Guide: Yoko Kobayashi
Route: Asakusa – Akihabara – Imperial Palace – Yanaka – Tokyo Metropolitan Government
I would like to thank TFG for putting us in contact with 2 guides during our trip to Japan in July this year.
On July the 5th Mitsuyo Fujiwara guided my husband and I and our 3 sons around Ueno and through to Asakusa and Kappabashi. We saw some lovely older places around the local Ueno / Yanaka area where we were staying and made our way around on the local bus on back streets that we would never have found alone.
After contacting me in Australia she met us at our hotel and had organized a great day with one of the highlights being a visit to Tokyo University where she had arranged that we would attend a practice for the University Tea ceremony club. This was amazing.
The next day Junko Murakami met us at our hotel with her friend Ayumi who was around our sons’ ages and we went to the Imperial Palace and on to Harajuku and Shibuya. Sunday in Harajuku was great fun and there was something for all ages to see and do. The boys had a great time with Ayumi comparing cultural activities and learning about the best places to shop in Harajuku and Shibuya. In the early evening we went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Building for the great view.
Dinner in Shinjuku finished off a great day. Junko works full time as well as guiding and I am so pleased that she gave up her free time to guide us as we had a wonderful day.
Both these days were the highlights of our Japan holiday and I have been recommending TFG to all my friends. This is a wonderful idea and it meant so much to meet and spend time with Mitsuyo and Junko as well as Ayumi. Seeing a city through the eyes of a local makes it seem so much more
interesting and personal.
Our wonderful, very helpful, Tokyo Free Guide met us at our Ryokan in the Asakusa region. After a quick train ride to the Ueno Station, our adventures started which included walking through Ueno-Koen Park [and] a visit to the Kanei-ji Kyomizu Kannon-do Temple. We also visited the Tosho-gu Shrine?among the oldest in Tokyo, built in 1651. We had an especially good (inexpensive!) lunch at a Japanese restaurant. Later we walked past the important Yanaka Cemetery and along the Yanaka “Ginza.” The neighborhood with its many small and old houses and shops and temples was unlike any other part of Tokyo that we had experienced. Our walk ended at the Nezu-jinga Shrine with its fabulous azalea gardens.
A highlight of our time with our Free Guide was to talk about why he likes to be a Free Guide, and why he thinks Tokyo and Japan are so special. He told us that he wants people to know how safe and clean Tokyo is and how friendly everyone is. All in all, the day was special, thanks to our Tokyo Free Guide.
Anyone traveling to Tokyo should consider this service. As we discovered, with the assistance of our guides we were able to experience a personal insight into life in Tokyo today, its people and culture.
We spent the day strolling the back streets of Nezu and Ueno and was it not for our guides we would have merely been onlookers in this amazing city. Kawachi, Naomi and Lizzy were able to enrich our experience by offering their insights into the areas we visited. They spoke about Japanese culture, about lifestyles but most importantly about themselves. And it is this personal touch that made our day truly the highlight of our holiday.
Kawachi, Naomi and Lizzy thank you so much for making it a memorable experience.