Monday, April 20, 2015

Japan 2015 | Sakura at Ueno Park, Tokyo ❀

Lil Pumpkin and I spent 5 days alone in Japan as the boy had to settle some work and stuff back home. He joined us later and the day after he arrived, we headed down to Ueno Park {上野公園, Ueno Ko-en} for a picnic and Sakura viewing. It was to be his first proper ohanami experience!!

Ueno Park is a really large public park and used to be part of Kaneiji Temple, once one of the city's largest and wealthiest temples and a family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo Period. It was converted into one of Japan's first Western style parks and opened to the public in 1873.

Ueno Park is famous for the many museums found on its grounds, especially the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum for Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the National Science Museum. It is also home to Ueno Zoo, Japan's first zoological garden. The zoo is pretty big and worth a visit if you haven't been before.

It was a weekday and we arrived around 10+ am {even earlier than our visit to Yoyogi Park} but YET there were still so many people!! This is the crowd walking towards Ueno Park...

Ueno Park is one of Tokyo's most popular and lively cherry blossom spots with more than 1000 cherry trees lining its central pathway. Not the best place to come if you hate crowds, but one of the prettiest and most convenient places for ohanami since it's just a few minutes walk away from JR Ueno station.

At the park entrance there's a big board with the park's map and a reminder to visitors to be careful with the trees, throw away their rubbish, and be considerate to others who come for ohanami parties, which must all end by 8pm.

Most of the designated areas for picnicking along the central pathway were taken up already by the time we arrived. Park wardens will walk around to make sure that visitors set up mats within the proper areas and do not block the areas for walking.

Hugging her daddy tight tight... Lil Pumpkin really missed him during the days when he wasn't around and kept asking for him.

Since it was still early, we took our time to stroll through the central pathway and admire the Sakura flowers that were in full bloom there. Ahhh so beautiful!!!

Found a spot slightly away from the central pathway, but still with Sakura flowers overhead to rest and eat our lunch.

Thank goodness I bought a mat along.. it can open up to twice that size actually but it was enough for 3 of us plus food. The ground was kinda hard and I should have followed some others to put cardboard boxes underneath first. Some even add bubble wrap for extra oomph :P

The huge blue mat behind us actually belongs to two office workers that came to chope a place for their ohanami party with colleagues after work that night! I think there were guarding that spot since early morning haha..

Is it weird that I still find it such a joy to watch Lil Pumpkin eat?? :)

A good thing we sat down early around 11+am... more and more people started coming in to find picnic spots and eat nearing lunch time.

3 ducks and 1 photo-bomber behind heh.. It is hard to not get photo-bombed anywhere with such a huge crowd!!

There are a few varieties of Sakura and other than the Somei Yoshino in my earlier photos, we also saw Kawazu-zakura variety which have large and pink blossoms. The boy likes these kind the most.

I'm so so happy that he finally got to see Sakura flowers "live"! He too agrees that they are so much prettier in reality than just admiring from photos... I caught him a few time just looking up to stare in quiet contemplation.

It's really nice that Lil Pumpkin is big enough to help us take photos {yes, we trust her with our camera} and she kinda has the eye for it too ;)

  • The park is stroller / pram friendly.
  • Keep children close by as there is really a huge crowd especially during Sakura season.
  • Take time to visit the temples, museums and Ueno Zoo in the park area.
  • Bring your own food and picnic mat before you go to the park. You can buy fresh food and snacks from the nearby Ameyoko street or even from convenience stores at JR Ueno station.
  • If you forget, don't worry as there's a few temporary food kioks inside the park and some roaming food vendors that come to your mat to sell food and fruits.
  • If possible, go really early in the morning as more and more people come by for Ohanami as the day goes by, even during weekdays.
  • There are rubbish collection points around the park, but remember to sort your rubbish as the Japanese do.
  • All parties must end by 8pm.  

Ueno Park {上野公園, Ueno Koen}
Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo
Nearest station: JR Ueno station {Yamanote line}
Best time for Sakura viewing: Late March - Early April
Opening hrs: 5am to 11pm daily
Fee: Free

Read more about our Japan travels here
Also see the Sakura at Yoyogi Park, Tokyo


Susan said...

These Kawazu-zakura breed of Sakura is so beautiful too. And that hue of pink is so lovely. The last time I went to Ueno was to their amusement park and remember it to be a pretty big one too.

Stacy said...

Wow these people are serious about their sakuras.

Theresa Mahoney said...

What an amazing place for a picnic. I can see why it's such a popular park amongst the residents there!

Dannielle from Zamamabakes said...

Such a lovely happy post! Those blossoms are beautiful! Love your mini photographers work, gorgeous xx

An Apel a Day said...

So pretty!!! I love all the blooms, and color is everywhere.

Little Pumpkin does have an eye for photos. I'd like to say that my boys do, but that would be a lie. They like to cut things off weird.

Kristin Aquariann said...

Beautiful blossoms! I hope I get to visit Japan some day.

Phoebe said...

Japan is one of the countries that I would love to visit some day. Hopefully when my kids are older, I can go on a tour with hubby. :)

--andy-- said...

Beautiful, Stunning! And super crowded too.
My kids would be amazed at picnic under the blooms :)

cheers, Andy

My Cyber Shop said...

I love the cherry blossoms! They are so beautiful!

Pooja Kawatra said...

The picnic under the cherry blossoms looks so scenic. It is an amazing outing and makes a great photo background.

Shub said...

What a beauty!!! Long time have this wish to visit Japan. Lets see when I actually visit...