Japan
Ueno

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ueno. Discover travel destinations in Japan of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

26 travelers at this place:

  • Day48

    Went to the National Museum of Nature and Science today to see a special exhibition put on by the Natural History Museum. Amongst the exhibits on tour is the fossil of archaeopteryx, which I've heard won't be on show in the UK on its return. I'm really pleased to have seem it, though a little odd to be in Tokyo rather than London!

    It was a good exhibition, covering the history of the Natural History Museum in London as well as the exhibits that have travelled to Tokyo. Seing it here really got me thinking about what it was culturally that supported that era of (mostly) European (many British) gentleman collectors and explorers and the consequent shifts in scientific understanding. Surprising to me was the inclusion of Marie Stopes who was a recognised paleobotanist before her work on birth control. For the first time I wondered how Darwin's explorations were funded. Wikipedia tells me he was a grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, and he married his cousin Emma Wedgwood. I never knew that!

    After lunch and a wander around some of the rest of the museum I decided to look round more of Ueno Park. I'll go back, probably tomorrow, to the Peony Garden, but while I was pondering what to do next I was acosted by a well dressed young woman with pretty good English who asked if she could pray with me. Her energy was friendly, so I asked what religion but couldn't quite understand her answer, but she said it was an energy thing, a bit like yoga and she seemed to indicate the highest 2 chakkras. Up for new experiences I said yes, so she asked me to step off the path ... she said she was a bit embarrassed in public ... then hold my hands a certain way and close my eyes. Well I confess I kept one eye partly open just in case I was about to be jumped by an accomplice. But no, it was all above board. She asked hopefully if I'd felt anything. I wish I could have said yes, and I did try to relax as well as be on alert! Her intention was to purify my spirit, and in a way I think she did 😊 I've since found out, since she recommended visiting the Miho Museum, that she was practicing Shinji Shumeikai. Another interesting Tokyo encounter!
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  • Day49

    Looked around the Highlights of Japanese Art exhibition in the Tokyo National Museum with the aid of the very good audio guide (¥500 ~ £3.50). It covers national treasures of the last 12,000 years. Very good, but also quite overwhelming!

    I think I may have made an etiquette faux pas as I left the museum. After getting the photo I bought a mango cornetto from a vending machine in the basement (great!) and strolled out into the warm sunshine in the park enjoying it. I'd nearly finished when I had a moment of realisation that couldn't see anyone else eating icecream and that I'd read that it's impolite to eat while walking. Oops. Although there's lots of street food sold I think folk normally sit nearby to eat. Gobble, gone.
    Perhaps related I've seen several signs on the pavement saying 'Don't smoke and walk'

    Now I may have missed the cherry blossom, but really I'm a peony type of girl, so my timing in Tokyo is perfect, with the flowers in the Peony Garden in Ueno Park in full bloom. It's a lovely snaking walk, with gentle music wafting over the garden. Very peaceful and gently reinvigorating; just what I needed.

    The Peony Garden ends at Toshogu Shrine and in its grounds is 'the flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki' which burns with the hope of ending nuclear weapons. The Hiroshima element of this flame was collected from a burning house after the Hiroshima bomb and kept alight since. The Nagasaki element was symbolically created, and added to the Hiroshima flame, by sparking 2 Nagasaki roof tiles together. It's a very, very powerful link to the past.

    I have to say it's extremely sobering to be here when the potential use of nuclear weapons in this region is talked of as a possibility. I really can't imagine what that would mean.
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  • Day16

    Am letzten “offiziellen“ Tag in in Tokyo gabs nochmal Ramen im Stadtteil Akihabara. Das Lokal in dem wir waren wurde von mehreren Stellen empfohlen, dennoch lagen die doch etwas schwer im Magen. So hat sich Christopher danach einen Sacke gegönnt und ich mich erstmal für ein paar Stunden schlafen gelegt. Da dies aber die einzige Mahlzeit auf der Japanreise war, bei der wir leichte Probleme hatten, kann man generelle das Essen in Japan nur empfehlen! 😊Read more

  • Day3

    Tokyo National Museum

    August 25, 2017 in Japan

    There is so much to see in Tokyo's museum district in Uenoonshi park. I spent most of the morning in the National Museum's Honkan building, which hosts the Japanese Gallery. It had so much information from pre-BC artifacts through to a history of Buddhism in Japan, the rise of the Samurai caste and much more.
    There are several other buildings in the complex that I didn't have time to see. I'd like to come back when the weather cools. It's been 35 degrees, humid and breezeless for a couple of days. We're all suffering here 😥Read more

  • Day7

    Working Class Cosplay

    April 14 in Japan

    The Goonies would describe the Tokyo National Museum as being full of the "rich stuff", they would describe the Shitamachi Museum as being dedicated to the goon docks where they are from.

    The Shitamachi area used to be solid working class, the museum has preserved an idea of what that used to be like with a recreated street with houses you can sit in as long as you remember to take off your shoes. You can also pose in some working class attire, play some typical games from the time period.

    There is a cover charge for the Shitamachi museum.

    It's set during the late Edo and early Meiji era (basically the era of Queen Victoria and the better escapades of Sherlock Holmes) so it's also kinda cool to see predominantly old school Japanese urban environment sprinkled with more modern conveniences.

    There is a lot of history attached to the Ueno area. It's long been used as a park - the locals have been going crazy for the cherry blossom festivals here long before it was cool for tourists. The Tokyo National Museum even has paintings of previous festivals that look like a scene from the drunken louts at the Melbourne Cup.

    When the Meiji restoration booted out the Tokugawa Shogunate, they fought a major battle in Ueno for control of Edo (Tokyo). If you're going to have a battle, best to do it in the local park.

    The Meiji restoration of the Imperial crown was also strongly motivated by a desire to rapidly modernise in the face of western colonial encroachments into Asia.Taking a cue from the Great Exhibition in London, Ueno was used as the site of the National Industrial Exhibitions, designed to bring modern technology to Japan and attempt to encourage it's adoption. The creation of a thriving merchant district and black market in the area may or may not be connected... (achievement unlocked in any case).

    The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed large sections of Ueno around where the Shitamachi Museum currently is. Ueno Park itself though was a refuge from the fires and also where a lot of the recovery efforts were organised from. The impressive talent the Japanese have for disaster recovery and mitigation basically started in Ueno.

    During WW2, Ueno was frequently used again as a disaster recovery zone from the bombings, but was also victim of a few horrors of it's own. The fate of the animals of the Ueno Zoo was turned into a famous book called the Faithful Elephants - spoiler alert - it's considered a tragedy and there are shrines dedicated to the animals... :/

    Immediately after the war when things started to get pretty post apocalyptic, the Ueno Shosei Kai, which later became the Ueno Tourism Association was formed to restore the park by replanting 1,250 cherry blossom trees - or basically all of the trees in the tourist pics. i.e. Ueno was pretty much a post war recovery turning point.

    Two Chinese pandas, Lan Lan and Kang Kang arrived in the Ueno Zoo in 1972 to commemorate the normalisation of relations between China and Japan. And so began the introduction of pandas into the Japanese pantheon of cute.

    And of course in modern times, Ueno has become a centre of Japanese and Asian culture and arts due to the concentration of art galleries and museums and the park is still crazy popular in Tokyo as one of the open areas left.

    Observations:

    Public spaces are much more useful than casinos and shopping centres.

    Kaiju Collected:

    None - don't kill the faithful elephants!
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  • Day7

    It belongs in a museum!

    April 14 in Japan

    The Tokyo National Museum is in Ueno, which has at least 100 years or so of history as a giant park full of technology exhibitions and displays.

    There are five galleries, but we only actually went into the main building (honkan) which holds the Japanese Gallery. This is a collection of Japanese art across multiple disciplines, metalworking, ceramics, fabrics, painting, sculpture etc. It also includes a rotation of artifacts from the National Treasure Gallery.

    It's all very impressive - all the works from the Shogunate onwards are clearly the very best examples of the most refined works of Japanese art and much of it has an illustrious history being the former belongs of great and powerful people.

    But to be honest, I actually thought the gift shop was the coolest bit!

    You could even buy actual artifacts in it...? I guess when you've got so much history to choose from, you can afford to sell some of it... very large and eclectic range of Japanese style arts and crafts.

    Tokyo National Museum has a cover charge to get into the main area, access to the special exhibits costs extra.

    Observations:

    I'm not sure Indiana Jones has anything Japanese to steal and put in a museum - they already seem to have it. It is a bit of an old school kinda place though - lots of precious items locked away in glass boxes.

    What makes it a bit different to one of our old-school museums though is all the art forms represented are still practiced today. Whereas we tend to create museums to preserve art forms no longer practiced, the Japanese version seems to be more about explaining where their current art forms came from. Everything in the honkan is still actually being made to traditional methods today - there are no "lost" arts here!

    Kaiju Collected: None - the museum has already collected them all.
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  • Day219

    So far we are loving Japan - the food, the culture, the landscape, the world class public transport - who wouldn't want to live here!

    Trav has a surprise in store for Suki. Months before we set off on our holiday she was obsessed with seeing Panda's.......even going as far to try and volunteer with them. Finally we're in luck! On loan for a cool $950k/year from China, Ueno Zoo has two Panda's - Shin Shin & Ri Ri which are the main attraction.

    We catch the train and subway to Ueno station.....still oblivious to the surprise, Trav informs Suki of the Panda's and excitement in uncontainable. Housed in their own separate yards (with a hammock and there own deck!) the Panda's seem very chill sitting own leaning against a rock slowly chomping down on bamboo. Trav was impressed. A 2nd visit before we were allowed to leave proved worthwhile as it was feeding time. Being lazy, the zoo keepers dangle down their food (chicken we think?) on massive looking chopsticks just above headheight making the panda walk around like a grizzly!

    It wasn't just the Panda's that stole the show, a giant Polar Bear diving into the water and swimming backwards in his underground pool, an orangutan family with a shy little baby perched on top of the mum who would jump off and run towards his dad before running back, 2 x manly kangaroo's having a crazy boxing match before the boss jumped in and broke it up, and plenty more!

    Next stop was the famous Takeshita-dori Lane - a pedestrian-only street lined with fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants right next to Harajuku Station. The sun is starting to set and this street is packed with local teens, school kids and the occasional tourist carrying a massive bulky camera. Certainly the trendy part of town, its not uncommon to see kids dressed up in halloween-like superhero costumes or little kids carrying around fairy floss 3 times the size of their head.

    After some yummy octopus balls we line up at one of the many fancy takeaway crepe stores. With up to 110 options (all displayed with immaculate plastic models in the window) it's really hard to choose the right one. We settle for a savoury ham-based crepe and it ok....but nothing to right home about. Time to move on to our next destination so Suki convinces Trav to line up with her for a custard churro - Tokyoite's seem to love waiting in lines for everything - but aleast this one was worth it. Why did we only buy one?!

    A short subway ride to Shinjuku station and we stroll down to the Robot Restuarant. Recommended by Suki's friends and a glowing review on Tripadvisor, were excited as we pick up our tickets and head into the waiting room. Its like we've been teleported back to the 70's with mirrors lining the walls, old school throne link funiture and 5 piece band dressed like robots. This is crazy town but we love. After a few warm-up drinks we get ushered downstairs and we're seated either side a long rectangular room. We've scored possibly the best seats in the house located in the front row!

    The lights fade and the music cranks.....this is not for the faint hearted. Over the next 90mins were treated to a crazy music/dance show with bikini clad tiny japanese chicks dancing, banging drums, and fighting massive remote controlled robots. Seriously, you have to see it to believe it. The performance is well choreographed and it was certainly one of the best shows we've seen!

    Its getting late but we find the time to take a quick walk around the neighbouring Golden Gai district. A cool little part of Tokyo with about 7 streets of tiny bars - each one can hold about 5 people and some have different themes.

    Its been a massive day but we've had such a blast!
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  • Day1

    TOKYO National Museum

    March 6, 2017 in Japan

    Nach unserem Bento wollten wir ein bisschen Kultur erleben, um genau zu sein, sich einfach ein bisschen mit der Geschichte Japans auseinanderzusetzen. Es gab viel zu sehen und die Japaner hatten schon immer ein Auge für schöne aber auch merkwürdige Sachen. Was ich aber lustig fand, waren wohl die Toiletten. 😂😂
    Sowas hatte ich noch nie gesehen und da musste ich es auch mit meinem Handy einfangen. DIESEN MOMENT 🚽🚽.

    After our meal we went to the traditional museum. It was near the Ueno park. We wanted to learn something about the japanese history and the culture. It was very interesting and not expensive at all (800 Yen). But it was really funny for me to know that they are this kind of toilets in Japan. So I took a picture. 🤣🤣🚽
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  • Day1

    Ueno Park

    March 6, 2017 in Japan

    So wo es uns verschlagen hat? Na zum Ueno Park. Dort haben wir uns ein wenig umgeschaut und auch einiges erlebt, aber das seht ihr dann. Wir waren zur Sakura Zeit dort, deswegen der schöne Kirschbaum.

    We were at the Ueno Park in Tokyo. It was nice and we saw a lot of nice places there too. You will see this places in the next print. Look how cute the panda is. 🐼♡

You might also know this place by the following names:

Ueno, 上野

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