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Tour Report of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on Apr.20, 2024

Tour Report of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on Apr.20, 2024

Thank you for joining our tour!

We welcomed 38 guests from France, Germany, Australia, Bulgaria, USA, Spain, Norway, UK, Canada, and Croatia.

The cherry blossoms may be over but spring is still in full swing with colorful flowers in the Ninomaru Garden. We guides shared delightful moments with our guests.

In our tour we talk about the feud between 2 high class samurais (Asano and Kira) and the consequence of the 47 Ronins. But do you know that there is a spin-off to this story? Let me introduce the Tsuwano clan and Genji-maki.

Genji-maki is a signature sweet cake of the Tsuwano region (Shimane prefecture). Wheat flour is mixed with eggs and sugar and spread out thinly, and the outer layer is baked until it is golden brown. It is later filled with sweet bean paste and rolled up into a flat, rolled cake that is 1.5 cm thick. This confectionary has a long history, dating back to the 17th century.

In 1698, only a few years before the Asano’s attach on Kira, a feudal lord Kamei from the Tsuwano clan was working on his mission under mentorship of Kira to welcome the imperial envoy in Edo Castle. No different from Asano, Kamei was treated in a harsh way by his boss that pushed him to a point where he was pressured to take Kira down with him.

As soon as Kamei’s right hand man found out about his master’s attempt, he immediately delivered a sweet flat cake filled with an oval gold coin over to Kira. Kira was very pleased with the “filling” and stopped the bullying instantly. Thanks to this approach Kamei was able to complete his mission and return home safely.

Today this flat cake is filled with smooth bean paste (instead of gold) , and is known as the good luck confectionary that saved the Tsuwano Clan.

If Asano had known this approach, he may have avoided the tragedy that was brought upon his clan and himself….

The small town of Tsuwano offers samurai district, castle ruins and picturesque atmosphere.It is worth a visit if you have the chance to visit western Japan.

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 us to continue our volunteer activities. Next time you’re in Tokyo, please join another one of our tours (Asakusa, Meiji Shrine/Harajuku and Ueno Park). We’d love to see you again.

Posted by Asako

For more information about our tour, please visit our web site at
https://tfwt.jp/top/east-gardens-of-the-imperial-palace/ ,
or Tokyo Free Walking Tour at https://www.tripadvisor.jp/ .