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recommendations in/near ueno

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my husband and i are taking a week-long trip to tokyo and are planning to stay in ueno. looking for recommendations for restaurants/izakayas in the area or relatively nearby. or please advise if this is a very inconvenient place to stay - especially since we'll only be in tokyo for 6 nights. thanks!

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  1. It's not a bad location, the Ueno train station can help get you many other places in the city.
    Also, Ueno itself is fun due to the fish market right there by the train tracks.

    Check bento.com for Ueno restaurant ideas. For a very interesting experience, you can always get drunk and have oden at the Ueno park with a gaggle of drunk old men.

    1. Second the advice on Bento.com. I love the Ueno area, but I can't say that individual shops really stand out. There are a number of places in the Ame-Yoko area that serve cheap maguro-don (tuna sashimi over rice) that are quite nice. And there's a cool bar there called the Warrior Celt. Haven't been there in a while though.

      8 Replies
      1. re: rockrock

        thanks for the advice. i take it the fish market isn't as wondrous as the tsukiji fish market, tho? speaking of train stations... are there signs in english at the train stations?

        1. re: sarahellis

          Ueno is a really good area to be based out of. You are on the Yamanote loop line and also the Hibiya and Ginza subway lines. It's especially convenient for tourist attractions on the east side of the city. The area from Ueno Station south and past Okachimachi Station (which is the next station down) is one of the most lively parts of the city and it's really interesting in terms of food. The Ameyocho "market", which runs under, along, and off to the side of the train tracks, has cheap seafood donburi places, street yakitori shops, and interesting food shops/ stalls. Off on side streets are many cheap sushi and ramen shops. There are also a few large senbei (rice cracker) specialists with all kinds of commercial branded snacks. It's fun to pick up stuff there. Here is the write up from Bento.com on Ameyokocho which I think makes it seem more international than it really is-->http://www.bento.com/phgal-ameyoko.html. Most of the stuff on the street is Japanese.

          I don't think there is a wholesale market like Tsukiji, but there are several large public seafood markets and many seafood stalls. Just outside of Okachimachi Station is the large Yoshiike fish market. It's in a couple of large buildings. I think they actually have a small sushi shop inside. Actually two years ago I was in that area around New Years and they were selling pretty large-sized roasted turkeys on the sidewalk in front- which harkens back to the day when Ueno was the hub of post-war Black Market activity and turkeys were used as currency....Ok, I made that last part up. But I really did see roast turkeys for sale....

          I know there' s bunch of old school, inexpensive sushi places in the general area, but I don't know any details. One izakaya that I've seen featured on television and in an izakaya book I have is called Daitourio. Here is tabelog link--> http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131... . It's old school. They specialize in "hormone" offal and grilled dishes.

          Toritsune Shizendou is a great oyako-don place I've been to, but it's a bit further south of Okachimachi and a few blocks off of the tracks. Here is link--> http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131... .

          1. re: Silverjay

            Silverjay by "hormone" offal, do you mean sweetbreads, testicles and the like?

            1. re: kersizm

              I actually meant 'horumon". Here is an excellent post on the subject-http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/685700 .

              Daitourio has many non-horumon dishes as well like standard yakitori, steamed duck, grilled fish, etc. Here is a link to the first of many of user submitted photo pages of the food- http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131... . My only reservation is some of the stuff seems heavily sauced, but that's just a personal preference. This place is a hardcore old style drinking and eating joint. Might be a bit of a learning curve for many.

              1. re: Silverjay

                Ahhh. Thanks for the heads up on this. Last trip to Tokyo, I ended up at a Korean BBQ place and the best stuff was definitely the Beef offal sampler. Will be keen to try it when I am back next.

                Will I survive with limited Japanese (will point and grunt suffice) or should I bring a Japanese speaking friend?

                1. re: kersizm

                  No idea. I've never been. But I'm sure you'll come back with a lot better stories than sipping wine at the New York Grill.

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    Konaya (inside the JR Station - second floor) has an amazing Curry Noodle lunch w/ Shrimp Tempura. First you eat the thick noodles with a spoon and chopsticks (slurping with these noodles can be tiring and messy, but they give you a bib). After you finish the noodle, you place the side of rice in the bowl and eat it like curry (it is more like soup, than thick curry).

        2. re: rockrock

          what is ame-yoko?

        3. nippori is a great neighborhood near ueno.
          kawamura is a great little soba restaurant here: http://caperberry.blogspot.com/2010/0...

          also not too far from ueno near the nezu station
          is kamatake, an amazing hand-made udon restaurant
          http://caperberry.blogspot.com/2010/0...

          it is not an inconvenient place to stay. enjoy your trip!

          2 Replies
          1. re: caper berry

            from your blog it looks like you were just in tokyo - i enjoyed reading your tips for visiting! do the restaurants you recommended have english or english-speaking servers?

            1. re: sarahellis

              most of the place does not have english menu but most servers are friendly even if they are a little shy about their english. usually i guessed and look around and see what others are eating.

          2. I've stayed in Ueno and enjoyed it, Ueno Park was lovely during hanami season and with the market its feels less "big city" than say, staying in shinjuku.

            If you like unagi this restaurant looks great:

            http://paulstravelpics.blogspot.com/2...

            Its on my itinerary to visit over the next couple of days so will report back!

            1. If you want a good place to eat that is actually in Ueno Park, try Inshotei. It is to the west of the zoo and above the pond. They have pretty good kaiseikii, and a good tori nabe st menu that is not too expensive. For another place with tori nabe and other chicken dishes, including oyakodon, there is Tsunetori, which isin Yushima, just to the west of Ueno. There is also Ueno Yabu for soba, even closer to the park on the west side. They have pretty much the same soba as Kanda Yabu, but without all the notoriety. If you stay in or near Ueno you will be very close to Asakusa, an area with lots of good, if not Michelin starred restaurants, especially old style places, especially edo mae sushi and tempura, unagi, soba, and fugu. I think the tourist info office has a list of restaurants with English menus.

              2 Replies
              1. re: edozanmai

                thanks all for the great recommendations. just wanted to give a brief summary of our stay in tokyo to help future travelers...

                our hotel was in between ueno and asakusa, which was a great location. we're not into super late nights (especially while traveling) - so we didn't need to be in very busy, late-night areas like roppongi or shinjuku. while it was a bit quiet at night, it had a lot of restaurants around and most importantly, access to several different subway lines - so it was a great place to stay for sightseeing.

                our favorite places we ate were:
                - sushi dai - we did wait on line for about an hour at 6am but it was worth it. the sushi chefs and waitress were very nice and told us everything we were eating in english
                - sometaro - english menu and helpful english speaking staff who taught us how to make our pancakes. so reasonable and so good. we went here twice in fact.
                - konaya - recommended here - delicious delicious curry udon. delicious is all i can say. definitely worth spending more for this than regular ramen at least once.
                - gonpachi - really enjoyed everything we ate here - especially the molten chocolate cake/black sesame ice cream dessert

                we also quite enjoyed ourselves at random ramen spots (that had pictures on their machines) and the food floors in department stores. one question that still eats at us is where people take their department store food to eat? we only saw 1 place that had a few chairs next to the escalators (which is where one of the servers told us to go). a mystery.

                1. re: sarahellis

                  I think they take the food home, it's more of a shopping destination versus an eating destination for the local populace AFAIK.