Ochanomizu

Ochanomizu Station is located in the northern part of Kanda district of Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo. It serves the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi subway line. It is also a junction station between the rapid JR Chuo Main Line and the local JR Chuo-Sobu Line. The Marunouchi station is situated on the north bank of Kanda River, while the JR Chuo and JR Chuo-Sobu Lines station is on the south bank of the river just across from the Marunouchi station. The Chuo and Sobu Lines share platforms, making it easy for commuters wishing to switch between the two lines to do so without changing platforms.

The area around Ochanomizu Station was a central quarter during the Edo period, and hence it contains a number of historically interesting sights.

Places of Interest:

Hijiribashi Bridge

Hijiribashi Bridge is situated at the eastern end of Ochanomizu Station. It was built in 1928 when Tokyo was rebuilt after the Great Kanto Earthquake. This picturesque bridge with elegant arches is 93m long and 22m wide. Considered one of the most beautiful bridges in Tokyo, Hijiribashi Bridge is particularly a beautiful sight at night when it is lit up and is reflected in Kanda River which it spans.

Yushima Seido

Yushima Seido is located just past the end of Hijiribashi Bridge on the right hand side. Yushima Seido started as a private school for the study of the Chinese Confucian classics in the year 1632. It was originally located in Ueno, where its headmaster, Hayashi Razan, had his residence. It was moved to its present location in 1690 by the fifth Tokugawa shogun, Tsunayoshi, when he made Confucianism the official philosophy of Japan. The school became known as Shoheizaka Gakumonjo and it soon became a premium academy attracting the best students from around the country. In 1872, the Meiji government established the first teacher's training institute here. With time this center of education evolved into Tokyo University.

The present Yushima Seido building, which is a temple dedicated to Confucius, was built in 1935. It is a large black building built in Chinese style with simple designs in red. The roof is topped with two cocks on either side, and hunched tigers prowling lower down. Close by within the compound stands the world's largest statue of Confucius. This 4.57m high bronze statue was gifted to the temple in 1975 by the Taipei Lions Club. Near this statue, there are four other statues of the four sages Yan Hui, Zengzi, Kong Ji, and Mencius.

Yushima Seido attracts a lot of worshippers, many of whom are students as Confucius is considered a deity of knowledge. The place is especially crowded during examination time when students come to pray for success in examinations.

Kanda Myojin

Behind Yoshima Seido, across Hongo Dori (Hongo Street), is Kanda Myojin, or Kanda Shrine. This small, yet architecturally beautiful shrine, is said to have been founded in the year 730 in the village Shibasaki, where Tokyo's Otemachi district now stands. It was relocated to its present site in 1616 to protect it from evil influences.

Kanda Myojin is dedicated to three deities who are all enshrined here - Okuninushi-no-Mikoto, Sukunahikona-no-Mikoto, and Taira-no-Masakado. Okuninushi-no-Mikoto and Sukunahikona-no-Mikoto are early Japanese mythical characters, whereas Taira-no-Masakado is a tenth century rebel who led several revolts against the emperor in Kyoto. He had seized power of the eastern provinces and declared himself emperor. In 940, he was captured and beheaded for his rebellious ways, but the faithful believed that his intentions were good and made him a saint. Even today people come to pray and appeal to him for victory when they face a tough problem.

The entrance to the Shrine is a two-story gate. Just to the left of the gate is the statue of a smiling, fat-ear-lobed, mallet-wielding Daikoku, the god of wealth. The main shrine building is built in Chinese Buddhist architectural style and has a beautifully curved roof made of copper tiles. It is brightly painted in vermillion and hundreds of paper lanterns decorate the exterior.

Behind the main building is the safe storehouse with a massive door. Surrounding it are a number of smaller Shinto shrines.

Kanda Myojin is a popular venue for Shinto rituals for all happy events like birth, marriage, passing exams, growing up, and so on. During all such occasions the Shrine is beautifully and brightly decorated, making it a veritable fun park.

One of the three major festivals of Tokyo dating back to the Edo period, Kanda Matsuri , is held here at Kanda Myojin in odd-numbered years. It is held on the Saturday and Sunday closest to May 15 th . The main event of Kanda Matsuri is a procession in which the gods, housed for the occasion in their mikoshi (portable shrines), pass through the streets in Kanda, Nihombashi, Otemachi, Marunouchi, and on to other parts of Tokyo. Around seventy mikoshi are carried by some 300 people on their shoulders. These are accompanied by many different kinds of floats, attended by the priests and officials of the shrine dressed in Heian-period (794-1185) costume. Shinto priests mounted on horseback line up in rows on the streets where the shrines and floats pass. Kanda Matsuri is one of the liveliest festivals of Tokyo which attracts hundreds of people not only from Tokyo, but from the surrounding areas as well.

Universities:

Kanda has been associated with education and learning since the Edo period. Several universities, colleges, and schools are located in this area, making Ochanomizu a popular place for students to live. Two universities are within a short walking distance from Ochanomizu Station the Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Meiji University.

Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

The Tokyo Medical and Dental University is just across the Hijiribashi Bridge next to Ochanomizu Station. Founded as Tokyo National School of Dentistry in 1928, it was established as Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 1946. In successive years many different medical and dental schools, departments, and hospitals were opened, making it today one of the top universities in the medical and dental fields, offering education to medical, dental and health science professionals as well as to research in these fields.

Meiji University

Meiji University was founded in January 1881 as Meiji Law School by a group of young lawyers - Tatsuo Kishimoto, Kozo Miyagi, and Misao Yashiro. With time, Meiji University grew into one of the most prominent private universities of Japan, ranking among the best. Meiji University currently consists of eight schools - the School of Law, School of Commerce, School of Political Science and Economics, School of Arts and Letters, School of Science and Technology, School of Agriculture, School of Business, and the Graduate School. The Graduate School is made up of 6 departments - the Department of Law, Department of Commerce, Department of Arts and Letters, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Business Administration. There are also independent schools in various disciplines - School of Legal Studies (Department of Law, Graduate School), School of Global Business (Business School), School of Professional Accountancy (Graduate School of Professional Accountancy), and the School of Governance Studies (Department of Political Science and Economics).

Meiji University has three campuses - the Surugadai Campus, the Izumi Campus, and the Ikuta Campus.

The Meiji University Surugadai Campus is located just 3 minutes on foot from Ochanomizu Station. It houses the School of Law, School of Commerce, School of Political Science and Economics, School of Arts and Letters, School of Business Administration, School of Information and Communication, the Evening Division (School of Law, School of Commerce, School of Political Science and Economics, School of Arts and Letters), and the Graduate School.

The most prominent buildings on the 25,000 square-meter campus are the Liberty Tower (home to the Central Library), the Faculty Office Building, the University Hall, and Building 12 (housing classrooms and facilities for information and audiovisual education), and the Academy Common (an education center).

The Meiji University Surugadai Campus also has a museum, the Meiji University Museum , which aims to exhibit the achievements of its academic pursuits as well as serve as an institution of learning. The museum is divided into three sections the Commodity Museum, the Criminal Materials Museum, and the Archaeological Museum.

The Commodity Museum of Meiji University exhibits Japanese traditional arts and crafts. The main aim of this museum is to preserve traditional handicrafts and artifacts in the face of economic growth. The objects displayed here are lacquer ware, dyed textiles and ceramic ware among other things. Different manufacturing processes and techniques are also shown.

The Criminal Museum of Meiji University is the only criminal museum in Japan that permanently exhibits instruments used for the arrest, torture, and punishment of criminals. A variety of historical criminal laws are also displayed in chronological order. The unique exhibits at this museum are the guillotine and the Iron Maiden of Nuremberg. This Criminal Museum was established to promote a respect for human rights by shedding light on a dark side of society.

The Archaeological Museum of Meiji University exhibits archeological artifacts from the Paleolithic up through the Tumulus period found in Japan. Most of the objects have been excavated from Iwajuku in Gunma Prefecture, Sunagawa in Saitama Prefecture, Natsushima in Kanagawa Prefecture, and Izuruhara in Tochigi Prefecture, and are the result of Meiji University's active on-site excavation programs. Besides the exhibits, the museum also offers introductory and extension courses in archaeology.

Musical Instruments District

Ochanomizu is also known as the musical instruments district. Not far from the main entrance of Ochanomizu Station, on Meidai Dori (Meidai Street) are the many musical instruments shops. These shops line both sides of the main street, as well as the many surrounding side streets, and sell all kinds of musical instruments from electric guitars, keyboards and drums to tambourines and the ocarina. Here one can find both new instruments as well as used ones at great bargains. Some shops also sell records and music books from yesteryear, besides the latest imported CDs. This area is almost always crowded with people, especially students from nearby universities and schools.

 

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