Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yushima Revisited

I need to correct a previous error. I wrote initially that Yushima was open on the weekends and holidays. That's wrong - those are the times that Yushima is *not* open.

(Statue of Confucius, just behind the main building.)

I was able to go inside, a couple of days ago. Essentially, Yushima consists of the main building, a statue of Confucius, and a series of inner walls and gates.

(The first gate, past the Confucius statue.)

The main building contains an office, some storage space, a small lobby/gift shop, and a classroom. The classroom is occasionally used for cultural events. The gift shop sells books of Confucius' teachings, in Japanese, and some post cards.

(Servant's entrance past the first gate.)

The grounds start out with a path leading to the statue, and some heavy tree growth. The path then curves around to the back, and beelines to the first wall and set of gates. The first gate is locked up, so we have to go through the servant's entrance farther back. This leads to the second gate. Which leads to the third, larger, more impressive final gate. This last gate is closed, and is pretty much up against the back wall of the compound (which faces the street in front of Kanda Myojin).

(Stairs to the second gate. The third gate is visible here.)

I didn't really get a sense of history from inside the grounds myself, and the classroom reminded me of similar classrooms that used to be common in the U.S. in the 50's and 60's (not surprising since the building was rebuilt in 1935 following the fires from the Great Kanto earthquake) in old midwest schools. But it's still a fun place to visit, and it's fascinating to realize that the compound itself dates back 400+ years.

(The third gate. It's huge!).

Recommendation: Worth going to see, but only plan on being here for 60 minutes or so.

(Details above the gate roof.)

(Detail of the third gate roof.)

(Name plaques, donated as a prayer by people wishing to get into some university.)

(Photo taken of the area around 1890, from the top of Nicholai Do during construction. The building to the left is the big dental school next door. I'll post the entry for Nicholai Do tomorrow.)

(Interior of the main building.)


Shiroibara said...

What's it like living in a country where history is measured in millenia rather than centuries?

TSOTE said...

Whuff. Not an easy question to answer, because lot of it has to do with subliminal, or subconscious factors. The short version is - "it's great!" ;-) There's a lot more things and places to visit (which goes back to my earlier entry about "pruning"), and each of them gives you something new to learn about or study. There's certainly a lot more in the way of traditions, etc. But, most of Tokyo had been damaged or destroyed following the Kanto earthquake and WWII, so most of the buildings are only 60 years old or so. So, it's more a matter of cultural elements, than of true age. To get to the really old places, I need to go down towards Kyushu. I'm not quite affected by the age of things so much, because I'm "pruning" in favor of "what I see right now" than in "the history I can feel from something". But, yesterday's trip to Takao did have more of a historical impact on me. I'll write about that in an upcoming entry.