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Ueno 上野

Cherry trees in full blossom at Ueno Park, Tokyo (© moonrise - Fotolia.com)
Cherry trees in full blossom at Ueno Park, Tokyo

Ueno is the main hub of North-Eastern Tokyo. The Shinkansen for Northern Japan leave from here.

Ueno Park 上野恩賜公園

Ueno-koen Park is a popular cherry-blossom viewing place and certainly one of Tokyo's most crowded park on Sundays.

Foreign tourists and Japanese alike flock to the Park to visit many of Japan's largest museums : Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, and Shitamachi History Museum.

Ueno Koen is also home to the Tokyo Zoological Gardens (open 9:30am-5pm, last entry 4pm, adults ¥600, free under 13 years old), famous for its pandas, giraffes, elephants, tigers or polar bears.

Stone lanterns & ginko trees in autumn, Tōshō-gū Shrine, Ueno Park
Gojū-no-tō, Tōshō-gū Shrine, Ueno Park

The neighouring Tōshō-gū Shrine, dating from 1651, is the counterpart to the Tōshō-gū in Nikkō. Both were built in honour to Tokugawa Ieyasu by his grandson Iemitsu. The shrine itself (entry ¥200) is not as impressive as the one in Nikkō, but the adjoining five-tiered pagoda is well worth a look. There are iron and stone lanterns all around the premises.

Ueno Park has several other religious buildings, ranging from a Nepalese- or Thai-looking stupa (originally belonging to the Kan'ei-ji Temple, destroyed in 1868 during Boshin War), to a branch of Kyoto's Kiyomizu-dera and an Inari Shrine reminding of Kyōto's Fushimi Inari Taisha, although both on a much smaller scale.

The Shinobazu-no-ike pond separates Ueno Park from Nezu to the North and Yushima to the South, both noted for their respective shrine. The Benten-dō Hall sits in the middle of the pond, surrounded by lotuses. Note the strange Sofitel Hotel tower.

Opening date

Land area

Number of trees

Variety of plants

Address

Nearest station

19 October 1874

533,981 m² / 534 ha / 132 acres

Tall trees : 8,650 / Shrubs : 86,800

Cherry trees, gingkos, azaleas, lotuses, etc.

Ueno Koen/Ikenohata 3-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo

2min walk from Ueno (JR, Ginza & Hibiya lines), 1min walk from Keisei Ueno (Keisei line)

Buddhist stupa, Ueno Park
Blue Whale outside the Tokyo National Science Museum, Ueno Park

Shopping

Ueno used to be a typical working class district of Tokyo, the gate to economic migrant from Northern Japan. Although Ueno still contrast sharply with the elegance and refinement of Ginza, the situation has been improving noticably recently. The area around the station is in full redevelopment, with the opening department stores like Marui and Atre attracting a new young and smart clintele.

The toy shop Yamashiroya (山城屋) next to Marui (○I○I) department store is a 7-floor paradise for manga, anime, games and stuffed-animal enthusiasts. Fans of Gundam, Miyazaki or Disney will find all they need here.

The Ameyoko (アメ横) bazaar between Ueno and Okachimachi is an open-air market selling everything from cheap clothes and accessories to fish and seafood. It is certainly worth a look for its un-Tokyoite atmosphere.

Near Ueno-Hirokoji station, more usual shops and department stores are clustered with a multitude of restaurants, bars and karaoke.

Map of attractions around Asakusa and Ueno

Surrounding Areas :

Nezu
Nezu Shrine, Tokyo
Yushima
Yushima Shrine, Tokyo
Kanda
Kanda, Tokyo
Akihabara
Akihabara, Tokyo
Ryōgoku
Ryogoku, Tokyo

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