Temples, Parks, Shrines


Jonathan-sensei in front of Nezu Shrine. James Lloyd, 26 May 2013.

26 May 2013
Author: Bryan Portes – Architecture

Today started with me unwillingly waking up at 5:30 AM due to the lasting effects of jetlag. After many failed attempts to fall back asleep, I decided to take the time to catch up on some reading.

After grabbing a sandwich and some awesome drinkable yogurt for breakfast, our day started with a very informative lecture by Jeanette Frisk (Arki_Lab) entitled “The Floating Nature of the Japanese Urban Realm.” Jeanette-sensei provided insight on how we can reflect on the public realm and see it through different types of lenses: the in-motion, the temporary, and the un-attached. The lecture was immensely helpful to me in developing my research topic. Arigato Jeanette-sensei!

Following the lecture, we continued our morning with a trip to Yanaka, which was originally developed as a temple town during the Edo period. Here we observed and documented the Nezu Shrine, a magnificent 300-year old Shinto shrine. I used the time to observe the entry points of the shrine compound as well as the different types and uses of the streets and paths.

During the afternoon we made a visit to Ueno Park, a beautiful public landscape park which has museums, kiddy rides, and even arm wrestling matches! While walking through the park was quite lovely in and of itself, I also noticed a point that Rasmus-sensei (Arki_Lab) had brought up the previous day – big open spaces, such as plazas, are not necessarily used for what they are intended, and may serve just as transition points for destinations. In spite of the lack of seating and shade in the areas, I still enjoyed watching the street performers dancing to American swing music.


Arm Wrestling in Ueno Park. Bryan Portes, 26 May 2013.

Our day ended with a long walk to the Asakusa Nakamise shopping street, the shopping area that leads to the Asakusa Temple, which was flooded with locals and tourists alike. Here we walked through Asakura Temple’s Kaminarima Gate and then spend our remaining energy to reach the grand temple at the end of the open air shopping market.

It was really quite beautiful.


Nakamise market with Asakura Temple in background. James Lloyd, 26 May 2013.


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