KCP Winter 2017 students with Maru dog at Ueno Park

KCP W17 Meets Maru at Ueno Park

KCP Winter 2017 students at Ueno ParkThe land of Ueno Park (上野公園, Ueno Kōen), the big, beautiful park right next to Ueno Station, once belonged to one of the largest and wealthiest temples during the Edo Period.  It was also a family temple of the then ruling Tokugawa clan.

KCP W17 at Ueno Park. | KCP Flickr.

Ueno Park is situated on land that belonged to Kan’ei-ji, a Tendai Buddhist temple in Tokyo, founded in 1625.  The Kan’ei-ji temple stood in the northeast of the capital, the “unlucky” direction of Edo castle, to protect the city from bad omens.

During the 1868 Boshin War, most of the temple buildings were destroyed in the Battle of Ueno. The Tokugawa shogunate was defeated by the new Meiji government, which was in favor of restoring imperial rule.  A few months later, the ownership of Ueno Hill was awarded to the city of Tokyo. The temple grounds were converted into Japan’s first Western-style parks and were opened to the public in 1873.

Other surviving  buildings in Ueno Park are designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan, such as the five-storyed pagoda (1639), Kiyomizu kannondō (1631), and the main gate. Ueno Park was administered by several government agencies and was eventually awarded to the Ministry of the Imperial Household in 1924, to honor the marriage of Hirohito. Ueno Park was officially presented to the city of Tokyo by Emperor Taishō, and received its official name, Ueno Onshi Kōen (上野恩賜公園), Ueno Imperial Gift Park, as it is known today.

KCP Winter 2017 students with Maru dog at Ueno ParkThe KCP Winter 2017 batch of students was wandering around Ueno Park recently and chanced upon Maru, the Japanese Instagram superstar Shiba-Inu dog!  Maru has over 2.6 million followers on Instagram and is known for his infectious smile that makes it seem like he’s the happiest dog in the world. His followers always look forward to the photographs and videos that his owners regularly post on Facebook and Instagram.

Maru.| KCP Flickr

Maru makes doing everyday doggy things seem like so much fun, especially with his ready, cheeky smile. It was great bumping into you, Maru!