Opened in 1862, the Ueno zoo is the oldest in Japan, among the many animals the Giant Pandas are the most famous.
In the petting zoo kids will be delighted to caress safely rabbits, goats, mice ect....
and if your children are tired take the monorail to travel from east to west.
The Ueno area is located at the North east of Tokyo.
Ueno station is one of the major railway station in Tokyo it's the traditional terminus for the long-
distances trains from the northern Japan.
South of Ueno station is AMEYA-YOKOCHO a street market district highly frequented and packed with people on 31 december when tokyoites come in the aera to buy food and specially fish for
" osechi ryori" the traditionnal new year's meals.
Ueno isn't only a shopping aera, you find there the Ueno park (the 1st public park in Tokyo) Tokyo's most popular site for hanami (blossom viewving) in early to mid april, the Ueno Zoo famous for it's giant pandas, and a few major museums of Tokyo (Tokyo national museum, Tokyo metropolitan art museum, national science museum, western art museum).
Kanneiji Temple is famous for being the former Tokugawa family temple and owner of the Tokugawa graves (even those in Yanaka Cemetary are still property of Kanneiji). The temple itself was moved here from Saitama after the original burned down and dates back to 1638.
The temple grounds features an "Insect Grave" build at the bidding of Masuyama Sessai, an artist who had to kill bugs in order to sketch them.
If you walk down the round of the temple's attached cemetary, you'll find the gate of Tokugawa Ietsuna's grave. This is all that's left of his mausoleum; the other structures were tore down and burnt down.
Visiting the temple is free.
The Rinnoji Temple of Tokyo is located just outside Ueno Park. The hondo was rebuilt in 1993, but the original temple was built in the 17th century. It is associated with the more famous Rinnoji Temple in Nikko.
Most people probably visit here while exploring Ueno Park and the surrounding area. The only thing of interest here are the statues in the small building on the right side of the grounds (from the entrance). The statues are old and interesting.
Visiting is free, so if you're in the area it's a nice stop.
I went to the outdoor market in Ueno. There were lots of vendors selling food, clothing and household items. I did not really purchase anything because the prices were high for clothing and gifts. I found a weird sex-fetish shop on the street running parallel to the market. There were interesting costumes and then some. We went for lunch at an Indian restaurant on the 2nd Floor. It was alright.
One of the many points of interest in the Ueno Park area is Ueno Zoo.
Not a bad place to bring kids, although it can get quite crowded on the weekend. It's quite a compact zoo, without being overly spectacular.
This is also my favourite area in Tokyo especially in the spring. I have been there during cherry blossom in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. It's the best time of the year and everyone seems happy. I've been to Japan since then but not during this happy season. I recommend this park in the spring
Take a stroll around Ueno Park. You will be able to walk around for hours. It is big so you can make a day of it as well. Nearby Ueno Park there are many fish, clothes and tourist shops. It is worth a look even if you are just window shopping.
We visited just to have a look, and found that they charge individually for every single exhibition, meaning we would have to pay 5000 yen each to see all the exhibitions at the time. Each exhibition varied from 500 yen upwards to 1400 yen. I wasn't impressed.
We decided to give it a miss after finding that out.
Ueno Park has a lot more concrete than a park should, and is also home to quite a few of Tokyo's homeless.
The real reason to visit is the zoo, and the plethora of museums contained within the park.
Will post tips on the various museums and the zoo as I visit them.
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