Tokyo Tourist Attractions: How to enjoy Ueno Park

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INTRODUCTION

Located in the heart of Tokyo, Ueno Park boasts a wide variety of attractions that attract visitors. The expansive site combines historical buildings, museums, a zoo, and the natural beauty of the four seasons, offering something new to discover each time you visit. The area is a popular destination for its blend of traditional and modern Japanese culture, and for the variety of activities it offers.
Ueno Park, in particular, offers a breathtaking view of thousands of cherry trees in bloom during the cherry blossom season. In the fall, the park is filled with colorful foliage, and the seasonal changes in scenery provide visitors with a relaxing experience. In addition, the park offers a wealth of cultural experiences, with many museums and art galleries displaying works of Japanese and foreign art.

At the Ueno Zoo, visitors can interact with a wide variety of animals, including pandas, making the park a popular destination for both children and adults. These features combine to make Ueno Park a must-see spot for many foreign visitors to Tokyo.

History and Culture of a Tourist Attraction

Ueno Park is more than just a place for nature and recreation. Its history dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868), when Ieyasu Tokugawa founded Kan-eiji Temple here in 1651, and the area became an important religious and cultural center in Japan for many years. Parts of Kan’eiji still remain today, providing a historical flavor to visitors.
Another historical aspect of Ueno Park is closely related to the development of modern Japan after the Meiji Restoration: opened in 1873 as Japan’s first park, Ueno Park became a symbol of culture and education as it was opened to the public. In particular, cultural facilities such as the Tokyo National Museum and the National Museum of Western Art are concentrated in the park, and visitors to these facilities can appreciate valuable cultural assets and works of art from Japan and abroad.
Ueno Park is also home to many “firsts” in Japan. Japan’s first zoo, the Ueno Zoo, opened in 1882 and has been a favorite of visitors ever since. Furthermore, the Tokyo National Museum exists as Japan’s first national museum, where visitors can gain a deep understanding of Japanese history and culture.
These historical backgrounds and cultural features combine to make Ueno Park a place that offers something new to discover and learn with every visit. The intersection of history and culture makes this place of great interest to foreign visitors as well. A visit here will give you a sense of Japan’s past, present, and future.

Places to visit

Suggested times of year to visit

The best time to visit Ueno Park is in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and in the fall when the leaves are beautifully changing colors. In spring, thousands of cherry trees are in full bloom and visitors can walk through a tunnel of cherry blossoms. Especially from late March to early April, you can enjoy cherry blossoms lit up at night, creating a fantastic atmosphere. In autumn, from mid-October to November, the leaves are magnificent, and the entire park is decorated with colorful foliage.
Major tourist attractions and popular spots

Ueno Zoo

The oldest zoo in Japan, the Ueno Zoo is a place where both children and adults can enjoy interacting with a wide variety of animals, including pandas. The panda house is especially popular and well worth a visit.

Tokyo National Museum

This is a place where visitors can learn about Japanese history and culture in depth. With many exhibits including national treasures and important cultural properties, visitors can experience traditional Japanese crafts and historical heritage.

National Museum of Western Art

This museum houses world-famous works of art, and the Le Corbusier-designed building itself is also a highlight. Permanent exhibits include sculptures by Rodin, making it a must-see for art lovers.

Ueno Toshogu Shrine

This shrine, dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, is characterized by its lavish decoration. It is also of great historical value, and visitors can enjoy the magnificent sculptures and architecture on the grounds.

Shinobazu Pond

This large pond in the park is a great place for boating and strolling. In summer, lotus flowers are in full bloom, creating a beautiful scene.

Points of Attention at Tourist Attractions

Crowded Conditions

The area is extremely crowded, especially during the cherry blossom season and the season of autumn foliage. If you choose an early morning or a weekday, you can look around relatively slowly.

Prepare your belongings

The park is vast, so it is recommended to wear shoes that are easy to walk in. It is also helpful to bring rain gear and sunscreen, as the weather can change easily.

Protecting the Environment

Ueno Park is a treasure house of precious nature and culture. Please take your garbage home with you and avoid damaging nature and cultural assets.

With its diverse attractions and abundant nature, Ueno Park offers a wonderful experience for visitors. Please plan ahead and visit.

Access from the nearest station

Access from the nearest station

Access to Ueno Park is very convenient. The nearest stations are JR Ueno Station and Keisei Ueno Station, both within a few minutes’ walk of the park entrance, and JR Ueno Station is served by several lines, including the Yamanote Line, Keihin Tohoku Line, and Joban Line, providing easy access from major areas of Tokyo. Ueno Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines is also convenient for subway users.

Access from Narita Airport

Access to Ueno Park from Narita Airport is convenient via the Narita Express or Keisei Skyliner. By Narita Express, it takes about 60 minutes to arrive at JR Ueno Station. The Keisei Skyliner takes approximately 41 minutes from Narita Airport to Keisei Ueno Station. Both offer comfortable and quick transportation.

Access from Haneda Airport

The most convenient way to reach Ueno Park from Haneda Airport is by using the Tokyo Monorail and JR lines. Take the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station, then transfer to the JR Yamanote Line to reach Ueno Station. The trip takes about 45 minutes. Another option is to take the Keikyu Line and transfer to the JR Yamanote Line at Shinagawa Station, which also takes about 45 minutes.

Ueno Park is one of Tokyo’s major tourist attractions, and its easy accessibility is one of its charms. It is easily accessible from Narita and Haneda airports, making it a convenient location for visitors. We encourage you to visit Ueno Park using public transportation.

Hours of Operation, Admission Fee

Hours of Operation

Ueno Park itself is open 24 hours a day, and visitors are free to explore at any time. However, major facilities and tourist attractions in the park have their own set hours of operation.

Tokyo National Museum: 9:30-17:00 (last admission at 16:30). Extended hours until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed on Mondays.
Ueno Zoo: 9:30-17:00 (last admission at 16:00). Closed on Mondays (if Monday is a national holiday, closed the following day).
National Museum of Western Art: 9:30-17:30 (extended to 20:00 on Fridays). Closed on Mondays.
Ueno Toshogu Shrine: 9:00-16:30, open year-round.

Admission

Admission to Ueno Park is free, but there is an admission fee for each facility.
Tokyo National Museum: Adults 620 yen, college students 410 yen. Free admission for high school students and younger, and persons 65 years and older.
Ueno Zoo: Adults 600 yen, Junior high school students 200 yen, Seniors 65 and over 300 yen. Free admission for elementary school students and younger.
National Museum of Western Art: Adults 500 yen, college students 250 yen. Free for high school students and younger, those under 18, and those 65 and older.
Ueno Toshogu Shrine: 300 yen for a visit.

For more information on the above, we recommend that you check the latest opening hours and admission fees on the official website of each facility prior to your visit. Please note that opening hours may change or additional fees may be charged depending on special exhibitions or events.
Ueno Park offers a wide range of facilities for visitors of all ages to enjoy, and we recommend that you allow enough time to explore the park when you visit.

Gourmet

Various gourmet spots are scattered around Ueno Park, where you can enjoy a delicious meal in between sightseeing tours. Here we introduce some restaurants and cafes that are especially recommended for visiting foreigners.

Eel Izuei

Izuei, a long-established restaurant with a history of over 200 years, is known for its famous Ueno eel dishes. Here, you can enjoy plump broiled eel, a traditional Japanese delicacy. Our recommended menu item is the “Unaju” (eel stew). It is a gem of quality eel grilled with a secret sauce.

Mihashi

Mihashi, a famous dessert spot in Ueno, is famous for its excellent anmitsu. Once you try their anmitsu, which is a perfect combination of sweet red bean paste and fresh fruit, you will never forget the taste. It is the perfect place to stop by for a quick break between sightseeing tours.

Long-established Western-style restaurant “Seiyo-ken

Seiyo-ken, located in Ueno Park, is a long-established Western-style restaurant that has been in business since the Meiji era. Here, you can enjoy a Western-style menu arranged in Japan. Recommended dishes are beef stew and omelette rice, both of which feature deep flavors.

Tamba

Tamba is a popular restaurant within walking distance from Ueno Station where you can enjoy fresh seafood rice bowls. The hearty kaisen donburi is perfect for tired bodies after a day of sightseeing. In particular, the “Kaisen-don” with plenty of tuna and salmon on top is very satisfying.

Starbucks Ueno Onshi Koen

Starbucks in Ueno Onshi Park is recommended as a café where you can relax in between sightseeing. Visitors can enjoy coffee and snacks while admiring the park’s natural surroundings. Especially during the spring and fall seasons, it is best to relax on the terrace.

There are many other attractive gourmet spots in the vicinity of Ueno Park, and you will encounter new tastes every time you visit. Spend a fulfilling time not only sightseeing but also enjoying delicious meals.

Shopping

The area around Ueno Park is popular not only for sightseeing but also for shopping. Here we introduce some local specialties and items recommended as souvenirs.

Ameyoko Shopping Street

Ameyoko Shopping Street, located just a short distance from Ueno Station, is a lively shopping street. Here you will find a wide variety of products, from fresh produce to clothing to souvenirs. In particular, traditional Japanese sweets and snacks are popular among foreign tourists.

Matsuzakaya Ueno Store

At Matsuzakaya Ueno Store, a long-established department store, you can find high-quality traditional Japanese crafts and Japanese goods. Especially recommended are beautifully designed Japanese tableware, tenugui hand towels, and furoshiki wrapping cloths. These make wonderful souvenirs that give you a sense of Japanese culture.

Ueno Zoo Shops

The stores in the Ueno Zoo offer a wide variety of cute animal goods. Panda goods are especially popular, and there are many items that both children and adults can enjoy, such as plush toys and stationery. Be sure to stop by for a souvenir of your visit to the zoo.

Ueno Yabusoba

At Ueno Yabusoba, a famous soba restaurant in Ueno, you can purchase buckwheat flour and other buckwheat-related products so that you can enjoy delicious soba at home. They make great souvenirs for soba lovers.

Tokyo National Museum Museum Shop

At the Museum Shop in the Tokyo National Museum, visitors can purchase books, replicas, and art objects related to the museum’s exhibits. In particular, products featuring traditional Japanese artwork and limited edition items are worth a look.

Ueno Fugetsudo

Ueno Fugetsudo is a confectionery store that has long been a favorite in the Ueno area. In particular, their light and tasty confections such as gaufres and sponge cakes make great souvenirs. They are beautifully packaged and will be appreciated as gifts.

A wide range of products are available at the shopping spots around Ueno Park. Finding local specialties and souvenirs will further enrich the memories of your trip.

Summary

Located in the heart of Tokyo, Ueno Park is a popular tourist spot that combines history and nature, beginning with Kan-eiji Temple, founded in 1651, and encompassing cultural facilities that contributed to the development of modern Japan. Cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in fall are highlights of the area, and the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Zoo are especially recommended. The park is easily accessible, and can be visited from Narita or Haneda Airports. There are a variety of gourmet spots around the park, where you can enjoy long-established eel dishes and Western cuisine. Visitors can also purchase local specialties and souvenirs at Ameyoko Shopping Street and Matsuzakaya Ueno Store. Ueno Park is a charming area that offers everything from sightseeing to dining to shopping. A visit will surely be an unforgettable experience.

We hope you will visit Ueno Park and enjoy its charms on your next trip to Tokyo.