All about UENO

all about ueno Excursion

Ueno Station, located in the eastern part of Tokyo, was for a long time the gateway to northern Japan. As construction of railroad lines progressed and Tokyo Station became the terminus for many lines, it seemed as if its role had ended. However, many people still visit this city. The reason for this is that the city has two completely different faces. One is “Ueno Park,” with its many cultural facilities, and the other is “Ameyoko,” a shopping district that retains the atmosphere of the Showa period. In this article, I will show you the best of both worlds.

Ueno Park

The site is centered on Kan-eiji Temple, built in 1625, and is also known for its cherry blossoms. Ueno Park was the first park in Japan to be developed in 1873. Cultural facilities such as the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and the Ueno Zoo are located within the vast park.

Ueno Zoo

The Ueno Zoo was the first zoo in Japan, opened in 1882. It is an urban zoo that maintains nature and its landscape despite its location in the heart of Tokyo, and houses 3,000 animals of about 300 species.

As of 2024, the Ueno Zoo and Adventure World in Wakayama Prefecture are the only zoos in Japan where pandas can be seen.

Tokyo National Museum

Founded in 1872, the Tokyo National Museum is Japan’s oldest and largest museum, consisting of five exhibition halls (Honkan, Hyokeikan, Toyokan, Heiseikan, and Gallery of Horyuji Treasures) and other facilities.

As of April 2023, the total number of items in the museum’s collection is approximately 120,000, including 89 National Treasures and 649 Important Cultural Properties, which means that the museum houses approximately 10% of the National Treasures and 6% of the Important Cultural Properties.

It takes 3 to 4 hours just to go through the entire collection, so I recommend that you allow plenty of time for your visit.

National Museum of Nature and Science

national museum of science and nature

Founded in 1877, the National Museum of Nature and Science is one of the oldest museums in Japan and the only national comprehensive science museum on the history of nature, science and technology. As a core facility of science museums in Japan and Asia, the museum promotes research, collection and storage of specimen materials, exhibitions, and support for learning.

It is a museum that can be enjoyed by both children and adults, and a day is not enough time to take a good look around.

The National Museum of Western Art

The National Museum of Western Art, opened in 1959, is the only national museum in Japan dedicated to Western art in general. The collection is based on 19th and early 20th century paintings and sculptures collected in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century by industrialist Kojiro Matsukata. His collection was seized as enemy property by the French government after World War II. The collection was later returned as a condition for the establishment of a new museum to house the collection, and this museum was constructed.

The building was designed by French architect Le Corbusier and is registered as a World Heritage site.

Cherry blossoms in Ueno Park


Ueno Park has been known as a cherry blossom viewing spot since the Edo period (1603-1868), with approximately 800 cherry trees. During the cherry blossom viewing season, as many as 3.3 million people gather here. The park is filled with people sitting under the cherry trees eating and drinking as if they were having a picnic. It is not a place to relax and enjoy the cherry blossoms, as there is a lot of noise and drunken people. It is recommended for those who want to enjoy the atmosphere of Hanami.

Ameyoko Shopping Street (Ameya Yokocho)

Ameyoko was born as a black market during Japan’s impoverished post-World War II period. The eastern part of Tokyo was severely damaged by air raids, but the Ameyoko shopping street was a symbol of reconstruction. This shopping street runs from Ueno Station to Okachimachi Station, a neighboring station on the Yamanote Line. Together with Ueno Park, it is a symbol of Ueno.

Various stores such as grocery stores, clothing stores, and confectionary stores line the street. Especially at the end of the year, many people come here to buy ingredients for new year’s dishes(Osechi dish).

Ameyoko market

It is the perfect place to enjoy the chaotic and lively atmosphere of the market. Visitors can enjoy shopping and street food at the same time.

Ueno for me

When I was a child, I visited the Ueno Zoo many times. The zoo is located close to where I lived, but I think the pandas were a major reason for my frequent visits. I still have the stuffed panda that my mother bought for me at the Ueno Zoo when I was a child. After visiting the zoo, I looked forward to stopping by the Ameyoko shopping street to buy candies. The charm of Ueno is that I can still enjoy the same things I did when I was a child.