Ueno, Tokyo - Japan, markets, park and zoo
Ueno district was today's destination. Ueno station is handily on the central Yamanote line which circles Tokyo's busiest districts. On exiting the station you are close to park, zoo, markets and shops. Its easy to spend a whole day here and that's just what we did.
We started with a stroll down the markets which reside alongside and under the overhead railway line. This area was very impressive with the stalls very neatly presenting their good such as fish and fresh fruit. We returned later when it was even busier and D got some octopus balls. Later he told me a sucker had stuck to his tongue and I almost fell for it. We returned to back to Ueno station via the street parallel to the market which was lined with various shops and I spotted the first 100 Yen store I had heard about and just had to take a peak (and photo) inside.
We then walked through Ueno park. Its surrounded by water and at various points you can see goldfish, carp and other large fish in the water as well as terrapins. At several points we saw wild cats lazying around. There are also homeless people in the park, something I hadn't expected to see. In the centre is a shrine with temple buildings and lots of statues and monuments.
A visit to Ueno Zoo is a definite recommendation although its mono-rail ride for ¥150 was probably shorter than the 10 minutes we spent queuing for it. The Zoo is quite large with plenty of animals to see. A nice touch was the glass sides to some of the areas with water meaning you had chance for example to see a hippopotamus under water.
Throughout the day we bought drinks from Tokyo's plentiful vending machines. Be ready to hang-on to your used bottles though. Tokyo doesn't have many litter bins but instead recycling bins. These are mostly for PET (plastic bottles) and cans - and sometimes combustables (paper bags, chopsticks, paper cups etc). These are usually located close to vending machines so if you walk while having your drink just look for more vending machines when you've nearly finished.