Ueno Park 上野公園

The sun is out, the temperature is up, and summer is approaching fast. A good way to enjoy the sun is to visit one of Tokyo’s many parks. So why not visit Ueno Park?

Ueno Park is one of the oldest public parks in Japan, and houses not only a wide range of temples, but also museums and art exhibits.  Established in the Meiji Period (1873 to be precise) it took inspiration from the western idea of a park, and it’s located on former temple grounds, after the temple was destroyed in the battle for Ueno during the Bakumatsu period.

Statue of Saigo Takamori walking his dog

Statue of Saigo Takamori walking his dog

In the park you can find a statue over Saigo Takamori. Fans of the film The Last Samurai should note that Katsumoto, the character played by Ken Watanabe, was loosely based on Takamori, a legendary Tokugawa loyalist. Today he remains an exemplar of the samurai spirit in Japan.

Tokugawa Mausoleum

Tokugawa Mausoleum

Among the temples in Ueno Park, the most famous might just be the Tosho-gu, where Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined, and neighboring Hanazono Inari Jinja has red-bibbed Inari fox statues in an atmospheric grotto. There are also rows of red Toriis leading up to the temples.

Shinobazu Pond

Shinobazu Pond

In Ueno Park you also find the Tokyo National Museum, which is the oldest Japanese national museum. You can also find the National Museum of Nature and science, as well as the National Museum of Western Art.

Kuroda Kambei at Edo Tokyo Museum

Every year, NKH airs a drama that runs almost the whole year, something they call 大河ドラマ (“Taiga Drama”). This year the Taiga drama is about Kuroda Kanbei, a man of great ambition, and who later became the chief strategic adviser to both Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The drama is called 軍師官兵衛 (“Gunshi Kanbei”), and you can see it on NHK all through the year.

Coinciding with the drama being shown on NHK, The Edo Tokyo Museum has a special exhibition about Kuroda Kanbei, starting today, and continuing to June 13th.

Courtesy of Edo Tokyo Museum

Courtesy of Edo Tokyo Museum

Price for admission is as follows:

Prices Ticket to special exhibit Ticket to normal exhibit and special exhibit
General: 1 300 Yen 1 520 Yen
University student or student at specialist school 1 040 Yen 1 210 Yen

If you have seen the drama, are interested in samurais and the Sengoku period, or just want to get a glimpse of Japans in days past, check out this exhibition. And I always recommend the permanent exhibition as well, if you don’t have a particular interest in Kanbei.

More info about the Edo Tokyo Museum is found HERE.