Ueno Park is a large public park in Tokyo. Located close to the Ueno station, the park attracts lots of visitors.
The park grounds originally formed a part of the Kaneiji temple. The Kaneiji temple was the family temple of the Tokugawa clan and was considered to protect the city of Tokyo, then known as Edo from evil. At the time Kaneiji used to be one of the largest and wealthiest temples in Japan. It suffered almost complete destruction in the Boshin War of 1868, and was later rebuilt on a very small scale . Its large grounds were converted into a Western style park which was opened to public in 1873. The current structure is located on the northwest corner of the Ueno Park, in a quiet neighbourhood.
At the Southwest of the park is the Shinobazu Pond.
Visitors can enjoy boating in the Shinobazu Pond.
On a small island in the middle of the pond stands the Benten-do, a hall dedicated to goddess Benten.
A flight of steps across the road from the Benten-do leads to the Kiyomizu Kannon temple. This temple was originally constructed in 1631 and formed part of the Kaneiji temple. Its architecture was inspired by Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera, including the wooden terrace. The temple houses an image of Kosodate Kannon, goddess of fertility.
The Ueno Toshogu shrine was built in 1616 and is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
It is one of the numerous shrines in Japan dedicated to him, the most important being the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko.
Currently the shrine is undergoing major renovation works, expected to continue till 2013.
The path leading to the shrine is surrounded by tall stone and metal lanterns.
Japan’s first zoological park, the Ueno Zoo, is also located on the grounds of the Ueno park.
The zoo was opened in 1882 and house a large number of animals, the most popular being Pandas. Recently a Baby Panda was born in Ueno zoo and locals thronged the zoo to have a look.
Ueno Park is home to a number of museums which include: Tokyo National Museum, National Museum for Western Art, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Shitamachi Museum and National Science Museum.
On Sundays and holidays, many performers can be seen displaying their talent to passersby.
Sometimes different events are also held in Ueno park. We saw a Bonsai exhibition during our visit to Ueno Park.
Ueno park is a popular hanami party spot during the Cherry Blossom season in spring. The central pathway of the park is lined by about 1000 cherry trees.