Known as the Gateway to the North, Ueno has many cultural establishments nesting within a vast park.
Ueno Station in Taito-ku is known as the "Gateway to the North" because it is the departing station for the railways from Tokyo bound for the Tohoku region in northern Japan. The terminal accommodates 10 railways, including the JR Nagano Shinkansen Line. It is a prominent downtown area rivaling Ginza, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya.
In Tokyo Ueno-onshi-koen Park, encompassing a vast area to the west of Ueno Station, there is a concentration of cultural institutions such as: Ueno Zoo, the first zoo in Japan; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo Cultural Hall); the National Museum of Western Art; the National Science Museum; and Tokyo National Museum, all offering their visitors recreation and relaxation. The park is particularly crowded in early April when people gather to enjoy the view of the evanescent cherry blossoms.
The Ameya-yokocho Market, called "Ameyoko" for short, is located in the area under the elevated railway structure between Ueno and Okachimachi Stations. This area used to be the location of a thriving flea market immediately after the end of the WWII. There are a number of shops that sell everything from basic foodstuffs to high-class imported goods, all at reasonable prices, and as a result it is always crowded with shoppers. The year-end special bargains, in particular, have become one of the scenes that add poetic charm to the season, reflecting the lives of the common people of Tokyo.
*Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is currently closed for renovation,and reopen in April 2012.
From Narita :
[Rail] 1h from Narita Airport to Keisei Ueno Station by Keisei Skyliner.
From Osaka :
[Air] 1h from Itami or 1h 10 min from Kansai International Airport to Haneda Airport.
[Rail] 2h 30 min from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 5 min from Tokyo to Ueno Station by JR Yamanote Line.