When my family decided to celebrate the New Year’s Eve at Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue Bulacan where the biggest dome-arena in the world is located which is Philippine Arena, at the time of celebration there were Tent City area that surrounds the place. The photo above was just one of them. This photo captured last December 30, 2014.
From Tokyo Station, we took JR Yamanote Line to Ueno Station. We got off at Ueno Station to visit Ueno Park. The park entrance is just beside the Ueno Station and because of this no one will ever miss the park by any visitors. We checked the map and search for things we can see around the area. There are lots of places to see in the park and all these places had their own entrance tickets. Because that day was our last day in Tokyo, we wanted to make a wise decision because we wanted to see more places as we can in a limited time that we have.
Tokyo National Museum
Therefore we decided to walk around the park and not to enter to any museums. Near the entrance we passed the The National Museum of Western Art Tokyo. Next, we saw the Grand Fountain wherein at the time of our visit, beside the fountain was the temporary day market. As we walked further we found The Tokyo National Museum. During that walk I used Triposo app to see if we can see interesting areas in the park aside from museums. Facing The Tokyo National Museum main entrance gate, we turned right and found The Ueno Rinnoji Temple (Rinno-ji Ryodaishi-do) which is a Buddhist temple which enshrined two priest. The temple is part of cathedral of Kaneiji temple. Beside Rinnoji temple, the Kaneiji Temple Imperial Cemetery. After taking few photos around the temple we walked back towards The Tokyo National Museum until we were near the Gate of the Inshu-Ikeda Residence known as “Kuromon (Black Gate)”.
The Ueno Rennoji Temple
Kuromon (Black Gate)
Kuroda Mermorial Hall
In the same corner of Kuromon, we saw Kuroda Memorial Hall. The hall was part of the estate of Kuroda Seiki which considered as father of modern western-style painting. Kuroda Seiki offered the part of his estate to be used for furtherment of the art.
From the corner, we turned right and walked until we found the Kaneiji Temple. Kaneiji temple is also a Buddhist temple. I just learned that the whole Ueno Park are grounds of Kaneiji which converted into the park after it was destroyed during civil war and the temple has been relocated to where it is now. We spent time for taking photos in the surroundings of the temple and left to continue our stroll in the park.
Prince Komatsu statue
Ueno Park – Famous in Cherry Blossoms During Spring Season
We walked back to the center of the park by taking the same path we took on the way to Kaneiji Temple. After reaching the Kuroda Memorial Hall again, we walk the pathway where we found the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. We passed the main gate of more than century old Ueno Zoo. Along the way we saw the statue of Prince Komatsu. According to Wikipedia, Prince Komatsu Akihito was a member of Fushimi-no-miya, one branches of shinnoke of imperial family of Japan and eligible to Chrysanthemum Throne if the main line died out.
Some Fish found in Boat Pond
We walked in the middle and main walkway of the park. The said pathway is the famous area for sightseeing during spring season where visitors expecting cherry blossoms. In the nearby area we found the Benten Gate and Benten Hall which surrounded by ponds such as Uno Pond, Boat Pond, Shinobazu Pond and Hasu Pond. Benten Hall was dedicated to Benten a goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge.
The Shitamachi Museum
From Benten Hall we walked towards The Shitamachi Museum (Museum of Down Town Customs). The said museum was dedicated to its traditional culture of Tokyo’s Shitamachi.
After leaving Ueno Park, we walked in the nearby market called Ameyoko (a short name of Ameya Yokocho – candy store alley). Based on history the market was black market before second world war where most of American products were available. But even this time, it seems that if follows the history, because the said market still selling lots of various western products and common store sellers are not local Japanese but foreigners.
Twilight (Post#3) : White Night Melbourne – Flinders Street Station
Photo above was captured during light shows at Flinders Street Station building in the midst of White Night celebration in Melbourne held last February 2014.
After watching sumo tournament in Ryogoku Kokugikan, we spent some time in Akihabara to check what things can be seen in the famous place. From Ryogoku Station we took Chuo Line to Akihabara Station.
Near in Akihabara Station
My thoughts about Akihabara is a place of manga and anime. Where all the famous anime or cartoons from Japan can be seen. There are lots of stores selling anime character products such as posters, cards, video games, electronics and others. There are lots of computer game shops in the surrounding areas where not only accommodating for young but adult fanatics too, since it was evening when we arrived in Akihabara, we just had a limited time to stroll around the place. We went inside of one of the electronics mall named – Yodobashi-Akiba.
The mall has 9 floors and just spending time inside this mall will consume mostly of our time. We found a lot of electronic stuff inside the mall. As we entered the mall, the first things we saw are mobile phones, tablets and computers. Next, we continued to the 2nd floor where mostly are PC accessories and printers. We stop a bit in 3rd floor as I saw a lot of digital cameras, I was looking for different lenses for my Canon DSLR and wanting to buy one but I did not. We climbed again to the next floor which is 4th floor where we saw mostly music related products such as head phones, the last floor we visited was the 5th floor, even though there still up to 9th floor. At 5th floor, we saw a lot of household products. We’re almost wanted to buy things but we stop the idea as we knew the customs in my country where you will be tax heavily for the products bought outside the country. We just enjoyed looking at difference products displayed in the mall.
We felt hungry and decided to leave the mall and find a place to have our dinner. After our dinner, we decided to go home as it’s getting late and we concluded our day.
At first I had this impression that Sumo Wrestling or just Sumo was kind of violent sport. Yes I am aware that it is the traditional and national sport of Japan, without really knowing stuff about it, I was curious how this sport is being played. I visited sumo site prior to traveling to Japan and found that during our travel in Japan there will be Grand Sumo Tournament. I saw in one site the Sumo ticket sale will be available soon. I booked the ticket at the 1st day of ticket sale. And to be honest booking the ticket was already an experience because the box seat tickets near the center for most of the 15 days tournament were immediately sold out in a matter of hours. And because of that I immediately bought 1 box seat (4 people) to make sure we have seats in one of the days that the sumo tournament is happening while we are in Japan. I was glad that even there’s not much festivals happening during our visit (September is low peak month of visitors) at least we can watch the most ancient Japanese sport – The Sumo.
We watched sumo on our 4th day in Japan and it was Monday. I planned that day to just watch Sumo as I wanted to balance the itinerary that we have for the consideration of my aged parents. That day, I allowed all of us to regain long rest as the main event of the Sumo was scheduled at 2PM in the afternoon that day.
From hotel, we took train from Kayabacho Station and transferred to Akihabara Station and took Chuo Line going to Ryogoku Station and got off at the same station. From that station, we walked few minutes to Ryogoku Kokugikan. We found that a lot of people were at the front gate and noticed that people seems waiting for something or someone as people were lined-up to both sides like there some parade coming, until we realized that some of the Sumo Wrestlers are coming. We felt excited too when we saw them. I got excited because our activity that day is uniquely a Japan culture.
I brought the printed order ticket at Ryogoku. Before passing the entrance, we saw the booth beside it which designated for tickets bought online. And then, I requested for help from assistant which just standing by at the booth. With the printed document I have in my hand, we were able to retrieved the tickets after verifying the credit card I used to order the ticket online. Before entering the gate, there’s a big announcement that the ticket was sold out for that day. It was a good relief that I bought ticket online. It secured us that day for guaranteed seat to be able to watch Sumo comfortably.
When we entered The Kokugikan Sumo Stadium, we felt good, we saw the human board of famous Rikishi (wrestler) at the entrance and even though we don’t know them, we stand beside them and took our photos. When we were inside the stadium before entering the sumo arenas, people are going back and forth and most of them are buying food in the surrounding stores inside the stadium. We did the same thing, we bought lunch boxes for all of us. When were done buying and looking around, we went to the door nearest to our seat.
Sumo arena are divided into two, the lower ground is called box seats while the balcony or upper level are called arena seats. The ticket that we bought were in the box seats and the unique experience we had in box seats was were going to seat in the floor with cushion and we will sit in Lotus position where we cross our legs.
At the center of the stadium we found the Dohyo, a stage with circular ring on it and with suspended roof similar to the Shinto shrine with four giant tassels hanging to each corner that signifies the seasons of the year (information from Sumo official website).
Rikishi’s (Wrestlers) Bouts (preparation time during warm-up period)
Rikishi In Action
We waited for almost an hour before the tournament started. And then the sumo arena were filled with people. When we enter the stadium and went to our assigned box seats, there were some Rikishi that are fighting in the Dohyo. I got a paper for the Torikumi or Sumo Bouts for 2nd Day. From the paper that I got there were two bouts, one is Juryo and one is Makuuchi. Based on my understanding in Banzuke (Banzuke-hyo – offical document of rankings of professional sumo wrestlers) Sumo rankings, the upper division of Rikishi is called Maku-uchi which includes the five positions of Rikishi order from highest to lowest rank: Yokuzana, Ozeki, Sekiwake, Komusubi, and Maegashira. The lower division includes Juryo, Makushita, Sandame, Jonidan, and Jonokuchi. As per Sumo official site, below Makushita ranks does not get to wrestle on each day of tournament. The tournament for day actually started in the morning and low ranking Rikishi bouts happen on that time. The main event of bout starts in the afternoon which includes Juryo and Makuuchi bout.
Juryo Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Juryo Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Past 2PM that day, the main event started when Juryo Grade did their entrance both from East and West teams (please take note that Rikishi from different team does not fight for team, the fight does not have any relations which ever team the Rikishi belong) did their colorful dohyo-iri or “entering the ring” ceremony. I saw all Rikishi in queue wearing their kesho-mawashi (ceremonial aprons) and climbed to the dohyo. Each Rikishi, when they were all in the Dohyo did their short ritual ancient in sumo tradition wherein they raise their hands. That ritual is very unique which I really enjoyed watching.
After the Juryo Dohyo-iri ceremony, it followed by Juryo Bouts. We witness their bouts and my family enjoys the ancient sports of Japan.
Juryo Grade In Action
I also observed that the Dohyo was frequently swept after the bouts and after Rikishi’s entrance ceremony, it was mentioned that Dohyo was made of special kind of clay and covers some think layer of sands, this is the reason why few people assigned to swept it.
Gyoji (Referee) at the center
My curiosities were not only focus to the Rikishi who fough inside Dohyo. Other people were also noticeable such as the judges of sumo which called as Shimpan and the referee whose inside the sumo stables are called Gyoji. As I watch the fight of Rikishi, I learned that sumo is a sport where the wrestler aims their opponent to be out of the ring or their opponent parts of the body touch the ground aside their feet to be able to win the game.
After the Juryo Bouts, it followed the Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony. The whole stadium was jam pack of people which signifies that people are more curious of the Makuuchi’s fight as I understand that being included in Makuuchi ranking is really important in this sports.
Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Yokuzana Dohyo-iri Ceremony
During the tournament, we were able to watch as well a Yokuzana which is the highest rank of grand sumo wrestlers and represent all sumo’s participants entered the Dohyo and did his Dohyo-iri ceremony with greatest dignity.
After the entrance of Yokuzana in Dohyo, it followed by Makuuchi Bouts. And we felt the heat of Makuuchi fight as people reacted more in every action seen inside the ring.
Makuuchi Bout In Action
Before the tournament of the day ended, there was a bow dance which done by Makushita Rikishi, which shows the expression of satisfaction on behalf of the victorious Rikishi of the day.
Bow Dance – A Makushita Rikishi performs Yumitori-Shiki
I observed the whole tournament while enjoying the Rikishi wrestled with their opponents. By watching the sumo, I learned that the sumo sport is not really violent sport, it’s very traditional and cultural sports which strictly following the sumo ancient rules. All my bad impressions regarding this sport was gone, it was replaced with utmost respect with this ancient sport and to all Rikishi.
I can truly say that we had a such great time discovering and watching sumo tournament.
Home (Post#24) : Pandin Lake
Pandin Lake is one of the Twin Lake (other lake is Yambo Lake) that can be found in San Pablo City in Laguna province in my country Philippines. This lake is also included in what currently they call Seven Lakes of Laguna (or Seven Lakes of San Pablo). The said lake is one of the volcanic crater wherein according to Wikipedia that it means circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity. It is typically a basin, circular in form within which occurs a vent (or vents) from which magma erupts as gases, lava, and ejecta.
This photo is part of my photo collection of Lakes in Laguna and which captured last Sept 2011 during the unplanned trip with few of my fellow mountaineering group.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#24) : Mortar M120 (USA) At Relics Point
Mortar M120 is one of the World War II archived weapon that can be found displayed in Relics Point inside Philippine Military Academy. As mentioned in the excerpt in the photo, the weapon was used against the invading Japanese imperial army. Photo captured during the trip in Baguio City last May 2010.
Panoramic View (Post#24) : Minatomirai 21 At Yokohama
During our walk in Yokohama and when we on-boarded the historical NYK Hikawa Maru at Port of Yokohama, I got a chance to capture this scenery looking towards Minatomirai 21. This is the central business district of Yokohama. Snapshot captured during family tour in Japan last September 2015.
Through My Lens – Aug 15, 2016
Our World Tuesday – Aug 16, 2016
Travel Tuesday – Aug 16, 2016
Outdoor Wednesday – Aug 17, 2016
Wednesday Around The World – Aug 17, 2016
Skywatch Friday – Aug 17, 2016
Scenic Weekends – Aug 17, 2016
In Heaven – Aug 18, 2016
Before ending our first day in Japan, my sister and I decided to walk a bit in areas near the hotel leaving our parents behind and let them have enough rest. Our accommodation was located strategically in Central Tokyo, as it is accessible via metro subway train. While walking we got a chance to see some part of Tokyo at night. It was Friday night, we left the hotel for a walk around 8PM in the evening. We walked along Eitai Dori, then we turned left and continued the walk along Chuo Dori. Here, we saw line of buildings where most of the ground level are stores and restaurants. Some buildings are malls. Along Chuo Dori, I already enjoyed the lined-up of buildings in it. Though we only did a quick walk, the impression I had while passing the buildings, I felt the relaxing ambiance of the surroundings even though it’s an urban place, though I’m not sure if the feeling is the same case during the day.
We walked at Chuo Dori because it leads us to Ginza where one of the popular shopping district in Tokyo can be found. As the peak hours had passed, we haven’t seen too many people in the road. Probably some just began having good time with their Friday night or majority of them gone home, leaving the downtown for the weekend for a while. During the walk, my sister and I observed that people we passed by looks like they came from work as both Japanese men and women were in their professional dress code. One thing to note, the fashion style we noticed specially for Japanese women from hotel to Ginza area were wearing modern and yet conservative clothing because most of the dress or skirt length they wear were up to knee-length. Honestly, I like the way they dress because it shows their character and values of simplicity.
Our walk that night, made me amazed because in simple thing that I witnessed, the discipline that Japanese has in crossing the road. Even the road is like an alley and even no vehicle is passing through, if its red light they really stopped and waited for green sign to cross the road. At the back of my head, I myself practice it as well even in my country but sometimes I myself neglected following traffic rules and being impatient, some of my country men doesn’t do it, specially if the vehicle are on park mode while waiting for green light, even it was stop sign, people are crossing to almost all kinds of roads, which shows of people being impatient in waiting or let’s say people with no discipline at all even in small thing such as road crossing.
As we approached Ginza area, the bustling lights coming from different stores along Chuo Dori were imminent. Because the lights are quite intoxicating we took photos of ourselves with the stores, we took selfie photos, and we took some photos with the road.
It’s almost 9PM in the evening and we were looking for western food chain like Mc Donald’s or KFC as we were hungry (we’re not really type of people who adventures local food but we’re open to taste it). From Chuo Dori road we turned right at Harumi Dori towards Tokyo Expressway then turned right again at Sotobori Dori and walked for a short distance until we found KFC. That night, we found out that food are quite pricey in Japan, compared to other countries we had visited. After dinner, we had some takeaway food for our parents. We took Metro Subway to return to the hotel, from Ginza Station to Kayabacho Station.
My impression to Ginza area, I think a lot of people will enjoy the place as there is lot to see specially if preferences of the visitors is into shopping. The area is a place of combined shopping centres, dining places and entertainments.