Day 2: Ueno

The previous post was all the pictures from Asakusa in the morning. This one will be the pictures from Ueno. As I said before, I’m too tired to edit and write more. I’ll come back and do it later. I SHOULD be sleeping already! (In fact, I’ve fallen asleep several times while waiting for them to upload.)
(Note: Coming back April 28th to add captions.)

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“Are you taking a picture of me?” It’s okay, I gave him money right after this. I think he tried to give me a blessing too but I just sort of ran away.

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This area between Asakusa and Ueno is known for making sanpuru – plastic or wax replicas of what’s available on the menu for display outside – for restaurants all over Tokyo. It’s pretty freaking realistic.

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tanuki are often displayed outside restaurants that serve alcohol

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the street known as Kappabashi sells sanpuru to restaurants as well to the general public as souvenirs – I was going to buy some for gifts to bring back but they are really expensive!

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each ‘bowl of ramen’ is the equivalent to about $50

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Kappabashi is known as the kitchen district – not just sanpuru but kitchen supplies in general. Knives and dishes are 2 of the most popular purchases.

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this building with the chef on top and the one below with the tea cups are the stores of the Niimi company

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another koban attached to the bottom

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starting from here and going up a couple blocks is the well-known Kappabashi shopping area

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Ueno station

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Shitamachi Museum in Ueno Park – I’ve wanted to go here for a long time. We missed it on the first trip.

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The museum shows what the Ueno area was like during the mid-Showa era (WW2ish period) and what life was like for the lower class townspeople. Shita means under and machi means town – so it’s sort of like ‘downtown’.

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This was our tour guide (or her back at least). She was super kawaii.

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dagashi-ya – an old fashioned neighbourhood candy store

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according to our guide, back then, people ground up orange peels to use as multi-purpose medication

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extra storage under the floor

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teeny tiny genkan

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tatami feels SO NICE on sore feet

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As she opened the cupboard to show us some details like the yutanpo, a group of little old ladies coming up exclaimed “natsukashi!” (meaning ‘that makes me feel so nostalgic’). It was really cute.

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Our guide took us around the first floor, pointing out various highlights and explaining things and then left us to explore further on our own. We popped upstairs briefly but I didn’t find it as interesting as the first floor so we went back down and spent a good chunk of time looking all around again.

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You are allowed to take as many photos as you would like on the first floor, but aren’t supposed to on the second (which is where this one is from…)

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I was very impressed with the detail

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He’s always waiting for me. 🙂

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bunches of… stuff (IDK) to keep evil spirits out

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they made diapers out of old kimono sleeves

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Another cute little old lady walking through with 2 young girls (presumably her granddaughters), giving them tidbits of info as they went. I wish I could have understood her and followed her around for her take on the ‘good ol’ days’. In 20 years or so, there won’t be any more people around who were alive (or were old enough to remember) during that time.

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a little mini Inari shrine – very important to farmers and merchants

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they even had a little mini omikuji (fortune) table

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Instead of being ‘rude’ and doing graffiti, you can leave behind a sticker with your name. (We ended up seeing this at a lot of places.)

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Ueno Pond right outside the museum

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At this point, my phone battery died. We have one of those charger brick things (thank goodness!), so Hubby upped his picture taking while it recharged in my pocket. I may eventually post his pictures too, but for now, I’m only blogging my own. We walked through Ueno Park – it was INSANELY crowded and hard to move through but an interesting experience in and of itself. Hanami is a big thing and Ueno is one of the most popular places for blossom viewing parties. We saw hundreds, if not thousands, of people sitting on tarps, drinking, hanging out with family/friends/coworkers/etc. and enjoying the day.

Since we had so much to do and a lot of things close before 5 (museums and such), we didn’t take time to ~stop and smell the flowers~ and made our way to the National Tokyo Museum. It is huge and you could probably spend the whole day wandering through it. We did a whirlwind walk through because we were tired, hungry, and both had aching feet.

They had a sheet that they handed out near the entrance (presumably for children, mostly) and explained there were “stamps” in 5 or 6 different places throughout the museum and if you collected them all, you’d get a pin on your way out. They were actually paper embossing stamps and pretty cool. I put them on the sheet as well as the souvenir book I made.

There are actually 5 separate buildings, each housing various artifacts (one national treasures, one religious relics, one European art, etc.) but we only went to the main building with the Japanese displays.

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garden and tea house within the museum grounds

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dinner at McDonald’s – pretty much the same wherever you go in the world, with slight differences

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Ueno Park koban

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entrance to Ameyoko shopping market – reminded me a lot of the markets in Hong Kong

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golf equipment is a big seller in this area

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checking out a golf store, but nothing really of interest

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Ameyoko is also a destination for army fatigues

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…and seafood

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…and cheap American clothing goods

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more Be@rbricks

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girls handing out packets of Kleenex with advertising on it is a common sight

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but they are also helpful in giving directions

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Yamashiroya toy store – great place

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ginko leaf detail on a street-side guard rail – this motif is common in Tokyo, I noticed

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Ueno Station – a lot more crowded as night was falling

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display promoting Ueno Zoo (which is not on the agenda this time)

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heading back to the hotel after a VERY long day

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random appearance of American actors in Japanese advertising is always amusing

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more station art

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There is a very cool area in front of Tamachi station with tiny, windy streets filled with restaurants that we discovered by accident on the way home. We will have to come back when we are less tired.

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My two favourite purchases at Yamashiroya: Kapibara-san (that Hubby surprised me with while I was waiting for him) and two Sumikko Gurashi characters – Penguin? (he’s not sure if that’s what he is) and Tonkatsu (who is mostly fried batter and only has meat in his nose). Oh, and a little weed.

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the book I got at Asakusa temple to collect my shuin stamps

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an onna Noh mask I got on Nakamise dori

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no idea where we are gonna hang this ‘ramen’ curtain at home, but it’s awesome

Also, if we are Facebook friends, check out the photos Hubby posted. He added me as a contributor (even though I have yet to contribute) so my friends can see too.

(originally posted to Japan – Here I Come!)

 

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2 Responses to Day 2: Ueno

  1. Pingback: Japan Trips Index | blah blah blah

  2. Pingback: Day 2: Asakusa | blah blah blah

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