At the entrance of the Ueno Park is the statue of a man with a dog, Saigo Takamori who has helped to bring down the Tokugawa shogunate. So must be a hero. Every Japanese visiting there for the first time, took a photo and so did I.
Ueno has a pond, large gardens with many cherry blossom trees, museums including the Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo Fine Art Metropolitan Gallery,
a temple and Ueno Zoo where you can see pandas.
If you can visit only 1 garden in Tokyo, visit Ueno.
UENO PARK the oldest and largest park in Tokyo city, with cherry blossoms that bloom in spring you can view them by the tree-lined promenade that runs southwards through the park and lotuses that flower in summer, Ueno Park, is regarded as being one of Tokyo's most beautiful park..
So take a day and enjoy what the park as to offer...When you exit JR Ueno Station via the "Ueno Koen" exit head straight for the information kiosk up on the right. Here you can pick up an English map which will help to identify most of the buildings around the park....
Tokyo Culture Hall
The National Museum of Western Art
Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art
Shinobazu Pond dominates the southwestern side of the park - 600 yen will hire you a rowing boat; and 700yen a swan pedal boat...The temple on the man-made island in the middle of Shinobazu Pond is Bentendo Temple. It's dedicated to the goddess of prosperity and the arts, the original building was a 17th century but destroyed in 1945.....
The thin building with floors branching off at every angle was designed by Japanese architect, Kiyinori Kikutake and completed in 1994, its the Hotel Sofitel.
Close to the Keisei Ueno Station Exit you'll find Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple. Modeled after the famous Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, couples who want to have children traditionally pray here.
Also next to the exit, the large statue you see is that of Saigo Takamori (1827 - 1877). During the Meiji Restoration Saigo Takamori was an important samurai warrior.
How to get to Ueno:
A double decker bus runs between Ueno and Asakusa. From 10:00am it runs every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends. The bus stop is close to Ueno Keisei Station. Adults: 250 yen one way. Children: 130 yen one way.
From Akihabara, Ueno is about a 10 minute walk up Chuo Dori Avenue. From Asakusa, Ueno is about a 15 minute walk along Asakusa Dori Avenue.
If you want to see this lovely lazy creature, then this is the place to come with or without kids. The zoo has two parts and you can either walk between them or take a monorail ride for an additional charge. The zoo features a lot of the mainstream animals as well as rarer species like the Okapi. Of course there are restaurants and souvenir shops.
The panda is just to your right when you enter through the main gate. One panda for 3 security or is it the other way round?!
Entry fee (2005) for adults: 600 Yen
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.
When walking around Ueno park you may see the statue of this former comander-in-chief, who established the organisation Hakuai-sha to help the wounded of the Seinan war. The organisation was later renamed "Japan Red Cross Society".
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.
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.
Ameya-yokocho or Ameyoko is easily accessible by the JR or subway. It is a good break from the Harajuku, Shinjuku or Omotesando Hills... This is also a great place to get your Japanese snacks. Before you leaave the place... you may have finished up the pack which you have just bought!
After leaving the place, you may want to venture a little further up to the Ueno Park. Nice place to go to for a stroll after lunch. :)
Ueno is a good getaway from the concrete and glass that is everywhere in Tokyo. In Ueno you can get some fresh air while walking in the park, visit one out of the many museums located here, have a look to Tokyo Zoo or just watch the performers as they make kids hapy. There are also some temples to see and at the and you can go for shopping in the bazaar located near the Ueno Station! It's a great day trip in Tokyo!
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).
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.
Ueno Park is a large and well established complex of gardens and museums. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time to really explore this place when I visited in April 2006 and didn't really get beyond the statue of Saigo Takamon and his dog and the Benzaiten Temple. Allow yourself several hours to explore this park and longer if you want to go into any of the many high quality museums here.
Ueno Park is located adjecent to the Ueno JR, and it's a great place to hang out on a Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere is relaxed and there is none of the attitude that you may encounter from the young school kids in other areas of the city - although that can be fun as well... The park itself is surprisingly big, and it houses a number of musuems, including the Tokyo National Musuem. There's always something going on - people selling all kinds of food, people gathering for some sort of cause, exhibitions of one sort or another.... or just relax near the ponds, forests or green grass...
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.
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.