The most senior of all art universities in Japan, the Tokyo University of Arts might not be on top of anyone’s list of places to visit, but there is still a lot things to see. I visited on one of their days when they welcome the public and I am not sure how accessible the campus is on other days. One of the first things you see on the inner courtyard is Auguste Rodin’s The Vanquished (Le Vaincu, from a 1876 sculpt but I do not know when this particular bronze was cast). Not a bad way to start your day if you are an art student! There is quite a lot of sculpture on display in the inner garden of the university, and while none of the buildings are very impressive sometimes the views are.
The university itself was founded in 1949 of two smaller schools that were both founded in 1887. I definitively need to visit again.
Some of the more famous temples in Japan charge a small admission fee, and the temple “housing” the great Buddha of Ushiku in Ibaraki prefecture does as well, 300 yen I think it was. Although you can easily see the Ushiku Daibutsu for miles and miles around and on good days even from tall Tokyo towers it is interesting to get closer to it. I took these photos of the buddha and the entrance with the as usual interesting ema votive plates, most of them with prayers from students at the nearby Tsukuba University. More photos to come!
Saturday saw a gap in the schedule so I filled it in one of my favorite ways, a long slow walk from mainland Tokyo over to the manmade Odaiba Island in the middle of Tokyo Bay. The magic pink colors that came out at sunset was as fantastic as always! I still think that this (free) walk over the Rainbow Bridge is one of the nicest tourist experiences the city has to offer.
If you ever want to try ride the smallest Shinkansen train in the world just head over to the Kitashinagawa Shukumatsuri in autumn every year. I saw these two very happy looking volunteers taking the local kids out for a spin on a train line that must have been at least one hundred meters long, Shinkansen in one end and small steam engine looking train in the other. I felt a little bit weird stepping over the track to avoid the train as it came hurtling towards me at almost 6 km/h, but the siren sounded almost as fierce as on a normal sized train!