During my journey to Ueno park and surrounding areas, I could understand the fact that this place couldn’t be covered in a single day seeing all the sights around and enjoying all its beauty. But we managed to make our trip worth without wasting much time.
Ueno Park constitutes gardens, temples, museums, statues, and the zoo. It is situated very near to the Ueno station of Tokyo. Getting out of the station’s South exit, we have to walk less than 5 minutes to reach the park area. This park has a really wide area, with thick woods and flowering plants adorning the place. There are many attractions within the spacious park area.
While we enter the park area, the shadow of trees and the beauty of flowered plants welcome us. There is a big map of the entire park area at the entrance. Walking through the long wide path, we will reach a temple area. From there, on the other side of the road we can see some other temple of hexagonal shape. We could see the statue of Imperial Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito who is the founder of Japanese Red Cross Society.
The Ueno park is actually associated with the Kaneji temple. History of Ueno says that this temple was built in the Edo period by the first Shogun Tokugawa to protect this area from evil powers. During the Boshin war, a large portion of the temple area got destroyed. After all these, the park was established in the temple area and is opened to the public. There is five stories pagoda inside the park area which is the part of the temple (now it is inside the Ueno zoo compound).
There is a small hill with a statue of the Buddha face at the end of the park area. A number of steps lead to this temple area, which ends up in a small place with a statue of the Buddha’s face. The giant Buddha statue that has been situated here was destroyed as a result of continuous earthquakes. It is said that the other parts of the statue were taken up and the metal was used for weapon making during the world war. This temple area has other arrangements like other Japanese Buddhist temples including Ema, small statues and lanterns etc.
Looking from the park, we could see a temple at the other side for the road, coloured in red and green with some polygonal shape. The temple has an octagonal shape with an attractive combination of red and green colours. As we reach there, crossing the road, there is a hall of goddess Benten named “Bentendo”.
This hall leads to the Kiyomizu Kannon temple, which is said to have the same architectural appearance as that of the Kiyomizudera temple of Kyoto. This temple is devoted to the god of fertility named Kosodate Kannon. Couples pray here and dedicate dolls believing that it represents their children.
There is a famous shrine called the Ueno Toshogu Shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu at one part of the park area. We could find a number of stone and bronze lanterns and other usual features associated with the surrounding areas of this shrine. This shrine is said to have survived a number of earthquakes and wars from far beyond the history. There is a large pond called Shinobazu pond surrounding the temple, one part of which is full of lotus creeping inside it. At the southern part, there are a lot of boats in it. Visitors might enjoy a boating in this calm atmosphere.
There is a small Inari shrine situated inside the Ueno park area. It is the Gojouten (Hanazano Inari) Jinja with a number of torii gates painted in bright orange colour leading to the temple. Not too huge, but beautiful torii gates, with downward steps taking to the shrine area which is calm and peaceful. Like in other Inari shrines of Shinto goddess, here also we could see statues of foxes situated in front of it.
When we went to the park, there were some artists performing with their bamboo made musical instruments. They had a number of instruments with them, all of which ere made with bamboo stems. Their music was so amazing and interesting with those special instruments.