The Guardian of Water statue is a replica of the original in San Diego, given to the city of Yokohama in 1960 as a gift from the San Diego-Yokohama Friendship Commission. It was created by the artist Donal Hord, and shows a pioneer woman carrying a water jug up on one shoulder. The statue is at the center of a fountain and is surrounded by gardens in Yamashita Park on Yokohama's waterfront. -AH
The impressive bronze statue of a mounted warrior in the park outside Tokyo's Imperial Palace shows Kusunoki Masashige, who lived from 1294 until 1336 and fought for the Emperor Go-Daigo to prevent the Kamakura shogunate from taking control of Japan. Kusunoki Masashige helped defend two fortresses at Akasaka and Chihaya and thus allowed Go-Daigo to return to power, at least briefly. During the Edo period, Masashige became a legend and great hero, representing courage, loyalty and devotion to the Emperor. For this reason he was revered by the World War 11 kamikaze pilots, who saw themselves making a similar sacrifice for their Emperor. -AH
Also renowned as The Giant Ghibli Clock, the NI-Tele Really BIG Clock is credited to beloved animation director Hayao Miyazaki who also co-founded the world-renowned Studio Ghibli. Created using copper and steel, the clock rises up to three stories. Stylistically similar to the popular film 'Howl’s Moving Castle', the numerous figurines that surround the giant clock spring into action multiple times in a day. Thanks to this unique feature, the "NI-Tele Really BIG Clock" has struck a chord with ardent Ghibli fans.
The Moyai is not as famous as the Hachiko dog statue in front of Shibuya, but serves as a more convenient meeting spot as it is not so crowded. The huge lump of stone resembles one of the head statues from Easter Island. It was a gift from the people of Niijima Village in the Izu Islands in honor of Tokyo's hundredth year as capital of Japan. The word moyai in the dialect of Niijima Village means "work together" and sounds like "moai" from the Moai Statues of Easter Island. The statue has two heads, one more prominent than the other, and is to the southwest of the station. -AH
Enjoy a journey into the make-believe world of Pinocchio in Tokyo Disneyland. Pinocchio's Daring Journey takes guests into Stromboli’s Puppet Theater where guests can see Pinocchio performing with the other puppets. Moving on, one passes through many other adventures finally reaching Geppetto’s Workshop where the characters rejoice over Pinocchio’s return. The ride is based on the Walt Disney film. It is suited for children as well as adults, though parts of it can be scary for children.
The bronze statue of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida wearing a winter coat and walking with a stick stands in Kitanomaru Park. He was twice prime minister after World War II and twice Minister of Foreign Affairs. His policies emphasized Japan's economic recovery and regaining the lost industrial infrastructure. Yoshida died in 1967. -AH
The Peace Monument is semi-circular, flower-covered memorial to the victims of the Great Tokyo air raids during World War II. It was designed by the sculptor Kimio Tsuchiya and opened in Yokoami-cho Park in March 2001. There is a small room inside containing the names of 100,000 victims of the bombing raids. The flowers covering the sculpture symbolize life. -AH
Coming up the escalator from the Top Hat exit of Roppongi station you are faced with a giant spider sculpture known as Maman. It is one of a series created by Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist and sculptor who died in 2010. Others exist at the Tate Modern in London, Kansas City, Ottawa, Bilbao, St. Petersberg, Seoul and Doha. Louise Bourgeois was known to say, "The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver." The Maman sculpture outside Mori Tower is often used as a distinctive meeting place. -AH