Ueno Park is historically famous for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spot in Tokyo. There are over 1,200 cherry trees. Some species have already bloomed but the most symbolic cherry blossoms (Somei-yoshino) have not come out yet and are expected to be in full bloom toward the end of the month or beginning of April depending on the weather(temperatures).
Ueno Park site was the part of Kaneiji Temple which used to be the largest and a family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo period. Some species of the wild cherry trees were originally brought from Mount Yoshino in Nara known for one of the Japan’s most famous and oldest cherry tree spots and planted at the current Ueno Park site when the Temple was built about 400 years ago.
The best part is the central pathway between the southern main gate and the fountain square at the park. Several historical buildings stand along the main street. All of them were constructed during the Edo period about 370-400 years ago.
Ueno Toshogu Shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun who established the Edo Shogunate. There are over 200 stone and 48 bronze lanterns along the approach. The shrine remains absolutely gorgeous and the lanterns are owesome. On the way to the shrine the magnificent five-storied pagoda is seen close at hand. This is a traditional wooden structure with the independent central pillar to control an earthquake. It is famous that Tokyo Sky Tree introduced this quake-absorbing technology when it was built seven years ago. Closer to the gate is Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple which was designed in the image of Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto on the slope. Although the size is much smaller, the balcony commands a fantastic view of Bentendo Hall on the island in Shinobazu Pond. It is incredible that all of these buildings were built as the part of Kaneiji Temple and survive the earthquakes, fires and wars in the perfect conditions for nearly 400 years. All of these buildings are designated as the nation’s important cultural properties and included in the guided tour.
Our next tour at Ueno Park is scheduled on March 21. I hope some Somei-yoshino trees will bloom and the scent of Spring will hang in the air by that time. The tour starts at 1pm and the meeting point is between the Park Exit of JR Ueno Station and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and the tour takes about two hours. We offer the pleasant Japan experience for all the guests and believe that you will be satisfied with our guide. Our staff will be waiting for you with Tokyo Free Walking Tour flag. Enjoy rich nature and vigorous culture with us at Ueno Park.
(posted by Yoshi)