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Ueno: Top 20 Places To Visit, Dining, Hotels, and Travel Tips

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Ueno is a well-known sightseeing area in Tokyo with museums, a beautiful park famous as a cherry blossom spot, and other exciting things to do. This travel guide introduces Ueno and 20 places to visit in this historically-rich yet modern town.

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Ueno - Tokyo's Most Popular Leisure District

Ueno Cherry Blossoms

Tokyo's Ueno area is popular with travelers and locals as a weekend leisure destination. It boasts excellent places to visit such as such as the Tokyo National Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, the world-famous Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo, and many other leisure facilities enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Ueno Park is one of Tokyo's most popular cherry blossom viewing spots, with thousands of people coming to enjoy a picnic under the cherry trees in spring.

In addition, there are numerous shrines and local shopping streets that give a taste of Japanese culture. This neighborhood holds a historical significance that visitors can feel and appreciate firsthand by simply strolling down the streets.

This article narrows down the top 20 things to do in Ueno and provides a travel guide for visitors coming to this very special area of Tokyo.

Top 20 Places to Visit in Ueno

1. Ueno Park
2. Hanazono Inari Shrine
3. Ameyoko: Everyone's Favorite Shopping Street
4. Ueno Zoo
5. Bentendo Temple at Shinobazu Pond
6. Tokyo National Museum
7. Shitamachi Museum
8. Takeya - A Popular Shopping Mall
9. Kurand Sake Market - Taste Japanese Sake
10. Ueno Sakuragi Atari
11. The Former Iwasaki House Garden
12. National Museum of Nature and Science
13. Ueno Toshogu Shrine
14. Museum Garden and Teahouses at Tokyo National Museum
15. Yanaka Ginza
Dining in Ueno
16. Vegan and Vegetarian Ramen at T's Tantan (Ueno Station)
17. Japanese Cuisine at Oto Oto Ueno Bamboo Garden Ten
18. Shabu Shabu and Grilled Cusine at Kagayaki
19. Multicultural Cuisine at Yoshiike Shokudo
20. Delcious Okonomiyaki at KOTEKICHI, Ueno no Mori Sakura Terrace
How to Get to Ueno
Hotels in Ueno

1. Ueno Park

Ueno Park

Takamori Saigo, a historically important figure from the Meiji Era. Picture from Things to Do in Ueno Park, Tokyo: Ueno Zoo, Museums, and Cherry Blossoms

Ueno Park is one of the most popular parts of Ueno and is known as the first public park in Japan. The sprawling 53,000 square meter park is home to Ueno Zoo, Shinobazu Pond, and several museums, making it easy to spend an entire day just strolling and visiting attractions. The family-friendly and entertaining activities here create an especially welcoming atmosphere to visitors of all ages.

During the cherry blossom season in April and May, the park becomes painted in beautiful shades of pink as the trees bloom, gathering crowds of visitors coming to relax under the sakura. If you are coming to the Ueno area, visiting Ueno Park is a must.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenokoen 2-1 Google Map

2. Hanazono Inari Shrine

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Hanazono Inari Shrine is a shrine located in Ueno Park. It is popular with visitors wanting to improve their luck in love and is a well-known matchmaking power spot. The entrance is visually impactful with its red Senbon Torii, or one thousand torii gates. Here, the countless torii stand at the entrance to form an impressive pathway.

Located inside Ueno Park, this place is very easy to access. The beautiful, vibrant-colored Japanese shrine will surely become a wonderful memory of your visit to Ueno.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenokoen 4-17 Google Map

3. Ameyoko - Everyone's Favorite Shopping Street

Ueno Ameyoko

Picture from 7 Things You Should Do In Ueno!

The bustling shopping street of Ameyoko is well-known as one of Ueno's defining areas, gathering crowds on the weekends. Historically, Ameyoko began as a black market during World War II but has since transformed into a popular shopping area with a vibrant atmosphere. The market is appealing for its discount prices and wide variety of goods for sale.

Visitors will find everything here from fresh groceries to clothing and cosmetics. You can also find plenty of food stalls lining Ameyoko. Those with a sweet tooth should stop by the famous Cha no Kiminoen for matcha ice cream or try dorayaki, a traditional Japanese sweet filled with red bean paste.

AccessTokyo, Taito, Ueno 4 Google Map

4. Ueno Zoo - Watch the Cutest Animals!

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Picture from Ueno Zoo Animals from All Over the World Can be Seen Here!

Ueno Zoo is home to many animal species unique to Japan, such as the Yezo deer, native to Hokkaido, and the adorable Japanese squirrel. If you are coming to Ueno, definitely take the time to visit to see these rare animals.

Another reason to visit Ueno Zoo is to see Riri, Shinshin, and Shanshan, Tokyo's world-famous pandas. Their endearing mannerisms and cute expressions are captivating and heart-melting. The popularity of these furry creatures has also resulted in a large supply of panda-themed foods, and merchandise for sale in the Ueno Zoo and surrounding area that make perfect gifts and souvenirs.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenokoen 9-83 Google Map

5. Bentendo Temple at Shinobazu Pond

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Bentendo Temple, located in Ueno Park, is a Buddhist temple, home to Benzaiten, a goddess associated with education, art, wealth, and matchmaking. Built in the middle of Shinobazu Pond, the temple has a floating, ethereal appearance, and its colorful hexagonal tower is visible from far away.

Bentendo is a unique temple and a great spot to visit in between trips to other sight-seeing hotspots in the Ueno area.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenokoen 2-1 Google Map

6. Tokyo National Museum - The Best Place to Learn about Japan's History and Art

Tokyo National Museum

Those with an interest in the arts and history shouldn't miss out on the Tokyo National Museum, which is located within the Ueno Park grounds. Offering a wide collection of over 110,000 pieces of artwork and cultural assets, dropping into this museum is a great way to educate yourself about the arts in Japan.

Among the displays, visitors will find samurai armor, intricately-painted traditional folding screens, and Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints. The museum also includes art and historical artifacts from other Asian countries.

7. Shitamachi Museum - Learn about the Local Culture

Shitamachi Museum

Picture from Slip Back In Time At Ueno's Shitamachi Museum

The Shitamachi Museum is a unique history museum in Ueno depicting merchant life in Tokyo from the Meiji period through the Showa period. The museum contains displays of reconstructed traditional Japanese rooms on the first floor and showcases historical items such as wooden toys, houseware, and apparel on the upper level. Visiting the Shitamachi Museum is an entertaining and interactive way to learn more about Japanese history and is a highly recommended spot.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenokoen, 2-1 Google Map
Official Website: http://www.taitocity.net/zaidan/english/shitamachi/

8. Takeya - A Popular Shopping Mall

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Picture from Takeya: Tokyo’s Well Kept Shopping Secret

Takeya is a massive shopping mall that consists of 8 buildings containing a variety of Japanese brands and merchandise. In comparison to the previously-mentioned Ameyoko, Takeya offers a different shopping experience in the layout of the stores as well as the items for sale.

Each building has its own theme, making it easy to find what you're looking for right away. Takeya also offers free WiFi for its customers. It operates as a duty-free store, which makes it a convenient and popular spot for those traveling from outside Japan with a foreign passport.

Access: Tokyo, Taito 4-33-2 Google Map

9. Kurand Sake Market - Taste Japanese Sake

Kurand Sake Market

Picture from Kurand Sake Market: Unlimited Tasting of 100 Japanese Sakes in Asakusa

For those interested in trying Japanese sake but not sure where to start, the Kurand Sake Market in Ueno offers an unlimited tasting menu of around one hundred types of sake brewed in various places in Japan. This is a great opportunity to enjoy different flavors of sake in a relaxing, fun atmosphere.

The venue even holds events where customers can meet and casually chat with brewers to learn more about the sake craft. You can make an advance reservation online or show up on the day you want to enter, but keep in mind that spots are limited. Kurand Sake Market is just a 6-minute walk from JR Ueno Station.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Ueno East, 3-36-7, B1F Google Map
Official Website: https://kurand.jp/en/sakemarket/

10. Ueno Sakuragi Atari

Ueno Sakuragiatari

Picture from Get A Glimpse Of 1938 Japan, In Uenosakuragi, Ueno

Ueno Sakuragi Atari is a serene area of stylish cafes and shops with a retro atmosphere located in the Ueno-Yanaka area of Tokyo. Several shopping and dining facilities are located in renovated traditional Japanese houses from the 1930s, offering visitors a unique and meaningful experience.

Visitors who have more leisure time to spend in the Ueno are suggested to try this area. Ueno Sakuragi Atari is a 10-15 minute walk away from JR Nippori or Ueno Stations, and Nezu or Sendagi Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenosakuragi, Atari 2-15-6 Google Map

11. The Former Iwasaki House Garden

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
The Former Iwasaki House Garden, also known as the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden is a historical Western-style residence that was built in 1896 as the main residence of Yataro Iwasaki's eldest son, Hisaya, the third president of the Mitsubishi Corporation.

Designed by British architect Josiah Conder, this striking building blends Islamic motifs and Italian Tuscan columns within its Jacobean Renaissance framework.

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
Within the garden, a serene Japanese tea house and a quirky American Gothic-inspired Swiss mountain hut turned billiard room offer diverse experiences. The seasonal beauty of orange ginkgo trees and cherry blossoms complements this cultural fusion.

Reflecting shoin-zukuri architecture amalgamating Japanese and Western styles, this site embodies historical craftsmanship cherished by military and esteemed individuals. The Former Iwasaki House Garden epitomizes Japan's rich cultural tapestry.

To find out more, visit the official website

12. National Museum of Nature and Science

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 15 Places To Visit

Photo courtesy of Klook
The National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno Park boasts over 10,000 exhibits, offering a rich blend of history and science ideal for family outings.

Showcasing themed rooms exploring space, dinosaurs, and Japan's ecosystem, the museum captivates visitors with dazzling displays illuminated by lights and electronic screens. Noteworthy attractions include original taxidermy of the beloved Japanese dog Hachiko and a diverse array of animals worldwide.

This educational and engaging venue provides a comprehensive journey through natural wonders, making it a top destination for those seeking a captivating blend of learning and entertainment in the heart of Ueno.

13. Ueno Toshogu Shrine

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 15 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
Ueno Toshogu Shrine stands as a resplendent golden shrine nestled within the enchanting Ueno Park. Revering the memory of the late Tokugawa shogunate's figurehead, Tokugawa Ieyasu, this sacred edifice, originally constructed in 1627, underwent redesign by Ieyasu's grandson in 1651.

Exemplifying the gongen-zukuri architectural style prevalent in Edo-period shrine construction, Ueno Toshogu has endured numerous calamities and historical events, symbolizing enduring craftsmanship.

Reflecting the opulence of its counterparts like the Nikko Toshogu Shrine adorned with lavish gilding and exquisite carvings, Ueno Toshogu stands as a testament to the artistry of the time, enshrining Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Open to the public at no cost, this shrine offers a remarkable opportunity to appreciate Edo-period architectural heritage while basking in nature's tranquility and perhaps offering prayers for good fortune. Located conveniently amidst other Ueno attractions, it presents a splendid option for those seeking a glimpse of historic charm and cultural significance without venturing far to Nikko.

14. Museum Garden and Teahouses at Tokyo National Museum

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 15 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
On the northern expanse of the Tokyo National Museum lies a picturesque garden boasting five charming teahouses. Originally constructed in diverse prefectures for purposes ranging from study rooms to resting havens and drawing chambers, these historic structures were generously donated to the museum, now serving as accessible tea rooms for public enjoyment.

Each of these teahouses showcases distinct architectural styles, granting them individual flair and appeal. Visitors are treated to a rich tapestry of artistry and aesthetics within these spaces, including the ink-painted interiors of the Okyokan, once a study and drawing room, and the rustic allure of the 1618-built thatched roof rest house, Shunsoro.

This collection offers a unique opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the cultural heritage and beauty of Japan through these meticulously preserved and thoughtfully curated tea houses.

To see more about each tea house's history and their beautiful designs please visit the official website of the Tokyo National Museum.

15. Yanaka Ginza

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
Yanaka Ginza is a retro Japanese shopping district full of fashion and cats! The old Shitamachi district flaunts local Japanese traditional charm with its shopping street architecture and residential-owned shops and cafes, often selling unique, quirky goods!

Mischievous cats can be spotted around the district, from cat statues and items to real-life felines snoozing in the sun, Yanaka Ginza is perfect for those who love a calm relaxing atmosphere, cats, and shopping!

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
Delicious food can be purchased from stalls and those who visit in the afternoon can climb the area's famous sloped stairs and will be rewarded with a brilliant sunset!

16. Vegan and Vegetarian Ramen at T's Tantan, Ueno Station

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo from Top 5 Tokyo Vegetarian And Vegan-Friendly Ramen Restaurants
T’s Tantan at Ueno Station is a haven for vegans, vegetarians, and animal lovers alike. This eatery exclusively serves delectable vegan fare, featuring an array of tantalizing Taiwanese ramen options, delectable side dishes like gyoza, and scrumptious desserts for guests to enjoy guilt-free.

17. Traditional Japanese Cuisine at Oto Oto Ueno Bamboo Garden Ten

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo by autoreserve
Oto Oto Ueno Bamboo Garden Ten is a charming Japanese pub adorned with stunning Bamboo decor. This Izakaya offers creatively presented fresh dishes, inviting guests to relish traditional Japanese fare like Eel, sashimi, Japanese spirits, and seasonal specialties.

Whether opting for a communal table or reserving a private room, patrons can bask in a cozy atmosphere just a short 3-minute stroll from the station, enhancing their dining experience with both aesthetic beauty and delectable cuisine.

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18. Shabu Shabu and Grilled Cuisine at Kagayaki

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo by autoreserve
Kagayaki is an ideal choice for social gatherings, offering a unique dining experience at this meat restaurant where guests can cook shabu-shabu and grill meals together using stoves and pots provided at each table.

Featuring a diverse selection of premium meats, fresh vegetables, and a variety of beverages including alcohol, Kagayaki provides a lively and interactive setting for friends and family to enjoy delicious meals in each other's company.

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19. Great Views of Ueno and Multicultural Cuisine at Yoshiike Shokudo

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo by autoreserve
Yoshiike Shokudo is the ideal destination for groups with diverse culinary preferences. This restaurant caters to a wide range of tastes, featuring fresh sushi, traditional Japanese soba, Western dishes, and thoughtfully curated meal sets.

Nestled on the 9th floor of the Yoshiike Food Court, patrons can savor their meals while enjoying breathtaking city vistas in a roomy setting just 8 minutes away from Ueno Station, creating a perfect spot for family and friends to gather and dine.

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20. Okonomiyaki at KOTEKICHI, Ueno no Mori Sakura Terrace

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo by Autoreserve

Kotekichi is a welcoming restaurant known for its delectable Okonomiyaki dishes. With a diverse range of flavors and ingredients to choose from, it's an ideal spot for diners eager to personalize their meals and enjoy a variety of alcoholic beverages.

In addition to Okonomiyaki, the menu boasts other culinary delights like soba noodles, a selection of grilled sides, and flavorful options such as the renowned beef tongue and garlic rice dish.

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How to Get to Ueno

Ueno is one of Tokyo's central transportation hubs, making it easily accessible from airports and other locations in Tokyo and Japan. From Narita Airport, visitors coming to Ueno can take the Keisei Skyliner and arrive at Keisei Ueno Station directly, in about 41 minutes.

The JR Ueno Station is also a Shinkansen stop connected to the Hokkaido, Tohoku and Hokuriku regions of Japan. This means that traveling to these destinations in Japan from Ueno especially convenient.

Hotels in Ueno

Ueno is an ideal place to stay for travelers due to its convenience and access to Narita Airport and the shinkansen at Ueno Station. From Keisei Ueno Station, riding the Kesei Skyliner is a 41-minute ride to Narita Airport, and taking a regular train will take you there in 70 minutes.

Some of our recommended places to stay in Ueno are Hotel Villa Fontaine Ueno, Ueno Hotel and Candeo Hotels Ueno Park. What these facilities have in common is that they offer good services and are reasonably priced.

For other hotel recommendations, please take a look at the article linked below.

FAQ

Why is Ueno famous?

Ueno in Tokyo is famous for its diverse attractions and rich cultural heritage. Highlights include Ueno Park, renowned for cherry blossom viewing and home to museums, temples, shrines, and the Ueno Zoo. The district is a cultural hub with museums like the Tokyo National Museum, vibrant markets on Ameyoko Shopping Street, and historical sites such as Ueno Toshogu Shrine. Serving as a major transportation hub, Ueno offers easy access to various parts of Tokyo and features a wide range of dining options, making it a multifaceted destination that appeals to visitors interested in exploring Tokyo's natural beauty, cultural offerings, and historical landmarks.

Is Ueno worth visiting?

Visiting Ueno in Tokyo is definitely worth it for travelers seeking a rich cultural and diverse experience. With attractions like Ueno Park, renowned for cherry blossoms and home to museums and the Ueno Zoo, cultural treasures such as the Tokyo National Museum, bustling markets on Ameyoko Street, and historical sites like Ueno Toshogu Shrine, Ueno offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant markets. As a major transportation hub with varied dining options, Ueno provides convenient access to explore Tokyo's offerings, making it an enriching and multifaceted destination for those interested in immersing themselves in the city's history, culture, and vibrant atmosphere.

What kind of area is Ueno?

Ueno in Tokyo is a dynamic and culturally rich district known for its diverse offerings. It features Ueno Park, a hub for cherry blossoms and cultural attractions like museums and temples, alongside vibrant markets on Ameyoko Street. Historical landmarks such as Ueno Toshogu Shrine and convenient access via Ueno Station make it a prime destination for exploring Tokyo's history and culture. With a mix of natural beauty, cultural treasures, bustling markets, and convenient transportation, Ueno encapsulates a multifaceted area appealing to visitors seeking a blend of traditional charm and modern convenience in Tokyo.

Is Ueno a good area to stay in Tokyo?

Staying in Ueno can be a favorable choice for visitors to Tokyo who appreciate cultural attractions, convenient transportation via Ueno Station, diverse shopping and dining options, and the proximity to Ueno Park's cherry blossoms in spring. The area offers a mix of budget-friendly accommodation, making it appealing to travelers seeking cultural exploration and easy access to Tokyo's attractions while enjoying a vibrant and convenient stay in the city. For a list of recommended hotels in Ueno, please refer to our article.

How long to spend at Ueno?

The ideal duration to spend in Ueno primarily hinges on personal interests and the depth of exploration desired. For a quick overview, plan a half-day visit to witness key attractions like Ueno Park, the Toshogu Shrine, and the Ueno Zoo. Allotting a full day allows for a more thorough exploration, including visits to museums, Ameyoko Shopping Street, and enjoying the park's cherry blossoms. For a more leisurely and immersive experience, consider extending your stay to two days or more to fully appreciate Ueno's cultural richness at a relaxed pace. Tailor your itinerary to your preferences, be it focused on cultural exploration, shopping, dining, or outdoor enjoyment, to create a fulfilling visit to this vibrant Tokyo district.

Is Ueno safe at night?

Ueno is generally considered safe at night, reflecting Tokyo's overall reputation for safety. As a popular district with diverse attractions, it remains well-lit and frequented by locals and tourists. To enhance safety, stick to well-populated and well-lit areas, secure your belongings, opt for reliable transportation options, trust your instincts, and plan your routes ahead of time. By following these basic precautions, visitors can comfortably explore Ueno's cultural and entertainment offerings after dark while enjoying a safe and pleasant experience in this vibrant Tokyo district.

 

Enjoy Tokyo's Ueno District

The traditional downtown atmosphere combined with the modern side of Tokyo fuse together in Ueno, making this neighborhood a great area for entertainment, education, and dining, all within an incredibly convenient location in Tokyo. If you are coming to Tokyo or Japan, be sure to stop by to discover for yourself what Ueno has to offer.

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東京都在住、95年生まれの大学生。抹茶のスイーツが大好き。日本の面白い情報を沢山発信していきます。

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