Situated in the south of Ueno Park, the pond is divided in three sections (see map), one called because of the plants that during the summer completely cover its surface, one called from the rental boats it hosts, and the third called , which lies within the limits of the Ueno Zoo and takes its name from the birds that inhabit it.
The pond has a circumference of about 2km and a surface of about 1,100,000m2. To the north it borders with the Ueno Zoo, to the east with Keisei Ueno Station, to the south and to the west with Shinobazu Dori. At its center lies on which stands the temple dedicated to goddess .
The park is divided in three parts by two promenades.
|Name||Surface（10,000m2）||Average Depth（cm）||Water volume（1000m3）|
In 1625 the Edo Shogunate had the Kan'ei-ji built here as a counterpart to Hieizan's Enryakuji in West Japan. The temple's founder Jigen Daishi (Tenkai), liking Lake Biwa, had Benten Island built in imitation of Chikubushima, and then the Bentendo on it. At the time the island was accessible only by boat, but later a stone bridge was added on the east, making it possible to walk to it.
The pond's shape until the beginning of the Meiji Era was very different from now, in particular the northern part where the Ueno Zoo is, which was much wider. At the time, the Aizomegawa flowed into it. In 1884 however, a cooperative horse racing company, wanting to open a racing track, had the pond partly filled, bringing it to the present shape and size. The first horse race took place in the November of the same year in the presence of the Emperor, and until 1892 races took place every spring and summer.
In 1907 the was built toward the west in occasion of the Tokyo Industrial Fair, making it possible to walk across the whole pond. In 1929 more work divided the pond in four distinct parts. The boat rental business, which continues to the present day, was started in 1939. Today's Cormorants Pond is the result of the fusion of two of those four sections. During World War II water was pumped out and the pond divided into rice paddies (the so-called . There was later, among others, a plan to build a baseball field on it, but in 1949 it was decided to return the pond to its original form which we still see today.
In September 1967 a hole was opened by accident in the pond during the construction of Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, and approximately 30 thousand tons of water flowed away.
In the years between 1990 and 1994, the city authorities installed water purification equipment.
This article is, with a few minor additions and omissions, a direct translation of the article 不忍池 of Japanese Wikipedia accessed on January 2008. The references above quoted belong to the original article.
Shinobazu-no-ike: Stephen Mansfield continues his literary jaunt around Tokyo. This month, Shinobazu-no-ike. (Writers' Tokyo).(Brief Article)
Aug 01, 2002; SHINOBAZU-NO-IKE (Shinobazu Pond), in the downtown district of Ueno, is one of the few remaining spots in the city center for...