Known as the Ueno's cornerstone, the park hosts an impressive quantity of more or less must-see sights. Its large surface (almost 54 hectares) covers the entire district’s center and is home to unexpected places, making it probably one of Tokyo's most famous attractions. Opened since 1873, we estimate more than ten millions walkers pace up and down its alleys each year.
Ueno Park is not acting like its fellow members having never ending grass surface. Here, concrete pathways, which probably are the most numerous, lead to:
- temples and shrines (including Tosho-gu, Tenmangu, Kaneiji, Bentendo and even a representation of Kyoto Kiyomizudera);
- several major National Museums, large art galleries and a theater;
- the huge and renowned Shinobazu Pond;
- and also its wide zoological garden occupying 10% of the whole surface.
Here, runners come across dog walkers. There, couples do swan-shaped pedal boats created especially for this fun time. Further, children seriously exercise for baseball. On the weekends, alleys become more lively thanks to "street performers" coming to present their talents to curious onlookers. We will also find there a statue of Saigo Takamori, aka "The Last Samourai".
But it may be in early spring, during Japanese cherry blossom that Ueno Park undergoes transformation. It becomes one of Tokyo's most popular sakura spots, where rows of cherry trees (1,200 in total) tinted of a glowing pink, overhang the unavoidable blue covers where Japanese people spend a great time and sometimes get drunk.
As night falls, the colorful landscape of the park dresses up into a darker atmosphere, to secretly revel the numerous homeless people living there. A sensitive matter that nor the Japanese government nor the municipality like to discuss, but it remains existing, like in Yoyogi Park.
By exiting on the West side, it's possible to continue walking towards Tôdai, Tokyo University’s campus.
How to get to Ueno Park
From JR Ueno Station, 1 minute walk
From Keisei Ueno Station, Keisei Honsen line, 1 minute walk
From Tokyo Metro Ueno Station (Ginza Line G16 or Hibiya Line H17), then 5-minutes walk
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 264)
Many indoor attractions are closed on Mondays
How long / when to visit
Allow one hour to a whole day
Ideal in sakura full bloom (around early April)
上野公園 (Ueno kôen)
上野恩賜公園 (Ueno onshi kôen)
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