Ueno Park and Zoo, Tokyo
Ueno Park, right across the street from Ueno Station, was constructed in 1873 during the Meiji period of Western-style development. The park sits on land that was once home to the Kan'ei-ji temple, destroyed in 1868 during the Boshin War. There are two historic strructures remaining from the temple: the five-storey pagoda (1639) and the Kiyomizu Kannondō (1631).
The park is home to several major museums and is famous for its 1200 cherry blossoms which bloom in April. Shinobazu Pond is full of lotus plants, birds and giant carp. Museums include the Tokyo National Museum (1872), National Museum of Nature and Science (1872), National Museum of Western Art (1959), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (1926),AND ***amachi Museum (1980). Schools in the park include the Japan Academy (1879), Tokyo School of Fine Arts (1889), and Tokyo School of Music (1890). Other facilities include the Imperial Library (established 1872 and opened in Ueno Park in 1906), theTokyo Bunka Kaikan opera and ballet house (1961), and the Ueno Zoo (1882)
Attracting 10 million visitors a year, this is Japan's most visited city park.
Another itinery which can easily occupy a whole day is a trip to Ueno Park and the nearby old Tokyo areas of Yanaka, Nippori and Nezu.
To reach Ueno Park take the train to Ueno Station.
Ueno Park contains Ueno Zoo which I have never visited, but I do know it has pandas. It also has Tosho-gu Shrine which is a life-sized replica of the main temple shrine of Nikko. On our first visit there a Noh play was being staged in the grounds. Free-entry and worth a look.
The park also contains several water-lily covered ponds - Shinobazu Ponds and this area has a small temple to the goddess Benten - goddess of good fortune.
At the top of the hill not far from the Ueno Station entrance to the park there is a statue of a mighty samurai warrior taking his little dog for a walk.
Near Ueno Station before you enter the park you will also find a wonderful street market selling everything and anything, including lots of colourful food stalls.
There are several museums including the Tokyo National Museum in this area.
If you exit the far end of the park, near the Tokyo National Museum, you can walk to the Yanaka, Nippori district. This area is the one of the few areas of Tokyo which survived the bombings of World War II. Wander aimlessly down winding lanes with traditional wooden houses and beautiful little temples set in idyllic Japanese Gardens. Or take a stroll through Yanaka Cemetery.
Nearby Nezu has a beautiful 300 year old shrine with a fantastic azalea gardens and pathways lined with bright red tori. The azaleas are at their peak around April/May
It's a large public park in central Tokyo, not the best but probably the one offering the most attractions (museums, zoo,temples..).
It's also one of the most famous and popular spot in Tokyo for cherry blossoms.
Near the southern entrance one can see an unusual statue of a samourai walking with his dog, Saigo Takamori a famous samourai who lived in the nineteenth century, his opposition to the Meiji government was the historical basis for the movie "The last samourai".
Ueno Zoo is Japan's oldest and most famous zoo, established in 1882. It takes up a large portion of Ueno Park and is made up of two parts; the East Garden and West Garden. The main gate takes you into the East Garden. The East Garden has the pandas, although the famous panda died in 2008, all types of birds, deer, bison, elephants, bears, tigers, gorillas, capybaras, tapirs, and seals.
From the East Garden you can walk or take the monorail to the West Garden. This is where the Children's Zoo is located, along with red pandas, the anteater, penguins, kangaroos, zebras, hippos, rhinos, giraffes and okapis. The reptile house (Vivarium) is also here, along with Shinobazu Pond which takes up a large part of the West Garden.
Some of my personal favorites were the hippos, which include pygmy hippos, and the okapi which I had never seen before!
In addition to the animals, there are some other interesting attractions within the zoo grounds in the East Garden. The Five-Storied Pagoda is an authentic historic structure, dating back to 1631 and was originally part of nearby Kaneiji Temple. The Kankan-tei Tea House also dates back to the 17th century and was used to host visiting shogun. The Thai Pavillion is not old but was donated by Thailand in 2007 as a symbol of positive Thai-Japanese relations. It's a popular photo op.
The park can easily take a couple hours to fully explore if not more!
Entrance is 600 yen.
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 arguably Tokyo's most famous and well-known park. It's similar to New York's Central Park in that many of Tokyo's top museums can be found along the outside. Inside there are many things to see and do, as well.
Shinobazu Pond around the Chinese-style Bentendo Temple is scenic and relaxing. My visit was in late December, so the lotus plants were dead, but the dead reeds were still very beautiful and many people were still boating in the Boat Pond.
The park also contains the Kiyomizu Kannon-do, a temple modeled after Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple and its own Toshogu Shrine, dating back to 1681 and dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. The shrine is really very beautiful and somewhat unexpected among the other sites in the park.
There are also many monuments around the park and even a totem pole donated by the local Lions Club. It's nice to come here just to walk around, look at the various sites, and just enjoy a little nature. It is also a popular place to see cherry blossoms if you come in the spring. The park itself is completely free, although if you go to the museums or zoo you will have to pay.
Ueno Park is built on the remains of the Kan'eiji Temple. Althogh many great structures were burned down when Meiji Government formed a new regine as the Empreor the supreme god-like being. Now it is a nice park and the remains of the temple can barely seen in Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple and Ueno Toshogu Shrine and five-storied pagoda in the zoo. There are a number of statues and monuments such as Takamori Saigo, Hideyo Noguchi and surprising presence of General Grant who planted trees there and even colossal blue whale sculpture in front of the science museum. Also Ueno park is surrounded by a number of popular museums including National Museum and National Science Museum. Museum hopping is one of the most popular Tokyoites pastimes
This is a nice park to visit, via train from Tokyo. If you come on any day but a Monday, you will find all the Art Galleries & Museums are open, the Zoo is here, there are Temples, nice gardens, Playgrounds and a large Lake.
A minus is......... quite a few homeless Japanese sleep on the park benches or under make-shift homes of cardboard, don't worry, they don't take any notice of you.
Its a nice spot to enjoy on a hot Tokyo day, and if you are here in Spring, its an excellent place to see the Cherry Blossoms. When we were there, (July) the large Shinobazu Lotus Pond was just coming into bloom, what a sight that would have been a couple of weeks later.
Established in 1882, Ueno Zoo is the oldest zoo in Japan.
It is home to 2600 animals spread over 35 acres which means quite a bit of walking, but there is a Monorail.
We especially came here to see the Panda's, but found it was closed on Mondays!
We could see a 5 storied Pagoda in the Zoo, this was built in 1631.
9:30am. to 5:00pm (tickets sold until 4:00pm)
TAKE NOTE!....... (CLOSED ON Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday).
The zoo closes from December 29 through January 1.
The Vivarium and the Small Mammal House close the door at 4:15pm.
Admission price is 600yen in 2010
Free admission for the disabled, and one assistant per disabled person.
ADMISSION IS FREE on March 20 (Ueno Zoo's Anniversary Day), May 4 (Greenery Day), and October 1 (Tokyo Citizens' Day)
Its location about and hour by train from the city centre, about 5-10mins walk from Uneo station.
OK so you know when you visit Tokyo it is going to be busy, busy, busy and it is. Combine that with all the neon lights and sometimes you just have a sensory overload and need a break from it...Ueno park is the perfect solution!
this park is large and when i went there seemed to be a lot going on - street performers etc o that was amusing in itself.
Great number of families and couples (obviously sick of shopping!) in the area...infact I felt really lonely here as a lone tourist as nobody else seemed to be on their own :-(
Lovely park in central Tokyo.
I went to Ueno Park in the evening, it is a pleasant walk. We didn't go to any of the museums there, but we went to the natsu matsuri (summer festival) fair held in the area. Had takopaki, yakisoba and even watched some people try their hand at the goldfish scooping game. It was really nice, something different.
Note the fair is only held at a certain time in summer. Many different districts have it.
There were fireworks around the same time further down the area at Asakusa, but we didn't go; it's a crush I heard, with millions of people. And you don't always get a good view, with Tokyo high-rise. So I thought, forget it.
Ueno Park offers not only some green area for locals, but also museums, shrines, temples and even a zoo. It wasopened to public in 1873. The park has more than 1000 cherry trees and becomes a popular spot during cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami). There are many art museums inside the park. Zoo dates back to 1882, but unfortunately the main attraction panda (a gift from China) has died. Yet you can still buy panda souvenirs. Shinobazu Pond hosts a temple for goddess Benten and Toshogu Shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu.
This shrine, located inside Ueno Park, is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867.
Toshogu ("Light of the East" or "Sun god of the east") Shrine is any Shinto shrine in which Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined with the name Tōshō Daigongen.
Nearby there's also monument for The flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It is said that the dove containing a little flame inside it has its source from a fire after the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Another famous Toshogu is in Nikko, which is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu and dedicated to the spirits of two other of Japan's most influential historical personalities, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Minamoto Yoritomo.
Admission fee is 200 Yen
Ueno park is a huge public park just next to Ueno station.
There's so many things to see here, you can easily spend the whole day, of course that's if you don't visit all of the Museums inside the park.
Anyway due to the time constraint and lack of research on my part, I skipped or missed quite a number of interesting sights there.
Here are some of the highlights:
-Saigo Takamori's statue (I missed this one)
-Ueno Zoo (no time to visit)
-Shinobazu Pond (should be nice on spring, but it was winter when I was here...)
-Many Shrines and Temples: Hanazono Inari Shrine, Benten Hall, Toshogu Shrine, etc.
-Many Museums: Tokyo National Museum, the Orient Museum, the National Science Museum, the National Museum for Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Fine Art Gallery, etc.
-more than 1000 cherry trees! (they're all bald on winter...)
-And not to mention the many entertainers trying to amuse the visitors.
I read somewhere that if we were looking for good cherry blossom viewing that we should head over to Ueno Park. Best part about this park was that it was free to enter. Worst part, was that there were SO many people. It was literally a sea of people. All along the sides of the walkway people had set up camp for their picnic and then it was toe to toe all through the park. I'm not a big fan of crowds like that, so we set off to find an area where there were fewer people. We made our way down to the zoo, but we didn't go in. Instead we bought some corn on the cob on a stick and ate lunch ghetto style on the ground with no blanket. It was delicious. I agree that the cherry blossoms here are not to be missed, but the crowds make me question whether or not i'd go back there again.