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Tours

Ueno Park Architecture Tour

Overview

Ueno Park, is known as one of the cultural centers of Tokyo due to its having a large number of important museums on its grounds. This area was originally developed in mid-17th century in order to be a barrier to the northeastern (unlucky) direction of Edo Castle (residence of the Shogun, now the site of the Imperial Palace). It is also known that Ueno Park was Japan’s first public park registered in 1873, a few years after the end of feudal government controlled by the samurai. During the modernization and industrialization period, the military-controlled imperial government invested great deal of money and energy into this ground and built many luxurious buildings to represent the country being at the height of cultural prosperity. Many of them were lost during the war and earthquakes but thanks to the state-of-the-art seismic isolation technology, many valuable items of architecture including the Le Corbusier-designed National Museum of Western Art have survived. Why not immerse yourself in the special air of 3A (Academic, Artistic and Architectural) by walking with us?

Highlights

  1. You will get to see architectural giant Le Corbusier's only work in Japan and come in touch with his meticulously calculated design concept.
  2. You will get to see one of three Le Corbusier's reliable Japanese apprentice architect Kunio Maekawa's achievement as well as his expression of great respect to his master Le Corbusier
  3. You will get to know the history and important value of both Le Corbusier and Maekawa's playground in Ueno Park which dates back to early 17th century.
  4. You will get to know another noteworthy achievement here by a world-renowned architect Tadao Ando who is also known as a big fan of Le Corbusier.

Itinerary

The tour starts from the main entrance of Ueno Park located next to the Koban, a police box behind the Keisei-Ueno station. Take a slow walk along the Shinobazu natural pond of thickly overgrown lotus plants and we stop by a hidden energy vortex of Ueno Park in the ground of Hanazonoinari Shrine. Passing through the shrine’s famous vermillion tori tunnel, we move to Toshogu Shrine, the most peaceful and sacred place in Ueno Park where Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Edo Samurai government is enshrined. Our next stop is one of the oldest buildings constructed in 1906, the International Library of Children’s Literature. You can also observe its great preservation and renovation work as well as newly built stunning arch-shaped annex building done by Tadao Ando. The next site is the highlight of the tour, the Le Corbusier-designed National Museum of Western Art which was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for its modern architectural value in 2016. Our last site is Tokyo Bunka Kaikan designed by Kunio Maekawa, one of three local apprentices of Le Corbusier. Tokyo Bunka Kaikan is located just opposite Le Corbusier’s museum as if both buildings were talking each other. Tour will finish at the nearest eye-catching Koban, or police box.

Meeting point

In front of the main entrance of Ueno Park located next to Koban, a police box behind the Keisei-Ueno station.

Tour fee

12,000yen for a single guest
18,000yen for 2 guests (9,000yen p/p)
24,000yen for 3 guests (8,000yen p/p)
30,000yen for 4 guests (7,500yen p/p)
35,000yen for 5 guests (7,000yen p/p)


What's included

Guiding fee by a friendly English-speaking licensed guide who is familiar with architecture both traditional and urban design of Tokyo.
(Please note that admission fee for the permanent collection of National Museum of Western Art (430yen /adult) as well as the meals, drinks, transportation fee to/from Ueno station will not be included in the tour fee.)

Duration

3 hours
Morning tour starts at 10:00am and ends at 13:00pm
Afternoon tour starts at from 13:00 pm and ends at 16:00pm
Also a tour of 3 hours from your preferred time can be arranged upon request.


Notes

Please keep in your mind that this is a walking tour, so you will be walking fair bit of distance (but with breaks in between). Comfortable footwear is advised.
No age limit, however children who can enjoy walking together till the end of tour may join.
Since this is a small group tour, last-minute reservations cannot be accepted.


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