This activity is called Hanami which literally translates to “flower viewing” and it is popular activity for all ages. So much so that the sakura blossom forecast is reported by local weather forecasters. Additionally, there are websites you can visit that will help you determine the different bloom forecasts depending on where and when you plan to visit. And of course there are sakura festivals in many places. It’s quite popular for the younger generations to picnic under the blooming trees and while we didn’t do this ourselves we did have the opportunity to walk through the park and see the literally hundreds of people picnicking! It did look fun!
Beyond The Blossoms
I’m not sure if the food stalls are in the park all year round, but there were many food options when we were there and Elliot did his best to hit every single one! He wanted to stop at practically every place and try something new. Many places in Japan don’t take debit cards or credit cards and we actually ran out of cash before Elliot was done eating!
Shinobazu Pond is located within Ueno Park and there is a lovely island right in the middle. During the sakura festival the pathway leading there is lined with even more food options! We found some yummy desserts and then visited The Bentendo Temple. I read that the temple is dedicated to the Goddess of good fortune, wealth, music, and knowledge. I like it!
There is a pedal boat ride in the pond and the boats are colorful swans! The boys really wanted to go for a ride, but the swans only held three people at a time, so I spent some time taking photos of the shrine and more blossom photos while they pedaled around with Tim. Perfect!
The Ueno Great Buddha
Located just up the hill from the main avenue of cherry trees is the face of what was once a very large statue of Buddha. This was the second great Buddha to stand in this spot. The first one was destroyed in an earthquake in 1647! The second one was also heavily damaged in the 1923 earthquake. Only the face remains because the rest of the 3.6 meter tall statue was melted down to make weapons in WWII.