Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour (Self Guided), Tokyo

The Chiyoda district is steeped in history and is a reflection of the city’s culture, both past and present. Besides several prominent historical landmarks like the Imperial Palace, the place boasts of some of the best museums in the region. The Kitanomaru Park, part of the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, houses the National Museum of Modern Art, Science Museum and the Nippon Bodokan. The park is an ideal place to enjoy the sakura that blossoms in spring.
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Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour
Guide Location: Japan » Tokyo (See other walking tours in Tokyo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Author: ann
1
National Museum of Modern Art-Crafts Gallery

1) National Museum of Modern Art-Crafts Gallery

The Crafts Gallery is an annex of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. It was opened in 1977 with a view to display the living treasures of the country which are its traditional crafts.

The Crafts Gallery occupies a building that was once the headquarters of the Imperial Guards. It was designed in 1910 by military engineer, Yasushi Tamura. In 1972, the building became a designated Significant Cultural Property and in 1977, it became the Crafts Gallery extension of the National Museum of Modern Art. The present gallery was designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi.

The collection at the Crafts Gallery features objects from the Meiji era to the present day. It has textiles, ceramics, glass, dolls, lacquer, wood, bamboo, metalwork, industrial and graphic design. There is a section on the growth and diversification of Japanese crafts in the post World War II era. The collection portrays crafts made using traditional techniques in new contemporary creative designs. It also hosts themed exhibitions like the History of Japanese Modern Crafts Exhibition and large scale shows once or twice in a year. Crafts from other parts of the world dating from the 19th century are also featured. It is a research facility and has its own research library.

Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM (open until 8:00 PM on Fridays).
2
National Museum of Modern Art

2) National Museum of Modern Art (must see)

The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art is the first art museum in Japan. It features works by Western-style Japanese contemporary artists and traditional Nihonga artists.

Located in the Kitanomaru Park of Edo Castle, the museum was established as a facility governed by the Ministry of Education. It opened its doors in 1952. The first building was designed by Kunio Maekawa. It was redesigned twice and the most recent design was by architect, Yoshiro Taniguchi. Today the museum has two branches: the Crafts Gallery located in a nearby historic building and the National Film Center, the only institution in Japan devoted to the history and development of cinema.

The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art collects and preserves works by contemporary Japanese artists. It is a research facility for students of contemporary art and exhibitions are frequently held based on specific themes. It has a few works by contemporary western artists and an impressive collection of works by Japanese contemporary art masters. Artists featured in the museum are Ai Mitsu, Hisao Domoto, Koga Harue, Aso Saburo and Kanae Yamamoto. Historic masterpieces are always on view while other exhibits are changed several times in a year.

Why You Should Visit:
Small, but top-notch permanent collection; interesting items, even for foreigners to appreciate visually without much explanation.
The (very modest) fee includes a ticket to MOMA, which is down the road a few 100 meters.

Tip:
Don't miss the great balcony view over the Tokyo Imperial Palace across the river.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu; Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm; Fri: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Science Museum

3) Science Museum

The Science Museum features diverse subjects and areas in science and the exhibits are sure to get any child interested. Offering interactive displays and workshops, any kid would be having a gala time, running around touching and experimenting things in the exhibits. The museum has an excellent coverage on topics that are diverse and range from topics like optics and illusions to the modern day Internet. A must visit for families with kids.
4
Shimizu-mon Gate

4) Shimizu-mon Gate

The Shimizu Mon Gate is the east gate that leads to the Edo Castle in Tokyo. It is also the east gate of the Kitanomaru garden and district.

The Shimizu- Mon gate is a Masugata Mon style gate. This type of gate has a small square or plaza in front. There was a gate at the location of the present one as early as early as 1620. The present gate was rebuilt in 1658. The gate formed a part of the old Edo castle and is regarded as a structure of great cultural and historical significance in Japan. It was declared an Important Cultural Asset of the country in 1961 and is managed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

The Shimizu Mon Gate is made of stone in traditional Japanese architectural style. It stands next to the Shimizu moat. The Yaguramon gate in front of the Shimizu Mon is a timber frame gate that has a keep with two stories built at a right angle to the Shimizu Mon. Roofed pillars stabilize the gates and a small window in the Yagura Mon helped guards to observe the possibility of an attack and gave them time to get ready to shoot. The Shimizu Mon is the last of the two remaining gates from the Edo era when the Tokugawa Shogunate flourished in the city.
5
Nippon Budokan

5) Nippon Budokan

The Nippon Budokan (Martial Arts Hall) is a large indoor arena erected to host the Judo event in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It was modeled after the Yumedono Hall of the Horyuji temple in the Nara Prefecture of Japan.

The Nippon Budokan means Martial Arts Hall. It was built in 1964 and designed by architect, Mamoru Yamada. It has an octagonal roof and stands on the location of the former Kitanomaru Palace. It has three halls. The largest hall has a seating capacity for an audience of 14,000. There are 2,762 seats in the first floor, over 3000 seats in the second floor, more than 7000 seats in the third floor and standing space for 480 spectators.

The Nippon Budokan has also hosted many international rock concerts. The Beatles were the first group to perform here in 1966. Later well known singers like Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton have performed at the venue. The building is still used predominantly for wrestling and martial arts. The national championships of traditional martial arts like Judo, Kenda, Karate, Akido and Kyudo are held here annually. It is also used by the Pro Wrestling organization NOAH that conducts major events and competitions. Martial Arts classes are also held to train future champions at the Nippon Budokan.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Tayasu-mon Gate

6) Tayasu-mon Gate

Tayasu-mon Gate was once a part of the great Edo castle. Today its massive walls separate the Nippon Budokan and Yakusuni Srine. This is a typical Masugata-mon style of gate. No one knows exactly when this gate was built, however the present structure was reconstructed in 1636.
7
Lighthouse at Kudan-Sakaue

7) Lighthouse at Kudan-Sakaue

Also known as the Jotomyodai, the old lighthouse at Kudan-sakaue is a very small structure located between Budokan and Yasukuni shrine, right next to the pedestrian walk that connects this to major landmarks. Sometimes it is also referred to as the weather house.
8
Chidorigafuchi

8) Chidorigafuchi

Chidorigafuchi is a park in the northeastern part of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace. It is a well known spot where visitors come to view cherry blossoms in the spring.

The entrance to the Chidorigafuchi Park is from the Yasukuni Shrine. Cherry trees line the green walkway along the moat. One can view the cherry trees in full bloom on the other side of the moat by strolling along the walkway. A popular way of viewing the cherry blossoms is by renting a row boat or paddle boat from the Chidorigafuchi boat house and viewing the blossom covered cherry trees on both sides of the moat. In springs locals and visitors come to view the trees in full bloom and lighted up with LED lamps.

In a quiet corner of the Chidorigafuchi Park is the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery established in 1959. It is a cemetery with monuments commemorating the Unknown Soldier where unclaimed bodies of military personnel and civilians who died in service to their country in World War II are buried. It covers an area of 16,500 square meters. The oldest body is buried under a ceramic coffin that has within it a gilded bronze urn in the shape of a tea jar. There is another monument that has a stone slab with a poem by the Showa Emperor inscribed on it.

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