For nine years Hachiko went to the train station to wait for his owner. He came there every day. But he didn’t understand, or he didn’t want to understand it. But Hachiko was hopeful. And that made him the most loyal dog of Japan. Or the world? You can judge for yourself…
Next to the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing (渋谷区) in Tokyo you can find the statue of a dog. It’s name is Hachiko (ハチ公) and everybody wants to take a picture with him. Just because of the story, a visit and a pat on his head is a must. And a dog owner will understand why… Read below the special story of Hachiko, the most loyal dog in the world. And get inspired with even more tips and information about the cosy and atmospheric district of Shibuya in Tokyo.
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Is Hachi A Dog’s Tale A True Story? Yes it is…
In 1923, Tokyo experienced one of the greatest disasters of its existence, the Kanto earthquake. It had a magnitude of 8.3 on the Richter scale and caused death and destruction on the streets of Tokyo. More than 100,000 people lost their lives. It must have been one of the reasons why Professor Ueno Hidesaburo (1871-1925), working at the University of Tokyo, decided to seek comfort and love from a faithful four-legged friend.
He bought a dog of the Japanese breed Akita and called him Hachiko. From the beginning owner and dog got along very well. Every morning Hachiko walked along with his owner to say goodbye to him at the station. And in the afternoon the loyal dog was already waiting for him and they walked home together. Until that fatal day in May 1925…
On the 21st of May 1925 Professor Ueno Hidesaburo was at work when he suddenly did not feel well. Things soon went from bad to worse and university staff decided to call the hospital. But it was of no avail. Professor Ueno Hidesaburo died of a brain haemorrhage. He was only 53 years old.
Hachiko kept waiting, waiting and waiting again, but…
In the afternoon Hachiko traditionally waited for his beloved owner. Of course the professor did not show up. But Hachiko kept waiting. Didn’t he understand that something was wrong? Or didn’t he want to understand that he would never see his boss again.
Of course Hachiko was placed with a new owner. But that didn’t stop him and every day he went to the station to hope for a reunion with the professor. But it was in vain. He came to the station every day for nine years, until he died of cancer on March 8, 1935.
Fact: After research on Hachiko’s body in 2011, they discovered that he died because of cancer. Prior to that, the cause of death used to be a porated stomach by means of skewers from the many meat dishes he received from a market stall vendor.
How did Hachiko become so famous?
Among locals, Hachiko grew into a dog that was loyal to his owner until his death. However, it was not until 1932 that an article was named after hum in a local magazine. And so he became the national symbol of that faithful, loyal four-legged friend who kept waiting for his owner. Special, isn’t it?
In 1934 it resulted in a bronze statue near the Shibuya crossing. The current bronze statue is not the original one. During the Second World War it was remelted for war purposes. In 1948 the faithful four-legged friend stood on his pedestal again.
But what did they do with the body of this oh so beloved dog? Well, you can admire him almost every day at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo! Stuffed and done!
Besides a bronze statue, Shibuya also has a wall with images of Hachiko. Anf finally, there are also a lot of movies about his life. The most famous one is an American remake from 2009 with the title Hachiko: A dog’s story. Richard Gere plays the owner of Hachiko.
And if you are in Tokyo on the 8th of March, the day of his death, don’t forget to go to his statue as a dog lover and honour this faithful four-legged friend.
What to do in Shibuya? Tips and information
Now that you know the special story of Hachiko, it is time to discover the lively district of Shibuya. Trendy shops and department stores along with neon signs, nightclubs and cafes define the streetscape. But most people come here especially for one thing: the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya Crossing! With a green light, every time hundreds, if not thousands of people cross this well-known intersection via the 5 clearly visible zebra crossings. But beware, because a collision is inevitable!
Tip: Before you continue reading… first observe the intersection? There are countless possibilities. For a ‘Japanese’ coffee you don’t really have to be at the Starbucks, but from the second floor you do have a nice view of the intersection.
Have you seen enough of Shibuya? Then take the underground or walk (+-2 km) to the Harajuku district north of Shibuya Crossing. Here you’ll find one of the city’s most beautiful parks with a beautiful temple in honour of the most important emperor of the last 200 years, the Yoyogi park and the Meiji Shrine.
Practical Information about Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko
How to get to Hachiko and Shibuya?
From Shibuya station (Hanzomon-, Ginza- and Fukutoshin line) you are within 3 minutes at the Shibuya Crossing and the statue of Hachi. The National Museum of Nature and Science is located in Ueno Park at Tokyo Metro Ueno Station stop and can be reached via the Ginza and Hibiya lines.
The National Museum of Nature and Science is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Monday. Admission to the museum costs 620 yen. And of course the crossroads of Shibuya and Hachi can be visited 24 hours a day…
Accommodation: Shibuya is one of the busiest districts in Tokyo. But there is a lot to do: from shopping and going out to good food. You can also explore the city from this district.
Do you have more tips, ideas or remarks about the most loyal dog of the wordl, Hachiko? Please feel free to leave a message below!