Tokyo's Ueno is many things.
For many decades it was the entry point for economic refugees from Japan's impoverished north who flooded the capital in the pre- and post-War years.
Many enka ballads can be heard to this day that capture the fear and hopes of those alighting at Ueno Station and entering Tokyo.
Ueno has also long been part of the city's "downtown," or shitamachi. This is the old working-class section of the city close to the Sumida River.
It is also home to several national museums, the nation's oldest zoo - all in Ueno Park - Tokyo University of the Arts, and of course Tokyo University.
Recently, the area has been the target of some redevelopment. Tokyo Skytree was completed earlier this year, and was built not too far from Ueno. It is the tallest structure in Japan, and serves as a broadcasting and observation tower.
For cyclists, Ueno Park is a open expanse with plenty of paths. The streets over towards Skytree are straight and empty and great for riding. For those with a bit of time, nearby Yanaka and Sendagi are also worth a slow easy ride. Many temples and shops dot the neighborhood.
Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese