Refreshed by a good lunch and bottled drinks from a vending machine, Andrew and John make their way to Ueno Park from Ameyokocho. Although I’ve been to Ameyokocho in the past, I never found the time to visit nearby Ueno Park which is a very peaceful public space with a lake, zoo, temples and shrines, several museums and plenty of space to walk.
After scaling several flights of stairs, we arrive at the southern entrance to the park where we find the statue of Saigo Takamori, one of the generals in the Battle of Ueno. Then we proceed to walk the central pathway, lined with hundreds of cherry trees, although not in bloom at this time of the year. Ueno Park is very popular as a viewing place for cherry tree blossoms in the Spring and I’m sure they are quite beautiful.
Ahead of us stands the Kiyomizu Kannon Temple. Sitting on a hillside, this temple was inspired by the Kiyomizudera in Kyoto, which I toured during my stay in Kyoto. We walk passed the temple and down the hill for a spectacular view of the Bentendo, an octagonal temple hall built on an island in Shinobazu Lake, and the multiple red tori gates of the exit from the temple.
Further down this path we find the Ueno Zoo, home of the giant panda bears and children’s amusement park, home of Doraemon and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Then we find several displays that are apparently a part of the Tokyo Green 2012 Project. A straw man? Two large mirrors reflecting the plants at their bases? Rice cultivation? Vegetable and flower plantings? These installations lead us to a courtyard with a highly choreographed fountain show. Andrew thinks the fog is actually a deliberate way of misting the flowers. Its all very entertaining although I found the natural beauty of tonight’s sunset more compelling.
Finally at the North end of Ueno Park we have the Tokyo National Museum, housing the largest collection of national treasures and cultural artifacts in the country. In addition there is a science museum, a modern art museum and other museums which beck us to return and learn more about arts in Japan.
Time to rest my weary dogs with a visit to, yet another large and very beautiful, Starbucks. I believe I’ll have a Venti Mocha and cinnamon roll. This is also the first cup of caffeinated coffee I’ve had in almost a year. Andrew and I experiment with night time photography of the moon and trees as the air grows somewhat chill.
We wander back towards Ameyokocho and the Ueno-Okachimachi subway station where we pick up the Oedo line for a quick trip back to Monzen Nakachou. On the way, I find a Beard Papa’s!
There is MUCH more to do in Ueno Park so I anticipate a return trip sometime soon!