We were able to get an early start since the Tokyo National Museum opens at 9:30am. The walk from Ueno Station is great! Don’t be afraid to walk off the main path and explore the surrounding temples. Gojo Shrine and Toshogu Shrine were my favorites. Unfortunately, the second floor of the museum was closed while we were there. This includes the “Highlights of Japanese Art” exhibition. The heater seemed to be on full blast, but thankfully there are lockers for you to store your belongings. Just make sure you have a 5 yen coin– you’ll get it back.
After the museum, we headed to 2K540 Aki-Oka Artisan Village. We had high hopes for this collection of shops, but unfortunately it did not deliver. Each shop caters to a niche market, such as custom umbrellas or designer hats. As a result, you may find one shop that piques your interest. The rest will be white noise. I recommended skipping this co-op and heading straight to 3331 Arts Chiyoda!
Housed in a former junior high school, 3331 Arts Chiyoda is a multipurpose facility complete with gift shop (credit cards accepted), gallery, café, and restaurant. It’s a must-do! Avoid Tuesdays when most of the attractions are closed.
After doing some damage in the 3331 Arts Chiyoda gift shop, we headed to Kanda Shrine, known colloquially as the “Anime Shrine.” The shrine is beautiful, but I was slightly disappointed. I was hoping to see hand drawn ema, but all were mass-produced and sold on site.
Our last stop of the day was Senso-ji. It’s insanely congested, but worth every minute. It’s another must-do, but you already knew that.