Here is the second part of my trip to Ueno Park!
Today I explore three new locations:
- Toshogu Shrine
- Ueno Park Pagoda
- Bentendo Hall Temple and the Shinobazu Pond
Believe it or not, the Toshogu Shrine is one of only a few Edo-era structures in Tokyo to have survived earthquakes, fires and even wars. Built in 1627, the Toshogu Shrine underwent a major renovation in 1651 on the orders of the Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu. What’s unique about this shrine, besides being similar in style to the shrine of Nikko (also called Toshogu) with its gold plated decorations, is its 50 large copper lanterns that guide you through the shrine itself. Usually made from stone, these lanterns were donated to the Shogun by a warlord named Daimyo.
Ueno Park Pagoda
Perhaps one of the best parts of the Kaneiji Temple (not covered here), is its pagoda. Separated from its main temple, this 5 storied pagoda can unfortunately only be enjoyed from Ueno Zoo, and only after spending a few hundred yen. However, the pagoda is not the only beautiful structure to see and enjoy. There are also architectural masterpieces that have for centuries defied the force of Japan’s earthquakes.
Bentendo Hall Temple and the Shinobazu Pond
Built in the early 17th century by Mizunoya Katsutakathe, the Bentendo Hall Temple is a Benzaiten-type temple located in the middle of the Shinobazu Pond. Unfortunately the actual Bentendo Hall Temple you can see today is not the original, and was in fact rebuilt from the ground up in 1958 after being destroyed in 1945. To be fair this temple is not the most interesting part of Ueno Park, however its pond and the giant lotuses are magnificent and can be fully enjoyed in the summer where they cover the entire surface of the pond.
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