Tag Archives: April

Spring 2017 Tours: Cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Kamakura…

Spring 2017 is almost here… and gorgeous cherry blossoms with it! The cherry trees and “sakura” flowers looked like this near our travel agency in Tokyo city during April 2016:

You want to escape the big crowds visiting Japan during the peak? Enjoy difficult-to-find cherry blossoms at the beginning or end of this season? Reserve a tour conductor/guide speaking English (or French, Japanese…) early to avoid disappointments! From March to May 2017, friendly Yes In Japan tourism specialists can accompany you from your hotel in Tokyo city or nearby: Yokohama port, Kamakura “samurai” capital… or even west in Osaka metropolis, Kyoto traditional capital, Nara ancient capital…

Rather than shopping, walk in selected streets, parks, forests… and maybe savour a Japanese sweet wrapped in a cherry leaf or a drink containing a cute cherry flower 🙂

“Cherry blossoms” trip to Japan in spring 2016? Plan now!

Planning a “cherry blossoms” trip to Japan in spring 2016? Buy your flight tickets, book hotels & ryokans, and reserve tours & activities now because Japanese hotels quickly get full for that period and because few tour guides in Japan speak English fluently! Do not wait to get what you want at a good price…

In spring 2014 & 2015, we guided and assisted joyful foreign tourists (mostly couples and families) in English or French during fun walking tours in Tokyo and in the nearby city of Kamakura. We will happily take care of you too in March, April or May 2016 to help you enjoy the soft white/pink cherry blossoms (and other Japanese flowers), seasonal “sakura” food & drinks, the Japanese culture, etc. 🙂

Pink cherry blossoms in Sakura street (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo) on 17 March 2014.

Reserve a Yes in Japan half-day or full-day private tour in/near Tokyo for you, your family or friends before we get fully booked for the season! Just e-mail our travel agency the date(s) and destination(s) of your choice along with any pertinent complementary information or request.

Note: We also gladly accompany travellers to Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone (near Mount Fuji), etc. but the cost rises significantly…

Reserve Yes in Japan tours early: discounts, special arrangements…

Reserve tours in Japan at our travel agency early to make sure Yes in Japan staff can accompany you on your chosen day, to enable us to make special arrangements and to give us time to negotiate special discounts for your activities, especially if you wish to join our popular personalized private tours (half day, full day, several days) with staff speaking French, Spanish… rather than English! This travel tip is critical if you plan to visit Japan on a business trip with little free time or during the busy season of “sakura” cherry blossoms (mainly March and April).

To contact us before going to Asia, see the page about our Japanese travel agency Travel Stand Japan located in Tokyo 🙂

Japanese culture in Japan at Yasukuni Shrine

At Yasukuni Shrine, you can have a glimpse into Shintoism (significant facet of the Japanese culture), examine Japanese religious architecture including impressive gates, visit an interesting military/war museum, occasionally see Japanese people in military uniform or students wearing the uniform of the National Defense Academy, and admire numerous cherry blossoms in Spring. In the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Yasukuni Shrine was founded by Emperor Meiji and enshrines 2.466.000 souls of soldiers and ordinary citizens dead for Japan… Visit this shrine if you go on a religious or historical tour of Japan!
Yasukuni Shrine (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

You can enter the sacred grounds of Yasukuni Shrine for free every day (weekends and Japanese national holidays included) from 06:00 to 17:00 in January and February but until 18:00 in March and April. Near Kudanshita subway station and the National Showa Memorial Museum, it is the Shinto shrine marked “17” on the Yes in Japan map of Tokyo Chiyoda (version autumn 2014 & winter 2014-2015).

Yasukuni Shrine: Background, location, opening time, tour

Emperor Meiji founded the Yasukuni Shinto Shrine in 1869 to enshrine the soul of soldiers and ordinary citizens dead for Japan. It currently enshrines 2.466.000 souls including girls and women involved in relief operations on battlefields, students working in factories during wars… As you may know from international news, visits of Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese politicians are a major source of tension between Japan, China and South Korea!

Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo (Japan).

Yasukuni Shrine is in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo near Kudanshita subway station, Hotel Grand Palace, Tsukudo Shrine, and the Martial Arts Hall of Japan. In the second half of November, you can usually enjoy its beautiful alley of trees with autumn yellow leaves! Open for free from 06:00, it may close at 17:00, 18:00 or 19:00…

  • January, February: 06:00-17:00.
  • March, April: 06:00-18:00.
  • May, June, July, August: 06:00-19:00.
  • September, October: 06:00-18:00.
  • November, December: 06:00-17:00.

If you are interested in Asia or Japanese history, why not join the Yes in Japan tour “After the War: Fighters and Civilians“?

29 April 2014: Travel Stand Japan closed for Showa Day

Travel Stand Japan will be closed on Tuesday 29 April 2014, which is a national holiday in Japan (Showa Day = birthday of the Showa Emperor a.k.a. Hirohito, who reigned over Japan during World War 2). Many Japanese restaurants and banks will close; plan accordingly… and tell us before Monday if you want us to organize a special tour or activity for you on Tuesday in Tokyo or nearby e.g. Kamakura to see its Big Buddha statue or Hakone to see Mount Fuji. You can also visit our travel agency in Suidobashi today or on Monday for sightseeing tips or help to prepare a trip on Showa Day 🙂

We enjoy various flowers in Tokyo these warm days. No more cherry blossoms but nice purple wisteria flowers at some public parks, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Enjoy the Golden Week and your Spring holidays too!

Purple wisteria flowers and roof of Kanda shrine (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

Yes in Japan private tours in English/French in Tokyo area (half day, 1 day or more)

For the convenience of foreigners travelling or living in Japan, our Japanese travel agency Travel Stand Japan now proposes private tours (half day, 1 day or several days) with tour conductor/guide speaking English or French in addition to local walks and traditional activities. We can meet you at your hotel or ryokan early in the morning if necessary 🙂

For a tour conductor/guide in Tokyo area, you pay the same basic price whether you are alone or come as a group (family, friends…):

This service is convenient and quite cheap if you spend holidays in Japan with your family or friends, do a business trip in Asia with colleagues who do not speak the Japanese language, attend an international conference in Tokyo with researchers or students… Besides, we highly recommend you to join a Yes in Japan private tour if you have only one day in Tokyo and are not sure how to get the best from it.

Family looking at carps in a pond at Happo-en (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

During a 1-day private tour in Tokyo, you could for example eat great sushi at Tsukiji fish market, discover the recently renovated Kabuki-za theatre, savour a green tea in a nice tea house surrounded by trees and flowers, walk in small streets, meet shopkeepers, and end the day with a great night view or even live music! If the weather is not so good, you could instead admire Japanese samurai swords, traditional kimono dresses, Buddhist statues, Shinto lanterns at night, and the interior of a gorgeous wedding centre…

Kabuki-za theatre (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

During a 1-day private tour near Tokyo, you can for example leave early for Hakone to see Mount Fuji, enjoy Japanese art, drink green tea while looking at a lake then relax at a hot spring. You could also enter a bamboo grove, see an impressive statue of Buddha and write a sutra in Kamakura! Of course, we can also accompany you to a Japanese festival or other special event.

Mount Fuji seen from Hakone (Japan) in April 2014.

Try to make early reservations for private tours, especially if you wish a tour conductor/guide at night, on week-ends, public holidays, or busy periods: New year (first week of January), cherry blossoms (March/April), Golden Week (end of April and beginning of May), and autumn leaves (October/November).

Enjoy Japan!

Purple wisteria flowers in Tokyo at Kanda shrine and Zenkoku-ji

In Tokyo today, we enjoyed the sight of purple wisteria flowers hanging on a terrace (easy to miss) beside Kanda shrine in Chiyoda area then at the Buddhist temple Zenkoku-ji of Shinjuku area. As wisteria is considered a flower of May in Japan, it was a good surprise to see these flowers so early in April during our walking tours “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” and “Kagurazaka, Charming Tokyo” with a traveller from Australia 🙂

Tour photo 1: Purple wisteria at Kanda shrine.
Purple wisteria flowers and roof of Kanda shrine (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

Tour photo 2: Purple wisteria at Zenkoku-ji.
Purple wisteria flowers at Zenkoku-ji (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

Enjoy beautiful nature in Japan 🙂

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Kanda shrine = 神田明神 (Kanda-myojin), Zenkoku-ji = 善國寺.
  • Tokyo = 東京, Chiyoda ward = 千代田区 (Chiyoda-ku), Shinjuku ward = 新宿区 (Shinjuku-ku).

New tour in Tokyo: “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?”

We launched the Yes in Japan original walking tour in TokyoInsight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” (reference W14B) without introducing it in this travel blog. Today is the day 🙂 Our team strongly recommends you this new 2~2½ hours walk in English if you love Japanese art, traditions and religion.

Insight Into Art: Roof of a Shinto shrine, statue of a guardian dog and lanterns in Tokyo.

Feel the Japanese artistic sense through traditional and modern paper-based creations and through diverse religious designs… We will visit a dedicated centre and an exciting Shinto shrine where you may see many types of colourful “Washi” handmade paper, origami, Japanese paper dolls, Asian cut paper, statues of gods and horses, translucent and golden lanterns (wonderful when lit up at night)…

Insight into art: Crane-shaped origami at an origami centre in Tokyo in 2014.

Calendar for April 2014: Monday (09:30), Tuesday (16:30) and Thursday (16:30) with departures from the nice Hotel Niwa Tokyo. Please follow the link below to get up-to-date information and book this tour online.

Enjoy beautiful Japan while feeling its deep culture!

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Art of paper folding = 折り紙 (Origami), Japanese paper = 和紙 (Washi).
  • Shinto shrine = 神社 (jinja).
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo), Tokyo = 東京.

2013/2014 most popular walk in Japan: “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” in Tokyo

Our most popular Yes in Japan walk since 2013 is “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” in Tokyo (walk W14B)! From France, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, the Philippines and the USA… everybody looked happy 🙂 If you are interested in Japanese art, traditions and religion, you can join this walk in English 3 mornings/evenings every week in April, and probably every week of 2014/2015.

Insight into art: Crane-shaped origami at an origami centre in Tokyo in 2014.

We typically see many types of Washi handmade paper, origami, Japanese paper dolls, lucky charms, prayer plaques, statues of gods such as Ebisu, golden lanterns (wonderful when lit up at night), holy trees, a holy rock, and the inside of a colourful Shinto shrine… If you are lucky, you may also see a very cute holy horse, see a paper folding demonstration by a cheerful Japanese master, and meet artists! One of our American customers could even try a gorgeous samurai helmet made from paper at the workshop of the origami centre; this was a great sight 🙂

Kanda-myojin at night: statue of the god Daikoku.

Unexpectedly, most participants do shopping during this walk, buying beautiful Japanese paper, cute prayer plaques or unique lucky charms! This walk is really nice in any season, with a blue sky, rain or snow. When you stay in Tokyo, consider joining this walk starting at Hotel Niwa Tokyo (near Suidobashi station).

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Art of paper folding = 折り紙 (Origami), Japanese paper = 和紙 (Washi).
  • Shinto shrine = 神社 (jinja).
  • Suidobashi station = 水道橋駅 (Suidobashi-eki), Tokyo = 東京.
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo).