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[See the Ueno Station photo gallery]


The beautiful photo of Ueno Park Zoo above is courtesy of Tsutomu Kuriyama from the Panorama Tokyo Review.

Go to the photo gallery for Ueno Station.

Ueno Station is the site of Shitamachi or the original "downtown" during the Edo period.  Ueno today is a great market center and the site of Ueno Park and the Ueno Zoo.  Like most of the train stations in Tokyo, the East and West sides of Ueno Station are different.  The West side is basically just Ueno Park.  The East side is filled with small street markets and hundreds of clothing shops selling used and new goods, and a lot of western style trendy clothing.

This view is facing the South exit of the Station, from both the JR lines and the subway.

The station building is quite old, being one of the original stations in the city, and it is surprisingly still one of the busiest stations in Tokyo.  It is also the connection between Tokyo and Northern Japan, as the "Shinkansen" - Bullet train, arrives here from both the Japan Alps (Nagano) and the Tohoku region (Sendai).  It is also where the trains from the East (Chiba prefecture) arrive.

This picture is of one of the street markets close to the station just to the south.

While living in Tokyo I lived very close to Ueno and in the area known as 'Shitamachi'.  I think I lucked out pretty good.  I couldn't have asked for a better place to live in a city like Tokyo.  It was quiet, not as crowded as most other parts of the city, still very convenient to go anywhere quickly and again quiet.  That was key I feel.  Living in the world's largest city is going to be noisy no matter what, but I got many a good night sleep because of where I lived.  Now of course I didn't live any other places for a long period of time and I lived right on the major train line for the city.  If you live far outside the city, it's going to be peaceful and quiet too, but not as convenient or fun.

Ueno has a lot of things to offer, even for the short term stay tourist.  From Ueno station you can connect to almost any other station in Tokyo.  Of course the JR Yamanote line runs here, and all the major stops, plus the subway's Ginza Line, passes through Ueno station to either Asakusa to the east, and all the way to Shibuya Station to the south-west.  The Hibiya line goes through Ueno station as well to stops like Hibiya, Roppongi, and Ebisu at the other end.  So it is a very good station to embark from but it is also very crowded.

A favorite time for most people to flock to Ueno Station is during a one week period in March or April when the Cherry Blossom festivals happen.  During this time Ueno park (famous for it's cherry blossoms) becomes a sea of people, sitting on blankets and tarps under the trees, dancing singing and consuming major quantities of beer and other alcoholic products.  My cousin went there on her trip to Tokyo, and told me a story of a young group of about three men (I forget) that stripped down to nothing and jumped up and down drinking a huge tower of beer cans, in the middle of a huge crowd of people.  Crazy!  That's what to expect though, so don't be shocked or criticize, just have fun.