Ueno Park, Tokyo
Ueno Park is one of the most popular attractions in the city of Tokyo. It is criss-crossed by gravel paths. On the reed-fringed Shinobazu Pond Boats can be hired for trips around a little island with its Bentendo Temple. Hot-dog sellers advertise their wares with loudspeakers, and there are many cinemas and amusement centers in the vicinity.It is the largest park in Tokyo (212ac; 85ha). With its zoo and aquarium it is a real park for the people, but it is also a cultural center with a number of museums, many temples, shrines and pagodas and some important public buildings.
The Tokyo National Museum, located in Ueno Park, contains an impressive collection of Japanese, Chinese and Indian art.
National Museum of Western Art
The National Museum of Western Art is found in Ueno Park just three minutes' walk from Ueno Station. It was built in 1959, to plans by the famous Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The exhibits - works of French artists for the most part - come mainly from the collection made by Kojiro Matsukata during his visit to Europe early in the present C.In the courtyard works by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin are on show, together with canvases by the Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Visitors who have already visited the great art collections in either the capital cities of Europe or in the United States will not need to visit this exhibition of Western art in Tokyo, they will be disappointed, for masterpieces are not represented here.
Address: 7-7 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Kanto 110-0007, Japan
Opening hours: Jan 5 to Dec 27: 9:30am-5:30pm; Fri: 9:30am-8pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in JPY: Adult ¥420.00, Youth 25 & under ¥130.00, Child 18 & under ¥70.00, Disabled FREE, Senior over 65 FREE, Child 12 & under FREE
Useful tips: Free admission on the second and the fourth Saturdays of each month, and November 3. Last admission half hour before closing.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Ueno Park Zoo
Near the Shinobazu Pond lie the extensive grounds of the zoo; another section of it is to be found between the Toshugo Shrine and the Tokyo Arts University, and the two parts are linked by a monorail. The zoo was opened in 1882, which makes it Japan's oldest zoo. It cannot perhaps be said to come up to the highest international standards, but it has two famous pandas. These are the gift of the People's Republic of China. When from time to time one of them dies, a replacement is sent over from China as a gesture of friendship. The death of a panda is always a matter for great sadness among school children, but then there is great rejoicing when the new mascot arrives.The Aqua-Zoo on the north shore is one of the largest aquaria in the Far East.
The Toshogu Shrine is situated in the southwest portion of the Park. A pathway with 256 bronze and stone lanterns on either side leads up to it. These were the gifts of various Daimyos. The Shrine was founded in 1627 in memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The present buildings date back to 1651.The most important things to see here are the richly decorated Main Shrine and the five-story pagoda of the Kannei-ji Temple. The latter was transferred here as the only building to survive the fighting which has been mentioned above. The Kara-mon Gate in front of the Main Shrine is said to have carvings by the famous sculptor Hidari Jingoro (17th C.)
Of the public buildings in the Park the following are worthy of mention: Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall. This modern building dates from 1961; it has a large and a small auditorium (holding 2,327 and 611 spectators respectively). There are performances of operas here, as well as concerts.The Ueno Library. This is the constituent part of the Library of Parliament and one of the longest libraries in Japan.
In the north part of the Park and east of the Tokyo Arts University may be found the new Kannei-ji. As the Choraku-ji Temple it used to stand in Serada, in the Perfecture of Gumma. After the destruction of the original Kannei-ji it was transferred here in 1875 as a replacement.
Metropolitan Fine Art Gallery of Tokyo
National Science Museum
Just a few minutes' walk from Ueno Station in the east part of Ueno Park can be found the National Science Museum. There are departments for space research, atomic research, applied chemistry, architecture, electricity and transport, etc. as well as a laboratory and a work room.
Address: 7-20 Ueno Park, Tokyo, Kanto 110-8718, Japan
Opening hours: Jan 5 to Dec 27: 9am-5pm; Fri: 9am-8pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in JPY: Adult ¥600.00, Students ¥600.00, Group discounts ¥300.00, Senior over 65 FREE, Child 18 & under FREE
Useful tips: Group rate applies to 20 or more.
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