The Worst Day at Tokyo National Museum in Ueno!? : a treasure from Taiwan & the Japanese brave

The first post after Blog Renewal is a humorous story from Ueno, Tokyo!

As I said in the last post, I was waiting for a long time to tell 5 fun stories during the blog renovation. Finally, this is one of them. Happy to start it!Tokyo is one of the most crowded cities in the world.

I remember I had a short speech that I titled “How Crowded Tokyo Is” in an English class. My Italian, German, Brazilian friends and Aussie teacher enjoyed it very much.Today, I want to share a Super Crazy story of my friend.

She visited a temporary exhibition at Tokyo National Museum in Ueno.

Tokyo National Museum in Ueno, Tokyo, Japan

It is a collection of treasures from National Palace Museum (台北國立故宮博物院) of Taiwan/Taipei (台湾) from 24 June until 15 September, 2014.

Jadeite Cabbage (翠玉白菜) was the most important treasure of them and also a feature of the exhibition.
This photo is her souvenir file of it.

Beautiful, isn’t is?

A souvenir file of Jadeite Cabbage

Amazingly, this 19 cm cabbage and a grasshopper on its green leaf are made of one single piece of jadeite. No cement. No coloring. Great craftspeople!

(For Details, go to National Palace Museum Official Website:

My friend wanted to see it, so she visited the museum. Then, what do you think happened to her?

She arrived at the museum at 9:00, half an hour before its opening.

She bought a ticket and entered the garden in front of the museum buildings. Then, a museum attendant told new comers that Jadeite Cabbage and other treasures were on display separately, giving them a leaflet. So she followed the line for Cabbage.

It is not rare that there is a line for a temporary exhibition at Tokyo National Museum. You can see a line on the photo above as well. (Not for its permanent exhibition. No line for permanent exhibition every day, every time. Don’t worry when you visit the museum!) So she didn’t mind waiting in the line at first.

However, when the museum opened at 9:30 and the line for Cabbage started to proceed, she realized that the line was quite long, longer than she had expected.

When it was near 10:00, she and other visitors in the line began to feel something was strange.

Then, an old man asked a museum attendant dealing with the line,
“How many minutes will we wait?”
The attendant answered,
“From here, around 100 minutes.”
People shouted,
And the attendant added,
“People coming at this moment will wait 240 minutes.”

4 HOURS! For one single Cabbage!

Can you believe that!? They must be the BRAVE! 

My friend got stunned. But she said she couldn’t leave the line because she had bought the ticket, and if she had left, her tiring one hour in the line would have been totally in vain. I guess other people thought the same thing.

This is “The Road to Cabbage”. My friend and all the other Cabbage visitors got this leaflet. The red line is her writing (You’ll feel how annoyed she was!) and the blue caption is mine for convenience.

So, they bought tickets at the entrance and the line went zigzag in the garden and inside of some other buildings. Other treasures are in the 2F of ① Building.
Fortunately, it was cloudy on that day, but she says it would quite dangerous if it was sunny because Tokyo’s summer these years is hard. If it was over 30 degrees, it is highly dangerous to be outside for long. Museum attendants know it, so they prepared some drink for visitors in lines.
According to her, there were people saying as below.
An old man in line with his friends said,
“2 hours. We can arrive in Taiwan from Tokyo!”
True, true.
Some travelers from another prefecture said,
“Not people, but Cabbage should move. An attendant puts it on a handcart and passes in front of us.”
Good idea.
A teenage boy and his father were in the line. It seemed Dad wanted to see Jadeite Cabbage and brought Son to a happy picnic (at least he thought so,) but Son didn’t know exactly for what they were there.
Son asked Dad,
“Dad, what will we see there, after standing in line this long?”
Dad answered,
“A cabbage of stone, and it is…”
You know, teenagers are the last people who want to visit a museum to see old treasures!
Poor Dad, I don’t think Son would talk to him for a month.
When she finally went inside the building with Cabbage, waited for a while, and showed her ticket, a museum attendant there announced,
“From here, around 40 minutes.”
Inside the room, a zigzag line again! Cabbage was near, but they couldn’t approach. How frustrating! She had already got exhausted, but she managed to keep herself in line.
When she finally met Jadeite Cabbage, it was 11:30. She stared at it, bought the souvenir file and went out.
Later, she told me the entire of her story.
She said,
“Jadeite Cabbage was beautiful, but if I had known that I’d wait 2 hours and a half just for it, I wouldn’t have visited it.”
I really, really agree with her.

She also said,
“This was apparently the worst day of all my experiences at any museums in my life.”

Then, where is Cabbage now? Some curious people possibly want to see the line, more than Jadeite Cabbage….
Actually, Jadeite Cabbage has gone back home.
It is so precious a treasure that it was in Tokyo only for a week. It departed Tokyo on 7 July, the day of Tanabata, Japanese Star Festival. (The other treasures stay until 15 September, 2014.)
Generally, National Palace Museum of Taiwan does not permit any museum to borrow those treasures, but Japanese museum people were so enthusiastic that Taiwanese people decided to allow them go to Japan.
Personally, it is good to keep a treasure safe at home if it is so precious for the museum.

This blog has been welcoming many Taiwanese readers, especially to Tokyo Sakura Information.
When I have a chance to go to Taiwan, I will definitely visit National Palace Museum and see Jadeite Cabbage. Hopefully without any long line.

I created the New Label Crowded Tokyo for a fresh restart.

Thanks for reading & Tokyo Direct Diary hopes to see more of you!



2 thoughts on “The Worst Day at Tokyo National Museum in Ueno!? : a treasure from Taiwan & the Japanese brave

  • That teenager's reaction, I'd love to see his face hahahahahaha

    • Hi, rena,

      Yeah, I suppose this experience was hard for people in the line, but it's a joke for us! I'm sure that it is an "unforgettable" memory for the teenager now!!


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