Sunday, 1 April 2012

The National Museum Garden, Ueno

Feeling liberated by not having a mountain of essays to write, I took a trip to the National Museum at the top of Ueno Park on Friday.     Students from my university get free admission (the uni has an institutional subscription) so I figured I'd get the most out of my few remaining days of being a legitimate student.  As an extra bonus the garden out back was open. Each year it opens for a month in spring and a month in autumn.  It was the first time I had been there while it was open to the public.  In view of the fact it's a rather unusual phenomenon I took rather a lot of photos...the info comes from the signs there.

A pagoda built in the 1600s and given to Horyuji
temple in Nara by Tokugawa Tsunayoshi.
It's 5.7m high.
Publish Post
A commemorative steele for the second expo
held in Japan (Ueno) in 1881. The art for the expo was in a newly
built museum building designed by Josiah Conder. 
The road along the back of the park that runs parallel to the road outside.
A memorial stone for Satsuma native (Kagoshima)
Machida Hisanari, the museum's first
director. In the early Meiji time he went to the UK to
learn from the British Museum.

You wouldn't know it from most of the trees, but spring is on the way.
There are a number of buildings in the garden. This was built
as a labourers hut in Saitama in the Edo era and donated to
the Museum in 1959.
Lots of moss on the ground
The feature piece of architecture of the garden, the  Tengoan interestingly
translated as "Hermitage of Karmic Encounters" . It was  built near Kyoto as a
tea house to display a tea caddy that the owner , tea-master Kobori Enshu,
was given by a member of the imperial family.     
Looking from the  Tengoan to the main building of the library.
The Rokuosan (Hermitage of the 6 windows)
Also a tea house built in the Kansai area in the mid 1600s. It
was also moved to Tokyo in the early Meiji era... it seems like a lot of
buildings and "treasures" were whisked away to Tokyo after the
Restoration of the emperor and his move from Kyoto to
Tokyo.... a good topic to read up more on.
Very peaceful, though still looking quite wintery.

Okyokan - a teahouse built in Nagoya in 1742. Acquired
(though it didn't say how or in what circumstance) by
Masuda Takashi, the founder of Mitsui.  Donated to
the museum in 1933. 

Wooden detail of the above.

Kujoukan, originally from Kyoto, part of the imperial palace estate.
It was brought to Tokyo after the restoration of the emperor and
donated to the museum in the 1930s. The glass is handmade.

Signs of spring

Looking across to the Tengoan

Not many people. I like the shape of the seating. It's very peacful
sitting here looking out on the pond.

More detailed info available
This year's opening schedule is below:
*Schedule - Museum Garden Opening
Spring : Saturday, March 10 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:00 - 16:00
Autumn : Saturday, October 27 - Sunday, December 9, 2012 10:00 - 16:00


Rurousha said...

Thanks for this info! I'm vaguely aware of this garden, but I've never been there. (Museum, many times. This garden, never.) After reading this post, I've decided I need to get myself moving.

It's so quiet! That surprised me. Are there many cherry trees in the garden? If yes, I guess the hordes will start arriving later this week.

Cecilia said...

It was quiet. It was the middle of the day too. There weren't that many people in the museum either, though I didn't go to the Boston Gallery collection.

I am not sure why its quiet. Partly perhaps because it was a weekday, partly perhaps people forget the garden is there?
There are some cherries, (though I am not sure how many) so I imagine the crowds will come. It's not a very big space, perhaps with the expanse of sakura outside there is less appeal. The weeping sakura in the pic should be a feature point. If you plan to go, note that it's only open from 10-4.

The pagoda in there intrigued me - it's very beautiful. I'm interested in the story of how it made its way from Horyuji to Tokyo.