2. Ueno - immerse yourself in the cultural neighbourhood
Like Asakusa, Ueno gives you the old Tokyo feel as you wander around the neighbourhood. In fact they are situated near to each other and you can take a lovely stroll from Asakusa to Ueno within 30 minutes. Filled with traditional houses and narrow streets, there are many art galleries and museums in Ueno. This is the best destination to visit in Tokyo if you love arts and traditional culture.
Of course, a visit to Ueno is not complete without making your way to the famous Ueno Park. It is one of the biggest green spaces in Tokyo, and a top spot for viewing beautiful cherry blossoms in spring. Furthermore, it is home to the oldest museum in Japan, Tokyo National Museum, as well as Ueno Zoo, Japan’s oldest zoo with adorable pandas from China.
Have fun shopping and drinking like a local
The Ueno Ameyoko shopping street is probably not unfamiliar to you, but did you know that it used to flourish as a black market for candy (ame) after the war? While that’s history now, explore this forever-busy shopping street with over 400 stores selling everything you can think of. Watch out for typical scenes of assertive shop owners with haggling customers. If you are looking for affordable and trendy ladies’ fashion, shop at ABAB Ueno, the local’s favourite.
Besides Asakusa’s Hoppy-Dori (浅草ホッピー通り) where you can enjoy cheap and good food and beer, you can also do the same at Ueno Izayaka-machi (上野居酒屋街). As its name suggests, you can find many izayakas along this street not far from Ueno Station. It is popular with the salarymen who come here after work. After all the shopping and sightseeing in the day, chill over great yakitori and beer with your friends here. You may like to stay in the cosy and functional Agora Place Asakusa hotel nearby so that you can eat and drink to your heart’s content till late!