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Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

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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

Picture from Things to Do in Ueno Park, Tokyo: Ueno Zoo, Museums, and Cherry Blossoms

Tokyo's Ueno area is popular with travelers and locals as a weekend leisure destination. It boasts several great destinations 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. Located in eastern Tokyo's Taito ward, Ueno is also considered the shitamachi, or traditional downtown of Tokyo, since the Edo era. 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 10 things to do in Ueno and provides a travel guide for visitors coming to this very special area of Tokyo.

Read also:

TOKYO Travel Guide 2020

15 Top 15 Places To Visitin 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. Illumination Expo 2023 × EXPOCITY
7. Tokyo National Museum
8. Takeya - A Popular Shopping Mall
9. Kurand Sake Market - Taste Japanese Sake
10. Ueno Sakuragi Atari
11. 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
16. Vegan and vegetarian ramen at T's Tantan (Ueno Station)
17. Traditional Japanese cuisine at Oto Oto Ueno Bamboo Garden Ten
18. Shabu Shabu and grilled meat at Kagayaki
19. Specualar Views and multicultural cuisine at Yoshiike Shokudo
20. Delcious Okonomiyaki at KOTEKICHI, Ueno no Mori Sakura Terrace

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

Picture from Ukiyo-e, Mandala And More: 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.

Access: Tokyo, Taito, Uenokoen, 13-9 Google Map
Official Website: https://www.tnm.jp/?lang=en

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. Former Iwasaki House Garden

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
The Grand Former Iwasaki House Garden is a Western-style residential building that previously was built by the president of the ancestors of Mitsubishi's CEO. The magnificent building was designed by famous British architect Josiah Conder and features an array of different cultural designs and elements such as Islamic motifs and Italian Tuscan collums inside its Jacobean Renaissance-themed architecture.

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 10 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
In the garden, visitors can enjoy a tranquil Japanese tea house decorated with traditional paintings and sliding doors that open out onto the garden, as well as visit a wooden Swiss mountain hut with an American Gothic twist that is used as a billiard room! Seasonal flowers also bloom across the grounds, from brilliant orange ginkgo trees peaking in autumn and cherry blossoms in spring. 

The premises are created using the popular architectural style called shoin-zukuri, a craftsmanship that Japanese militants and important figures sometimes used to create houses and gardens that combined both Japanese and Western-style architecture. The Former Iwasaki House Garden is the perfect place to experience this unique and interesting cultural aspect of Japan in all its glory.

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
Located inside Ueno Park, The National Museum of Nature and Science has over 10,000 exhibits. A great addition to a family trip, the museum showcases a wide variety of history and science and popular exhibition rooms that include research on space, dinosaurs, and Japan's ecosystem. Magnificent displays are beautifully showcased and highlighted with lights and electronic screens, and animals around the earth can be seen including the original taxidermy of Japan's famous dog, Hachiko.

13. Ueno Toshogu Shrine

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 15 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
Ueno Toshogu is a magnificent golden shrine nestled inside the beautiful Ueno Park! Dedicated to the late Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the originally was built in 1627 however later redesigned by Ieyasu's grandson in 1651. Based on gongen-zukuri, a style of architecture that forms the structure of shrines built in the Edo period, the shrine has withstood many natural disasters and events to this day, another great example of this craftsmanship is the Toshogu shrine, a grand structure in Nikko brimming with a gold exterior and beautiful intricate carvings, officially enshrining Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Free to see, Ueno Toshogu shrine is a great place to enjoy historical architecture dating back to the Edo period, nature, and wish for luck! Located close to other must-see spots in Ueno, it's perfect for those who do not have time to visit Nikko!

14. Museum Garden and Teahouses at Tokyo National Museum

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 15 Places To Visit

Photo by Pixta
Situated on the north grounds of the Tokyo National Museum is a quaint charming garden with 5 charming teahouses! Each tea house was originally built across different prefectures, serving as study rooms, resting huts, and drawing rooms. The collection of buildings where donated to the museum and its grounds, transforming into tea rooms that now can be booked and enjoyed by the public. 

The Tea houses architectural styles differ from one another making each have unique characteristics and special attractions, visitors can enjoy an array of art and beauty such as, ink painted interiors of Okyokan, a former study and drawing room, and a thatched roof rest house dating back to 1618, Shunsoro.To see more about each tea house's history and their beautiful designs please visit the Official Tokyo National Museum Website.

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! To see more about the area check out our article: Yanaka Ginza: Retro Shopping Streets And A Famous Red 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 in Ueno station is the perfect place for Vegans, vegetarians, and animal lovers! The animal-friendly menu only offers delicious vegan dishes, guests can choose between several types of Taiwanese ramen, side dishes such as gyoza and karage as well as delicious desserts.

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 Japanese pub decorated with fabulous Bamboo decor. The Izakaya serves fresh dishes that have been artistically arranged, visitors can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine such as Eel, sashimi, Japanese alcohol, and seasonal dishes. Guests can choose between a regular table or book private rooms, the pub is 3-minute walk from the station.
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18. Shabu Shabu and grilled meat at Kagayaki

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo by autoreserve
Perfect for groups, Kagayaki is a meat restaurant equipped with stoves and pots for guests to enjoy cooking shabu-shabu and grilled meals together. The restaurant serves a wide range of high-quality meat and vegetables, as well as drinks and alcoholic beverages making it a fun spot for gatherings with friends and family.
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19. Sky High 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 perfect place to go if family and friends all fancy a different type of cuisine, the restaurant offers fresh sushi, Japanese soba, western cuisine, and meal sets. Situated on the 9th floor of Yoshiike Food Court, visitors can unwind with spectacular views of the city in a spacious facility just 8 minutes from Ueno station.
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20.Cuztomize Your Own Okonomiyaki at KOTEKICHI, Ueno no Mori Sakura Terrace

Ueno - Travel Guide And Top 20 Places To Visit

Photo by autoreserve
Kotekichi is a cozy restaurant specializing in delicious Okonomiyaki! Offering a wide variety of flavors and ingredients, Kotekichi is perfect for those who love to customize their meals and indulge in different types of alcohol. Alongside Okonomiyaki the menu includes cuisine such as omusoba, grilled side dishes, and seasoned dishes such as the restaurant's popular 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.

Where To Stay 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.

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.

Enjoy Ueno, The Heart of the Old Downtown

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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