays in June. The Emperor Tenchi, who is the 38th Emperor, on June 10 in 671, approximately 1350 years ago, first made a water clock and made it a time clock to Otsu in current Shiga prefecture. Based on the historical event, Time Day was enacted in 1920.
Time went down in the Edo period, from the 17th thorough early 19th centuries, most people in Edo city (now Tokyo) knew the time with the sound of a bell. The day was divided into 12 units, but the length of one unit changed depending on the season because it was an irregular time method. At the beginning a bell was in Edo Castle (now East garden of the Imperial Palace) for Samurai, and “Bell of Time” was set in Nihonbashi at first for citizens. It is said that at least total 9 bells were made in Edo city (now Tokyo). Two of them are currently in Ueno Park and Asakusa.
It is said that the order of those bells to strike was decided, and in order not to make a significant delay among them, at fist the bell hit three times for notifying and then the indicated the time. The famous Edo period poet Basho Matsuo listened to the sound of the bells and left a famous poem called “A cloud of flowers, Is that the bell from Ueno or Asakusa?”.

In the late 19th century, Japan began to make its way to a modern nation, and along with that, the introduction of the on-time law and the spread of watches, the Bell of Time ended its role. However, even now, the bells of Ueno Park are reminiscent of the old-fashioned tone three times at 6 o’clock in the morning and at 6 o’clock in the morning and at noon by those who protect the belfry.
As you can see, Asakusa and Ueno are full of other attractions where you can learn about Japanese history and customs. Of course, do not forget “East garden of the Imperial Palace” and “Meiji Jingu Shrine & Harajuku”. Please take part in our free walking tours and let us help you to enjoy your stay in Japan. We look forward to sharing the wonderful time with you together.
(Posted by Toyo)

Full of flowers(TOUR REPORT OF THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE ON JUNE.8, 2019)

Thank you for all! We welcomed 20 guests from various countries such as US, Philippine, Portugal,New Zealand,India,Singapore and Russia. We divided all the guests into 2 groups and each tour took 2.5 hour with 2 or 3 guides.


Fortunately,it was cloudy and sometimes sunny in such a rainy season and our tour went smoothly with a help of wouderful guests.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


In this season, our site is full of flowers.
Blue flowers are standard and lacecap hydrangea.
(Ajisai and Gakuajisai in Japanese)
They are just beginning to bloom.

White flower is evergreen magnoria.(Taisanboku in Japanese)
Big petal is impressive in early Summer.
Red flower is Indian coral tree.(Kaikozu in Japanese)
It is a simbol tree of Kagoshima prefecture in south Japan.

Highlight is a beautiful iris in Ninomaru garden.
It blooms freshly and youthfully with a plenty of rainwater.
This weekend or next weekend will be the best to enjoy.

And the guests wearing on special Kimono is as nice as those flowers.

In our tour, we can share Japanese nature,history and dairy life.
Please come and join us !!
(Posted by Y.A.)

EDO WAS THE” CITY OF FIRES”, ON JUNE 1

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour in the East Garden of the Imperial Palace.
On that day, June 1, we welcomed around 55 guests from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Myanmar, Nederland, New Zealand, Philippine, Singapore, Sweden, U.K. and U.S.A.


Finally, June has come.
The month signals as the start of early summer season, which tends to be Japan’s rainiest time of the year.
With sunny and occasionally cloudy sky, we met 55 people in the square of Tokyo Station building located in Marunouch district of Tokyo.
The redbrick train station was overlooking us, and it also seemed to warmly welcome our tour group, as it always does.
Immediately before starting the tour, we made four groups for several participants in line with a few assigned guides.
After a twenty-minute walk from Tokyo Station, we went into the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, which used be Edo Castle.
This historical garden is situated in a highly urbanized area of Tokyo, which is fully surrounded by busy streets and concrete buildings, whereas this well-preserved historical location can draw us into its peaceful and calm environment.


The remaining parts of the castle buildings in the garden are in comfortable, and protected position by an amazing number of vegetations, which attract visitors’ attention all year round.
Now is the amazing time when a lot of iris flowers and azaleas in vivid colors are blooming in Ninomal garden which used to be the Tokugawa Shoguns’ second residence in the Edo Castle.
Aside from these distinguished flowers, a few hydrangeas secretly blossoming and truly associated with the signs of a rainy season in Japan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


As everyone has learned during the tour, most parts of the magnificent Edo castle were frequently burned down by accidental fires.
Unfortunately, during the Edo period, more than a hundred fires have devastated parts of old Tokyo.
One of these fires is called the Meireki Fire that occurred in 1657 and caused hundred thousands of casualties.
A historical anecdote that alludes to the frequent fires in Edo is “Fires and quarrels are the flowers of Edo.”.
It simply means that fires and quarrels are the highlights of the Edo period.
These stories and historical accounts have truly characterized Edo as the “City of Fires”.
In light of these frequent disparities in the old city, the Edo government organized 48 distinct firefighter groups.


Each group was assigned their own territories to protect and mainly engaged in firefighting for the towns people all over Edo city.
These firefighters were chosen for their bravery in tackling fires without any hesitation, and they vowed to protect the communities even if they risked their lives while doing it.
Once, a fire occurred, these distinguished firefighters rushed to the scene and acted their tasks with their pride.
For Instance, a person carrying matoi, like a standing display with his group’s  name,

immediately lead his gathering to heated spot and climbed its roof to notify the epicenter of the diverted location.
This strong mentality has been inherited and truly reflects to nowadays fire-fighting service provided by Tokyo Fire Department ,and Syobodan which are organized mainly suburbanized or rural areas in Japan
At present, their works get more hectic year by year because there are diverse disasters happening or expected to happen in this highly urbanized Tokyo.
We really appreciate their painstaking works.
(By Arac)

Tour report on 2 JUNE in Harajuku

I sincerely thank you for taking the time for joining the tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku. We had 12 guests from USA, Australia. 7 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. I hope all of you enjoyed walking with us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ukiyo-e or woodblock printings have been very popular among common people since the Edo period.
Ukiyo-e pictures were very reasonable in the Edo period so that people used them as one of daily life commodities such as wallpaper, fan, calendars and wrapping paper.
Real Ukiyo-e pictures are very expensive now, but don’t worry. We can collect ‘Ukiyo-e‘ reasonably.
For example, the following are the Playing Cards of Hiroshige’s “Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido” which is one of the most famous Ukiyo-e picture series.

cc.jpg

Many people think that “Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido” consisted of 53 pictures, but don’t forget the start point and the end point. 53 is the number of stations between Nihombashi and Kyoto. So there are 55 pictures.
My most favorite picture is “Night Snow at Kambara”.

aa

posted by Maki

Tour Report on May 28

Thank you for joining our tour, we welcomed 20guests from Italy、 Germany、 USA、 Spain、 and Philippine.
We divided all guests into 3groups and started our tour at 13:00 from Tokyo station.
Each group has 2 guides.
Unseasonal heat continued for several days, but today the temperature was less than 29 degrees, it was cloudy and humidity and windy, a little rain came in the second half of the tour.
Even so we enjoyed our walking tour in the afternoon, usually a weekday tour is held in the morning, but today was a special schedule at the East Garden.
Probabry, that is because the US president left Japan this morning, he stayed the Palace hotel nearby Imperial Palace.

 


That aside it seems that the rainy season has begun in Japan.
Then, we can enjoy different flowers along with the changing seasons in the East Garden.
Azeria is almost over, then rainy season is best for Japanese iris and hydrangea.
In the NINOMARU garden, 84kinds of Japanese iris blooms from early June.

It is still early in full bloom now.

D-1

I heard that the garden staff takes care of the flowers every day to keep its bloom beautifully.
They do their best through a year as they want guests to be happy.

Although it’s bothersome to go out on rainy days, however I’m cheered by looking at beautiful flowers blooming.
Hydrangea blooms the north area of Honmaru and near the FUJIMI TAMON.

Speaking of famous places for hydrangea are Kamakura and Hakone, but there are anymore places where you can enjoy it in TOKYO. For instance [SINOBAZU pond] in UENO park, and [SUMIDA park] along the Sumida river.

It will be one of pleasure of your journey.
I would like many guests to enjoy the beautiful flowers in Japan.

Thanks again to all guests for joining us.We have been introducing our activities at Facebook and Trip adviser . TFWT is going to hold a walking tours at Meiji shrine, Asakusa and Ueno Park.

Please check our website for more details.

Posted by KEIKO.S

 

 

 

 

TOUR REPORT OF THE EAST GARDEN OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE ON MAY.25, 2019

Thank you joining us. We welcomed 43 guests from various countries such as US, UK, Sweden, Malaysia, Philippine, Hungary, Canada, Australia, Turkey and India. We divided all the guests into 4 groups and started our tour at 1:00 pm from Tokyo station. Each group has 2 guides, so all guests and guides were able to enjoy conversation while walking.

It was a very hot day like summer and the temperature was over 31 degrees. However it was dry and we could feel pleasant breeze under the shade.

Donald Tramp the president of United State of America arrived that day and would stay at the Palace Hotel nearby East Garden. Our tour course was in a state of high security. Mr. Tramp will be the first foreign leader to meet new emperor.

.jpg

tramp empe

Thanks again to all the guests for joining and having good time with us.We have been introducing our activities at Facebook and Trip adviser.If you have joined our tour, please check them, and give us your comments or feedbacks. TFWT is going to hold a walking tours at Meiji shrine, Asakusa and Ueno Park. Please check our website for more details.

Please make sure you will protect yourself against hot weather!

Posted by YUMI.K