Tokyo, Japan: A Walk Through History with Patrick Lovell

Tokyo, Japan: A Walk Through History with Patrick Lovell


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Join Tokyo-based travel expert Patrick Lovell as we tour our favorite neighborhoods of the city and contextualize the region’s history. We take a journey back through time–when Edo, today’s Tokyo, was a tiny muddy fishing village called Shibasaki. During this conversation, we will gain a foundational understanding of Japan's bustling metropolis. As we learn about Tokyo's origin story, Edo of the past begins to become visible everywhere one looks, and the appreciation and understanding of its history bring rewards and insights when visiting other cities in Japan.

We begin in Nihonbashi, the jokamachi and center of not only Edo and later Tokyo, but also point zero for the entire country. Family-run shops that have been in business for over 300 years are numerous here and the fish market at its center until 1923 still reverberates.

From Nihonbashi, we walk past the Echigoya founded by the great Mitsui clan. The Echigoya is still in business under the Mitsukoshi banner. We then pass the Edo gold mint that is today the nation’s central Bank of Japan and enjoy its Meiji period building. From the townspeople’s Edo, we cross one of the most important and famous castle gates, the Tokiwabashi and mon (gate) on our way to Daimyo Koji where the shogun’s allied warrior clan leaders had their huge yashiki mansions. Today the area is the most affluent and expensive in the nation. Through the ramparts of the shogun’s castle, Edo-jo, we exit to the playground of the shogun’s banner-men, the hatamoto, and gokinin to Kagurazaka, still a popular playground.

Following the northern moat of the castle, we move to the east side of the river, where after the 1657 Meriki fire disaster, bridges over the Sumidagawa allowed townspeople and warriors alike to expand. After a walk through a portion of an Edo-period yashiki teien mansion garden, we pay respect to the victims of the 1923 Great Tokyo Earthquake and the Korean-Japanese who their Japanese neighbors brutally massacred. The Iriedo Memorial Hall also houses unidentified victims of the Japanese government’s imperialist policies that resulted in the Pacific War and the US Army Air Force’s air raids, especially the 10 March 1945 air raid that killed over a hundred thousand Tokyo residents, most from the neighborhoods east of the river where we are. Our virtual journey will conclude in the Kiyosumi teien garden, one of the Edo period’s most impressive remaining stroll gardens.

Eager to learn more? Get inspired with our other Tokyo virtual content:
Or explore Japan on a private walking tour with Context:

Patrick Lovell completed a BA in Education and Asian History at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, where he followed his interest in Asia and particularly Japanese history, and culture. After a study abroad semester in a Japanese family he taught Japanese history at Nishimachi International School, Tokyo, founded by the Meiji period Matsukata Masayoshi's grand daughter Tané Matsukata, and adult education Japanese history courses at Temple University, Tokyo Campus. Patrick has spent 50 years in Japan and witnessed first-hand the end of Japan's heady economic revival and the rise and fall of the speculative land bubble in the early 90s. Patrick has been providing custom history/cultural tours throughout Japan for 15 years and is a 35 year practitioner of Buyo traditional Japanese dance. He maintains his Japanese karasansui garden in Nikko where he makes his home.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
60%
(3)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
M
M.h. (The Bronx, US)
Tokyo Revisited

Have taken several in person tours with Patrick and learn so much about the Japanese history and culture. Have become a passionate Japanphile because of his tours and further reading from his suggested topics.

R
R.G. (Seattle, US)
Virtual repeat

We took this tour, IRL, with Patrick in 2015. It was a fabulous way to see Tokyo and walk through history. When I saw the opportunity for a virtual repeat, I could not resist. I highly recommend both.

M
M.h. (New York, US)
Tokyo Revisit

This was first tour of Tokyo with Patrick. After seeing this virtual walk evoked so many pleasant memories. 😊It also immediately piqued my curiosity and appreciation for Japanase culture and history.

P
Phyllis Smith (Colorado Springs, US)

He was very knowledgeable, but I would have liked a little less historical background & more videos. I was expecting it to actually be on the streets.

A
A. (Seattle, US)

Patrick seems to have a very solid, in-depth knowledge of the city and its' history, however the program was disappointing in that the maps and many small photos were difficult to really appreciate. Could have been improved by perhaps covering less area and using a lot more (larger) photos.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
60%
(3)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
M
M.h. (The Bronx, US)
Tokyo Revisited

Have taken several in person tours with Patrick and learn so much about the Japanese history and culture. Have become a passionate Japanphile because of his tours and further reading from his suggested topics.

R
R.G. (Seattle, US)
Virtual repeat

We took this tour, IRL, with Patrick in 2015. It was a fabulous way to see Tokyo and walk through history. When I saw the opportunity for a virtual repeat, I could not resist. I highly recommend both.

M
M.h. (New York, US)
Tokyo Revisit

This was first tour of Tokyo with Patrick. After seeing this virtual walk evoked so many pleasant memories. 😊It also immediately piqued my curiosity and appreciation for Japanase culture and history.

P
Phyllis Smith (Colorado Springs, US)

He was very knowledgeable, but I would have liked a little less historical background & more videos. I was expecting it to actually be on the streets.

A
A. (Seattle, US)

Patrick seems to have a very solid, in-depth knowledge of the city and its' history, however the program was disappointing in that the maps and many small photos were difficult to really appreciate. Could have been improved by perhaps covering less area and using a lot more (larger) photos.