While visiting Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, I looked at the map and realized Ueno Park was extremely close by so I decided to check it out. It was not on my itinerary and I would probably not visit in the coming days so I thought “Now or never.”
Ueno Park is big, not Central Park big, but for Tokyo it is pretty close. It houses a couple of museums, temples, a music venue, lakes, ponds and many trails. During the Spring, it is a popular destination for the crowds looking to enjoying the Cherry Blossoms as the park has over 1,200 of these trees.
Ueno Park is easily accessible by subway and has a stunning amount of Lotus Flowers that are cultivated in a pond. Even as late as August, there were still flowers in bloom. It’s hard to imagine how big these beauties are until you stand next to them and they tower over you. The leaves and blooms make you feel like you Alice in Wonderland.
Lotus root and seeds are commonly eaten throughout Asia in different forms. If you eat local, invariably you will eat Lotus root. What I didn’t know is that the plant is actually cultivated in water. At Ueno Park it covers a huge pond that also houses carp and turtles.
In the summer, Tokyo is also filled with the sounds of Cicada and nowhere in the city can you hear their “singing” as loud as Ueno Park. I learned interesting things about Cicadas: they live most of their lives underground and when they come up, they shed their skins/skeleton and sing for mating. It is the last phase in a Cicada’s life. In Japan, Cicadas are a sign of summer and some schoolkids collect them for school projects.
If walking in a park is not your thing, just outside the subway station, there is a big street market with all kinds of goods right under the railroad tracks. If you need to do some shopping, this is a good option.