I couldn’t think of a better way to spend our last day in Tokyo than strolling around Ueno Park, one of the largest and most famous parks in the city and in Japan.
Ueno Park is a spacious public park located in the Ueno district of Tokyo, which attracts more than 10 million visitors each year¹. During cherry blossom season, it is a popular spot for hanami parties. But during fall, with the dramatic hues of the autumn leaves growing from the trees or fluttering around the ground as they are blown gently by the cool gust of wind, the park looks like a backdrop of a romantic movie!
A full day (more, if possible!) is needed to be able to roam around every nook and cranny of Ueno Park. Within the 133 acres of this public garden are a bounty of attractions and activities, including several museums (Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, etc.), various temples and shrines, art galleries, theater halls, and a 35-acre zoo! With limitless options for leisure and discovery, but with such tight timelines, we did not have the time to see all of Ueno Park. But what we did see left us breathless!
The moment we walked inside Ueno Park, it was clear to us that the main feature of this park are the copious trees. With over 800 trees including Japanese cherry trees, gingko biloba trees, and more, the park is an enchanted landscape that looks almost otherworldly. But aside from the trees, more interesting things can be found inside the park. For instance, street performers show crowds of visitors what they got and perform music, tricks, and other antics. I think it’s a great asset to the park, and it’s wonderful that the park becomes an avenue for these different kinds of performers to express themselves and share their art to others!
There are also a couple of intriguing structures inside Ueno Park. If you love taking photos, better make sure that you have lots of space in your memory card because you’ll most probably have lots and lots of subjects you’ll want to take snapshots of, such as this shrine called Gojōten Jinja (Hanazono Inari Jinja) which resembles the famous Fushimi Inari shrine in Tokyo because of its torii. These gates suggest that this is a Shinto shrine.
Meanwhile, the Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple, a Buddhist temple which is one of the oldest in Tokyo, looks like a place of peace as it is surrounded by greenery. This temple is recognized as a national treasure in Tokyo.
Another notable structure inside the park is this Lions International totem pole, which features animals from the Ueno Zoo.
I wish we could have extended our stay in Tokyo so that we could tour all the temples, theaters, galleries, and gardens lying in the vastness of Ueno Park. I’m sure every single space is remarkable! But even though we didn’t get to see everything, we were still very, very fortunate to have seen how beautiful the park was during that time of the year. The vibrant glow of red, orange, green, and brown foliage, especially when lit up by the warm tones of the golden sun, makes the park a sight to behold, and I feel blessed to have been able to see it, not just in pictures, but in real life!
Our trip to Ueno Park that fall of November 2014 was, for me, a harvest of happiness. I remember strolling around the park with Mike, just taking in the scenery while hugging each other, talking about the next time we go back to Tokyo and daydreaming about the other places we want to go to, just the two of us. With all those colorful trees and pretty flowers surrounding us, plus the crisp autumn breeze enveloping us, Ueno Park was the dreamiest setting for that kind of moment.
Ueno Park during the fall season will really make you fall in love!
Address: 110-0007 Tokyo Ueno Park, Taito-ku, 5-20
Phone: +81 3-3828-5644
Opening Hours: Mondays to Sundays, from 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM (For specific areas inside the park, operating hours vary so check each one individually)
How to Get There: Ueno Park is just next to JR Ueno Station on the JR Yamanote line. Easiest access is provided by the station’s “Park Exit”. It is a 1 minute walk from the station to the park.
Fees: Entry to the park is free but specific areas may have separate entrance fees