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Published on 03.31.2016
Ueno Park is one of the most famous parks in Japan and is home to Ueno Zoo and their Pandas! Sadly the park was closed so we were unable to check out the animals. Besides the zoo, the park has plenty of other things to do. There are a bunch of museums, a few temples and shrines spread out all over the park.
After entering the park one of the first things you can see is the statue of Saigo no Takamori, a very influential samurai in Japanese history. He was one of the main figures in the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, which was a uprising of samurai rebelling against the new Meiji government. The movie Last Samurai was based on these events and Ken Watanabe's character was loosely based on Saigo.
We also went to Bentendo, which is a small temple dedicated to Benten, goddess of good fortune, music, and knowledge. It is located on a tiny island in the middle of Shinobazu Pond. Lija got her fortune and Benten lived up to her name and Lija got the best fortune you can get!
Ueno's Buddha's statue (what's left of it) is tucked away on a small hill close to the main road. All that's left of it is the face after it was heavily damaged during the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923.
The last place we checked out was Kaneiji, which used to actually cover most of Ueno Park, but after a large battle in the Boshin War, much of the temple buildings were destroyed. However there are still quite a few of the buildings standing including the five story pagoda close to Toshogu!
Ueno is also extremely accessible. About a 30 minute walk from Asakusa, it is totally possible to squeeze both of these areas in to one day. Getting to Ueno is also quite easy because it's on the Yamanote Line which is the circular line that goes to many of the major areas in Tokyo including Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station. Ueno Park is right outside Ueno station