If you’re an early riser, you shouldn’t miss a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market. It would be a good idea to check this page for practical information. Getting up at 4:00 am, to reach Tsukiji at 5:00 am for the Tuna auction, is an exercise in mind over matter. We skipped it and it’s something we regret. The next day, we started our trip at 4:00 pm.
Ueno is easily accessible from Ikebukuro on the Yamanote line. The park is walking distance from the station. By the time we reached the park, most of the visitors (predominantly families with children) were heading back. There are many things-to-do and see at Ueno Park. Watching the sun set or walking through the green gardens, is probably, the most relaxing of them all.
Tokyo National Museum
Although, we wanted to spend more time in the gardens, it was nearing closing time of the Tokyo National Museum. The Museum is located within the park itself and direction boards will lead you to the main building. The Tokyo National Museum hosts exhibitions regularly. The queue for the exhibition was rather long and we opted for a museum ticket instead. The museum is reasonably big and requires a sizeable amount of time for perusal. From arts such as Netsuke and Kabuki paintings to samurai armour; there’s lots to absorb. There’s much to remember and in all honesty, it will be hard to make mental notes, unless you have more time. And that’s why, it makes perfect sense, to collect a museum booklet for future reference.
Tokyo Sky Tree
From Ueno Park, you can take a bus to Tokyo Sky Tree. Alternatively, you could walk it up. In the evening, the Sky Tree looks resplendent with lights and is visible even from a distance. Unfortunately, all tickets for the observation deck were sold out out and we had to make do with the shopping centre below. Buses leave regularly from the Sky Tree to Asakusa Dori.
We reached Asakusa Dori pretty late in the evening. Asakusa seems to have magically preserved an old world charm and is a sharp contrast to what lies beyond its gates. The main gate or Kaminarimon serves as the main entry point to Nakamise Dori (shopping district) and eventually, Senso-ji Temple. Literally translated as ‘Thunder Gate’, Kaminarimon is pretty impressive. A gigantic red lantern is flanked by two statues of Shinto gods on either side. The statue of Fujin depicts the ‘Shinto God of Wind’ and the statue of Raijin, the ‘Shinto God of Thunder’. Tubes of white welcomed us as we walked through the main gate into Nakamise Dori. Most of the tourists and shoppers were on their back. With few shops open, we realised we would have to make another visit, if we had to pick souvenirs or Japanese munchies.
Although, the walk from the main gate to Senso-ji Temple isn’t a long one; it might be hard to stay focussed with what’s around you. It may take you 20 minutes or more to pick-up souvenirs. Lit in yellow light, the grand lantern and temple structure look stunning. It was too late for us to enter the temple and we chose to admire it – on the outside. Don’t miss the two statues of Buddha, to the right of the temple.