Last month, we got our first peek at the brand-new statue of Hachiko, in which Japan’s most famous dog is reunited with his loving master after almost a century apart. But while Hachiko’s legendary loyalty is inspiring, we weren’t waiting 100 years to see the statue for ourselves.
With the piece now installed and open to viewing by the public, we made the trip to the campus of the University of Tokyo, and we’ve brought plenty of photos and video that we shot while looking at Hachiko through both our viewfinder and a constant stream of tears.
Hachiko’s new statue can be found on the grounds of the University of Tokyo’s agriculture campus. This isn’t because Hachiko had super intelligence to go along with his peerless commitment to owner Hidesaburo Ueno, but because Ueno was a professor of agricultural engineering with the school for more than 20 years.
But while you’ll have to pass a grueling test before you can enroll and take classes at the university, the campus itself is completely open to the general public. So even though our Japanese-language reporter Yoshio’s college days are over and done with, on the morning of March 9 he grabbed his camera and headed out to see Hachiko in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward.
The University of Tokyo has multiple campuses, but if your goal is to see Hachiko, you’ll want the one for the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences/Faculty of Agriculture (website here). The statue isn’t tucked away in some back corner, either. Right after you walk through the gate, you’ll see the happy pet and owner on your left.
▼ “Hey, buddy, wanna go get some yakitori?”
Yoshio arrived before noon, but even still, he wasn’t the only one who’d come to pay his respects, as there was already a handful of visitors snapping pictures.
▼ Hachiko’s likeness is anatomically correct.
▼ Ueda’s professor’s bag, meanwhile, is gender-neutral.
After noon, the number of sightseers gradually started to increase. One woman Yoshio spoke to even laughed that, “The school is probably going to start getting a ton of people coming just to see the statue, so it’ll be rough on campus security, having to manage all the crowds.”
▼ Hey, he’s a popular guy.
While the woman was probably right about the statue becoming a new landmark in Tokyo, during Yoshio’s visit, everyone was well-behaved. After all, people tend not to get too rowdy when they’re being moved to tears and/or smiling from ear to ear.
If you’re an animal lover in Tokyo, the original Hachiko statue in front of Shibuya Station, where the Akita Inu waited every day for his deceased master to come home from work, is still a must-see. But if you want to remember Ueno and his pet as they were in life, when being reunited at the end of every day was a cause for celebration, you owe yourself a visit to this new monument, too.
Related: University of Tokyo Faculty of Agriculture website