I want to write about Tokyo University 東京大学, the university occupying the top rank in Japan and a top rank through out Asia. Although it's not so high in the world ranking of schools, many people in Japan (and other parts of Asia, and sometimes other parts of the world) aspire to study in the halls of Tokyo Daigaku.
The view I saw when I first enter the Tokyo Daigaku grounds
Tokyo Daigaku was founded in 1877 by the Meiji government by combining several schools. In changed names in 1886 and 1887, but returning the to the original Tokyo Daigaku name after WWII in 1947. The school encompasses 3 campuses, housing the full range of disciplines, with facilities in other parts of Tokyo and Japan.
Doesn't really look like Japan right? ^^
Considering the history of Tokyo University, there are many various architecture styles to be observed in the campuses. The iconic Akamon, or Red Gate, is a symbol of the schools roots in the Edo period - the Hongo campus occupies the former estate of Edo period feudal lords. There is also a variety of Europeon architectural styles, which gives the university an impressive atmosphere.
According to the Tokyo University's English website there is currently 27,312 students and 991 research students enrolled at the school. To me this is really impressive because my school has about 9000 students. Many people study long and hard to pass the entrance exams into Todai, some who fail even spend extra years just studying and reapplying to the exam rather than going to another university!
Iconic Yasuda Auditorium
The first president of Tokyo University
Indeed going to Tokyo Daigaku was a very interesting experience to me, because it is opposite to my school in nearly every way! hehe^^ My school is a rather new school, and all the campuses are remodels of pre-existing modern office buildings, Tokyo Daigaku has mostly old buildings. My school is not a research institute, while Tokyo Daigaku is. Tokyo Daigaku has a campus life, my school does not.
Walking around Tokyo University
Another thing that really stood out to me were the roaming packs of suited young people. I mean, everyone in those packs looked really young, even to me. They must have been freshmen and all were wearing black suits, no makeup no accessories. It was a bit nerve racking for me haha, what were they doing in those packs? My school has students from ages 16 to 69, and not even the professors wear suits haha.
That is just one tree, look how huge it is!
When I was entering the Tokyo Daigaku campus, a Chinese student pulled me aside to do an informal interview. I was asked several questions about my impressions of the appearence of the university. She seemed a bit disappointed to find that I'm not a Tokyo Daigaku student. I guess I should feel honored she thought I was until that point hehe^^
Do I look like a Todai student? haha XD
Anyhow, Tokyo Daigaku has a lovely campus, that you can enter during the day. It's an interesting place to see Japanese university life up close as well as a nice place to relax as there are several nice park areas and a Lawson conbini! It's a large university and the layout is a bit complex so be sure to check the map signs often hehe!
Tokyo University's on campus Lawson. I wish my school had one too!