Roppongi is a lively nightlife area in Tokyo popular with expats. The main road through the town is called Roppongi Dori and runs east-west. Another road at the major intersection shown below running north-south is called Gaien Higashi Dori. Both streets are strollable and provide endless things to do + see.
The central intersection in Roppongi on Roppongi Dori facing west. There are streets to the north + south (Gaien Higashi Dori), as well as the Roppongi Hills tower complex in the distance. East behind the camera down a long hill is the central gov’t area of Akasaka.
Roppongi area facing northeast. Roppongi Hills is in the lower left corner to the west, Akasaka is in the upper right corner. Roppongi Dori runs left to right (east-west), and the Imperial Guest House and gardens is in the upper left corner. In the far upper right corner is the western edge of the Imperial Palace. If you head further right out of frame, you’ll be in Hibiya and Marunouchi to the east.
Looking back east on Roppongi Dori. A bike ride down this long hill can be thrilling, after which you will arrive in Akasaka to the east.
One of Roppongi‘s biggest charms are its endless back streets + side streets. It seems around every corner there is something new to discover. There are also quite a lot of good restaurants hidden away. You’ll need to do some web research before you go.
There are also lots of small art galleries, specialty shops, dessert, and sushi places on the backstreets. Your options are nearly endless. The best way to discover is to walk around.
On the west side of Roppongi is the area’s biggest attraction: Roppongi Hills. Built several years back, the complex is the showplace of Roppongi. There’s a huge apartment/office complex, with a large shopping mall in the center + basement, as well as various other attached areas such as Roppongi Hat (see below), street-level dining, and 2 large condo complexes. You can walk to Roppongi Hills from any of the town’s streets. It’s well worth the time, so don’t miss it.
On the 3rd floor of Roppongi Hills is an entrance to the rooftop observatory (Tokyo City View) on the top floor as well as the Mori Art Museum (the complex was built by one of Japan’s biggest construction companies: Mori Construction).
Right on the street next to Roppongi Hills is a large round glass bldg. called Roppongi Hat. Mostly food + entertainment, there are lots of options here. The 2-story basement has loads of food in a huge food court.
Roppongi Dori looking west. Note the cheesy “bike lane”, which in Japan usually means nothing but a few symbols painted on the road.
Back behind Roppongi Hills is a hidden Japanese Gardern called Mohri Garden. You can stroll through the garden and enjoy the scenery. Fall is particularly spectacular.
Keyaki Hill + Illumination
Just west of the garden 1 block behind the TV Asahi building is a street named Keyaki Hill (Keyakizaka in Japanese) famous for its winter illumination with a direct view of Tokyo Tower in the distance. Keyaki is a Japanese hardwood used by artisans in Japan. The street is lined with these trees which makes for a spectacular winter light show during the cold months around Christmas/New Year’s. There is also a huge Tsutaya Books store just on the corner at the entrance to Keyaki Hill. The entrance to the street is around 35°39’33.28″ N 139°43’54.72″ E, although most people enter the street from the north end at night in order to get the direct view of Tokyo Tower in the distance.
Squirreled away and hidden just a block east of National Art Center, is Tokyo Midtown Roppongi. Like its counterpart in Hibiya to the east this Midtown complex has a lot to do + see. There’s a huge cinema, depatos (department stores), shops, a massive bakery, and lots of other stuff. There’s a huge central square with buildings on all sides. There are also hotels plus the Suntory Museum of Art (Suntory is a Japanese beverage company). If you’re in Roppongi, you won’t want to miss it.
For Book Lovers: Bunkitsu
Right on Roppongi Dori around 35°39’26.61″ N 139°44’37.12″ E is a really huge bookstore called Bunkitsu. If you’re into books, check it out.
A Few More Food Stops
Here’s a list of other potentially interesting food stops in Roppongi, but by all means, this list is not complete because Roppongi is full of hundreds of great food places.
Also check out Bistro Chick somewhere around 35°39’52.80″ N 139°43’48.87″ E.
Hotels + Hostels
Also in the Roppongi Hills complex is the fabulous, but very expensive Grand Hyatt Tokyo. Ultra-deluxe with hundreds of rooms, a stay will set you back several hundred dollars a night – in the off-peak season.
A very nice + inexpensive option is the brand new Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo-Roppongi around 35°39’39.91″ N 139°44’28.56″ E. Incredibly, off-season you can stay at this hotel as low as $29/night. It’s excellent. It also has a very nice lounge/café in the lobby.
As usual, APA hotels are a good option and the APA Hotel Roppongi SIX is excellent and is just up the street east from Sotetsu Fresa Inn. There is also another brand new APA hotel – APA Hotel Roppongi Eki-mae closer to Roppongi Hills around 35°39’44.11″ N 139°43’56.51″ E (“Eki-mae” means “At the station”). APA Hotels are always clean, cheap, quiet, and easy. You can’t go wrong.
A new gem built in 2020 right near the station + main intersection is remm Roppongi for around $70/night off-season, but it’s upscale + well worth it. There are a number of remm hotels all over Tokyo and they are all generally very good.
Comfort Inn Tokyo Roppongi is also a good cheap option around $40/night off-season.
A bit south of Sotetsu Fresa Inn around 35°39’42.91″ N 139°44’09.96″ E is another good option: Mitsui Garden Hotel Roppongi at around $80/night.
Roppongi has a few nice hostels as well + they are fairly cheap, off-season.
The Wardrobe Hostel Roppongi is around $25/night + has a kitchen.
If you’re willing to stay a bit to the east in Akasaka, there’s a nice little family-run hostel called Inno Family Managed Hostel. Tucked down a little quiet side street around 35°40’20.15″ N 139°44’23.23″ E, it has bunks, but also unique rooms with several large queen beds for multiple guests. It’s very clean + provides showers, lockers, and a shared lounge/kitchen area for cooking. Distance to Roppongi Hills is only around 1 mile.
For a complete list of good deals check agoda.com.
Well that’s it for now. You can have hours of fun cruising the streets in Roppongi, exploring its backstreets, or checking out Roppongi Hills. It would be easy to spend a couple days here and not see it all. Well worth a stop.
Komagome is a small town in northwest Tokyo in between Tokyo Dome City to the south and Itabashi to the north. It’s on the JR Yamanote Line and Tokyo Metro Namboku Line. There’s not a lot to do in the town, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Perhaps the town’s most interesting feature is Rikugien Gardens(see below). The town also has a small lively nightlife backstreet area down a hill below the station away from the main part of the town. Its sister city Sugamo is just to the west.
There is also a small bank of coin lockers inside the station for around $4 each.
Central Komagome. The station is lower center left. The hill down to the backstreet area is the red-grey-lined street to the upper right of that. The alleyway area is right center. Rt. 455 runs north-south through the town. The APA Hotel is at the upper left corner to the northwest.Rikugien Gardens is just to the lower left out of view.Up is north.
The main feature of Komagome is its mainstreet – Rt. 455 – which runs north-south through the town. At the south end of the town is Rikugien Gardens (see below). There is also a back alley area down the hill behind the station (also see below).
Rt. 455 – the central road through Komagome facing south. The station is just down on the left.The APA Hotel is just to the right, out of frame.
The central street through Komagome: Rt. 455.
The center of town facing south on Rt. 455. There’s a large conbini (convenience store) across from the station on the right.
Good cafés abound in Komagome. Be sure to check out the Niki Bakery + Cafe a few blocks south on Rt. 455 on the left.
Facing west south of the station on Rt. 455 leads to the crosswalk shown below. Just to the left on the corner across the street is the entrance to Rikugien Gardens – a must see. Admission is 300¥-400¥ but well worth it. The gardens are huge and you can spend all day there looking at the lake and all the plants and trees. Also note the “31” (Baskin Robbins) just to the right. For some reason the Japanese call Baskin Robbins“31” – all because the 31 is more prominent on signage – and most likely because more Japanese know the western decimal numeral system than know full English.
Crossing to Rikugien Gardenson the left (out of view). As a footnote, if you head west down the side street shown here, after a few blocks you come to Komagome’s sister city, Sugamo. See our full post on Sugamo for more info.
If you’re willing to walk about a mile further north on Rt. 455 and back, around 35°44’34.58″ N 139°44’45.66″ E there are also the Kyū-Furukawa Gardens and an old museum called Otani Museum – both are worth a look for a little bit more of a hike. A mile further north beyond that on 455 is Oji Station, which is also on the Metro Namboku Line. Also in Oji is Ōji Jinja Shrine.
Komagome Ginza – The Hidden Nightlife Alley
Just down a hill to the left of the station entrance is a hidden backstreet area called Komagome Ginza which comes alive at night with restuarants, shops, bars, and pachinko parlors. To get there, head down the street shown below just left of the station. At the bottom take the first right on a tiny side street. The alley area is just on the left. You can also get to it by traversing down to the bottom level of the station from inside and exit on the left (north entrance). The alleys are well-lit at night with white LED lights and make for a fascinating evening stroll. There are plenty of good restuarants. There is also a huge free bike parking lot just at the lower exit to the station.
Head down this hill and turn right at the bottom for the hidden alley area.
Heading down the hill.At the bottom, turn right for a tiny side street leading to:
Komagome Ginza – the nightlife area entrance and front of the Three Seven pachninko parlor.
A stroll through the nightlife area next to the Three Seven pachninko parlor.
One of many great restaurants on the backstreet alley area.
There are several good low-cost hotels in the area. The obvious choice is the APA Komagome a few blocks north of the station. During off-season you can get a nice room for around $60-$70/night. APA hotels are spotless, affordable, conveniently located, quiet (they have soundproof windows), and easy. They usually make your trip much easier. APA has a chain of these hotels all over Japan.
APA Komagome lobby.
Typical APA hotel room – very small, but clean, usually with a small desk, and large TV. Most also have a micro-refrigerator as well.
About 1.5 miles south on 455 from Komagome Station is another station on the Namboku Line called Hon-Komagome Station (N13) around 35°43’29.15″ N 139°45’14.06″ E. You can also walk the entire distance on 455 south. Sandwiched in between this walk and Sugamo to the west is the world HQ of Pioneer Corporation around 35°43’44.71″ N 139°44’50.29″ E (just south of Rikugien Gardens in fact).
Also just to the west of the station a few blocks is Toyo University (incredibly, in a rare Tokyo oddity, there is a gigantic COCO’s restaurant right across the street from the university at 35°43’25.99″ N 139°45’07.10″ E).
Just north of Hon-Komagome Station is Josenji Temple around 35°43’32.86″ N 139°45’11.26″ E – it’s fairly small without a large grounds but might be worth a look if you’re walking.
Well that’s it for now – enjoy a walk or ride around Komagome. It’s a nice little day trip and worth a look.
Another view of the front of the station.
The large bike lot at the bottom of the station.
The lower rear entrance to the station down the hill.
North up Rt. 455 is this large wooden temple with interesting architecture. Worth a stop.
Sugamo is a small area in Tokyo north of Tokyo Dome City and south of Itabashi on Rt. 17 (Hakusan Dori). It’s not a large area but still worth a look. The main attraction is Rikugien Gardens 2 blocks to the east (discussed below).
Central Sugamo facing northeast. The station + atré complex is the white square bldg. right of center. Rt. 17 or Hakusan Dori runs north-south. A Beck’s Coffee is the tiny black bldg. next to the small concrete park in the lower right. The main outdoor covered shopping area is just off 17 in the upper center left. Just north of that on the east side of the street is the APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae (Ekimae means “at the station”). Continuing to head north on 17 for a few miles leads to the small charming micro-town of Itabashi, which just renovated its train station in 2020.There are various other shops + food palaces around the station as shown above.
Facing south on Hakusan Dori just south of the station. TDC is straight ahead.
Sugamo is not a huge area. But there’s still a fair amount to do. The atré complex over the station is worth a look, and Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street (discussed next) is a must-see. You can also stroll the outdoor shops along the streets on both sides for miles. Rikugien Gardens (discusssed below) a few miles to the east is a must-see. It’s one of the most well-known Japanese gardens in the world and in the spring + fall is spectacular. The town that Rikugien Gardens is in – Komagome – just to the northeast is also worth a quick look and isn’t too far.
Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street
Entrance to Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street which veers off to the left west of Hakusan Dori. The street is lined with charming shops, and if you follow it far enough north you’ll come to Itabashi.The entrance is just north of the APA Hotel on the leftaround 35°44’04.41″ N 139°44’12.70″ E.
Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street is a long narrow north-south street which parallels Hakusan Dori in Sugamo. The street is known as a hang-out spot for seniors, but it’s definitely worth a stop for everyone. The street has some very nice food shops with traditional Japanese foods of all kinds. If you keep going north until the end of Sugamo, you’ll come to the charming micro-town of Itabashi, which recently just built a brand new train station. Itabashi is just north of Ikebukuro and is a jumping off point for many other locations on the JR Saikyo Line such as Ikebukuro.
Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street with its charming shops facing north. Well worth a stroll.
Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street approaching Itabashi.
If you head south on Hakusan Dori from the station for a few blocks, there’s a side street around 35°43’52.63″ N 139°44’29.39″E heading east just after the MOS Burger on the left. At the end of this street about a mile down is world-famous Rikugien Gardens – one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in the country. It’s a must see. Admission is 300-400¥ or so, but it’s worth it for a couple bucks. While you’re there you can stop and check out the town – Komagome – which has its own JR station. It’s a small unremarkable town, but worth a quick walk. There’s also a very large ancient temple there with spectacular architecture. It also has its own APA Hotel – APA Komagome. See our post on Komagome for more about the town. It’s worth a quick look.
The obvious choice in the area, as we mentioned, is APA Sugamo Ekimae 2 blocks north of the station. Clean, upscale, and relatively cheap at $70-$80/night in off-season, it’s the best bet in Sugamo. There are others around in the area too. Check agoda.com for more choices.
North to Itabashi
Only about a mile north of Sugamo is the small charming town of Itabashi. Several rail lines including JR and the Toei Subway stop there. The JR station is on the Saikyo Line. It’s only about a mile walk north on Hakusan Dori and is worth it if you have extra time. See our full multipart post on Itabashi for more info.
Hakusan Dori and the area around TDC actually have some nice bike lanes – if there are no delivery vehicles parked in them.
Cruising south on Hakusan Dori facing southwest at sunset.
Beck’s Coffee near the station. The Japanese word for coffee is coheé.
The covered shopping street just north of the station facing north. APA Sugamo Ekimae is just ahead.You can also hang a right here to explore some of the backstreets where a good 200¥ coin-locker is located.
The covered shopping street on the west side of Hakusan Dori. Note the Toei Subway entrance on the left.
This MOS Burger is just down Hakusan Dori on the east side. If you turn left just after this shop when heading south on Hakusan Dori, you’ll come to world-famous Rikugien Gardens on the right – and Komagome.
MOS Burger menu. You can actually eat fairly cheap in Japan – under 500¥ (around $5) for a good MOS Burger meal. The company prides itself on fresh ingredients. Our experiences at the chain are generally good.
They even have some fun desserts.
There is also this small guitar school just north of the gardens.
Heading north out of Sugamo on Hakusan Dori to Itabashi in late fall.
The huge temple north of Komagome – eerily silent near midnight.
Sandwiched in between Akihabara to the northeast and Tokyo Station to the south is a part of Tokyo called Kanda. It’s centered on Rt. 405 (Sotobori Dori) just north of the financial district Marunouchi. Also just to the northwest is Ochinomizu. Akihabara is just a few minutes’ walk up Rt. 302 to the east. Jimbocho, Tokyo’s used book town is just 1/4 mile to the west. All 4 areas are within walking distance of each other.
JR Kanda Station facing north on Chuo Dori. Continuing north will take you right into Akihabara, which is the next JR stop north on the Yamanote Line.The area under the station to the north side is known as Kanda Crossing.There’s a small side street shown here on the right worth a stroll.
Central Kanda. Akihabara is on the right side of the frame, Jimbocho on the left. The WATERRAS complex is the large black building to the upper right. Sotobori Dori is the main street running north-south center right.
The central area in Kanda is on the intersection of Yasukuni-Dori (Rt. 302) and Hongo-Dori (Rt. 403). You can walk west or east on 302 for miles and there is a lot to see. On the very west end is Jimbocho, known as Tokyo’s used book town (as well as an area with lots of sports shops).
At the intersection there are lots of cafés and restaurants including a Doutor and an Excelsior Café. In fact, there are 2 Doutours 1 block apart. There are also a variety of noodle and yakiniku (steak) places around. And several conbini (convenience stores).
Facing east on 302 towards Akihabara.Excelsior Café is on the right. The block from here east is the central area. WATERRAS (see below) is one block up to the left. You can also just barely see Tokyo Sky Tree in Suitengumae in the distance.
Several blocks to the southeast around 35°41’28.24″ N 139°46’07.97″ E is the entrance to a narrow little street full of shops called Kanda Nishiguchi Shopping Street. It’s just a few blocks, but worth a stroll if you’re willing to walk the 8 blocks or so down Rt. 403 to get to it.
WATERRAS+ Sola City
Just to the north a few blocks up Rt. 305 is an office/shopping complex called WATERRAS. WATERRAS has some cafés at the ground level, a Mr. Donut on the northeast corner, and a large upscale shopping complex called Sola City across the street to the north. It’s worth a quick walk around. The main area of interest is up the front WATERRAS escalator and stairs, then around to the left. There is also a large garden terrace on the southwest corner of the building.
Further west on 302 the street is lined with sports shops on both sides – mostly ski + snowboard shops. There is also a Xebio and Victoria sport shop near each other a few blocks down to the west.
Just at the west edge of Kanda and into Jimbocho around 35°41’37.53″ N 139°45’40.15″ E is the hipster café glitch Coffee. It’s in an old run down dump of a building and has no sign other than on the front window, but the inside is very nice and the coffee + food is awesome. If you want to venture just a bit west of Kanda into Jimbocho, it’s worth a stop.
Believe it or not, in this dilapidated building is the hipster café glitch Coffee. The shop also has a small walk-up window on the left.
The HUB @ Kanda Station. Also note there are 3 cafés right next door.
TAP x TAP KandaCraft Beer
If you’re in the mood for craft beer, there’s TAP X TAP Kanda around 35°41’34.09″ N 139°46’20.90″ E. To get there, exit JR Kanda Station, head to the northeast side street known as Kanda Crossing shown above, go through the side street entrance on the right, then turn right again at the 1st block. It’s just down on the left side 2 blocks.
Kanda Myojin Shrine
A bit of a hike north on Rt. 452 around 35°42’06.62″ N 139°46’03.28″ E is Kanda Shrine. It’s a large complex with spectacular architecture but it’s closer to Akihabara than it is to Kanda. If you’re up for a bit of a walk and have time, it’s worth checking out. There are a few other shrines in the area.
Kanda River + Rt 405
The Kanda River, which cuts through the center of Tokyo east-west runs approximately from the Sumida River to the east all the way to Tokyo Dome City to the west. In fact, you can walk the entire distance on Rt. 405 which parallels it. Just head north on any one of the major north-south streets in Kanda or Jimbocho to get to 405. You can also head east (right) on 405 to get to Akihabara. The distance from central Jimbocho to Tokyo Dome City is only about 1 mile.
There are a variety of hotels in Kanda, but perhaps the best value once again is APA Hotel. In fact there are 3 APA Hotels in the area, but one of them, APA Hotel Kanda-Eki-Higashi is far to the southeast. Just south of Akihabara Station is APA Hotel Kanda Ekimae around 35°41’36.66″ N 139°46’17.15″ E (Ekimae means “at the station”). The closest one is APA Hotel Kanda Jimbocho Eki-Higashi just to the west. There are also 2 APAs in Akihabara. APA has some of the best deals in hotels in Japan – with hundreds of them all over the country and many all over Tokyo. Off-season rates are usually very good and depending on occupancy can run from $65-$90/night. At some APA’s off-season you can even get rates as low as $40 depending on how centrally located the hotel is. All are clean, and slightly upscale depending on location.
Well that’s it. Kanda/Jimbocho is a great place to visit. It’s 1/2 way between Tokyo Station and Akihabara so you can access both those areas too. In fact, assuming you want to spend all day in the area, you can see all 3 in a long day, although Akihabara is really a full day in itself. The walk along Rt. 403 from Jimbocho to Akihabara with Kanda in the middle is only about 1.5 miles, so it’s easy. There is plenty to do and see along the way. Enjoy!
Entrance to the Skyliner station in Ueno, across the street from the APA Hotel. Just above this entrance in the dark is the south entrance to Ueno Park.
The town is also famous for its huge Ueno Park and zoo, which has dozens of museums, and Shinobazu Pond – which features prominently in many works of ancient Japanese literature. There are nice gardens and a temple near the pond, and a walking path circling it.
The city area itself is rather small, but interesting and is a short 2 mile walk north of Akihabara just to the south. There are 2 major department store complexes to the southwest of the station – Matsuzakaya and PARCO. Just behind those and a little further to the south is JR Okachimachi Station. Between these two points there are all kinds of backstreets with endless shopping + restaurants.
Ueno has a bit of an older shitamachi (“old downtown”) feel to it, but is still well worth a look.
JR Ueno Station is one of the earliest JR stations built in Japan. It was built in 1883 and rebuilt in 1938 just after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1932. You can still see its early 1930’s architecture in the station’s exterior and in the steel beams inside in its roof. A few years earlier what is now Tokyo Station was built along with Shimbashi Station further to the south. Ueno Station is a major transit hub on the JR Yamanote Line – the main central line that rings Tokyo. On the JR Yamanote Line you can shoot south to Akihabara in 2 stops, Tokyo Station 2 stops south of that, and Ginza 2 stops south of that at Yurakucho Station.
Across from Ueno Station looking north. The APA Hotel is just behind the overpass on the left. The entrance to Ameyokocho is just past the overpass on the left on the sidewalk. The station is just to the right, out of frame.
Looking south from the south exit of Ueno Station. Ameyokocho is just off to the right out of view past the train tracks overhead.
Ueno Station is also a key interchange point for the Metro Ginza Line, which is one of the key subway lines in Tokyo. Although there is a Yurakucho Line which also stops at Yurakucho, most travellers to Ginza take the JR line or Ginza Line to Yurakucho station, which is just west of Ginza. There is also another JR Line called Ueno-Tokyo Line which heads south to Shinagawa and Yokohama. The Kehin-Tohoku Line will shoot you north to Itabashi and Ochai. Most of the other main JR lines also interchange at Ueno Station.
The Ginza Line is critical because it can shoot you to its eastern terminus, Asakusa, to the central gov’t at Akasaka-mitsuke, and all the way to the west side of the city at Shibuya, its western terminus.
Ueno Station is a little unusal in that it is a bit sprawling. The main central building is just to the east of the city center, but via a network of pedestrian walkways and overpasses, it has 5 main entrances, and several smaller street-level exits around the town’s main center.
Tokyo Drew covered the area in a video (see the bottom of this page), in which the walkways, and Ameyokocho are visible.
Apart from the original main building, there are also long ramps and walkways spreading out on 5 different sides like an octopus. There are also large banks of coin lockers throughout the station as well as a small shopping arcade called atré shown below:
There is also a brand new NewDays conbini (shown right here) built in 2019 just outside the main gate on the Grand Concourse.
If you’re in the mood for coffee or a snack, head down the stairs just out of frame to the right shown in the above photo and discover the Wired Café – one of the best hidden secrets in Ueno Station. See the 6th video below for a walkthrough.
Entrance to the atré shopping center inside the station.
JR Line connections @ Ueno Station
The large outdoor meeting area near the south-side entrance. The stairs down to the Metro Ginza Line are directly behind the camera.
Tourist info offices in the station
Travel Service Center close to the Central Ticket Gate on the main level (Grand Concourse), The JR East Information Center right next to it. You can also pick up a Japan Rail Pass you ordered previously here, Information Desk just inside Park Gate on the 3rd floor, and Gurunavi Tourist Information Office just inside the Asakusa Entrance on the 1st floor. Many of them have English-speaking staff.
There is also a lost and found on the 2nd floor inside the Higashi-UenoEntrance in a long hallway. It’s a little hard to find but is clearly marked.
There is also a currency exchange on the 2nd floor, but you might want to use an exchange office in Tokyo or Akihabara which will give you a much better rate. In general exchange offices inside transport areas are not as good a value as those in the city itself.
There is also a small Tokyo Metro subway station around 35°42’27.45″ N 139°46’12.15″ E called Yushima Station on the Chiyoda Line. It’s just west of the large PARCO department store (discussed below).
There are 2 main shopping areas inside then station: atré and Ecute. Ecute is near the Higashi-Ueno entrance. atré is near the main level. There are also a lot of good smaller restaurants on the outside of the Yamashita Entrance on the west side of the station. There are also some on the 2nd floor of the station. As shown above, there are also a variety of conbini scattered around the station with good quick conbini food in them. You can get a sandwhich and drink for a few dollars.
There are several paid lockers in the station. The largest is in a large room just inside the Asakusa Exit. These lockers also accept Suica and other electronic IC cards. But be aware that it has a large steel door and closes after the last train runs so if you miss the closing time, your belongings will be stuck in the station overnight. There are also more lockers scattered around the station. There are also banks of lockers inside Skyliner Station.
But a better locker deal are some of the hidden lockers around Ueno itself. There is a large bank of them in a covered arcade around Ameyokocho‘s backstreets. There is also a very nice bank of ¥200 coin lockers hidden away on a side street just south of Ueno Park. These are far cheaper options and are perfectly safe. Plus since they are outside you can access your belongings 24/7. See our article on Hidden Ueno Coin Locker Hacks. uenostation.com also has a good article on lockers in Ueno.
In 2019 the lower floor was renovated for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, so that floor is all brand new and easy to navigate:
Renovated lower floor of Ueno Station. Note the purple color-coded line on the wall on the left. These indicators in renovated stations lead to Metro subway lines, which have the same color. In this case (purple), the Hanzomon Line.
The station can be confusing at first because of its sprawl – and it is large enough that you could easily spend a whole day inside and around it exploring. The various exits allow you to get to different sides of the town quickly. The main part of the town is to the west, but there is another older area to the east as well.
The Panda entrance to the station has a huge vast open elevated walkway where people collect at night. The escaltor down to the Ginza Line subway is also here. You may have to walk a bit.
There is an excellent site with detailed maps + layouts of the station at uenostation.com
Note that the Skyliner Station mentioned above is not in the main station building – it’s across the street in a smaller underground station to the northwest just across from the pond. There is also a baggage service in the Skyliner Station.
There is also a private luggage storage service @ Studio Passella just to the south of Ueno Park on the west side of the street @ 35°42’38.26″ N 139°46’23.29″ E. Costs are $10/day per bag.
The town is laid out around the station, shown in the upper right center in this aerial view. To the southwest of the station is the main street with a Yodobashii Camera, the PARCO shopping complex and all kinds of shops and restaurants. At the start of this street from the station (to the west) is a small triangular concrete park. This is where the Skyliner Station is. Ueno Park is just to the north, shown on the center left (west) in this photo. Shinobazu Pond is to the south west, shown in the lower left corner of the photo.
The small concrete square at the south end of Ueno Park. Chuo-Dori is straight ahead – leading to Akihabara.
Back behind the pond is the University of Tokyo Medical Center. At the southeast corner of the station is a huge network of pedestrian walkways. If you head east from these down Rt. 463 (Asakusa Dori), you’ll eventually come to the Sumida River, and after crossing it, to Sky Tree. Ameyokocho is the area at the bottom right of the photo to the right of the tracks. It’s squeezed in behind Yodobashi Camera. Ueno Park is sort of up on a raised hill so one way or the other you’ll need to climb stairs to get to it from the south. The park is huge and you can easily spend one full day or two in it alone. Note the walkways around and through the pond. There are also small boats you can use to paddle out onto the lake.
Overhead of town layout – the station is center bottom, park is center right above it, Shinobazu Pond is at the top, Marui and Yodobashii Camera is to the left of the station. Further to the left, out of view is the large PARCO depato store complex. Ameyokocho is just above the tracks on the left behind the long grey bldg.
Ueno Park area with various museums and attractions.
Facing southwest – Ueno is to the left and Okachimachi Station is the long white area, center left. The Parco/Matsuzakaya complex is the tall bldg. center right.One more stop south (to the right) on the JR line is Akihabara Station, and beyond that, Tokyo.
Walkway system to the south of Ueno Station which is just to the left. Rt. 463 is off to the right.
To the south of the pond is an area known as Nakacho – you can enter it down a side street right across the street from the Yodobashii Annex building.Yodobashii Camera Annex is the small grey bldg. on the left, the large PARCO complex is the tall bldg. in the distance.Nakacho is a few blocks down on the right.To the immediate right (west) behind 1 side street is Shinobazu Pond.
Entrance to Nakacho.
The view from the small concrete park looking back towards the station. Yodobashi is the grey bldg. straight ahead. Skyliner station is just to the left out of view.
Looking back the other way from near the Yodobashi bldg. The small concrete park is on the left, and the Skyliner station is on the right. APA Hotel Ueno Ekimae is the tall black bldg. on the left.
Skyliner station at night.
Main street in Ueno. Yodobashii Camera Annex bldg. is the small grey building straight ahead. Ueno Station and Ueno Park/Shinobazu Pond are to the left.PARCO is to the right (see below).
Looking back towards Ameyokocho from east of the central area.3153 is on the right.
Attractions + Fun
Just across from the station to the west is a huge Marui (OIOI) dept. store, which also has a Metro entrance/exit in its basement along with shops + food. On the 2nd floor of Marui here is the great Leis’s Coffee + Hawaiian Pancake house. There are plenty of other shops around.
There is also a Seria dollar store (a must-see) and a Ueno Tourist Info store on the 2nd floor.
Marui dept. store across from Ueno Stationto the southeast.Note the overhead walkways.
Metro entrance on the corner of Marui dept. building.Just down this side street is a Nana’s Green Tea around 35°42’35.99″ N 139°46’31.99″ E.
North of this, just after the overhead tracks is the entrance to Ameyokocho, Ueno’s famous shopping district. Here you’ll find endless food vendors, clothing, luggage, shoes, – just about anything else you might want to buy. There are also game arcades, izakaya (bars), coffee shops, and a variety of other shops. You can stroll around here for hours and not see it all.
Just past the northeast entrance to Ameyokocho facing southeast. The street splits here. If you take the left path ahead you will come out at Okachimachi Station. Just to the left in this photo is the famous Daiwa shoe store.
A haunting image at the end of of Ameyokocho.
Ameyokocho in the gathering dark – facing southwest.
Ameyokocho entrance is to the right. Ueno Station is to the left. This is facing south.Tracks are overhead.Just ahead around the corner is a great hidden luggage shop with some good deals (see next photo).
Just around the corner from the Pronto, under the tracks, is a great luggage shop with some inexpensive bargains – shown across the street here with the red + white sign.It’s a little hidden shop so keep your eyes peeled for it.
Eatin’ on the backstreets…….there are endless food options in Ueno.
Be sure to check out the Chicken Man + Uncle Chicken outdoor dining shops on the backstreets.
Doutour Cofee Shop, right.
A large coffee shop right after the entrance to Ameyokocho.
You can wander Ueno’s back-alley shopping for hours.
There are endless adventures on the backstreets of Ueno.
There is even a famous Marion Crépes tucked away in the side streets.This chain was originally opened in 1976 in Harajuku on the west side of the city.
Taito game station.
If you exit Ueno Station at the west exit, and immediately turn north (right) up the sidewalk, you’ll come to Ueno 3153 – Ueno’s newest multi-use complex. There are lots of restaurants + shops here. On the roof there is also a sitting terrace with a great view of Tokyo Sky Tree, which happens to be just 5 miles to the east. You can also get direct access to Ueno Park from the sitting area. From the sitting area, head south down some steps and you are back at the Skyliner Station. We’ll talk more about Ueno Park below.
Head north from Ueno Station’s west exit to reach Ueno 3153 to the north. The Skyliner Station is just visible on the left across the street underneath the red crosswalk signal.
Ueno 3153 at night. The bottom floor to the left contains convenience stores and a few restaurants. The main entrance is to the right.Definitely worth a look.
Matsuzakaya, left, and PARCO, right are connected and are at the southwest end of the station. One of the best food/gift basements in Tokyo is in the basement of Matsuzakaya. There is also a really good Seiko watch store on the 7th floor, and restaurants on the top floor. PARCO has a movie theater. Just behind these buildings is Okachimachi Station and its famous Panda Square.
Matsuzakaya, PARCO, and Okachimachi Station are all right next to each other and southwest of the station. To get here exit the station and walk north, cross at the Ueno3153 building and walk west. Loop around south on the sidewalk heading south, then cross back east on the same street to the other side. About .5 miles down you’ll come to Matsuzakaya – hands down one of the best dept. stores in Tokyo. Its food/gift basement is superb. It has 7 floors of shops + restaurants on the top floor. This page has some shop details. Just to the east of these buildings is Okachimachi Station. This is a favorite hangout of young locals at night. You can reach it by heading east between the two buildings. The area around Okachimachi Station is Ueno’s jewelry district. This area and Ueno are really one and the same. From the station, to the north back towards Ueno are all kinds of backstreets filled with shops + restaurants. There is also a Ueno-Okachimachi Station on the Toei Subway line in the area. Well worth a look.
Slip between the PARCO and Matsuzakaya buildings to the east and you’ll find Okachimachi Station. The area is fantastically well-lit at night.Just to the left under the overhead walkways is the entrance to the Matsuzakaya food-gift basement – a must-see.There is also a Café Velocé just to the south of the PARCO bldg. on the same street.
If instead of turning left at the PARCO building to get to Okachimachi Station, you turn right across the street here and head west:
You will come to Ueno’s Don Quijote discount store. You can also turn back north from Don Quijote down side streets if you wish to get to Shinobazu Pond which we discuss below.
Also on this street is Yushima Station on the Chiyoda Metro Line, lots of restaurants, shops, and other hotels. There’s a giant multi-floor karaoke tower on this street.
Shinobazu Pond is just to the west of the Skyliner Station. As we mentioned, it’s an ancient pond featured in classical Japanese literature. There are even paintings from the 1600’s and 1700’s depicting it. In feudal times it was a northern sentry post used to protect the imperial palace.
Today it has a nice walk around it, small boats you can take out and paddle on the lake, and a shrine in the middle.
It’s well worth a stop. To get there from Ueno Station, head west, and slip down the small alley to the left of the 7-11 across the street from Yodobashii CameraAnnex. Or from Ueno Park head down the long staircase and across the street to the west.
Just before the pond is also the entrance to Ueno Zoo on the north.
As a footnote, if you travel west on Rt. 453/254 (Kasuga Dori) from 35°42’30.32″ N 139°46’11.94″ E, at the southeast corner of the Gardens, in under 1.5 mi, you will arrive at the Bunkyo City Hall 1 block north of the Tokyo Dome area, just south of Itabashii – an easy and quick way to get across town. Bunkyo City Hall also just happens to have one of the best free observatories in Japan. Well worth a trip. Tokyo Dome and Ueno are actually quite close to each other. That makes them both ideal to stay at and pop over to the other for maximum Tokyo enjoyment.
The massive stairs leading down from Ueno Park to Shinobazu Pond across the street to the east.The temple is the green-roofed bldg. right in the center.Entrance to Ueno Zoo is just to the right.
Shinobazu Pond in autumn.
Ueno Park + Ueno Zoo
Ueno Park is a massive free park just north of the Skyliner Station. You can enter from stairs to the south or west, or from the roof of Ueno 3153, or from the north. There are dozens of museums, temples, shrines, and other attractions in the park. Fall is the best time, but the park is popular in the summer due to nice weather – and is often a spot for summer concerts + festivals + hanami (cherry blossom viewing). This area is a must-see in Ueno. Plan to spend a few days to see everything as there is a lot to do here. In particular in the park is the Tokyo National Museum which has a spectacular collection of ancient samurai armor. Well worth a visit for its many artifacts and paintings.
“The UENO WELCOME PASSPORT is an All-in-One admission ticket that allows you to visit the following 10 exhibitions and galleries (one admission per place):Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, The National Muesum of Western Art, Ueno Zoo, Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden, Shitamachi Museum, ASAKURA Museum of Sculpture, Ueno Toshogu, as well as selected exhibitions at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and The Ueno Royal Museum”.
Ueno Park, in the fall.
If you cross from Ueno Station and head east instead of west, you’ll come to Rt. 463 (Asakusa Dori) just next to the Mitsui Garden Hotel. If you head east up this street you’ll find all kinds of shops, a large temple, and a huge kitchen-related area called Kappabashi Kitchen Town several miles down. If you go far enough, as we mentioned, you’ll come to Asakusa, and if you cross the Sumida River, eventually Sky Tree. There is also a Kinko’s + Family Mart on this corner if you need one. Be forewarned however, for some strange reason all Kinko’s in Japan require you to give them a photocopy of your passport – even if all you want to do is make copies. On Rt. 463 on the right a few blocks down, there is even a 150-year old Japanese stationary store.
There are also several free + paid bike lockers at the entrance to Rt. 463 on the east side as you approach from the station.
Rt. 463 heading east. You can see Sky Tree in the center in the distance.Sumida River is straight ahead before Sky Tree a few miles down.
Bike parking area just east of the south exit of Ueno Station.
On the left side of the street there is also a large 2-story Doutor Café which has good, inexpensive food.
Just to the south of that is a very weird area known as Kappabashi Kitchentown. This areas sells nearly all of the gear + equipment used in all the restaurants in Tokyo. It’s not a consumer outlet area – although there are some stores there for that – it’s an area with wholesale shops that sell to restaurants. Worth a stroll, but very strange.
Ueno Sakuragi Atari
To the northwest of the Ueno Station and the park, at 35°43’21.24″ N 139°46’16.07″ E, in a tiny one block area is Ueno Sakuragi Atari – a small block of traditional Japanese houses converted into crafts shops. Well worth a .5 mile hike north of the station. See GoTokyo’s Guide. Head north on Rt. 452 from the station for about 3 blocks. Of interesting note is Yanaka Cemetary Park just to the north. This is a vast cemetary. As a footnote, if you head west on Rt. 452 far enough, eventually you’ll come to Old Hakusan-Dori, which if you follow north, will take you to Itabashii and Akabane.
To the northwest of the cemetery is an older neighborhood which has been recently renovated and is now upscale + trendy – Yanesen – located at 35°43’39.92″ N 139°45’55.03″ E. This area is well worth a walk.
There are many good hotels in Ueno, but by far the best is APA Hotel Ueno Ekimae just behind the Skyliner Station. This side street also leads to Shinobazu Pond, and if you’re willing to climb a huge staircase, Ueno Park. APA is a massive hotel chain which has 100’s of hotels all over Japan – most of them good. APA Ueno is reasonable at around $75/night – borderline luxury. The best value in the town – not too expensive, not too downscale. You can’t come close to a hotel like this in the west at this price. We highly recommend it. In fact, there are 3 APA hotels in Ueno – one is just northeast of the station, and one just to the south closer to Okachimachi – APA Hotel Okachimachieki-Kita S. All are excellent.
APA Hotel across from Skyliner Station
Inside APA Hotel Ueno Ekimae – across from Skyliner Station
Literally a few steps south from APA Hotel Okachimachieki-Kita S is the Dormy Inn – also a very nice hotel that’s reasonable. Even better, on the same corner is a Sagawa Express transport company -which will ship your luggage to/from the airport to your hotel or any other destination in Tokyo. This makes both the APA Hotel Okachimachieki-Kita S and Dormy Inn Okachimachi very attractive. Both are just a few blocks south of Ueno’s OIOI department store which also has a Metro Subway station entrance in its basement. Both of these hotels make a great affordable choice with close access to downtown Ueno.
A few blocks to the east of the station is the great Hotel Emit Ueno – also very reasonable.
Tucked back on a side street at about 35°42’36.52″ N 139°46’41.54″ E 3 blocks southwest of the station is the very nice Nohga Hotel. This is a very nice clean upscale hotel that doesn’t disappoint. A little pricey at around $150-$200 a night, but well worth it if your budget allows. It has excellent clean rooms, a 1st floor lounge with refrigerators, and a huge outdoor patio and separate indoor reading room. Very nice.
There is also the Mitsui Garden Hotel mentioned above, just across from the station but it’s a little steep at around $135/night. However, it is very good. You can save some $ by staying in a more expensive hotel for a few nights, then jump to APA above, and finally to a hostel. That way you get some luxury without breaking the bank and save $ on the trip overall. Or you can just go for one mid-range hotel such as APA for the duration of your stay.
Another option just outside the east exit of the station is Hotel New Ueno. This small hotel is tucked down a side street but is extremely convenient.
For a slightly more traditional hotel experience, check out Ueno First City Hotel a few blocks south of the pond.
There is also simply Ueno Hotel – which has spectacular views of Sky Tree.
There are also a lot of hotels on the street that runs east to west on the south side of Shinobazu Pond. See our other article here.
One of the best-kept hostel secrets in Tokyo is And Hostel. There is one in Ueno, Sumida (a few miles to the east) – and one in Akihabara. All are excellent, low-priced at around $38-$45/night, and all of them offer large ground-floor lounges + a kitchen. Bathrooms are generally very clean as well. However, be aware the Ueno And Hostel, unlike the other two, don’t offer private capsules – they offer only an open dorm with bunkbeds, as well as private rooms, which are around $80/night – more expensive than other full-scale hotels in the area.
There are a variety of coin lockers in and around Ueno, some at the station, but better, cheaper, and usually empty ones scattered throughout the town. See our article on Ueno secret coin locker hacks. Coin lockers can come in handy when you need to move across town, want to drop your stuff when you go shopping or get on a train for a short trip, or even on the day before your international departure and you need to move multiple pieces of luggage which might be too much to carry in one trip.
Ueno to Akihabara – A short walk
If you head south on Ueno’s main street past the PARCO complex, and walk 2 miles or so, you’ll come right into Akihabara. The two towns are surprisingly close to each other and an easy walk. There’s a great bike shop along the way on the left side of the street:
If you walk from the east side of Ueno Station south on Showa Dori/Rt. 4 for about .5 miles and then turn east (left) you will find Book Road Winery (whose motto incidentally is “Wine for Happy”). It’s actually in Okachimachi at 35°42’18.23″ N 139°46’38.28″ E. It’s just 2 blocks off Rt. 4 to the east.
A few more photos around Ueno
Facing south. Caffe Velocé is on the left. If you walk far enough south here, you’ll arrive in Akihabara.
A giant Taito Game Station on the backstreets.
Just after the Ameyokocho entrance there’s a very large coffee shop on the left.
A HUB British Pub on the backstreets – foreigner friendly.
A side street on the west side of the main street just south of Ueno Park. Well worth a look. Lots of restaurants and shops down here.
Clockwise left to right: Street Metro station entrance, flower shop, in front of Yodobashii Camera, Coffee shop in Ameyokocho, temple in Ueno Park, side street vending machine, restaurant on Ameyokocho side street. Center: under the JR tracks @ Okachimachi Station.
South entrance to Ueno Park built in 1925. Today, the left side houses the entrance to Keisei Skyliner Station shown below. The small concrete park facing south is on top. Yodobashi Camera Ueno now lines the street on the left side.
There are a few good currency exchanges scattered around Ueno – you’ll have to canvas the backstreets around Ameyokocho to find them. There is one on the main street in Ameyokocho. There is also this one hidden in one of the covered side alleys around the area:
You will need to provide name, phone #, and passport to exchange money. These are usually a much better deal than the ones at the airport – so exchange a little bit of money at the airport, then hit one of these, or similar ones in Akihabara or Shibuya to exchange more.
Just south of the Yodobashi Bldg. on the east side of the street is this currency exchange place right on the sidewalk. Just head in under the red awning.
Well, that’s about it. Enjoy your trip to Ueno and don’t be afraid to venture beyond the tourist areas for unexpected discoveries.