Ueno Park is one of the most famous cherry blossoms viewing spots in Tokyo. Yesterday, I was very surprised to see the cherry blossoms blooming already. Usually, Japan Meteorological Agency announces when the first flower starts blooming but this year I have not heard the news yet. It turned out that they were winter cherry blossoms and not the ones under which people have picnic in late March and early April.
It really looks like usual cherry blossoms.
When I went to Yokoami Park, I also found winter cherry blossoms blooming.
In Ueno, the usual cherry blossoms are not yet blooming but people are getting ready to celebrate the annual cherry blossom festival. The below photo shows the entrance of the festival area decorated with lanterns. These lanterns have the names of the sponsors of the festival who are mostly the shops and merchants around the area.
On the other side of the entrance, you will see the statue of Takamori Saigo which is a symbol of Ueno Park.
He was one of the important samurai who forced to end Edo Era that Shogun governed the whole country in the middle of 19th century. At that time, some groups fought against the new government and there was a severe war in Ueno area where Saigo also led the forces. After Shogun resigned, Meiji Era satrted and from that time till the end of the World War II, Emperor became the sovereign of Japan.
It is strange to think that this area became the main battlefield of last samurai and was burned to the ground just 150 years ago. The film Last Samurai described Japan of that time – the end of Shogun-governed Edo Era.
The statue of Saigo was created by Kotaro Takamura who is a famous sculptor. It was completed in 1898. The statue is 3.7 meter high and the size of the foot is 55.1cm.
Now, Ueno area is peaceful with museums and galleries. There are many good restaurants, too. This time, I visited Spanish Bar called Vinuls. They have good paella and Spanish omelett as well as wine.
For more information
Address: 7-47 Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Address: Atre Ueno 1F, 1-1 Ueno 7-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11am – 12am
URL: See TripAdvisor