How to Enjoy Your Time at ecute Ueno and the Ueno Station Area - All the Tips and Tricks You Should Know!
Along with Tokyo Station, Ueno Station is one of the most prominent stations in Japan. Inside this train station, you can find a huge variety of shopping and dining options, souvenir shops, and convenient facilities such as drugstores. You can even find many goods that are exclusive to the Ueno area! This article will provide you with tips on how to wisely use your time before boarding the shinkansen (bullet train), and will also feature popular sightseeing spots, from all the classic spots around Ueno Station, to little-known spots that are surprisingly close by! Whether you're a first-time traveler or a veteran to Japan, you'll find everything you need to know about Ueno written here!
Aug 01 2019 (Apr 15 2020)
*Article created in collaboration with JR East Retail Net Co., Ltd.
How to Make the Most of "ecute Ueno" Within Ueno Station
Located on the 3rd floor of JR Ueno Station, ecute Ueno is an in-station shopping mall that is popular with the locals for offering a place to shop, dine, and pick up some souvenirs or other essentials before catching the train.
There are several places within this mall to purchase souvenirs, which is perfect for those times when you forgot to pick up some during your travels. If you're hungry, there are also many places to either sit down for a meal or pick up a bento (lunch box) to eat on the bullet train. What's more, many of the gourmet options are located within the ticket gates, so you can enjoy a huge variety of restaurants and shops without leaving the station. Visitors will be happy to know that most of the stores accept credit card payment.
This article will introduce the best ways to make the most of ecute Ueno. Please use it as a reference during your trip to make your stay even better!
The Best Foods in ecute Ueno as Chosen by tsunagu Japan's Japanese Editing Staff
If there are still some Japanese foods you haven't tried yet during your trip, why not try sampling them while in ecute Ueno? Here, you can indulge in the tasty offerings of some of the most popular restaurants in Japan all while inside one of Japan's top travel hubs.
You can choose to dine before taking a train to your destination, or you can get some food to-go and enjoy it on the shinkansen. The following are some of the restaurants specifically chosen by the tsunagu Japan editing staff as the best places you have to check out while in ecute Ueno!
Indulge in Authentic Shoyu Ramen at Tokyo Jangara
Tokyo Jangara is the result of a collaboration between the popular ramen shop Kyushu Jangara and NRE (Nippon Restaurant Enterprise). Their signature dish is the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen Jangara (680 yen), which is relatively light compared to most tonkotsu ramen. However, this time we recommend the Shoyu Jangara (880 yen; available after 11:00 AM). This masterful ramen consists of wavy noodles in an umami-rich, soy sauce-based soup flavored with seafood. Yuzu (Japanese citrus) and mitsuba (Japanese parsley) are the perfect accents for this rich and quintessentially Japanese ramen dish. Tokyo Jangara opens at 7:00 AM and is full even in the early hours with people fortifying themselves with a meal for their long journeys ahead of them.
Watch a Sushi Master at Work at Tsukiji Uogashi Maguro Ichidai
Located within ecute Ueno, Tsukiji Uogashi Maguro Ichidai is an authentic sushi restaurant where a sushi master forms each piece of sushi by hand. Their specialty is maguro (tuna), so you will definitley want to go with the Maguro Zanmai (1,980 yen; available after 10:00 AM). This maguro sushi variety plate includes otoro (fatty tuna), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), akami (lean tuna), seared tuna sushi, tuna and green onion makizushi (sushi roll), and tuna gunkanmaki ("battleship" sushi). At this maguro specialty restaurant, you will get to enjoy all kinds of delicious ways to eat maguro, from the otoro that literally melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite, to the akami that tastes extremely light and fresh.
It is said that the ecute Ueno location of Tsukiji Uogashi Maguro Ichidai is often packed with Japanese customers who have just returned from a trip abroad and have to eat some delicious sushi as quick as possible! In any case, this restaurant is recommended for those who want to casually eat delicious sushi at reasonable prices.
You Can't Go Wrong with a Katsu-sando or Fruit Sandwich from Marchen for Take-Out!
If you want to get some food to-go, then a sandwich from Marchen is your best bet. The top choices among their offerings are the Sangenton Pork Loin (648 yen), a katsu-sando (fried pork sandwich) which is quite popular these days; and the Fruit Special (Strawberry) (453 yen).
The Sangenton Pork Loin includes the perfect combination of delicious, tender, and crunchy fried Sangenton brand pork, tonkatsu sauce, and cabbage. It's a delicious sandwich you just have to try! In addition to strawberries, the Fruit Special (Strawberry) includes yellow peach, kiwi, and fresh cream, creating a wonderful and harmonious sandwich that can be thought of as dessert.
All the sandwiches are take-out only, but there is a dining area within ecute Ueno located nearby where you can enjoy them.
The Best Souvenir Shops and Souvenirs to Get in ecute Ueno
Buying souvenirs is the type of thing that many people tend to put off until the end of a trip, as they want to see as many sightseeing spots as possible and don't want to have too much luggage to carry around. For such tourists, a place like ecute Ueno that has a lot of different souvenirs all gathered in one place is a godsend! While there are souvenirs that represent all of Japan or Tokyo, this article will focus on souvenirs that represent the Ueno area specifically.
Pick Up Some Ueno-Only Panda Sweets from Miyage Kasen!
There are many Ueno souvenirs that feature panda motifs thanks to the famous pandas at one of the area's sightseeing spots, the Ueno Zoo. Pictured above is the Tezukuri Pandama (540 yen for two pieces), an exclusive souvenir at ecute Ueno. This treat consists of sweet white bean paste filled with red bean, covered in gelatin, and decorated to look like a cute panda. It's not too sweet and goes perfectly with some matcha (powdered green tea) or other Japanese tea. It doesn't last for very long after purchasing, so try to eat yours quickly! You can even create a special Tokyo memory by indulging in your Tezukuri Pandama right after purchasing.
TOKYO BANANA is one of the iconic souvenirs of Tokyo, and in Ueno you can purchase the TOKYO BANANA PANDA Banana Yogurt Cream (515 yen for a pack of 4). This eternally popular souvenir is notable for its cute panda design, amazing taste, and reasonable price.
Panda Salt from Ueno Land
Ueno Land is a souvenir store that started out as a gatchapon (capsule toy dispenser) store. While they still have many gachapon that line the walls of the store, we recommend you focus on their wide variety of panda-themed goods! In fact, there are many goods that are exclusive to this store.
The most popular item is the Panda Senbei (161 yen for one rice cracker), and their various panda-themed T-shirts are a huge hit as well. Our recommendation is the Panda Salt (1,080 yen), a cute product which is available only here at Ueno Land. They are each made by hand by an artisan, so you will notice they all have a slightly different expression!
Visit a Convenient In-Station Drugstore for a Variety of Health Needs
There are many people who may start to feel unwell during their trip abroad due to jetlag, differences in diet and weather, and other reasons. In such situations, drugstores are very useful! In-station drugstores are a great and convenient place to stop by to pick up some necessary medicine and stock up on other goods that you will need for your trip.
Visit Kusuri STATION for Medical Supplies, Affordable Cosmetics, and Health Foods!
As your health can take a turn for the worse at any moment during a trip, in-station drugstores are extremely convenient. You can stop by before or after riding a train in order to combat any sudden illnesses. This location gets quite a lot of customers due to its in-station location, and many foreign customers use it to purchase cold medicine. In addition, it is a great place to buy pain relievers as well as medicine for stomach issues.
Insider Tip: Check out This Place for Great Tax-Free Deals!
Shop for Cheap at book express with Tax-Free Options
There is a Tax-free Counter within the ecute Ueno location of book express where you can get amazing deals on tax-free eligible products. It can be a little hard to find, so keep an eye out for the book express storefront sign.
The Top Places to Visit in the Ueno Station Area, From Classics to Hidden Gems
Ueno is one of the best tourist locations in all of Tokyo, and is home to classic sightseeing spots as well as hidden gem spots overflowing with a traditional Japanese atmosphere. Here are some of the best spots that the Japanese editing team chose that ought to be known by everyone, from first-timers to old pros!
The Well-Known Ameyoko Shopping Street - Perfect for Shopping and Eating
Ameya Yokocho (also called "Ameyoko") is a shopping street that extends under the elevated train tracks from Okachimachi Station to Ueno Station, and is one of the most famous shopping streets in Tokyo. It has everything you could want, from shopping to eating to sightseeing.
Ameyoko is most known for its open-air market, which has vendors who sell everything from fish to fruit and sweets for cheap prices, and there are also many well-established restaurants serving Japanese as well as global cuisine. If you venture into the little-known area directly under the train tracks, you can find a lineup of specialty shops selling leather goods, watches, bags, and other products. This area is often overlooked by tourists, but it is actually quite popular with people from the Tokyo area as well as foreign tourists who do manage to find it. Many of the shops are quite small, but they carry some rare finds and curated product selections that are only possible for shops with long histories, so they can be quite fun to peruse!
Experience Art at the Tokyo National Museum in Between Shopping
The Tokyo National Museum is made up of 5 exhibition halls and a research and information center, and holds over 80 National Treasures and 600 Important Cultural Assets in its collection that contains over 117,000 individual works of art and historical artifacts. They do not display the entire collection at all times, but change the displays weekly, so you can enjoy a different exhibition each time you visit. They also periodically hold temporary exhibitions that draw in long lines of visitors hoping to see the special exhibits.
Pictured above is Shorin-zu Byobu (Pine Trees), a pair of 6-panel folding screens by artist Hasegawa Tohaku that has been designated as a National Treasure. The National Treasure Gallery only showcases one National Treasure, which is changed out regularly, so that you can take your time to truly appreciate it.
The museum gardens are opened for a limited time during the cherry blossom season in the spring and during the autumn foliage season in the fall. This is a great way to enjoy the seasonal beauty of Japan, so try to visit if your schedule matches up!
Enjoy a Japanese Atmosphere at Ueno Toshogu Shrine - a Hidden Gem Near the Station!
While Ueno Toshogu Shrine is located in Ueno Park just like the previously mentioned Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Zoo, it has a completely different atmosphere. This shrine was built in the year 1627, so it has over 350 years of history. You will definitely want to visit to appreciate the many Important Cultural Assets here, such as the magnificent Karamon gate and the Shaden (main building) covered in gold leaf.
Within the shrine grounds, you will also see 48 bronze lanterns and over 200 stone lanterns that draw many visitors to the shrine to see their impressive appearance.
The Karamon gate, designated as an Important Cultural Asset, is engraved with an "Ascending Dragon" and "Descending Dragon" on each side, who are said to go and drink the water of the nearby Shinobazu Pond each night. There is a phrase in Japanese that says that the more noble you are, the more humble you are (i.e. your head hangs down), so the dragon facing downward is actually the one called "Ascending Dragon."
Make the Most of Your Trip to Ueno!
While Ueno is one of the most popular sightseeing areas within Tokyo and is full of places for shopping and dining, there are many people who travel there and then don't know how they should spend their time. There is also the chance that your schedule might not go according to plan due to the area constantly being filled with people. In times like those, we recommend visiting ecute Ueno to use your time efficiently and have the best trip possible!
Hours of operation:
Sweets: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Friday 10:30 PM / Sunday and National Holidays 9:00 PM)
Bento / Deli / Bakery: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Friday 10:30 PM / Sunday and National Holidays 9:00 PM) *Some stores open at 6:30 AM
Cafes / Restaurants: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM (10:30 PM) *Some stores open at 6:30 AM
Goods / Apparel / Services: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM (9:30 PM)
Bookstore: 7:30 AM - 10:30 PM (10:00 PM)
Other Stores: 6:00 AM - 10:30 PM (9:30 PM)
Convenience Store: 5:50 AM - 12:40 AM (12:10 AM)
Official Website: https://www.ecute.jp/en/
*The bracketed times refer to the closing times on Sundays and national holidays.
*Some stores have different hours of operation from the times shown above.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.