By Amaël Cognacq (Text) and Xuan Truong Trinh (Photos)
Click the photo to see its caption.
1. Entering the campus through the South-West gate feels like entering a forest. And yet, once you are walking on this worn road, a river on your left and a copse on your right, you are inside the Komaba campus of the University of Tokyo.
2. A century ago, the campus used to be the faculty of agriculture of the University and before that, a hunting reserve for the shoguns during the Tokugawa period. A lot of space has been kept nowadays for greenery. Here, the clock tower, main building of Komaba, environed by trees of all colors.
3. The campus is hence not only one of the best centers of knowledge of the world, but also a spirited, charming place for everyone to have a stroll or to spend some time. Indeed, many retired people come to sketch the scenery throughout the seasons, and young children come and play with their parents in the Communication Plaza.
4. Added to retired painters and frolicking children, persons of all age come in autumn to collect Ginkgo fruits on the campus very emblematic Ginkgo alley. Autumn nights are the best to enjoy the carpet of yellow leaves while walking or biking back home after a weary day.
5. The prominence of nature on campus is something planned through by the Environment Committee which is a faculty advisory board, and the Facilities Office of the College. They hire tree doctors to do medical check-ups on trees, circle them with band-aid when they are sick and plan their replacement before they actually fall. They also discuss what to do when accidents happen to the trees. Here, the tree in front of Bldg 101 that fell during the 2012 Winter.
6. The Committee has assigned identification numbers to each tree on campus. This meticulous maintenance is the key to Komaba Campus’ charm. Here, cherry blossom trees in spring near the Tennis Courts.
7. The campus even has a lake beyond the Japanese Style House! This romantic place is a hideout for the numerous cats of the campus, when they are not wandering around Yanaihara Park, also on campus, situated behind the Library.
8. Climbing down the stairs of Komaba Todaimae Station, this is the first vision students have of their campus every day. The charmful main building humbly lies behind one of the biggest trees of the campus. This harmonious association of nature and architecture symbolizes the whole campus: a green oasis of knowledge in which buildings blend in the scenery without outshining the beauty of the environment.
[For the photos credits: 1-7: Xuan Truong Trinh – 8: Hijikata Kamiyu]
Amaël Cognacq is a first-year PEAK student at the University of Tokyo.