Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking tour in Harajyuku areas.
On the day of December 16, with a low temperature and overcast sky, we welcomed eighteen guests from different regions like U.S.A., Australia, Canada, Israel, Germany and U.K.
Finally, December has come.
The hectic year-end holiday season undeniably brings us restless times and drives us into engaging into piles of work and commitments.
In Japanese households, people start their extensive year-end cleaning tasks, and in the workplace, workers are confronted by the deadlines of their tasks before the year ends.
It is a kind of routine that people do, brought about by the season.
During this time of the day, we happily met 18 early-bird tourists of the walking tour and commenced in front of the huge torii, or the gate of the Shinto shrine.
After designating the participants to their respective tour guides, and after the introductions, we started the 90-minute tour of Tokyo’s Harajuku district along with our tour route.
Cyozuya: A place for purification ritual
Torii, or the Shinto shrine gate
A Japanese wedding in line with the Shinto ritual
Once we stepped into the evergreen forest that nestles the Meiji Shinto Shrine, most of the members of the tour seemingly forgot the restless and hectic ambiance of the city, and it was replaced by a sense of calm brought about by the tranquil and soothing environment inside the shrine compound.
This sacred place is also a good venue for tourists and travelers to learn about special events that are occasionally conducted in shrines, in line with the Shinto rituals, like shichigosan , and Japanese traditional weddings.
Aside from celebrations, there are also specific locations that are important to the Shinto belief. Some of them are the Chozuya, a place where visitors take part in purification rituals before going in the shrine definitely can inspire visitors’ curiosity.
At the time we concluded our tour at Omotesando Avenue -an approach of the Shinto establishment, all of the Harajuku areas were packed with an excess of pedestrians.
Known for its close proximity from the holly area, Meiji Shinto Shrine and the busy street Takeshita Street, Harajuku station currently are undergoing its massive renovation due to the urgent need for upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This construction project will cause inconvenience and congestion for commuters and tourists.
The construction site of Harajyuku Station
There’s a great possibility that there will be an influx of visitors during this year-end and the coming new year holidays.
This is because this train station is a significant gateway for those who will visit the Meiji Jingu, or commercial areas like Takeshita Street, Omote Sando Avenue, Shibuya town areas, or other neighboring spots.
(From left: Takeshita Street, Omotesando Avenue, Shibuya Station, , , )
During the Christmas season, these shopping areas are full of shoppers or window viewers aiming to obtain reasonable or top-notch items for their Christmas presents.
Meanwhile, from the 31st of December to the 4th of January, more and more devotees or enthusiastic visitors come and worship the famous shrine in hopes of their health, business or academic success.
This is the final tour of the Harajuku area for this year.
Our guides are privileged to welcome people from different corners of the world for the entire year.
Hopefully, more and more Harajuku enthusiasts will come and join our tour next year.
At the same time, we would like to ensure these goers to experience the contrast between the tranquil and busy atmosphere in Harajuku.
Have a nice new year holiday.