Have you ever heard of Hachiko the dog? No? Neither had I until we visited Tokyo. If you ever go to Japan then odds are you will hear about him.
Hachiko is a national hero to the Japanese! A dog so famous there have been several movies made about him.
He has his own bronze statue next to Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo, where every day hundreds of people have their photograph taken with him.
Even Hollywood has made a movie about Hachiko! There is a statue of him at Rhode Island in the USA where the American version of the film was made.
So why is the Hachiko story so famous you may wonder? Well, I am happy you asked because here I will give you the amazing, real and very sad story about Hachiko the dog. ♥
Once Upon A Time, There Was A Dog Named Hachiko
Eizaburo Ueno, a professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University in Japan, had long wanted a purebred Japanese Akita dog. He had looked for the perfect Akita puppy for a long time, until one of his students encouraged him to adopt Hachiko, from the Odate city in the Akita prefecture of Japan.
Hachiko, or Hachi which became his nickname, and his new owner soon became best friends. Eizaburo loved his dear dog above all and treated him as his son. The two of them were inseparable.
As Hachiko grew older, he started to see his owner off to work in the morning at the Shibuya Train Station, in central Tokyo and went to pick him up at the station in the afternoon when he returned from work.
On May 21, 1925, only two years after Hachiko was born, Hachiko was as usually sitting by the exit at Shibuya train station waiting for his dear Eizaburo. But his owner never showed up…..
It turned out that Eizaburo had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died suddenly and unexpectedly while at work.
Hachiko moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family. But throughout the rest of his ten-year-long life, he kept going to the Shibuya Train Station every morning and afternoon precisely when the train was due to enter the station. He sat there for hours, patiently waiting in vain for the return of his beloved owner which sadly never came back.
A major Japanese newspaper reporter picked up the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan.
People started calling him “Chuken-Hachiko“, which means “Hachiko – the faithful dog“.
The story of the dog that never gave up gained a lot of attention also in national media, inspiring many people from all over the world to visit Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station to offer him treats. He touched the hearts of the Japanese people and soon became their hero.
Hachiko Dog Statue In Tokyo
In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachiko himself present as the main guest.
Hachiko passed away peacefully and alone on the street near Shibuya train station on March 8, 1935.
Hachiko is now on display at the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo.
There is also a monument of Hachiko next to his owner`s tomb in Aoyama cemetery in Tokyo.
Today the Hachiko bronze statue is a popular attraction outside of Shibuya train station, especially among young Japanese.
There has actually been made two Hachiko bronze statues in Tokyo. The first one was removed during World War II and melted as a source of metal.
Also on the wall of the Shibuya Station, there is a huge beautiful mosaic artwork of Hachiko:
Akita Hachiko Dog Museum
There is even an Akita Dog Museum In Japan, which honors the most famous Akita dog in the world – Hachiko. It is located in Odate city, in the Akita prefecture of Japan. The museum is a must-visit for animal lovers! ??
Here you can learn everything about the Akita dog and Hachiko in particular, and on weekdays you even get to meet and play with two cute Akita dogs inside the museum. So much fun!
The museum is open every day from mid-April to mid-November, between 09:00 (9 am) and 16:00 (4 pm).
If you love Akita dogs, and Hachiko in particular, you should visit this museum. Buy your e-tickets here and get a discount.
- Address: 13-1 Aza Sannomaru Ōdate City, Akita, Japan
- Opening hours: mid-April to mid-November, between 09:00 (9 am) and 16:00 (4 pm)
- Webpage of the Akita Haciko Dog Museum
The Japanese Love Dogs
The Japanese love dogs! ♥ All over Japan we met a lot of cute and beloved dogs, here are a few that we met:
We even met a Siberian Husky in Tokyo, which melted my heart and made me really miss my own sweetie “Varga”. She sadly passed away just after I wrote this article, 16 years old.
As a dog lover, the story of Hachiko really moved me. It is good to see that even today Hachiko’s statue remains a symbol of this dog’s extreme loyalty and a reminder of the lengths one can go to stay devoted to a friend.
Dogs really are man´s best friend! Don`t you agree? ♥
Hachi The Movie
In 1987 it was made a movie in Japan about Hachiko, called “Hachiko Monogatari”. You can watch the trailer for the original Japanese movie here:
In 2009 Hollywood made an American version of this movie, called “Hachiko – A Dog`s Tale“. If you have not seen the movie “Hachi – A Dog’s Tale”, you should definitely check it out, it’s great. Be prepared to cry a lot, I warn you. 🙂 The movie was filmed in Rhode Island in the USA, and there is a statue of Hatchi in front of the train station in Rhode Island to honor him.
You can buy both the movies here (click on the pictures below):
You can watch the trailer for the American movie “Hachi: A Dog`s Tale” here:
Books About Hachiko
There are several great books written about Hachiko and his amazing story and life. I especially like the first of these books called “Hachiko” which include nice drawings and illustrations (press each picture below and you will be redirected to Amazon):
Awww, and I L-O-V-E these Hachiko Akita teddies (click on the pictures below to see more details):
Visit Tokyo And See Hachiko
Tokyo is a great city to visit, especially if you are a Hachiko fan. Make sure to visit the Hachiko Statue at Shibuya Train Station, the monument of Hachiko next to his owner`s tomb in Aoyama cemetery, and last but not least visit Hachiko himself which is on display at the National Science Museum in Ueno.
If you are thinking about going to Tokyo, check out our recommended Tokyo Itinerary with all the best things to do in Tokyo.
Where To Stay In Tokyo
Tokyo has an incredible variety of accommodation available. Here you find some of the world’s most luxurious hotels as well as traditional Japanese Inns where you sleep on a futon mat. Famous tiny pod hotels, love hotels for couples, business hotels for the businessmen that stayed out drinking too late to go home, and everything in between.
The Park Hyatt
Made famous by the movie ‘Lost in Translation’, The Park Hyatt is absolutely one of Tokyo’s most luxurious hotels. The hotels 178 rooms are among Tokyo’s most spacious and elegant and provides all modern comforts. The hotel’s friendly and professional service is legendary, and the hotel’s restaurants world-class. Located on the top floor with stunning views over Tokyo is the world famous New York Bar Grill, where Bill Murray’s character enjoyed his many whiskeys.
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Tokyu Stay Shinjuku
This hotel has a great location within just a few minutes walk from Shinjuku-sanchome station in Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment center. The hotel is bright and modern, with small but comfortable rooms that include a tv, refrigerator, microwave, safe and a washing machine(!). Wifi is free and fast. They serve a tasty breakfast in the bar next door. In an otherwise very expensive area of the city, this hotel offers great value for money.
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Hotel MyStays Asakusabashi
We stayed at Hotel MyStays in Asakusabashi and really liked this hotel! It is brand new, and the rooms are actually decent sized compared to the average hotel in Japan (choose a twin room if you need the biggest room). The neighborhood is great, with lots of restaurants and cafes, and a short walk to the underground station Asakusabashi. It was the cheapest and best hotel we could find in Tokyo.
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MyCube by MyStays
If you’re traveling solo on a budget or would simply like to try one of the famous and unique cube/pod hotels of Tokyo then this is a great choice. It is a brand new hotel and quite spacious for a pod hotel. Every pod has lockable baggage storage and free Wi-Fi. The underground station is located right next door and there are plenty of places to eat in the neighborhood.
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Budget Alternatives: Khaosan Asakusa Hostel
Tokyo has a lot of accommodation options to choose from in different areas of the city. Click here to read our complete guide to our favorite areas and hotels in Tokyo.
We used Lonely Planet`s Japan Travel Guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below which will take you to Amazon.com (affiliate links):
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Have you heard the story of Hachiko before? Have you seen the film? Did you cry as much as me watching the film? 🙂 Please leave a comment in the comment area below. If you liked this post and found it useful, please share it on social media. Thank you! 🙂