Being the fourth largest island country in the world and the largest island country in East Asia, Japan surely offers a tremendous range of places worth visiting. It's safe to say that it wasn't easy planning a trip to Japan, noting the fact that its capital city, Tokyo, is the world's largest metropolitan area—meaning that there's just always something to see.
Upon arriving in Japan for the third time, I'm well aware of its must-visit tourist attractions. Thus, my 10 days itinerary wasn't designed for first-timers. There are several stops of not-so-typical locations that I've planned to visit, one being the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum which is located in the heart of Tokyo, Ueno.
When I did my research, there were at least 10 museums located in Ueno Park, exhibiting art, history, and science. Not only famous for its excellent galleries, Ueno Park is also known for its zoo, Ueno Zoo. It is also the home to several historical sites such as the Ueno Toshogu Shrine, Shinobazu Pond, and the statue of "the last true samurai", Saigo Takamori.
It is best to enjoy a walk in Ueno Park during the spring. But since I arrived in Tokyo at the end of September, it was rather a transition between summer and autumn. It's still pleasant, nevertheless. The wind is blowing just right, the breeze feels light, and even though the sakura trees are completely leafless, the park still feels luxurious covered in all the greens.
Chirps and laughter filled the whole park, making it feel more lively than it already was. People were walking towards different directions, yet still basking in the scenic greenery with ease. Parents strolling around with their little babies-human or their furry friends. Heck, I even encountered someone sitting with their two monkeys. Yup, monkeys. I couldn't help but say hello, even though one of them pooped right in front of me.
Rich in artistic and historical sites, it seems like Ueno Park is also a destination for school trips. A group of little children in matching white hats were seen enjoying their tour, probably heading to Ueno Zoo. Older ones seem to be heading towards the Tokyo National Museum.
It's spacious and offers a lot of leisure activities, no wonder why Ueno Park is not only a tourist's delight but also one of the locals' favorite destinations to unwind and escape the buzzing and punctilious metropolitan scene of Tokyo. You can indulge in a simple yet relaxing activity such as picnic, jogging, or even just taking a stroll throughout the day.
It feels like I could even plan a one day itinerary just for exploring the whole area of Ueno Park. So, if you're planning on visiting Japan in the future, make sure to add Ueno Park into the list, especially if you're coming during the cherry blossom season.
Tokyo's integrated underground transportation makes this park super easy to access. Take any train bound for Ueno, and you'll find yourself in Ueno Park after walking 350 meters from Ueno Station.(HAI/alm)