Ueno Park (Ueno Onshi Koen) is famous for having many museums found on its grounds; the Tokyo National Museum , the National Museum for Western Art , the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Science Museum and Ueno Zoo. Ueno Park is a Sanctuary for homeless people and there are over 200 people, the largest homeless population in Tokyo. You will often find homeless also homeless people including women, lying on benches or blue tarps.
From the chaotic period following WWII, homeless people have settled in Ueno Park. They are middle-aged or elderly single men who came to seek work, from mainly the Tohoku region, but had lost their jobs . In the old days, they arrived at JR Ueno Station for the first time when they came from the Tohoku region to Tokyo by night trains and Ueno Park is in front of Ueno Station. They cannot return home and they have no houses. There is no work in rural areas.
In the last few years, Ueno Park has developed and homeless people have been evicted. But you can see many homeless people around Shinobazu no Ike (Shinobazu Pond) and at the back of the park.
Ueno Park has a wide area but there are some turf wars among homeless people, sometimes resulting in injury. There are also arson cases aimed at homeless people in tents. Outbreak of Dengue fever is making a lot of noise in Tokyo, but the most threatening factor for homeless people is other people.
Every weekend a “soup kitchen” event is held in Ueno Park. In order to provide food to homeless people living in Ueno Park, Christians and volunteers set up a tent in Ueno Park and serve simple dishes such as soup and bread to homeless people. You can see many homeless people queuing.
Winter in Tokyo is cold not as cold as New York or London, but there are sometimes cases of homeless people freezing to death. Homeless people need and appreciate the “soup kitchen” events. Japan is said to a developed and rich country, but such landscapes are also present.
homeless people (ホームレス) : In Japan, there are about 7,000 homeless people. In Tokyo, there are 1,700 people living as the homeless. They live their houses made with blue tarps and card board boxes in parks, streets, and riversides.
blue tarp (ブルーシート)
card board boxes (段ボール箱)
[How to go] a 5 minute walk from JR Ueno Station
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