Ki­mono-clad for­eign­ers get a taste of old Tokyo

The China Post - - ARTS - BY KEN ARAGAKI

With some help from Ja­panese vol­un­teers, more than 80 for­eign­ers from around the world, in­clud­ing the United States, Rus­sia and Malaysia, donned ca­sual sum­mer ki­monos called “yukata” for a stroll around old Tokyo this month.

The six-hour “Yukata de Guide Tour,” now in its 10th year, took them to Ja­pan’s na­tional sumo arena, a tra­di­tional tea cer­e­mony at the Kyu Ya­suda Gar­den and a cruise on the Su­mida River. At the end, the group en­joyed danc­ing with lo­cals at a “bon odori,” a tra­di­tional sum­mer street-dance fes­ti­val.

More than 700 for­eign­ers, who register online, have par­tic­i­pated in the an­nual tour since 2005. Ak­izu Hiruma, one of the or­ga­niz­ers, said she hopes to ex­pose for­eign­ers to the real tra­di­tional Tokyo and friend­li­ness of its peo­ple. The tour, or­ga­nized by the Su­mida dis­trict tourism of­fice, takes place early Au­gust ev­ery year.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ja­pan Na­tional Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the num­ber of for­eign visi­tors in the first half of this year reached a record 9.14 mil­lion.

AP

Polina Al­gez­ina, of St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia, left, and Mabeo Oa­bile, of Gaborone, Botswana, right, ad­mire the Kyu Ya­suda Gar­den in Tokyo, Satur­day, Aug. 1.

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