Located in one of Tokyo’s largest park areas is Ueno Zoo, one of Japan’s oldest zoos which was opened back in 1882.
Only a five-minute walk from Ueno Station and one that can be reached via train or the Ueno zoo Monorail, the Ueno Zoo is opened every day except on Mondays (unless Monday is a holiday, then Tuesday is closed).
Back in 1881, the zoo started as a menagerie to the National Museum of Natural History.
Unfortunately, one of the darkest years of the zoo’s history was during World War II, when all wild and dangerous animals were killed in 1943 in fears that if bombs hit the zoo, the wild animals would be unleashed in the streets of Tokyo. Despite the zoo staff asking for a reprieve, the animals were poisoned, strangled or put on starvation diets. And a memorial erected in 1975 in honor of these animals that were killed can be found in the zoo.
The price for the Ueno Zoo is very affordable at Y600 for adults. Y300 for Seniors, Y200 for teenagers (students) and children under 12 are free.
Once you get in, you start to realize of how much the pride of the zoo is its pandas. While the two pandas are often sleeping, if you stay long enough, you’ll catch them eating or walking around their enclosure.
While you can easily see the Siberian Tiger, the Polar Bear, the monkeys, the elephants, the California sea lions and other animals, the gorilla’s were not as easily seen.
The zoo also features a large assortment of birds and one must remember that if you see the East Garden, there is even more animals in the West Garden which feature the animals of Africa.
For the most part, the Ueno Zoo is a fantastic zoo to visit for the entire family. While the Ueno Park will easily exhaust the little ones because it’s so huge and offers so much to see, definitely make the time and dedicate a few hours towards the zoo as there is so much to see.