Ueno Park is a perennial favorite of Tokyoites due to its
sheer size, central location and abundance of attractions. It draws the crowds
for all kinds of reasons from just hanging out with friends to visiting serious
museums and galleries.
As a major transportation hub in Tokyo, Ueno makes it easy and convenient for
friends from different parts of the city and even further apart to get together
and thus became famous as a meeting spot for class reunions. Ueno is always busy
over weekends but never more so than during sakura season when the park
is simply taken over by hanami.
Ueno Park is one of the areas in Tokyo where the homeless has set up home and
built tent cities, mostly out of blue plastic sheeting. During cherry blossom
viewing season they are joined by ordinary people sleeping over night to ensure
the best party spot the next day. The only way to guarantee a spot is to stake
your claim by placing your plastic sheet - almost always blue - on the ground
and sit on it until other members of your party arrive. Reservations and other
ways of keeping space are not accepted! This important task is usually delegated
to juniors in the company or the youngest members of a social group.
The cherry trees in Ueno are visible in most parts of the park but are
especially concentrated in the half closest to the JR and Keisei stations. In
addition cherry trees also encircle the adjacent huge Shibazunoike Pond so there
is usually space for all comers. Karaoke is usually set up at various spots in
the park and many parties will bring their own equipment.
Ueno has many other attractions for people not able or willing to spend too
much time on a plastic sheet eating and drinking and talking. There are several
major museums in and next to the park, it has a zoo, several shrines and the
Ueno area is famous for shopping at more reasonable prices than downtown Tokyo.
(For more information see a separate journal on Ueno
Ueno is a major rail station with several JR commuter, main line and
shinkansen (bullet train) connections. In addition it is the terminus of the
Keisei Line to Narita Airport. It is also served by the Ginza and Hibiya subway