Tour Reports

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.

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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

 

 

Enjoy full of attractions in Asakusa and Ueno Park (May 26)

Thank you so much for joining the tours in Asakusa and Ueno Park on May 26. We welcomed 17 guests from America, Canada, Sweden, Armenia, Germany, India and Dubai. It was extremely hot like a mid-summer’s day for this time of year. Nevertheless, I hope all of you enjoyed walking together with us.

We offer four different free walking tours in Tokyo and the newest tour is Ueno Park. Ueno Park is one of the best-loved and most beautiful spaces in Japan and over 10mil people visit each year. The Park has many historic spots since it was the site of Kaneiji Temple, the family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo period for nearly 270 years. It was open 140 years ago after the civil war with the Meiji Restoration. Since then the area has rapidly developed and became a major tourist spot.

The attraction of the Park is not only to show the modern architectures but also preserve the ancient buildings. The main building of Tokyo National Museum is the Western and Japanese eclectic architectural style, and now holds the special exhibition from Kyoto To-ji Temple (until June 2). National Museum of Western Art planned by Le Corbusier was designated as the World Cultural Heritage Property three years ago. Moreover, the historic buildings such as gorgeous Ueno Toshogu Shrine, the stunning pagoda and the characteristic Kiyomizu Temple survive fires, earthquakes and the wars, and remain still in perfect condition for nearly 400 years. In addition, the 200-year-old Black Gate is a massive architecture.

On top of all that, see the rich and beautiful nature of each season. Cherry blossoms in spring, scenic lotus flowers in Shinobazu pond in summer and a number of flying waterfowls in winter. Now the Park has a lot of fresh green leaves and walking under the trees is really a great fun. We should thank Dr. Anthonius Bauduin, a Dutch medical doctor who made a proposal to the new Meiji government to build a public park in view of the rich nature. Our local guides will fascinate you with the quintessential focal points of the Park.
Ueno Park tour characterizes

 

 

 

 

The Ueno Park tour is held on 2nd and 4th Sunday. The meeting point is between Park Exit of JR Ueno Station and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. Join the tour after the morning tour of Asakusa. Of course, you may join us in Ueno. The tour starts at 1:30 pm from Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and finishes around the statue of Saigo Takamori. It takes about two hours.


(posted by Yoshi)

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

Thank you for joining our tour to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on May 18.  We welcomed 28 guests from Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, UK, and USA. The weather was fine with a quick shower that wasn’t a big deal. We enjoyed our walking tour and great conversation very much.

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Our tour starts from Tokyo station and Marunouchi area followed by Edo Castle premises. Very modern buildings to historical sites.

Entering the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. That’s the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circle of defense. Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Meiji also resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly constructed Imperial Palace.

 

(Posted by Tank)

Thank you for joining our tour. We had a great time.

WALKING IN A LUSH GREEN FOREST RIGHT AT THE HEART OF TOKYO; HARAJUKU TOUR ON MAY 19TH

Today 10 guests from Canada, Spain, Philippines and USA joined our walking tour of Harajuku. The weather forecast said that we would have a cloudy day, turning into rain in the evening. But despite the forecast the weather has been nice, sunny and warm, since morning. I hope that all the guests enjoyed the tour.

 

At this time of the year the sunlight is already strong, and will get much stronger as summer approaches. But don’t worry. Lush green forest at Meiji-Shrine and many large zelkova trees lining the Omotesando Street will give us nice shades during the tour.

It was the last day of Sanja Festival at Asakusa today, so it must have been lively but very crowded there. Here, in spite of large number of visitors coming to Meiji Shrine as usual, we still were able to conduct a calm and informative tour for visitors.

 

There is a large Iris Garden in the precinct of Meiji Shrine. The garden was originally designed by Emperor Meiji for his consort Empress Shoken.

Since ancient times Japanese people continuously loved irises and created various kinds of breeds. The garden’s irises have started from 45 Edo-breeds. Now they have expanded to 150 breeds. They will be in full bloom from the end of May until Mid-June. You have to pay 500 yen to enter the garden, but still it’s worth to see the irises when it’s in full bloom.

http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/hanashobu/

(chino)

ASAKUSA AND UENO SIMULTANEOUSLY WELCOME OUR GUESTS, 12TH OF MAY

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour in Asakusa and Ueno.
On that day, May 12, we welcomed 21 guests on our walking tour.
These people came from different corners of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Singapore, Spain, U.K. and U.S.A.
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On the same day, we held our tour three times at the different locations, Asakusa and Ueno.
At first, we started our morning tour at 10:00 A.M. in Asakusa.
It began from an iconic location in the area named “Kaminarimon Gate” or Thunder Gate and ended at Asakusa Shinto Shrine.
In the shrine compound, we were able to see many festive decorations like banners and Japanese paper lanterns.


This is in preparation for an upcoming religious event called the Sanjya Festival. The cerebration will start from 17th of May and continues until 19th of this month.
The term Sanjya means three deities, who are enshrined in the Asakusa Shinto Shrine.
These deities were the ones involved in establishing the Sensoji Buddhist Temple.
As part of the celebration, three portable shrines for these deities were set up in the shrine’s storage area and open to the public.

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Next, we have implemented the simultaneous tours to efficiently use time and to mobilize our tour guides in these two locations at the same time during the afternoon.
The Ueno tour started at 1:30 PM, and so did the Asakusa tour at 1:00 PM.
Observing the influx of people coming from the Ueno Station entrance, we began waiting for the participants of the Ueno tour for the afternoon.
The temperature of the day already rose to 25 degrees Celsius, and it was slightly humid.
Our tour guides, and 4 guests converged in front of the train station at around 1:30 in the afternoon.
After greeting each other, we started our stroll towards the Tokyo Cultural Theater, one of the most notable opera houses in Tokyo.
After introducing this distinguished theater to the guests, we continued to tour around 16 notable spots of interest in the Ueno Park for 90 minutes.
Known as the “Village of Culture” and as described in one of our previous blog posts, Ueno Park is huge enough to accommodate many attractions, including art museums, a zoo, a Buddhist temple, a Shinto shrine, and other notable locations.


In the green and peaceful ground, visitors of the park and the participants of the Ueno Tour were able to witness stage performances held in the fountain square in front of Tokyo National Museum.
The aim of these performances is to give opportunities for people visiting the park to see various types of dance like hip-hop, jazz, and yosakoi, a traditional Japanese dance; performed by selected dancers of various generations and nationality.
The event is also a great way to connect people from all walks of life.

Well, choosing your ideal location in Tokyo can be taxing, and so is spending an entire day walking around this highly urbanized city, unplanned and without aim.
For people wishing to experience a unique daytime trip in Tokyo, the Asakusa and Ueno tours are for you.
The Asakusa tour starts at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM and the Ueno tour starts at 1:30 PM.
We are sure that this new tour schemes will be of interest to you.
(By arac)

TOUR REPORT ON THE EAST GARDENS OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE MAY 11,2019

Thank you for joining our tour to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on May 11. We welcomed 39 guests from U.S.A., Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Canada, Russia, UK, Brazil, Peru, Netherland, Poland, and Mexico. The guests are divided into 5 groups.

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The weather was very hot but dry and a little windy. It wasn’t so hard to get sweaty. The maximum temperature was 28 degrees. It was the hottest day of this year. It seemed to be early summer.

The KITTE building is one of the great view points of Tokyo Station.

Tokyo Station is the starting point of our tour to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. Tokyo station was restored to the original state 7 years ago. Station square was also renovated at the end of 2017. Many buildings surrounding Tokyo Station have been rebuilt in the past 17 years. Therefore the scenery surrounding this area has changed dramatically. The KITTE building located across the Marunouchi south exit of Tokyo Station was built and opened in 2013. The KITTE building was built at the place of former Tokyo Central Post Office. The former building was built in 1931 and evaluated as one of the buildings representing modernized architecture in the early Showa period. A part of the exterior wall of the old building is restored to its original state and preserved. The KITTE building has roof garden on the 6th floor. This garden is small (about 1,500 square meters) but a variety of trees and turf are planted and several benches are placed at this garden. You may be able to get comfortable field of view. This observatory command panoramic view of Tokyo Station and the modern tall building surrounding it.

From the KITTE garden, you can see beautiful scenery not only during the day but also at night. Tokyo Station is illuminated from sunset to 9p.m. . The KITTE garden has been designated as a night view inheritance of Japan since August 2018.

This garden open 11a.m. to 11p.m. (weekday and Saturday), 11a.m. to 10p.m.(Sunday and holiday) and free of charge.

In addition, Tokyo central post office on the first floor of the KITTE building may be interesting place for foreign tourists. Japan Post issues 40 to 50 commemorative stamps in a year. There are a variety of commemorative stamps related to Japanese art, culture, history, nature and so on. For example, the folding screens of Wind God and Thunder God, Kabuki, and Meiji restoration as shown in the following photo. Quality of the stamp such as color, printing is very good and design is also sophisticated. These commemorative stamps are sold for each set of 10 stamps and costs 820 yen. Commemorative stamp may be one of the best souvenirs for foreign tourists. It is reasonable cost, easy to carry and showing the unique features of Japan.

Moreover, small store in the post office deals in various souvenirs such as traditional Japanese souvenirs, post office related goods such as letter goods, frame stamps, railway related goods, mascot character goods. There are many attractive goods for tourists. So the KITTE building is worth visiting to enjoy seeing panoramic view and finding attractive souvenirs.

Tokyo Central Post Office open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (weekday) and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.(Saturday, Sunday and holiday).

We are looking forward to welcoming you on our tour.

(posted by Kuma)

MAY, THE START OF A NEW IMPERIAL ERA IN JAPAN FRESH BREEZE WELCOMED OUR GUESTS

Tours coming soon are:

May 11 (Sat)

13:00 start Imperial Palace East Garden route

May 12 (Sun)

10:00 & 13:00 start Asakusa   13:30 start Ueno Park

Thank you for your joining to our Meiji Jingu Shrine & Harajuku route tour on Sunday May 5.  Lovely guests we welcomed counted 14 from all over the world, which were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, U.K. & U.S.A.

During this tour, if you are lucky possibilities are that you encounter Japanese traditional wedding ceremony procession at the Main Hall of the shrine. It is a not only impressive but a precious experience feeling you receive a small happiness from them.  Yes, we had the luck again on May 5.

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We also encountered a cute boy and his mom with “Koi-nobori (Carp streamer)”, symbol of May 5 “Children’s Day”.

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Children’s Day, is a holiday dedicated to the health and happiness of children in Japan.

It is also called “Tango no Sekku”, it used to be a day for boy’s festival.

People put up carp-shaped streamers outside and display special dolls & decorations such as an armor, a war helmet, a doll wearing them and so on in the house, and eat

rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf called Kashiwamochi wishing descendants prosperity.

Iris leaves and roots are put into the bath expecting ward off evil spirits.

(posted by Akemi T.)

 

 

 

 

Ueno Park tour on May 12

A new walking tour will be held at Ueno Park on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month starting from May 12 at 1:30pm.

As we have the existing tour in Asakusa in the morning and afternoon on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, you can combine the Ueno Park tour with the Asakusa morning tour if you wish. In other words, our Asakusa tour starts at 10am and finish around at 11:30 and you may move to Ueno by Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (the third stop) in time for the Ueno Park Tour. Of course, with a sufficient lunch break.

Asakusa Sensoji Temple is the Tokyo’s oldest temple known for the symbolic Kaminarimon-gate and the atmosphere of the old Tokyo remains strong. About 30 million people are said to visit the temple every year. The Japan’s oldest Nakamise Shopping street, Pagoda, huge waraji sandals and the main hall where the sacred Buddhist statures are housed.

On the other hand, Ueno Park was the site of Kaneiji Temple, the largest and family temple of the ruling Tokugawa family for 270 years during the Edo period. Apparently, the Park is a cultural mecca and has full of attractions including museums, historic buildings, Spring peony garden (until May 12, an admission fee), street performance, starbucks etc. Tokyo National Museum is currently showing the breathtaking arts from Toji-Temple Kyoto.

Now Spring is the time of matsuri(festivals) in Japan. In the shitamachi (traditional areas) on the eastern part of the city two major matsuri will be held very soon. They are shinto festivals, Kanda matsuri for Kanda Myojin Shrine and Sanja matsuri for Asakusa Shrine. The events are held on May 9-15 and May 16-19 respectively. The highlights of the matsuri are the parade of a number of powerful mikoshi(portable shrines) carried by the people through the city streets to pray for a good harvest and prosperous business. Both are the two of the most spectacular festivals in Japan. If you are around, it will be an exciting experience for you to have in Tokyo.

In addition, Japan is in a festive mood celebrating an imperial succession that occurred by abdication rather than by death. We now have a new Emperor and a new era ‘Reiwa’. Naruhito, 59 is the first Japanese emperor born after World WarⅡ. The 85-year-old former Emperor Akihito had decided to retire due to his declining fitness level and handed over his public duties to his son, Naruhito. Akihito was the first Japanese emperor to step down in about 200 years and became Emperor Emeritus. We believe that the new Emperor and Empress will be a good symbol of the nation with an international sense.

The Ueno Park tour starts on May 12 at 1:30pm and the meeting point is between the Park Exit of JR Ueno Station and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. It can be accessed from the Ueno Stations of Tokyo Metro (Ginza Line and Hibiya Line) and Keisei as well. The tour takes about two hours. We offer the enjoyable Japan experience for all the guests and believe that you will be satisfied with our guide. We are looking forward to seeing you then.

(Posted by Yoshi)

 

The memorable tour of the first day of Reiwa (May 1st, 2019)

Thank you so much for coming our memorable tour of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on the first day of Reiwa. We welcomed 15 guests from USA, Ukraine and France. It was a memorable day! Our new Emperor Naruhito was crowned. We were so happy to have had the special tour and met you on that day!

It was rain at the early morning of the tour day. But it cleared and got warmer and warmer. Many Japanese people came to the Imperial Palace in the festive mood.

The new leaves were so green and the Azaria was so red. We enjoyed the contrast of the both colors.  

The new era name “Reiwa” is quoted from the most classical Japanese poems collection   “ Man-yo-shu”.

“Rei” means “beautiful”.  “Wa” means “harmony”.

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All the Japanese people expect that the new era will be peace with harmony of the beautiful mind.

Unfortunately we don’t have the regular tour tomorrow because the east garden of the Imperial Palace will be closed. However, the special greetings at the Palace are offered by The Imperial Household Agency. If you want to meet the new Emperor and Empress, go to the Palace.

Meeting time will be hold every hour from 10:00 AM to 15:00 PM on May 4th. The entrance will open at 9:30 AM.

Be sure to bring the bottle of the water and take comfortable shoes. You will have to wait long time before getting into the greeting place.

In addition, we have Maiji Shrine and Harajuku tour on Sunday morning (May 5th).  Come and join us!

Posted by Yumi.H

 

 

 

The Very Last Tour in Heisei Era, 29 April 2019, UENO Park

Thanks to 3 guests who participated in the tour from Australia and Iran. The weather was cloudy.

This was in fact the very last tour in Heisei Era. As mentioned in other articles, Japan has its own calendar year name by Emperor reigning era, so called Gengo. Until this year’s April is called Heisei. From 1989 till this year was Heisei 1 to 31. Then from May,  Gengo is changed to Reiwa. This year is Reiwa 1.

Until today’s tour, UENO Park course was conducted on irregular basis as trial. But we have decided to conduct it as regular tour, twice a month, every other Sunday afternoon. That is our new plan in Reiwa era.

One of attractions of UENO park is collection of museums along with temples, shrines, a zoo and greenery. There are 6 museums within the park premise.

Tokyo National Museum, exhibiting arts and archaeology, which is like Musee du louvre in Paris or Great Britain Museum in London,

national museum

National Museum of Nature and Science

science museum

The National Museum of Western Art, mainly painting exhibition, which is like Musee d’orsay in Paris. The building was designed by Swiss architect, Le Courbusier and designated as the World Heritage site.

western art

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

metropolitan art museum

The Ueno Royal Museum

royal museum

Museum of Down Town Customs, which exhibit old time common people’s livelihood.

In addition to these, just near the park, only a few minutes walk from the park is Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens, former residence of family who owned Mitsubishi Conglomerate, which exhibits real remain of the old time Japan’s high-society life.

The residence consists of western style mansion and traditional Japanese house. It was built in 1896. Visitors enjoy gorgeous exterior and interior using costly materials. The family no longer reside there since after the second world war ended. Mitsubishi Conglomerate was dismantled for democratisation and redistribution of Japan’s wealth. The family had to give up their huge area and house of their residence. Now it is owned by Tokyo city.

So it was like Japanese version of “Gone with the Wind”, the world renowned novel and the film based on what happened to Southern plantation owner family during American Civil War period.

During the time the family resided in the house, social inequality of Japan was huge. The family hired 50 servants and the residence had an independent generation system while poor commoners sometimes had to sell off their children to earn living.

That should not happen any more. Museums are where you can learn the old things to know what to do for the better future. We should strive to create better future.

Life in Heisei era ends in April and then new life in new era starts.

Like famous words in the film “Gone with the wind,”

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Please come and join us on new days in new era!

(Posted by Masa)