What comes to your mind when someone mentions Ueno?
It seems like most Japanese people tend to associate Ueno with pandas. Pandas first arrived at Ueno Zoo in Ueno after diplomatic relations between Japan and China were normalized back in 1972. Since then, pandas have become one of the most popular animals at the zoo. When the female panda Shan Shan was born in 2017, the story was widely reported on TV and other media, with many people all around Japan offering their heartiest congratulations! This is also one reason why you can find various panda-themed souvenirs and some restaurants sell and carry menus inspired by pandas, in Ueno. Today I'll be suggesting an itinerary for those who are interested in a one-day panda-themed tour in Ueno.
First, let's start with lunch. You can enjoy panda curry that's really cute at Ueno Green Salon, which you will find right after walking through the entrance of Ueno Park. The white rice is arranged to resemble a panda which has black beans for its eyes and nose, and black olives for its ears.
Once you finish the curry, it's time to enjoy a cup of tea and relax. Take a short walk to the Ameya-Yokocho street market and head into Café NIKI. There, you can enjoy a really cute panda cappuccino for 600 yen. Choose your preferred flavor from either cinnamon or cocoa, and you'll be served a cappuccino that's topped with adorable panda art drawn using the powder that you've selected. Panda-inspired merchandise such as panda plush toys and posters are also displayed in the shop.
Finally, it's time to grab some panda souvenirs that will remind you of Ueno before heading back home. For this, I recommend looking around Siretoko Factory located in ecute at JR Ueno Station, which is a confectionery store headquartered in Hokkaido. Its signature items are donuts with the heads of cute animals buried in the hole in the middle, but the Ueno branch also sells donuts with pandas buried in the hole! These donuts are so cute that you'll feel like you almost can't bear to eat them!
* Please check in advance for business hours and holidays if you want to visit specific shops.
Ueno Green Salon
Address: 7-47, Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Address: 4-6-1, Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Siretoko Factory ecute Ueno branch
Address: ecute Ueno 3F, 7-1-1, Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo