Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ueno Park and Zoo - Japan Day 6

By Leo

We were tired from Disneyland and the several days before of walking around all day long, so today we took a rest day. We slept in (well, I just slept in to 6 a.m. but some of the others slept until as late at 9 a.m.) and had a light day of sightseeing.

I started my day with a late run -- at about 8 a.m. -- which was interesting because there were a lot more people on the streets this time. I made my way through the morning rush crowd, everyone dressed for work and hurrying to the subways. I did a good hard 45-min run, including an accidental stint through a red-light district in Shinjuku, where there were still partyers at 8 a.m.!

But the rest of the day was nice and easy:

We went to the Ueno district in northern Tokyo, and started in the Ameyoko market below the JR Yamanote rail line. It's a crowded outdoor market on a few pedestrian streets, with a wide variety of stands and shops: seafood, shoes, bags, hats, fresh fruit, dried seaweed, household goods, lots of small restaurants, and more. The pic above is just a sample.

Here's some seafood laid out in the Ameyoko market.

We then made our way to Ueno park. The kids are standing next to a pretty large pond, this half filled with water plants and ducks and big fish (I think they're koi).

We ate bento boxes and sushi for lunch in the park, and the kids played in the playground.

We then visited the Toshogu Shrine, dedicated to Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun, and built in 1651! It has 200 stone and bronze lanterns (pictured above).

Eva stands near a bunch of interesting prayers in the shrine.

Then we visited the Ueno Zoo, small but the kids had a lot of fun. Pheasants, red pandas (the giant panda died last year), monkeys, elephants, deer, prairie dogs, and more.

Here's the elephant with a worker who swept him with a broom. It was interesting because the elephant was well trained, and laid down and stood up and picked up different feet depending on how the worker tapped him with the broom.

Some cool monkey like animals. We weren't sure what some of the animals were because the English signage was pretty limited.

After the zoo, the kids had some soft serve ice cream. OK, I had some with them. :)

We wanted to visit the Tokyo National Museum, but we started too late in the day and it was about to close, so we just hung out in the park and the kids played in the playground a little bit.

Rain with a chocolate ice cream cone. The ice cream got all over some of the kids, who shall remain nameless. I mean, they actually have names, but I won't give them here. OK, it was Noelle, Seth, Justin and Maia, mostly. And me.

After the park, we walked around the Ameyoko market some more but didn't buy anything. Eva poses with a girl in a maid uniform.

For dinner, we bought noodles and sushi from the grocery store. In fact, we didn't eat at a restaurant all day and barely spent anything today. Very little walking and just as little spending -- not bad!

That'll change tomorrow, I'm sure. :)

See more: All Japan Day 6 photos

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