I think I preferred the post I did about my first day in Kamakura, where I explained my whole day chronologically instead of doing posts on the separate places. So I thought I’d talk about my day in Ueno. That’s Friday July 3, by the way.
Since I was staying in Tokyo for the day and Ueno was pretty close to my hostel I decided to wake up a bit later than usual (8am).
It was raining most of the day so I took my foldable umbrella with me. I actually think this was the day it rained the hardest and most out of the days I was in Japan.
I arrived to Ueno park just next to the station and decided to take a bit of a walk around before going to the museums. I first came across Toshogu Shrine mostly accidentally, I couldn’t hold the camera properly with my umbrella and bag, so most of today’s photos are blurry or defocused.
If I remember correctly, this flame at Toshogu Shrine has some connection to the flame in Hiroshima.
The origami paper used to make the birds was very resistant, I picked up the ones in the puddle on the floor and hung them back up, but even then they didn’t break.
Finally I decided to make my way to Tokyo National Museum since it was starting to really pour down by this point. I got a good discount for the entrance fee with my Grutt Pass and started off at the Toyokan building.
Here there was mostly asian art from countries that aren’t Japan itself, as well as a nice lacquerware and pottery collection on one of the top floors. I remember liking the top floors of this building more than the main building of the museum.
As I left Toyokan I made a run for Honkan, the main building, and left my umbrella at the entrance with many others. I definitely loved the kimonos here, I think I might go again some day just for the kimonos! They had amazing patterns and colours, and they had a pretty wide selection. I would’ve liked to see a bit more of the history and culture explained behind some of the objects displayed, since most only had quick explanation of what it was. At the end (or beginning, if you start from the other side) there was a room with a tactile map for blind people and a table with stamps that you could use freely.
They also had a gift shop -I feel like I always comment on the gift shops of museums- but most of the objects were expensive. I did buy a book and a fun flip book though.
I used their bathroom before I left, as well as taking a couple of photos in the photo booth they had downstairs.
The museum was full of school kids and foreign tourists by the time I left, and a crowd of people were starting to accumulate at the entrance for leaving umbrellas, so I was glad I got out in time.
So off I went to look at the rest of the park and to go to the Shitamachi Museum. It had thankfully stopped raining and only a few drops were falling.
The Benten Hall was one of my favourites out of the shrines and temples I saw. It’s nothing too special but has a very calm atmosphere and you forget you’re in the middle of Tokyo.
One of the features of Ueno Park is the lotus pond. I later found out that you can get a boat on the other side of the lake and paddle around in the water if you like.
I have no photos of the Shitamachi Museum, but it’s a small building on the outskirts of the park. I heard of this museum because I had a free entry with my Grutt Pass, but it didn’t have many other visitors other than a group of school kids in the toy room.
The first floor is a replica of what a street in the Edo period looked like (with great details!), a guide showed me around for free and was very helpful. The second floor had a temporary exposition about daily life during the second World War in Japan and an area with many traditional toys. You can also get your omikuji, fortune telling, for free from a little interior shrine, at the counter they’ll give you the slip in Japanese or English once you tell them your number.
I actually intended to pack much more into this day (the Yanaka area and Nezu Jinja were high on my list of things I wanted to see) but after eating lunch near the station and buying a really cool orange suitcase, I was pretty tired from everything I’d been doing the previous days so I simply went back to my hostel to rest.
Ueno Park is big and I definitely forgot to see a few things, so I will have to go back another time!