April 18, 2007

Japan: Ueno

In Japan, one of my favourite hangout spots is Ueno. It's about an hour 45-minute ride by local train from Takasaki.

A short wiki about Ueno:

Ueno (上野) is a district in Tokyo's Taitō Ward, best known as the home of Ueno Station and Ueno Park. Ueno is also home to some of Tokyo's finest cultural sites, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, and the National Science Museum, as well as a major public concert hall.
On the day before I left for Narita Airport, I spent a night at Ueno. I'd prefer to stay at Ueno, rather than leave directly for Narita town, as Ueno's a lot more interesting than Narita (Narita's pretty much a dead town, if not for its airport). The kiamsiap person in me limits my travels to Ueno to local trains, rather than shinkansen. It costs me 1890yen to travel one-way from Takasaki to Tokyo on a local train, and 4010yen on a shinkansen. You do the math ;)

Local train

The local trains are pretty wide; this is to accommodate the growing number of people hopping on as the trains head to Tokyo. Empty seats are scarce as you reach Tokyo. A lot of people prefer to stand by the doors. I managed to snap an almost-empty train, as Takasaki was the train's first stop.

Ueno eki

Ueno eki (station) is a very big station, as it accommodates almost every JR East line. Plus it's also a shinkansen station, so you can imagine the number of people who goes in and out of the station every day. Of course, it's nothing compared to Shinjuku eki; 2 million people go in and out of that station every day!

Outside Ueno eki

Outside Ueno eki - 100yen shop

Ueno Park's a lovely place to hang out during spring and autumn, when it isn't too warm. Sakura has already bloomed when I was there, and it was a lovely sight to behold. Unfortunately, the park was packed with people who were having their hanami (cherry-blossom viewing party) there. I love it that the Japanese are really clean; they make sure that all the trash is disposed properly, leaving the park looking the way it did before. Unfortunately, us Malaysians do not practise the same sense of hygiene and cleanliness when it comes to picnicking at the beaches (anyways, will leave that to another time; today's about Japan).

Ueno Koen 1

Ueno Koen 2

Ueno Koen 3

Ueno Koen 4

Ueno Koen 5

Most of the sakura which bloomed were white, which was okay. It was a pity I did not managed to snap any photos of pink sakura; those are a lot prettier.

Elderly artist

The elderly folks love hanging out at Ueno Park. You'll see a lot of elderly artists along the staircase to the park. I wanted to have my portrait sketched, but I did not have enough time.

Tako Balls
Ahh tako balls :p

Towards the station
View from the park, towards the station

Another part of Ueno which is really buzzin' is Ameyoko. I wasn't able to take a photo of the place as it was far too crowded. It's a great place to buy fresh seafood (the prices slash like crazy as the day draws to an end), food, and cheap sportswear (you can get a decent pair of Nikes or Adidas for about 2000 ~ 5000 yen).

This marks my final post about my trip to Japan. I do hope I get to return to the land of the rising sun one day (not on a long-term training trip, of course, but a couple of weeks would do just fine). For those who are planning a trip to Japan, try the spring or autumn seasons (I strongly discourage visiting Japan during summer as it is far too hot for you to enjoy much). And try the onsen! :)


Jemima said...

Thanks for sharing, my friend. :)

Such a pity that I have to cancel my trip there in June... *sigh*

l i t t l e c o m m a said...

I have tried tako balls in Sg. And i love it alot ! Is it muuucch better in JP?

Paris said...

*cries* I was supposed to be in Japan this month so I could catch the Sakura *cries*

zeroimpact said...

I think the sakura's nice
I like the scene with beautiful flowers

Kleio the Muse said...

Oh man, I am so envious of you now. Japan is one of the destinations I had dreamt of going one fine day. It’s such a fascinating country. Plus, I am so in lurve with the Japanese language. By the way, did you encounter much difficulty in conversing with the locals?

The pics are wonderful. The train looks so comfy and clean. Oh gosh, I am gushing all over :P It would be nice if there’s more pics – I know I am being greedy here. Ahem. Heehehee. Just that, when it comes to Japan, I can’t get enough of it.

Tine said...

Jemima: Well, I do hope you would be able to visit Japan. But like I said, try not to go during summer. Guarantee you won't enjoy, it's too hot!!

Little Comma: Hey hey, thanks for dropping by :)

Hmm ... to be honest, I've never tried tako balls anywhere else BUT Japan, but I'd say they're very good! :P

Paris: Aww ... chin up, girl. There's always next year. Too bad sakura only blooms for a week the entire year.

Zeroimpact: Yeah, they sure are pretty, aren't they? I just wish I could have seen more pink sakuras; they're the loveliest.

Kleio: Tee hee hee! Sorry, girl, that's all the photos I took, unless you wanna see the repetitive ones.

Conversing with the Japs is tough, I'd have to say. It's even tougher when they speak not a word of English, nor do they understand English. Many a time, you just wanna tear out your hair. I reckon they feel the same with us, when they're trying to converse with us :p

You know the ironic thing about Japan? You hardly see rubbish bins around. I'm not kidding, it's quite hard to find one. Despite that, the place is really clean.