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One of the best souvenirs in Japan is a “Commemorative postage stamp”! Tour Report of Asakusa on May 22, 2024

  • 2024.05.22

Thank you for choosing our tour at Asakusa on May 22. We welcomed 12 people from U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand and Spain. 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.       I think one of the best souvenirs in Japan is a commemorative postage stamp. Commemorative postage stamp can provide various information about Japan such as culture, food, scenery, history, art etc. It is said that commemorative postage stamp is “small works of art” due to the intricate design. This is only available in Japan. This is issued by Japan Post which is the subsidiary of Japan Post Holding. Japanese government is a major shareholder of Japan Post Holding. Commemorative postage stamp is printed by National Printing Bureau in Japan. Therefore the quality of printing is very high. By collecting these stamps, you may get interested in Japanese culture, arts, history etc. and also recall some good memories from your trip to Japan. The characteristics as a souvenir are as follows. It is easy to bring many these postage stamp sheets home as souvenirs. One commemorative postage stamp […]

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 […]

Tour Report of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on 18 May 2024, Guiding in the area where Japan’s governance has taken place for centuries

  • 2024.05.20

Many thanks to the guests who participated in the tour to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace located just next to Japan’s governmental section. On the tour of the day we hosted 13 guests from India, Australia, Canada, France, and Singapore. The weather was unusually hot in this time of the year. So we try to get into shaded areas while guiding.  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. The East Garden was where the feudal lord, so called Shogun’s castle was located before late 19th century, and was a practical central governance function while the capital of Japan in the feudal period was officially Kyoto since Emperor resided there. Now the practical government function is relocated just next to west side of the Imperial Palace. You can view a tip of it in Wadakura Fountain Park within the tour route. The pyramid like roof above the imperial palace woods seen above the fountain is Japan’s Parliament or Congress or Diet (National Assembly) Hall. It is like Capitol Hill in Washington or Westminster in London or Reichstage in […]

Beautiful carps are waiting, too. Tour report on May 14, 2024 at East Garden of the Imperial Palace

  • 2024.05.15

Thank you for joining our tour at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on May 14, 2024. We welcomed 15 guests from Canada, Poland, Spain, USA, Germany and Singapore We hope everybody enjoyed the tour and conversation with us and other guests. Courtesy of our guests, we can post the photos of today’s tour which might interest you to join next time. On previous day, we had a heavy rain in Tokyo. Today, someone had a strong luck to attract a very fine weather. The period before the rainy season is the best time to travel in Japan, and the guests could realize it. Although not so many flowers aren’t seen at this time, we can enjoy the beautiful scenery in the vivid green. The contrast between the green and the blue sky is marvelous from the top of the foundation of “Tenshu”, the main tower of Edo castle. In Ninomaru Garden area, you can see the colorful carps in the pond. They are the cross breed of Japanese carp and Indonesian carp. The former Emperor Akihito came up with the idea of the cross breed when he visited Indonesia about 60 years ago and saw Indonesian carps. In […]

Report of 12 May 2024 tours, Experience Paris in Asakusa and Ueno Park

  • 2024.05.14

Hello, everyone. I am Masa, one of the guides who hosted the Asakusa tour in the morning. I am reporting on tours of the day. As a tour guide for foreign guests, I realised it is important to know how our guests feel when they travel in Japan. Thus I traveled to one of the world’s most famous tourist spots to take a glimpse of how foreign tourists view our country a few month ago. I included my analysis of this agenda in this report. Firstly, thank you very much to the guests who participated in the 3 tours of Asakusa and Ueno Park on 12 May 2024. We hosted 16 guests from Israel, Germany, Australia, El Salvador, England, Indonesia, Singapore and New Zealand on the morning tour of Asakusa. We divided into 4 groups. The weather was cloudy and the temperature was moderate. At Asakusa Shrine, next to the Sensoji Temple 3 Mikoshi (portable shrines carried by human shoulders) that will be used in upcoming Sanja Festival, are exhibited. The festival is to worship 3 men who contributed to the establishment of Sensoji Temple. Then, we hosted two guests from Mexico on the afternoon tour of Asakusa. Also, in […]

East garden of Imperial palace tour on May 11

  • 2024.05.12

Thank you for choosing our tour at the East Garden of Imperial Palace on 11 th May. We welcomed 24 guests from US, UK, Australia, Ireland, India, Argentina, Iran and El Salvador. 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> <Group C> In our tour, we head for castle palace area through three guard house. Second house is the biggest called Hyakunin-Bansho which means there are one hundred guardians in shift. Here, my favorite is the arranged and modified tree next to Hyakunin-Bansho. As it is very important place to guard, they assign special force at that time. It’s Ninja!We always add our explanation about Ninja. Sometimes we hand you Origami-shuriken. It’s typical weapon for Ninja. Playing Ninja reminds us of our childhood days!! Your 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 you for choosing Tokyo Free Walking Tourduring your precious time in Tokyo. In case you happen to be back […]

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. […]

Greenery Day: Tour Report of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on May 4, 2024

  • 2024.05.04

Thank you for choosing our tour at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on May 4, 2024. We welcomed 14 guests from Argentina, US, France, Canada, Germany, and Australia. 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. It was a sunny day and perfect for our tour. The cherry blossom and azalea season has been over, but the iris season is coming. We are looking forward to it. Our guests wore our original handmade kimonos for fun and took beautiful photos. They look like people from the Edo era in their Kimonos. This enjoyable event will be held at the final destination, Hirakawa-mon. May 4th is Greenery Day. It came from the Emperor Showa’s birthday on April 29th. It was a national holiday called “The Emperor’s Birthday” until 1988, and the name of the holiday was changed to “Greenery Day” the next year, which was the previous year Emperor Showa passed away. He had a lot of knowledge of biology and botany and was interested in preserving the environment. Then the name “Greenery Day” was chosen to […]

Ueno Toshogu Garden Spring Peony Festival, the Ueno Park tour on May 1

  • 2024.05.01

Thank you for joining the Ueno Park tour on May 1. We welcomed 4 people from Switzerland, Hong Kong and America. The weather was a little rainy and chilly. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoyed walking with us at the park. As promised, photos are posted as a memory.   After cherry blossoms have fallen at Ueno Park, the peony flowers are now in full bloom at Ueno Toshogu Garden. The garden is one of the best peony gardens in Tokyo. Ueno Toshogu Peony Garden was opened in 1980 to commemorate the friendship between Japan and China. The peony which originates from China is called King of the hundred flowers, Goddess of Flowers or the noble and wealthy flower due to its gorgeous appearance. The peony has breathtaking large petals (10-20 centimeters), so it is compared to a beautiful woman. The flower comes in a variety of colors including white, peach, crimson, vermilion, yellow and so on. It was during the Nara period(710-794) when the peony was introduced to Japan from China as medical plants. After that, the peony was cultivated as ornamental plants, then many types were created. Consequently, the gardening culture became familiar among the ordinary people in the […]

Nakizumo – Crying sumo. Do you know about this unique match? This is a tour report of Asakusa and Ueno on April 28th.

  • 2024.04.29

Many thanks for joining our tours at Asakusa and Ueno Park on April 14, 2024. We welcomed 26 guests from Canada, Italy, India, Holland, New Zealand, Malaysia, and the USA. It was a tremendous opportunity for us to meet wonderful guests from all over the world and to share interesting conversations. As promised, group photos and snapshots are attached so that you can remember the fun we had during the tour. Asakusa AM Group A Asakusa AM Group B Asakusa AM Group C Asakusa PM Group A Asakusa PM Group B Ueno Group A Ueno Group B On this day, a crying sumo match was held at Sensoji Temple. As the name suggests, crying is the point of the contest. Babies born last year are eligible to participate in this event. The sumo wrestler holds the baby wrestler in his arms and brings them to the ring.  The babies look at each other. The Gyoji referee watches over them. By the way, which do you think is the winner? Actually, the baby who cried louder won the match. This is based on the saying, “A child who cries grows better.” Koinobori (carp streamers) were swimming at the Sensoji Temple. Koinobori […]

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