Search Results for: Ueno

Shadowy Ueno?

Tokyo’s Ueno district may well be home to some of the city’s most important museums, but it’s also where many of the poorest call home too. The area’s park in particular shelters an increasingly obvious number of the capital’s growing homeless population, creating an odd environment where day-trippers and the destitute show utter indifference to one another.

Thrown into this unusual mix is also Ameyoko; a decidedly working class shopping district that in post-war Japan was a well-known black market — elements of which are really not hard to imagine even today.

old Ameyoko

And just like the wider area, it provides glimpses of both light and dark, old and new.

Ueno’s Ameyoko

Up, up and Ueno?

There’s a real grittiness to many parts of east Tokyo; areas that often feel a world away from the capital’s more glitzy districts. And Ueno, with its old shopping streets and very visible homeless population, in many ways epitomises this more unforgiving side of the city.

But while some people understandably look down or round about them, others appear to be much more interested in what may be beyond.

Ueno

Ueno character(s)

They definitely don’t have the same fame and following as those in Shibuya and Harajuku, but Ueno’s old-fashioned shops do have more character. And without a doubt more characters.

Like this old fella for example. A man who may well have had to hire somebody younger to help out, but it’s still hard to see him ever leaving — at least while he has the legs for it.

Ueno old man

A way of life which undoubtedly works for him, and in many ways, Ueno as well.

Ueno old man

Buddhist prayers under Tokyo train tracks

Buddhist monks praying and accepting donations aren’t uncommon sights on Tokyo’s streets. Men who, along with their commendable dedication, offer an interesting contrast to the fashion and modernity that mostly surrounds them. But by all accounts, not all of them are genuine, with the general consensus being that some are merely masquerading as monks to make some money.

This fella, however, would appear to be the real deal, as he has been praying under the tracks near Tokyo’s Ueno Station for years. A fascinatingly still and silent presence in a city that is anything but.

Japanese Buddhist monk in Tokyo