Explore Japanese cuisine
One of the best ways to spend time indoors while it rains is to enjoy a good meal. Instead of a quick bite, sit down for a slower course menu. There are many options for a leisurely lunch or dinner with Japanese specialties like tempura, sushi, yakiniku, or shabu-shabu. You can also take a break from sightseeing, have a cup of coffee or tea and try Japanese style sweets and baked goods. In Asakusa and Ueno alone there are hundreds of options if you want to have Japanese food.
Food courts are also great places to look around. This is where you can find a big number of shops selling high quality bento boxes, traditional sweets, rice crackers, cake, and souvenirs and gifts. If you are in the Asakusa area, try Marugoto Nippon. In this building there are shops from prefectures from all regions of Japan offering local specialties.
Learn more about Japan
Ueno has several outstanding museums located in Ueno Park. Learn about Japanese culture, history, and art at the Tokyo National Museum. At the National Museum of Nature and Science next door you can learn about the animals and plants of Japan as well as about space and the Earth. The National Museum of Western Art in Ueno is a work of art itself, a building by world renowned French architect Le Corbusier. The upcoming exhibition “Hokusai and Japonisme” (Oct. 21, 2017 to Jan. 28, 2018) will show Western artworks influenced by Japanese art along with over 100 prints by ukiyo-e master artist Katsushika Hokusai. Or see what living in the old Tokyo depicted in Hokusai’s prints was like at the Shitamachi Museum.
Go shopping for arts and crafts
On a rainy day, the big depart stores and the roofed “shotengai” streets are the best places to go shopping. You will find most department stores conveniently located near the train stations. In Asakusa several of the “shotengai” shopping streets have a roof – check out Shin-Nakamise Street and Asakusa Nishisando for example. One fun place to visit is located under the tracks of the Yamanote train line near Ueno's Ameyoko Shotengai and Okachimachi Station. Follow the elevated JR train tracks towards the Akihabara side to 2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN. Here you can find a number of workshops for handcrafted Japanese goods.