Saturday, July 12, 2014

[Japan trip] Ueno + Asasuka

My post write-up on Japan trip continues, and in this post, I am sharing my experience at Ueno Park and Asasuka

Our first attraction in Tokyo was Ueno Park, and it is very accessible as the park is located directly outside Ueno JR Station.

Ueno Park is a popular city park in Tokyo, with its spacious capacity, and there are many attractions in the park itself. Ueno Park is Tokyo's most significant cultural meeting point, and it is filled with museums, temples, shrines and even schools.

Ueno Park is one of the best spot in Tokyo for Hanami, and the place to celebrate Cherry Blossoms and Hanami during the Spring season.

I was pretty disappointed that when I was at Ueno Park, all the Sakura flowers have withered and dropped all over the ground. How sad, I was at the finale of Cherry Blossom season. Luckily, Baby booked for us a one-day tour to Hakone which was about 2hrs coach ride away from Tokyo City. Some trivia on Hakone! Did you know that Hakone was a very famous village/town that was in the massively popular Anime/Manga Neo-Genesis Evangelion? Apparently after the release of the Anime/Manga, tourism bloomed so much in Hakone that the government had to impose restrictions in order not to distrupt the way of life in this quiet and quaint place!

At Hakone, I witnessed the beauty of the Cherry Blossom, and it was truly an amazing experience for me. Click here for a pleasant viewing.

Finally, I found some decent hanami in the park, and I think these were the best that were left in Ueno Park...

We didn't do any museums during our trip as we spent our time visiting various shrines instead, but I will be going back to Ueno Park for their museums, especially the Tokyo National Museum.

This is the statue of the late Saigo Takamori, with his dog. According to Baby who is a historical nut, Saigo was the last samurai in Japanese history, as he led the popular but ultimately failed Satsuma rebellion against the Meiji Government. He was killed in battle but has been revered by the Japanese people has a patriot who fought for Japanese culture in the face of foreign intrusion and development.

Equestrian statue of Prince Komatsu Akihito

We also went to Ueno Daibutsu, to see the large giant Bronze Buddha statue, which was toppled in a big earthquake in 1923. The only remains of the the statue has been situated in the park ever since the earthquake disaster occured.

Some of the Buddha's remains were further melted down for metal during World War II, and now the only remains today are part of the head and the entire face of the great Buddha. 

We ate some street food before leaving Ueno Park for Asasuka. The squid tasted pretty good. The texture was chewy and juicy.

While walking to subway station, we came across a small noodles shop, so we decided to have our lunch there. The ordering system in the shop is by using the vending machine to order our meal, OM! I was kinda shocked to see that (pardon me for being sua ku).

There it goes, and my meal ticket! My 400Yen (SGD5) Soba with Croquette, and it was pretty affordable and delicious…

Baby’s meal was at 590YEN (SGD7.40)

Asasuka is Tokyo's oldest Geisha district, and there are still some active working Geisha till to-date. Asasuka is also a popular accommodation choice for budget visitors, and it is easily be explored by foot.

Asasuka's main attraction is the Sensoji-Temple, a popular Buddhist temple which was built in the 7th century.

We also saw Japan's renowned Karminarimon 'Thunder Gate', which was located in front of Sensoji-Temple.

In order to get to the temple, you can get there via Nakamise, an over 200 meter long shopping street with nearly 90 shops, Nakamise-dori. We picked up a few souvenirs and some Japanese amor warrior figures.  

Argh! I am missing Japan again, while writing this post... I will be coming back real soon, Japan.

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