My visit to Ueno Park

by Stefan Chiarantano, Feb 6, 2006 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

I recently visited Ueno Park with a good friend to take in some of its sights and attractions. It a must see for any tourist to Tokyo. This was my first time and my Japanese friend gave me a tour.

We strolled through the park chatting and taking in the lovely park grounds. It was a lovely sunny day and the park was full of people strolling about. There are a lot of things one can do at Ueno Park. There are many museums and even a zoo one can visit. We decided on seeing the Art Deco Show on exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

We enjoyed the exhibition spending a few hours taking in the artwork and installations. It was interesting and what intrigued me the most was the Josephine Baker film loop on display. She was captivating on film dancing topless to an exotic number. It evoked the Paris of the twenties.

We then paid a brief visit to the Kiyomizu Temple. It's a beautiful Shinto temple, a replica of the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. As I felt adventurous, so I purchased my fortune and discovered thanks to my friend's translation that it was a good one. I had been told that you leave behind your bad fortune by tying it to a stand dedicated to that purpose and you take the good fortune with you. I was mistaken. My lovely friend told me it was the other way around. She said: "If you take away the good fortune, the Gods would forget it." And so, silly me tied my fortune to the temple stand.

As we were exiting the park on our way to the Ueno market across the street to grab something to eat, we came upon an information booth. Here I learned more about the tragic fate of Japanese nationals kidnapped by the North Koreans. The number of kidnapped are estimated to be in the hundreds and not in the tens as reported by the press. If you didn't know, North Koreans arrive in their submarines off the Niigata coast. They land on shore in the cloak of darkness and kidnap any Japanese nationals they come across who are then taken to North Korea to teach North Koreans the Japanese language. Regrettably, this issue doesn't get much press if any in North America.

The market was teaming with people. There were so many restaurants and food kiosks that it made picking one difficult. We tossed a coin and decided on a sushi restaurant. It was great. I highly recommend a visit to Ueno Park and the Market and more so in the company of others. It's a lovely way to spend a day!

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