Tag Archives: March

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“?

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!

Pink cherry blossoms and Japanese bride in kimono at Tokyo-daijingu on 11 April 2014

This morning, we admired pink cherry blossoms and a charming Japanese bride in white kimono (traditional dress) at the peaceful Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine. The nice couple of travellers from Sweden that joined this “Kagurazaka, Charming Tokyo” walking tour in Tokyo was delighted 🙂

Most cherry trees in Tokyo have already lost their petals due to the rain but this cherry tree of the Yae-zakura species is in full bloom. With good travel tips or a guide, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms in Tokyo even after the peak of March/April!

Pink cherry blossoms at Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine (Tokyo, Japan) on 11 April 2014.

Tokyo-daijingu is known as the Shinto shrine that held the first Shinto wedding ceremony in Japan so it is the most traditional destination in Japan to see (and take a picture of) a Japanese bride in kimono…

Japanese bride in white kimono at Tokyo-daijingu (Tokyo, Japan) on 11 April 2014.

We exceptionally started this Yes in Japan 2014 tour at Hotel Niwa Tokyo (near Suidobashi station) for the convenience of our customers. The walk was longer than usual but it was a pleasure with this beautiful Spring weather 🙂

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Yae-zakura = 八重桜, Kimono = 着物.
  • Tokyo = 東京, Tokyo-daijingu = 東京大神宮.
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo).

Today in Tokyo: National flag of Japan & Japanese girls in kimono

Why do we see so many big Japanese national flags in the streets of Tokyo today? Because schools all over Japan display the national flag for the graduation of their students these days… Yes, in Japan the academic year starts with Spring in April and ends with Winter the following March.

Japanese national flags in Tokyo on 25 March 2014.

Lucky or well prepared, you can see happy Japanese boys in business suit and Japanese girls in kimono (traditional dress) before/after their graduation ceremony near universities, in the streets, at hotels…

Japanese girls in kimono in Chiyoda ward (Tokyo) on 25 March 2014.

This is life in Japan… with photos taken today in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward 🙂

21 March 2014: Travel agency in Suidobashi closed for Spring Day

Our travel agency in Suidobashi will be closed on Friday 21 March 2014, which is a public holiday in Japan (Vernal Equinox Day = first day of Spring). Many Japanese banks and restaurants will close too; organize yourself accordingly… and visit Travel Stand Japan before Thursday evening if you need advice for sightseeing or help to prepare a trip during the long week-end 🙂

We expect beautiful flowers on cherry trees in (currently warm) Tokyo by Friday… Enjoy Spring!

Spring flowers on cherry trees in Tokyo.