Who knew that such a thing like a Totem Pole International Tournament ever took place?! Way back in 1991 there was one in Chiba Prefecture and 80 masterpieces were exhibited. Sadly Japan’s biggest totem pole at 21 metres high, which attracted a lot of attention in that tournament, has long been removed but the others are still there for the enjoyment of anyone visiting this suburban park.
Take the Tsukuba Express Main Line from Kita Senju heading towards Tsukuba and after 15-20 minutes you will come to Nagareyama-Central Park Station. 5 minutes on foot east of the station leads to Nagareyama City General Fitness Park (1-1-40 Nonoshita, Nagareyama) which contains these wonderfully creative wooden specimens.
Having already spent the morning of this fine day (prior to the Covid-19 outbreak by the way) wandering around Kashiwanoha Park, I had less interest in looking around this park so just wanted to get in and get out. That didn’t happen though as I naturally went to the completely wrong part of the park in my search for the totem poles and ended up asking at the on-site centre for directions to where they were all congregated.
A recent Tokyo Fox post mentioned the World Expo of 1985 which took place in Japan’s science city, Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture. 15 years earlier the Expo had been in Osaka and it’s been said that that particular influence of the exotic boom was an influence in the rise of Totem Poles in Japan in the 1970s.
Another theory for the boom is that there was simply a large number of telegraph poles at the time.
Beforehand I was unaware of quite how many totem poles there was. I really wasn’t expecting so many and it was far more interesting than I thought to look closely at the amazing work and intricate details of each and every one. Sadly I can’t reveal any more about the symbolic and cultural meanings behind any of them.
They say that a picture paints a thousand words so rather than write a load of words about these photos, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
- Nagareyama City General Fitness Park is located at 1-1-40 Nonoshita, Nagareyama, Chiba-ken.
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