Tokyo Guide: Tokyo University
Tokyo Area Guide: Tokyo University 東京大学
Tokyo University (or Todai for short) is Japan's most prestigious university. Tokyo University usually ranks as Japan's best university, often number one in Asia and in the top twenty of the world's universities.
Tokyo University has 10 faculties and around 30,000 students on its five campuses at Hongo in the Kanda area of Tokyo, Komaba, Kashiwa (in Chiba Prefecture), Shirokane and Nakano.
The extensive main campus grounds in Hongo are a pleasant place to walk, especially at the weekends. The campus contains some notable historic features such as Sanshiro Pond (previously Ikutokuen) and the Akamon (Red Gate).
In 2012 Tokyo University announced it would debate autumn enrollment for its students (as opposed to April enrollment at present) in order to better internationalize its operations and bring it in to line with world standards, however, a change looks unlikely at present. Tokyo University has a lower percentage of foreign students and professors than its major rivals overseas as well as fewer of its students studying overseas. The percentage of female faculty is also below that of major Ivy League universities in the US and Oxbridge in the UK.
Tokyo University History
Tokyo University was founded in 1877 during the westernizing Meiji Period.
The campus of Tokyo University was previously the Tokyo residence of the Maeda family of feudal lords from Kaga (present-day Ishikawa Prefecture).
Tokyo University was renamed "the Imperial University" in 1886, and "Tokyo Imperial University" a year later in 1887, only reverting to its original name in 1945.
Of the several gates to the Hongo Campus of the Tokyo of University, the distinctive Akamon (Red Gate) is the most famous. It was built in 1827 for the daughter of Shogun Ienari Tokugawa, named Yasuhime, for her marriage into the Maeda household.
The gate, which underwent restoration in 1961, is registered as an Important Cultural Property.
Google Map to Akamon Gate
Sanshiro Pond was considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Edo (the previous name for Tokyo).
The name Sanshiro comes from a novel of that name by Natsume Soseki set around Tokyo University.
Although care is required when wet, the path and stepping stones around the Sanshiro Pond are worth navigating for the various vantage points on the pond's beauty.
The grounds of Tokyo University's Hongo campus are planted with ginkgo trees, known for their endurance and longevity, and the ginkgo has become the symbol of the university.
Nearby universities in Tokyo
Besides Todai, other universities in the Hongo area are: Nihon Denki University, Meiji University and Nihon University.
Tel: 03 3812 2111 (General inquiries)
Hongo Campus Access
The nearest Tokyo subway stations to the Hongo campus of Tokyo University are Todaimae on the Namboku Line and Hongo Sanchome on the Marunouchi Line.
Komaba Campus Access
For the Komaba Campus take a Keio-Inakashira Lina train to Komabatodaimae Station.
Kashiwa Campus Access
For the Kashiwa Campus of Tokyo University (Tel: 04 7136 4003) take a bus (25 minutes) from either JR Joban Line and Tobu Noda-Line Kashiwa Station or a bus (15 minutes) from the Tsukuba Express Line Kashiwanoha-campus Station. The Tsukuba Express starts at Akihabara Station in Tokyo.