Ueno Park

Ueno Park

Introduction

In today’s post I would like to tell you about a fairly famous park in Tokyo. That is Ueno Park. Ueno Park is located in the Taito Ward district of Tokyo.  It was established on October 19th, 1873.  Ueno Park was among Japan’s first public park created during the Meiji period.  It is popular during spring and lots of people from all over visit to see the cherry blossoms and to do Hanami.   Ueno Park is also home to quite a few famous museums and there is also Ueno Zoo which is located inside the park.  In recent years the number of visitors to the park have exceeded ten million per year.  This makes it the most popular park in downtown Tokyo.

Ueno Park Entrance Statue

Ueno Park Entrance Statue

Natural Environment

There are a large number of trees in the park which total close to 9,000. Roughly 800 of those are cherry trees from various species such as Japanese cherry, Formosan cherry and Somei Yoshino cherry.  Some of the other types of trees include Zelkova serrata, Ginkgo and Cinnamomum camphora.  There is also a small pond inside the park called Shinobazu Pond. It is mostly marshland with numerous lotus beds.  During winter a large number of Bird species come to this pond.  These species include the American wideon, Common pochard, Tufted duck, Little grebe, Northern pintail and various others.

Museums

National Museum of Nature and Science

The Ministry of Education opened this museum in 1871. Various name were associated with this museum including the National Science Museum of Japan, Ministry of Education Museum, Tokyo Science Museum and Tokyo Museum. This is the only national science museum located in the county.  Here on display you can find a wide variety of exhibitions related to science.

National Museum of Nature and Science 3

National Museum of Nature and Science

Shitamachi Museum

You can find the Shitamachi Museum next to the Shinobazu Pond. Here you will find remnants of Tokyo’s old shitamachi or downtown area.  The exhibits here will take you back in time and allow you to see how life was like in the shitamachi area of Tokyo over 100 years ago.  The artifacts on display were actually used during the Taisho Period from 1912 through 1926.

Shitamachi Museum

Shitamachi Museum

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

This museum is supported by the prefectural government.  Here you will find Japanese calligraphy on display from various Japanese artists.  There are also numerous sculptures located outdoors that are on display.  The Museum also holds special exhibitions from time to time such as the Monet exhibition which was held a few years ago.

Ueno Royal Museum

This museum opened it’s doors to the public in April 1972.  It is managed by the Japan Art Association which has a long and established history dating back to 1879.  This art museum holds a number of annual exhibitions such as the VOCA Exhibition, the Ueno Royal Museum Grand Prize Exhibition and the Japanese Nature Painting Exhibition.

Ueno Royal Museum

Ueno Royal Museum

 

Ueno Royal Museum 1

Ueno Royal Museum 1

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum is the oldest national museum in Japan which was established in 1872.  In addition to being one of the largest art museums in the world, it is the largest in Japan.  The museum has various works of art including archaeological items found in Asia especially Japan.  There are over 11,000 items in total including  87 objects that are of national treasure status.  Other than the educational events, the museum also conducts research in relation to it’s massive collection. There are shops and restaurants on the premises in addition to a garden and outdoor exhibitions, .  In it’s history of over 120 years, the museum has had it’s fare share of changes and reforms.

There are five main exhibition buildings which are as follows:

1) Horyu-Ji Homotsukan (Horyu Treasures Gallery)
2) Toyokan (Asian Gallery)
3) Heiseikan
4) Hyokeikan
5) Honkan (Japanese Gallery)

There is also the Kuroda Memorial Hall.  It was built in 1928 and the works of Kuroda Seiki are on display.

And finally there is a research and information center.  Opened in 1984 mainly for academic use it is also open to the public.  Admission is free of charge and you can look through their various books, magazines and other material such as color and monochrome photos.  However, most of the material is in Japanese.

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum 1

Tokyo National Museum 1

National Museum of Western Art

This is the main museum in Japan specializing in art from western cultures. The National Museum of Western Art is also know by it’s acronym of NMWA.  The museum was established on the 10th of June in 1959.  The museum’s art collection is based on Kojiro Matsukata’s principals and philosophy.   There are various works of arts dating all the the way back to the Renaissance period up until the early 20th century.

It is the museum’s goal for people to be able to appreciate and enjoy various art from the West.  The museum also holds special exhibits every year. These exhibitions include works of art from museums and private collections in Japan and abroad.  Since the NMWA opened it’s doors to the public, it has been collecting various works of art every year.  The total number owned by the museum is approximately 4,500.

National Museum of Western Art 1

National Museum of Western Art 1

National Museum of Western Art

National Museum of Western Art

Shinobazu Pond

This a natural pond is located within Ueno Park which was the former site of the Kan’ei-ji Temple.  This temple had close connections with the Tokugawa Shoguns.  They built it to protect Edo Castle from the northeast direction.  At the time the northeast direction was considered unlucky.  During the Bonshin War, the temple was destroyed.  Even though there have been many modifications, the pond is natural even though it was once drained.

The pond is located in the south part of Ueno Park.  Three sections divide the park.  These three sections are called Cormorant Pond, Lotus Pond and Boat Pond (because of the small boats you can rent). In the center there is Benten Island and on that island there is Benten Do which is a temple.

Numerous water lilies cover most of the Lotus and Cormorant ponds.  These water lilies are what make Shinobazu Pond famous.  However, in my opinion the lake is a bit of an eyesore.  I personally feel the lake would look much better without the thousands of water lilies floating on top of the water.

Shinobazu Pond 5

Shinobazu Pond 5

For photos of Ueno Park click here.

 

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