Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

Tour Report on January 21,2018 at Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

Many thanks for joining our tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku area on January 21. The weather was unusually mild and comfortable in the middle of winter. We welcomed eight guests from America,Australia,Israel,Canada and Thailand. I hope you enjoyed walking with us.

On our tour route there is lovely Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Harajuku. It is located at the quiet place between Takeshita Street and Omotesanso street. This museum is one of the most outstanding museums specializing in Ukiyo-e woodblock printing in Japan. The museum opened in 1980 and has 12,000 pieces which late Seizo Ohta, former president of a large insurance company collected through his life. They change the exhibition every month.


Ohta3-3.jpgThe current performance displays the new forms of Ukiyo-e art in the turbulent transitional period between the end of the Edo and the beginning of the Meiji Period when Japan was becoming modern and industrialized. 150 pieces are shown in the light of the 150th year from the Meiji Restoration which continues until February 25.

Ukiyo-e is a style of woodblock printing created and developed in Japan about 300 years ago during the Edo period. ‘uki’ means floating, ‘yo’ means world and ‘e’ means picture. Ukiyo-e thus literally represents pictures of the floating world. It depicts the everyday life of commonors and the Japanese landscape. It was originally black and white but then progressed into multi-color printing. The major artists are Utamaro Kitagawa,Hiroshige Utagawa and Hokusai Katsushika.
The low price of the new artwork attracted customers. When Ukiyo-e printing was used as wrapping paper for the ceramics and lacquer ware Japan exported to Europe, people in Europe were amazed at the freshness of printing, bright multi-color and bold composition. Ukiyo-e impacted the painters such as van Gogh and the French Impressionists. An interesting fact is that soon after the movement in Europe was reported to Japan, Ukiyo-e was admitted as an aesthetic quality in Japan.
Today Ukiyo-e is popular and loved by many people not only in Japan but also the rest of the world. The museum is open from 10:30 to 17:30 except Monday. Admission is 700 yen. Why not visit the museum after our tour?

(posted by Yoshi)