So it was a welcome return to the big city, first stop, the district of Ikebukuro. All department stores and bustling crowds. This time it was more of a pass through than a serious stopover, our intentions lay elsewhere. Still it was nice to get acclimatised to the never ending stream of passers by and the jostling amongst the crowds. Our destination was Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum, somewhere I have never visited, so a short review is to follow.
The Tokyo National Museum Review
Set on the edge of Ueno park, amongst other notable museums and the zoo, you are greeted by a large concrete building with traditional flowing edges. For ¥650 (about £4) you have entry to a number of exhibitions; normally! Most however were closed when we came. Still the main building which houses the majority of treasures was open and we spent the next couple of hours happily looking through the exhibits. These included lacquer ware, swords, calligraphy, paintings, armour and masks (some shown below). It should be noted that many of the artefacts cannot be photographed, only admired. The layout was well structured and easy to follow with English templates of each exhibit and section for those unable to read Japanese or Korean. All set in a peaceful atmosphere, without it being overcrowded. So overall a pleasant experience that will give you a little of the background to Japan's past. It's certainly worth a visit and a nice change from the hustle and bustle of other districts of Tokyo.
1) The stunning swords. It states they were created by artists and it's hard to not agree with the craftsmanship.
2) The artwork, it's precision and colour is always to be marvelled at.
Afterwards we headed into the park and the final picture although rather uninspiring at first glance. However look closely and it can actually give you a little insight into Japan's modern day culture. In one corner you have a now familiar sight in any major city across the globe; Starbucks! Love them or hate them, they are popular, everywhere and very convenient. And in the other corner people being able to express themselves without a care of what the people watching them may think; 50's style rockers setting up base in the middle of the park and swing and jiving to their hearts content. To many it will seem bizarre and slightly surreal. At the end of the day it's just people who perhaps have nowhere else to do it, expressing their passion in a rather public place. And why not?
So Tokyo, once again you delight and inspire and provide us with another glimpse into your mixed up heart. But it's always one that never fails to impress, however often its looked upon.
Coming soon: Take the fast train; riding the Skinkansen
* This may be the last post before Christmas so may I wish everyone who has read these travel sketches a very merry Christmas. Thank you for reading and I hope that you will enjoy the posts that are to follow in the future. Please comment as they are always welcome.