JAPAN TRIP DESTINATION: EAST TOKYO

ARAKAWA Ku

MINAMI SENJU

Arakawa (荒川区Arakawa-ku) is a special ward located in Tokyo Metropolis, Japan. The ward takes its name from the river, the Arakawa, though the Arakawa River does not run through or touch the ward.

The area was mainly agricultural in the Edo period. In 1651, Kozukappara, the Tokugawa’s largest execution ground (now located next to Minami-Senju station), was built. Beginning in the Meiji era, the area became industrial as factories were built on the water front.

In 1932, it became one of the 35 wards of Tokyo City.

Taito Ku

UENO

2010 PICTURES

Ueno (上野) is a district in Tokyo’s Taito Ward, best known as the home of Ueno Park. Ueno is also home to some of Tokyo’s finest cultural sites, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, and the National Museum of Nature and Science, as well as a major public concert hall. Many Buddhist temples are in the area, including the Bentendo temple dedicated to goddess Benzaiten, on an island in Shinobazu Pond. 

Ameya-Yokochō

Ameya-Yokochō (アメヤ横丁Ameya alley) is an open-air market located next to Ueno Station. The market is approximately 164,227 square feet in area, starting just behind the Yodobashi Camera building and following the Yamanote Line south until the Komuro building.

The market is home to over one hundred and eighty one shops, which sell products ranging from fresh food and fish to clothing and time pieces.

2015 PHOTOS

UENO ZOO

The Ueno Zoo is a 14.3-hectare zoo, managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and located in Taitō -SHI. It is Japan’s oldest zoo, opening on March 20, 1882. It is a five-minute walk from the Park Exit of Ueno Station. The Ueno Zoo Monorail, the first monorail in the country, connects the eastern and western parts of the grounds.

The zoo started life as a menagerie attached to the National Museum of Natural History. In 1881, responsibility for this menagerie was handed to naturalist and civil servant Tanaka Yoshio, who oversaw its transition into a public zoo. The ground was originally estate of the imperial family, but was bestowed to the municipal government in 1924 — along with Ueno Park — on the occasion of crown prince Hirohito’s wedding.

2016 PHOTOS

2016 PHOTOS

Ueno Tōshō-gū

First established in 1627 by Tōdō Takatora and renovated in 1651 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the shrine remains mostly intact since that time, making it a great example of Shinto architecture in the Edo period. Several of those surviving structures have been designated Important Cultural Properties.

Ueno DAIBUTSU

Ueno Daibutsu (上野大仏) was an Edo-period giant seated statue of Shaka Nyorai in what is now Ueno Park. Made of bronze and dating to 1631, it was heavily damaged during the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, when the head was toppled, much of its bulk was melted down for reuse during the Pacific War. In 1972 the face, stored in Kan’ei-ji, was put on display in its former location

 

Tōshō-gū shrines are characterized by enshrining Tokugawa Ieyasu with the name Tōshō Daigongen. Ueno Tōshō-gū also enshrines two other Tokugawa shōguns, Tokugawa Yoshimune and Tokugawa Yoshinobu.

Located inside of Ueno Park, Ueno Tōshō-gū has become a popular attraction.

Kiyomizu Kannon-do

 

It was built in 1631 in the precincts of Toeizan Kan’ei-ji Temple. Kan’ei-ji Temple was established by Tenkai Daisojo (the highest rank of priesthood) to provide security to the Tokugawa shogunate and tranquility to its people, and also to protect Edo Castle’s northeastern gate (which was believed to be unlucky). Many temple halls, modeled after the pattern of famous temples in Kyoto, were built. Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple is one of them, with the no-nail construction that imitates that of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto Higashiyama. Today, it is designated an Important Cultural Property of the country, with an impressively vivid cinnabar facade.


Asakusa And Sensoji Temple

Asakusa (浅草) is the center of Tokyo’s shitamachi (literally “low city”), one of Tokyo’s districts, where an atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades survives.

Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.

2010 Photos

2012 Photos

Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a five-story pagoda, the Asakusa Shinto shrine, as well as many shops with traditional goods in the Nakamise-dōri.

 

The Sensoji Kannon temple is dedicated to Kannon Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of compassion, and is the most widely visited spiritual site in the world with over 30 million visitors annually.

 

2015 Photos

 

The Kaminarimon (“Thunder Gate”) is the outer of two large entrance gates that ultimately leads to the Sensō-ji (the inner being the Hōzōmon) in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. The gate, with its lantern and statues, is popular with tourists. It stands 11.7 m tall, 11.4 m wide and covers an area of 69.3 m2. the first gate was built in 941, but the current gate dates from 1960, after the previous gate was destroyed in a fire in 1865.

The Hōzōmon (宝蔵門“Treasure-House Gate”) is the inner of two large entrance gates that ultimately leads to the Sensō-ji . A two-story gate (nijūmon), the Hōzōmon’s second story houses many of the Sensō-ji’s treasures. The first story houses two statues, three lanterns and two large sandals. It stands 22.7 metres (74 ft) tall, 21 metres (69 ft) wide, and 8 metres (26 ft) deep.

2019 Photos

CHUO KU

TSUKIJI HONGAN JI

The present Tsukiji Hongan-ji was designed by Itō Chūta of the University of Tokyo and built between 1931 and 1934. It is noted for its unique architecture, influenced by temples in India.

Hongan-ji is a pilgrimage destination due to its artifacts of Prince Shotoku, Shinran Shonin, and Shonyō Shōnin. Shonyō Shōnin (1911-2002), the 23rd monshu is enshrined to the left of the main altar in honor of his contributions to the spreading the Jodo Shinshu teachings abroad so that followers would not be in “name only”.

 

GINZA

 

GINZA is a popular upscale shopping area of Tokyo, with numerous internationally renowned department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffee houses located in its vicinity. It is considered one of the most expensive, elegant, and luxurious streets in the world.  It is part of the original downtown center of Edo-Tokyo.

SUMIDA KU

TOKYO SKYTREE

Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリーTōkyō Sukaitsurī) is a broadcasting and observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo. It became the tallest structure in Japan in 2010 and reached its full height of 634.0 metres (2,080 ft) in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower.

The tower is the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kantō region; the older Tokyo Tower no longer gives complete digital terrestrial television broadcasting coverage because it is surrounded by high-rise buildings. Skytree was completed on Leap Day, 29 February 2012, with the tower opening to the public on 22 May 2012.

Tokyo Skytree also resembles a 5-storey pagoda from historical Japan. The base of the tower has a structure similar to a tripod; from a height of about 350 m and above, the tower’s structure is cylindrical to offer panoramic views of the river and the city.There are observatories at 350 m and 450 m. The upper observatory features a spiral, glass-covered skywalk in which visitors ascend the last 5 meters to the highest point at the upper platform. A section of glass flooring gives visitors a direct downward view of the streets below.

SUMIDA AQUARIUM

 

The Sumida Aquarium (すみだ水族館) is one of the main attractions of the Tokyo Skytree Town complex that was opened in May 2012 in Tokyo. The moderately sized and beautifully designed modern aquarium houses over 10,000 sea creatures on the 5th and 6th floors of Tokyo Solamachi, a shopping and entertainment complex at the base of the Tokyo Skytree.

The centerpiece of the aquarium is its 350 thousand liter tank which is home to dozens of penguins and several fur seals.  The aquarium also features an excellent jellyfish display and research laboratory, as well as tanks representing the habitats around Tokyo Bay, the Izu Islands and the Ogasawara Islands.

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KOTO KU

O DAIBA

Odaiba (お台場) today is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. It was initially built in this area for defensive purposes in the 1850s. The original Odaiba opened in 1860 as a port and shipyard in the city today known as Yokosuka, site of the joint Japanese-US fleet HQ.

Reclaimed land offshore Shinagawa was dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, and has developed since the 1990s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area. Odaiba, along with Minato Mirai 21 in Yokohama, is among a few manmade seashores in Tokyo Bay where the waterfront is accessible, and not blocked by industry and harbor areas. For artificial sand beaches in the bay,  Sea Park in Kanazawa-ku is suitable for swimming, Odaiba has one, and there are two in Kasai Rinkai Park area looking over to the Tokyo Disneyland.