Delightful Japanese Illuminations in Ueno



2020.12.24 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Winter is in full swing in Tokyo.
The days have gotten shorter, and the weather has become quite chilly.
One of the fun things to do this season is viewing the nightscape of Tokyo from tall buildings & towers or looking at the illuminations that color the city streets. This time around, let's introduce you to the Japanese-style illuminations at Ueno. The "Ueno Hana-Touro Ukiyo-e Andon(Street Lantern Display)" at Ueno Park.

Inside Ueno park, the pathway, leading from the fountain area to the north side of the Hakamagoshi Square, is lined with andon lamps decorated with ukiyo-e drawings that illuminate the park at night time!
Andons are one of Japan's primary traditional lighting equipment. In the olden days, people used these lamps—lit by a candle or an oil lamp enclosed in paper stretched over four sides of the andon—for indoor lighting, etc.

Prepared via a collaboration between the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Tokyo University of the Arts, the exquisite detail of the prints adorning the andon lamps at Ueno Park is fascinating. The prints decorating the andon lamps comprise themes from the artworks of renowned ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige's collection of masterpieces titled "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo," like the "Kiyomizu Hall and Shinobazu Pond at Ueno," and the "Kinryusan Temple at Asakusa!"
Roaming about and gazing at the elaborate ukiyo-e painted on andon lamps feels like visiting an outdoor museum. Both sides of the pathway are decorated with andon lamps—comprising three giant andons over a meter in height and 200 smaller andons. Walking and looking at each one of them up close, or viewing them all together in one scenery from afar, both offer sights worth beholding.

When you're out viewing the andons, it's also worth checking out other spots inside Ueno Park like the Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple and the Shinobazu Pond Benten-do Temple that also light up with decorative illuminations.
The andon illuminations will be on display until Sunday, February 28th, 2021, and the lamps stay lit from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

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