Monday, May 7, 2012

Our first days in Japan - Tokyo, Ueno

We arrived in Ueno Station after the hour or so long train trip from Narita Airport. It was a busy time of day, we were tired from the plane and dragging our suitcases around.

Luckily everyone is so efficient and polite. We picked up our JR passes without any fuss and then made our way to the Sutton Place Hotel only 5-10 minutes walk from the station.

There are also a couple of convenience stores on the way to the hotel so I picked up some face masks so I wouldn't get allergies in the subway and train systems. It takes a little getting used to wearing the mask but so many people wear them and its worth it. (Its rude to blow your nose in public so the mask helps avoid that)

After dropping our stuff at the hotel, we meandered the short walk to Ueno Park. It was already busy at about 6pm and just got more and more rowdy as people drank more and more sake. We didn't see anything dodgy happen which is surprising for Kiwis, no angry drunks or people stealing your shoes, no one hitting on drunk women. Japan feels so safe, even in a big city like Tokyo.

Ueno park just warming up for the night. Hanami makes for an amazing atmosphere. Japanese people work hard but they also know how to have a good time.

People settling in for a night of eating and drinking under the Sakura. Japan is so safe you can take your shoes off and leave them at the edge of the table without keeping an eye on them.
As the night goes on you hear cries of "KANPAI"

The park had stalls and eateries pop up all over the place with the light reflecting up into the blossoms above. The atmosphere is electric and inviting.

This is one of the many Yaki stalls... I think this was some form of seafood that we were not game enough to try.We did get some tasty chicken yakitori though. It cost about $5 for two skewers that kept us going for a while

At night, Ueno Park was lit up with lanterns and food stalls. There were make shift table and chairs for people to stop and eat or you just eat food off the stick as you wandered around under the magical Sakura

After the fun of the park we went (what I felt was) north to the end of the park and wandered back to our hotel through the street. We remembered the way from our previous trip and crossed a bridge over the train tracks.

Here a train zooms under the bridge on our way back to the hotel from Ueno Park

The trains are always coming and going in Tokyo. We didnt have to wait more than 3 minutes between trains usually.

A street in Ueno near our hotel

The next morning we had some time to kill so we headed back to the park first thing in the morning.

The view from our hotel room at Sutton Place Hotel in Ueno

The Sakura are blossoming and the people of Tokyo are getting ready to welcome spring with lots of beer and sake! People camp out on tarpaulin all day to save spots for the evening festivities.

The avenue of Cherry Blossoms in Ueno Park


"The best camera is the one you have with you" - Chase Jarvis
A tourist getting pictures on his cellphone, dont you love his blue jogging suit...

Sakura close up

Sakura in Ueno Park

People camping under the Sakura in Ueno Park. They actually sleep there all day to save a spot for firends and workmates so they can party ALLL NIGHT LOOONNNNGGGG! most had sleeping bags or lots of blankets.

Lanterns under the Sakura in Ueno Park

Ueno park is quote large and has a few museums and schools close to it. There is a kids museum with a giant whale statue outside. There are some art museums and shrines around too. Definitely worth a visit. Its right above the station too.

A rare site in Tokyo, a lonely bicycle

The Black Gate, just out of Ueno park

Japanese uniformity in Ueno park

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