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Updated: October 5, 2021

Explore a paradise of cultural sights

Ueno Station does not often make it onto the bucket list for many tourists coming to japan but all of that will change once you see everything that Ueno Park has to offer the modern-day traveler. This spacious park in the north of Tokyo was among Japan’s first public parks. There are a number of major museums surrounding Ueno Park, as well as various historical and cultural sites, and even recreational places to spend a few hours.
In springtime, visit Ueno Park for its awe-inducing cherry blossoms and experience a Japanese hanami, or flower viewing festival. There are special events year-round and the park’s beauty holds true no matter the season. More than ten million people a year are drawn to Ueno Park and its surrounding features; visit and find out what makes this place so special that it is Japan’s most popular city park.

General Tips

  • Bring a light jacket in spring or autumn
  • Wear good footwear, there are a number of stairs and gravel pathways
  • Bring a drink yourself
  • Carry change to buy an o-mikuji at the temple

Map Legend

  • Walking
  • Taxi
  • Bus
  • Train
  • Water Bus
  • Bike

1

The main station to Tokyo city

Ueno Station

Ueno Station is a major stop on the JR Yamanote Line and services the Ueno district of Tokyo’s Taito ward. The station also serves several other lines, including shinkansen lines that lead to northern Japan. Another great feature of this major commuter hub is the accessibility that it offers visitors to the area. From Ueno Station, visitors can make their way to various sightseeing spots, such as Ameyoko Shopping Arcade, Ueno Park, Shinobazu Pond, and all of its small sights.
The station’s Shinobazu Exit leads passengers directly to the crossway of Ueno Park and Ameyoko Shopping Arcade. There are also several famous eateries in the area that cater specifically to tourist tastes, such as the famous Hard Rock Cafe and nearby Monster Grill. Visiting Ueno Station is almost like a trip to another era of Tokyo where the city feels as though it’s an escape from the busy atmosphere.

Walking5 mins

2

A place to enjoy the lotuses

Shinobazu Pond

Shinobazu Pond is split into three smaller ponds. Watch the sunrise sparkle off the waters of the Lotus Pond where, in summer, millions of lotus plants blossom bright pink. The surface of the two-kilometer circumference pond is almost completely covered by the lush green plants during the blooming season. In winter, when the lotuses have withered, visitors to the lake can see swimming koi fish and ducks floating on the waters. At the Boat Pond, rent a swan pedal boat or oar boat for a fun or perhaps romantic tour of the pond surrounded by verdant willow trees and other foliage. The Cormorant Pond, smallest of the three ponds but also the deepest, is home to Ueno Zoo and sees no small number of crane and heron flying over its tranquil waters. While walking around the three ponds, don’t miss out on visiting Shinobazu Benten-do Temple.

Walking8 mins

3

A quiet respite at Shinobazu Pond

Benten-do Temple

This city-centered Buddhist temple is dedicated to the goddess of music and performing arts, Benzaiten. The temple stands in the center of the three ponds that make up the larger Shinobazu Pond. The temple offers a striking image from across the Lotus Pond with its cerulean roof.
As you approach the temple, you’ll likely notice the food stalls lining the short pathway leading to the grounds. If you can resist the temptation of the various savory smells wafting up from the stalls, you will be greeted by the clear scent of the temple incense. Wash the incense smoke over yourself before approaching the temple stairs; at the top of the stairs, offer up your prayers to Benzaiten and buy a small fortune slip, or o-mikuji, and perhaps purchase a fortune for studies—a popular Omamori at this temple.

Walking3 mins

4

to heal your weary soul and cure what ails you

Gojoten Shrine

When you visit Gojoten Shrine in Ueno Park, it can be difficult to believe that you are in one of the most crowded cities in the world. Gojoten Shrine finds itself to be a sanctuary of peace and quiet, away from the hubbub of Tokyo. The temple has an air of magic for people who are praying for healing and also students who hope to pass exams.
The shrine has also survived many battles, including the Japanese civil war skirmishes in the area. It makes a great short visit for those leaving the Shinobazu pondside sights as you climb the steep hill back to the main Ueno Park walkways.

Walking3 mins

5

Discover your inner Zen

Ueno Daibutsu

The Ueno Daibutsu, crafted in 1631, was damaged repeatedly by earthquakes. Finally, during the Pacific War, much of the statue's body was melted down for weapon manufacturing, leaving only the face intact.
Today, the face of the Great Buddha stands in the place where the whole statue once stood. The peaceful visage of the Ueno Daibutsu will give a sense of serenity to visitors who seek inner enlightenment.

Walking3 mins

6

The shrine that has survived all

Ueno Tosho-gu Shrin

This Edo-period shrine has stood the test of time despite wars and earthquakes. The gold-and-black exterior strikes a dashing form against the surrounding green trees and the cobblestone pathway leading up to it. Though out of the way, this Ueno Park site will reward visitors with fabulous peony blooms twice a year.
This 1627 shrine enshrines the first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is a surprisingly quiet, uncrowded shrine. Having survived several battles, earthquakes, and wars, the shrine is largely as it was and has only had one renovation, which took place between 2009 and 2013. The tranquil beauty of the shrine makes it a must-see for visitors to Ueno.

Waterfront

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