Our neighborhood is located fairly close to Ueno-koen (Ueno Park). So on our first day in the city we decided to walk to the park.

We almost got there. We didn't realize that a wall surrounds the park and there are only two entrances. We found one entrance which led to Tokyo University's fine arts campus.
We entered through this gate thinking we could get into the Park itself that way. We were wrong.

However, we did stumble across a yard containing the raw materials for sculptures (stones, wood, marble) as well as quite a few rejected half-finished sculptures which we thought were actually pretty cool.


This is another one of these sculptures.


When we finally made it to the park, one of the first places we visited was Benten-do, a memorial to Benten, a patron goddess of the arts.

To reach the memorial you have to cross this lily pad-covered pond.


The memorial temple is located on a small island in the pond.

As you can see, the memorial temple is fairly popular.


Inside the park we found another temple. I have looked online for some indication as to whom this temple is dedicated or its historical significance without any luck.

We just admired it for its beauty and tranquil surroundings.


Before entering any temple or shrine, it is customary to purify yourself. That is what these water basins are for.

You are supposed to scoop the water using the provided labels and pour it over one hand. You then do the same for the other hand. Finally, you are supposed to use some of the water to rinse out your mouth and then spit the water on the ground.

Every purification fountain we saw was different. I liked this one because of the dragon.


This is a close-up of the dragon spouting the water into the basin and the ladles used for purification.


This is a very famous statue. It represents Saigo Takamori, who was the last samurai on who's actions the movie "The Last Samurai" was based.

He was an ardent supporter of emperor Meiji and was instrumental in implementing the Meiji restoration.
In this role, he was involved in the Battle of Ueno.

However, he didn't foresee the samurai system being abolished andabout 10 years later, led a group of disenfranchised former samurai in a rebellion against the imperial forces in what was known as the Satsuma Rebellion.


Saigo, in defense of emporer Meiji and the Meiji Restoration, led the defense against the rebellion of 2000 Tokugawa loyalists on Ueno Hill in 1868.

The battle was extremely viscous. Hundreds if not thousands of men died and everything in the area was destroyed, including the grand temple compound of Kanei-ji.

This is a monument honoring those who fought in that battle.


While exploring the park, we followed a tori path and found a small shinto shrine.

On the grounds of the shrine was this small, dark, hidden passageway that contained a small altar at the end of it.


These are the lanterns in that hidden hallway


ueno street

If you wander a little ways outside of the park, you quickly find a busy shopping area.

This area is known as the AMEYOKO ARCADE and it is worth the visit.