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Park Perfection: Ueno Onshi Koen's Palette of Possibilities

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2024.04.04 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, inbound tourism adviser and consultant, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Situated in the heart of Tokyo lies Ueno Onshi Koen, a sprawling sanctuary boasting 150 years of rich history. This urban park offers a myriad of attractions and facilities, ensuring there's something for every visitor to relish.

As you step into the expansive park, you're greeted with a plethora of options to tailor your experience. If culture and history captivate your interest, the Tokyo National Museum awaits with its extensive collection of Japanese and Asian artifacts, housed within serene surroundings since 1872. For enthusiasts of Western art, the National Museum of Western Art stands as a remarkable tribute to architectural brilliance, showcasing the Matsukata Collection of French art within its hallowed halls.

Families with children will delight in exploring Ueno Zoo, Japan's oldest, home to over 3,000 animals including the beloved giant pandas Ri Ri and Shin Shin. Wander through diverse sections like "Gorilla Woods" and "Tiger Forest," immersing yourself in a world of conservation and discovery.

For a leisurely retreat, venture to Shinobazu Pond and indulge in a tranquil boat ride amidst the serene waters. Rental boats offer a choice of row boats, Cycle Boats, or Swan Boats, allowing you to navigate the picturesque surroundings at your own pace.

As you meander through the park, take time to admire the cherry blossoms in spring, adding a touch of natural splendor to your visit. And if culinary delights beckon, explore the nearby Ameyoko market for an array of tantalizing treats, followed by a sumptuous meal at a traditional Japanese izakaya or restaurant.

Ueno Onshi Koen beckons you to immerse yourself in its rich tapestry of experiences. Whether you're exploring ancient artifacts, marveling at masterpieces, or simply monkeying around at the zoo, there's no shortage of adventures to blossom in this urban oasis. So, pack your picnic basket and let Ueno "leaf" you with unforgettable memories!

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