Japan / Travels

One Day in Tokyo: Yushima Tenjin, Ueno and Akihabara

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It’s been a while since the last update on this blog. Life got busy: our company has dropped traveling restrictions due to COVID, and this summer I had more business trips than in the last three years altogether. I’ve been to some really cool places, and maybe someday I’ll find time to show some pictures (mostly iPhone-made) from these trips as well, but today I’d like to share some older photos which I’ve prepared already several months ago and didn’t find time to publish them yet.

In February, I read a book about Tokyo, and it was full of nice photographs. It made me very nostalgic. While the country remained closed and no foreign travellers were allowed, I still had some unpublished photographs from our last trip to Japan which took place in March 2020, right in the beginning of the pandemic.

The day after our mini-trip to Mt. Fuji we planned to spend in Tokyo, going to different locations and visiting a friend in the evening.

Plum blossom festival at Yushima Tenjin

Before that trip to Japan I researched for some interesting locations which we haven’t visited yet. I discovered that the shrine Yushima Tenjin was a popular spot to watch plum blossoms, and the timing seemed to be right. Furthermore, I’ve discovered there was a plum blossom festival planned exactly for that day!

We have soon discovered that it was the closing day of the festival and… the plum blossom season was over as well. We only saw some remaining blossoms on the black bushes which were ready to start growing green leaves.

My calculation about the timing was wrong! I guess, I got misled by the fact that two years before that trip we were watching plum blossoms in Kanazawa in the end of March. Well, different tree varieties in different locations bloom at different times.

We walked a bit around the temple and even got to see a Shinto-style wedding ceremony.

Walking towards Ueno

When we left the shrine, we decided to walk towards Ueno Park.

We had a seafood-lunch at Ameyoko market which we also were passing by on our way to Ueno.


We got unlucky with plum blossoms, however, when we came to Ueno, we got rewarded with the beautiful view of early cherry blossoms. The peak season has not started yet, but some early varieties were already blooming.

Between the branches we saw many tiny birds of bright green color. I looked them up and found out that these birds are called warbling white-eye (Zosterops japonicus). Many photographers with huge zoom lenses were trying to capture them. That day I only had a 50mm lens with me, and stood no chance to capture these tiny moving creatures.

We did the usual stroll in the park and walked towards Shinobazu pond, the one which looks so different depending on seasons. We also stopped by at the famous Moon Pine.

Shinobazu pond

We walked towards the pond and crossed the bridge to Benten Island. There stands the temple Benten-dō.

There we saw another kind of early cherry blossom tree. I looked it up and learned that this variety is called kanhi-zakura. It has a deeper color than other typical cherry blossoms, and it blooms from early March.

It was tempting to do a walk around the Lotus pond, but we were slowly running out of time. We still had to go to Akihabara to buy a Gundam set, and later we were invited to a friend’s place.


Despite of the pandemic, the electronics shopping district Akihabara seemed as busy as usual.

We quickly found the store we were looking for and made it on time to the dinner in the opposite part of the city.

Photos taken in March 2020

About Author

Hi, I'm Katja! I'm a computer scientist, who loves photography and traveling. Welcome to the visual diary of my adventures!