Category: Japan


Tokyo Overview

Nippori

Ueno Zoo

Sensoji Temple

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Ueno Park

Imperial Palace Garden

Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower

Shibuya

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Meiji Shrine (Foundation Day Parade)

Tokyo National Museum

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The Tokyo National Museum is in Ueno Park near a fountain.

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There are many buildings but some are closed and some are just for special exhibits (I think, the signs were unclear). I went to the Asia part which had China (lots of it), India, Korea (medium amounts) and ‘other’ Including some Egyptian stuff like a Mummy! In this building they also have things you can play with that try to tell your luck and future. This building also has a terrace which is nice.

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The second building I went to (the main one) was Japanese art and was not overcrowded because they are only had ‘highlights’ out. nothing here really struck me here other than the warrior costumes and some intricate statues made of gold which I could not take photos, of course.

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This was probably the worst day to go see the shrine, as there was so many people it was hard to see the buildings. However, the parade was amazing, making it the best day to go to the shrine.

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Foundation Day is the day that Japan was unified under one Emperor. The Americans I found thought that there was 23 floats to represent the 23 different groups that became unified at that time (I did not see the whole thing so I’m not sure how many floats there were.

People cared them for about 2 miles! There probably 60 people holding each one up and they looked like they were struggling.

Many people hardly had any clothes on at all! It was pretty cold too. Some just wore socks.

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Once inside the shrine itself they carried the floats to a man standing higher than everyone else, cheered, and walked backwards away.

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There were also some amazing drummers.

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is in Shinjuku and is a free way to see the Tokyo skyline. They also have maps of every neighborhood on the bottom floor, which is great to have. This would be a great first stop, but I didn’t know that at the time. It opens at 9:30.

Tokyo 1 708 Tokyo 1 712 Tokyo 1 717 Tokyo 1 718 Tokyo 1 722 Tokyo 1 732The view of the South is way better–maybe because I went there first but there is also a lot more room to sit and at the North side 1/4 of the view is reserved for people going to the Italian restaurant.

Shibuya

I walked from Omote-sando to Shibuya was pretty quick and had a lot of fashionable shops. Shibuya is one of the busiest intersections in the world. The walk toward Meiji Shrine is also filled with fashionable shops and people.

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At Shibuya station there is a statue of a dog which, when his owner died at work, he returned to the subway everyday, waiting for his master to come back. It was super busy around the statue, with tons of people just standing there–I guess it is a big meeting point.

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Zojoji Temple was packed! There were tons of people everywhere and some people doing a singing show. It’s also difficult to get a photo of any part of the temple without Tokyo Tower in the background.

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It was decked out with statues of kids with hats, capes, flowers and pinwheels.

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They were selling stuff for Year of the Snake too.

I walked over to Tokyo Tower and the line was massive!

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In the center of Tokyo is the Imperial Palace and the Gardens which is nice even in winter. Wish I could go back in summer to see all the flowers but I don’t think that will happen because of the cost of flights (usually). There were some swans in the pond outside the garden itself.

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There were some interesting plants there, including some things that I did not think could survive in the cold weather that is Japan in winter, like palm trees.

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Some plants were in bloom and were beautiful up close.

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There were also some trees growing from the tops of rocks, which confused me as there was no way to go up and see if the rock was hallow and had dirt inside.

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There is a look out to Mt Fuji but you can’t go and look from it as the building is very old.

Ueno Park

I went into the zoo without going though the park, but left though the main entrance which goes though the park.

When I walked out I went though Toshogu Shine but I was unimpressed. There was a huge expensive restaurant inside, unless I walked out and didn’t know it.

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I then saw the Statue of Prince Komatsunomiya Akihto, who started the Japanese Red Cross Society, which I think is pretty great.

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I went back a few days later and went in the South entrance, going by a temple, Buddha and pagoda.

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There was also a farmers market going on at the time (on a Monday) that was wrapping up. Before the National Museum there is a pond with a fountain.

After going to Sensoji Temple I walked down the river to Edo-Tokyo museum.

I walked into Kyu-Yasuda Garden on the way, which was beautiful. And super warm. I image it to be like Eagleton in Parks and Recreation where it’s on a hot spring and Pawnee is not.

Tokyo 1 319I also walked past the Ryogoku Kokugikan which is where they have Sumo Wrestling and there was an event on so I could not go into the free museum.

Tokyo 1 332The museum opens at 9:30 and I got there just before that. You also start on the 6th floor and go down from there, which I thought was odd but the other museum I went to did the same thing.

I thought the museum was really interesting as I did not know much about Japan or Tokyo before World War 2 other than Tokyo used to have a different name and there was an emperor and samurai and ninjas. No samurai or ninja stuff in the museum. Edo seemed welcoming and respectful: the main thing I remember reading said that although people did belong to 4 different groups they were able to talk and share information about their role so others could learn about it if they wanted to. Thus, some samurai knew how to farm, some farmers knew about being a merchant and some merchants knew about craft work.

Once you’re on the 6th floor, you cross a bridge which seems like it was built in a traditional way. There is a Theater and a Western style building below you as you cross. They built a model of the bridge in another room on the 5th floor too.

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On the other side is a bunch of models of what the city used to look like, and they have really intense details. There are some other things there as well, like clothes and swords.

Tokyo 1 362 Tokyo 1 375 Tokyo 1 376Next I went down to the 5th floor where most of the stuff is. I really liked the paintings.

Tokyo 1 394 Tokyo 1 402 Tokyo 1 434 Tokyo 1 448Block cutting and printing became very popular during the Edo period, and was also how some people wrote subversive things about the government.

Tokyo 1 406They also had a theater set up that tells a ghost story every 15 minutes. I missed it and didn’t realize that they characters moved. It shows stage tricks.

Tokyo 1 460There was a mini room that shows a special exhibit, which, at the time, was about a man who traveled and did paintings of different areas of Japan along the train route.

Tokyo 1 466Next was the Tokyo room.

In the last month of 1867 an order was promulgated designating the restoration of imperial rule. this order thereby decreed a new government. In the month of the following year, battles took place at Toba and Fushimr, then anti-bakufu forces advanced to Edo, where they met no resistance. Some members of the pro-bakufu forces formed a unit named the shogitai and ensconced themselves at the kan-eiji, a temple at ueno. But this group was easily subdued. Its defeat spelled the end of ever two-hundred years of tokugawa rule, Edo, which had once been the home of well over a million inhabitants thereby also declined in vigor. The new government aimed to establish a unified state with centralized rule. Old practices were discarded: the new area was named Meiji, and Edo was renamed Tokyo. For a short time Tokyo was a kind of deserted wasteland but with the establishment of a street of government offices adjacent to the palace, the city, with its center around the nihonbashi area returned to normal. now it had become the capital of japan in name and deed.

There were very detailed models here as well.

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There was a poster for the 14th meeting of the suiheisha, which was really intense looking.

Tokyo 1 492Next was a part about the air raids with a model of what normal houses looked like that the time–taped windows and all.

Tokyo 1 503My favorite sign was this though:

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Sensoji Temple

I went to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa at 8am to get there before the crowds and I made it just in time–as I was leaving hordes of people were showing up. None of the shops were open either, so I didn’t get a necklace like I wanted to replace the one that I lost years ago. Some of the food stalls were open, but it all seemed very standard so I didn’t get anything there.

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I never got used to the sound of people THROWING their coins into the box in front of the temple.

Tokyo 1 254There were incense burning at the main entrances of the buildings.

Tokyo 1 259There were some coy fish in the river as well.Tokyo 1 263And some general pictures:

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