Since ancient times, people build statues to celebrate famous or important people of the time, pay a tribute to someone who has done something for the society or the country. And often travelers include those landmarks in spots to visit during their trip. Well, also in Tokyo you can find statues of historical characters, like Saigo Takamori, also known as “the last Samurai” at Ueno Park or Kusunoki Masashige near the Imperial Palace, but the city is also filled with many statues of a different kind… From the Japanese folklore, jumped out from manga and from a heartbreaking story of loyalty.
Tokyo is filled with uncommon statues, not to miss it while visiting the city, especially if you’re a fan if that story!
Of course, the loyal Akita dog that came every day to the Shibuya Station waiting for its master has its famous statue in front of Shibuya Crossing and it’s often listed in things to do in Tokyo. But you know that there is also another Hachiko’s statue in Tokyo?
At Tokyo University, where the master of Hachi worked, in 2015, was revealed a statue in honor of the 80h anniversary. The statue is located right beside the No-Seimon Gate of the Hongo Campus Hachi’s passing and shows professor Ueno and Hachi happily reunited.
On the artificial island of Odaiba, a real-size Gundam unicorn is waiting for you. In front of DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, the new life-sized Gundam statue has a height of 19.7 meters and from September 2017 has taken the place of the previous classic Gundam RX-78-2. Gundam performances several times a day it can switch between two modes – Unicorn and Destroyer – and you can catch the change a number of times each day, switching from the Unicorn with a single horn on its head to the Destroyer mode that reveals the statue’s hidden light panels.
Despite Tokyo was a great stomping ground for Godzilla, Japan’s capital celebrates him with three statues around the city!
The most famous one is the Godzilla’s head in Kabukicho, towering over the Toho Cinema of Shinjuku. At 6 pm you can even hear it roaring and “breath” and is also possible come closer to the head staying at Gracery Hotel Shinjuku or take a break at Cafè at the 8th floor. The second Godzilla Statue can be found at Hibiya and is Japan’s biggest full Godzilla statue. The third statue is a little out of the tourist-track, set outside the Toho Studios building in Setagaya and it looks like the classic Godzilla design.
Ashita no Joe
Ashita no Joe is a popular manga of 1968, about the history of Joe Yabuki, a boxer from the erased district of Sanya. The popularity of the manga is due to the message behind the story, that is not a simple sport story but represent the strong and will to survive at the difficult situation of a post-war Japan, among the poor working-class and daily labors life.
A statue of Ashita no Joe is in Sanya, his hometown, just before the entrance of the shopping street.
Another statue of Ashita no Joe can be found at Oizumi Anime Gate.
Oizumi Anime Gate
Oizumi Anime Gate in Nerima-ku, a city that is also considered the “Anime City Ichiban” (the number one city for anime). In this area there are life-sized bronze statues of popular anime characters from anime created in Nerima, such as Astro Boy from the series of the same name, Joe Yabuki from “Ashita no Joe”, Tetsuro Hoshino and Maetel from Galaxy Express 999, and Lum from Urusei Yatsura. The site also offers a chronology of Nerima’s anime industry, as well as a “Graphic Wall”, where visitors can experience and enjoy Nerima animation.
If you’re a fan of the popular soccer anime, you can’t miss a pilgrimage around the district of Yotsugi, the hometown of the artist. 8 statues of the main characters are disseminated all around the area, which is making more funny the treasure hunt, but you can also enjoy the Capitan Tsubata atmosphere from the station, totally dedicated to this popular manga.