© 2018 by Japan Culture Guide Ken Oka

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Special Tour Plans

Through my guiding experience, I realized that each guest has his/her own interest. But some guests' interest are common. From various requests from the guests, I introduce my favorite 3 tours. If you are interested in any one of them, please mention it down in the free entry field of my contact form!

1.  Modern Architecture

Tokyo has more than 400 years history, and at the same time it is one of the top modernized cities in the world. Old things and new things often coexist next to each other. This is same in the architecture. You can find unique and beautiful modern architecture designed by famous architects from all over the world everywhere in the city as you walk on the streets. I have visited about 100 nice architectures, and would like to share the knowledge with you.

There are works by modern architecture giants like Le Corbusier or Frank Lloyd Wright. There are also works of architecture award winners such as Kenzo Tange, Toyoo Ito and others in Omote-sando, Ginza, and Daikan-yama etc. Please tell me your favorite architects then I will make a good tour plan to see their buildings. I will explain the architecture’s historical context and design concept, or other works of the architects etc. You can spend a whole day to see as many architectures as possible, or you can partially use your tour time to see some major ones.

2.  Enjoy tea ceremony in Geisha town

Kagurazaka is a compact town in the center of Tokyo. Because there were hundreds of Geisha houses (now only a few) along narrow back alleyways with stone steps, it still holds the scent of traditional Japanese culture. If you are lucky, you may hear geisha’s practicing musical instrument in the day or spot a geisha in the evening. It is a normal residential town, so you can see ordinary Japanese life. I know this town very well because it is my home town!

In this town, you can experience a tea ceremony at an authentic tearoom. This place is located among usual Japanese houses and is not designed for foreign tourists. You can see the master making green tea in front of you on tatami mat, or you can sit on a stool if you are not good at getting down on your knees. (We need booking in advance. The fee is Yen3,000/person including green tea and sweets.) As I was a student of tea ceremony, I will explain basic manner of the ceremony and key ideas about it. In addition to the tearoom. This town also has a lot of gourmet spots, not only Japanese cuisine but French, Italian, and some others, and small temples and shrines which closely related with local people’s daily life. If you like to see Samurai performance, it is possible to see it, too! (prior booking necessary)

3.  Vinyl records hunting tour

You may not know that Tokyo is the world’s largest used vinyl record market, but it is true. Tokyo has more record shops than any other city in the world. It is famous not just because of the number of shops, but because of the quality of products. No matter what your musical preferences might be, the variety at these establishments is sure to satisfy you. I can satisfy this kind of very unique guiding request, too.

I made a list of all used vinyl record shops (more than 80 shops!) on the map, including major vinyl record shop area like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Koenji, Shimokitazawa, Kichijoji…. And, I have paid a preliminary visit to all of them because some shops are tiny, cramped and sometimes unbelievably difficult to find for 1st time visitors. If you like to concentrate on hunting hidden treasures, it is a good idea to hire the guide like me who knows this market well. I can enjoy exploring the jungle of the records with you!