Ueno is one of the last places in Tokyo, along with Asakusa, where you can get an idea of how the people lived before the economic boom of the ’70s and ’80s.
The heart of the neighborhood is the old market of Ameyayokocho Arcade, one of the largest bazaar in Asia, so different from modern shopping districts of Shibuya and Harajuku.
The main tourist attraction in Ueno is the Ueno-koen, a park that boasts the highest concentration of museums and galleries all over Japan.
The entire Ueno Park area which belonged to the Kanei Temple in the Edo period turned into a battlefield during the Battle of Ueno (civil war) in 1868.
However, since the Meiji era, it was transformed into a place of the flowering of civilization. Built as the very first park in Japan, it is indeed an academic area where you can find cultural facilities and buildings such as the Ueno Zoo and Tokyo National Museum.
Around the Ueno Park, you can find Ameyoko which is a shopping street that was developed from a post-war black market which keeps its energetic spirit even today.
There also are many other historic sites such as the former Iwasaki Family House and Garden built in a Japanese-western style and Yushima Tenjin, a shrine famous for bringing good luck to students in their studies and passing entrance exams.
Ueno indeed is a town bustling with energy. Many people come to this area everyday where a warm sense of the human touch can be felt. The seasonal festivals and events also let you experience the beauty of the respective seasons.
The main attractions that you can not miss in Ueno are :
– Statue of Saigo Takamori, a samurai who practiced ritual suicide;
– Tokyo National Museum with about 90,000 exhibits, it boasts the best collection of Japanese art in the world;
– Gallery of Horyuji Treasures (Gallery of Horyuji Treasures), part of the complex of buildings of Tokyo National Museum, home to some of the most important works of Buddhist art in Japan, from ancient Horyuji temple in Nara;
– Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, contemporary art of Japan;
– National Science Museum (National Museum of Science);
– National Museum of Western Art (National Museum of Western Art), designed by the architect Le Corbusier;
– Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Theater and Concert Hall), the work of Kunio Maekawa;
–Shitamachi History Museum, a history museum that recreates daily life in the district of Edo Shitamachi;
–Tosho-gu Shrine, one of the few remaining structures from the Edo period in Tokyo.