Panda eating bamboo Ueno zoo Japan

Japan: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Date: 26th March 2015

After beginning my day in Asakusa, I was now at Ueno Park, the largest public park in Tokyo city.

Ueno park sakura zoo Tokyo
The sakura trees needed a few more days to fully bloom
Ueno park zoo line Tokyo
I decided to check out the pandas at Ueno Zoo, located inside the park

Entry tickets to the zoo cost Β₯600 (β‚Ή360/$5/€4). I was mostly here for the pandas but I figured I would then take a quick stroll around the zoo as well.

Giant panda facts Ueno zoo
Pandas are native to China
Panda Ueno park zoo Tokyo Japan
I don’t remember exactly how many pandas I saw, but I believe Ueno Zoo has around 3 pandas currently
Panda chewing bamboo Tokyo Japan
Most of the time I just saw them chewing on bamboo πŸ™‚
Giant panda Ueno Zoo Tokyo
Pandas are so cute!
Panda eating Ueno zoo Japan
Check out this guy, he he
Panda eating bamboo Ueno zoo Japan
“Nom nom nom nom”

Here is a brief video:

After the pandas, I walked around to see what other animals they have at Ueno.

African elephants enclosure Ueno Zoo
African elephants
African elephants Ueno Zoo Japan
The area was quite dusty as the elephants like to powder their bodies with dirt. Apparently it’s keep their bodies cool when out in the sun.
Hokkaido brown bear Ueno Zoo Japan
This was the bear enclosure, where they had a Hokkaido brown bear and another elusive one
Hokkaido bear Ueno zoo
Felt quite sad seeing this one’s face. Clearly doesn’t like being in a confined space, no matter how much they try to recreate the forest atmosphere
Japanese macaque Ueno zoo Japan
Japanese macaques
Polar bear pool Ueno zoo
One animal I have never seen for real is a polar bear. Ueno Zoo has one in this specially made enclosure.
Polar bear zone Ueno Zoo Tokyo
But again, I felt a bit sad upon seeing how the bear behaved
Polar bear Ueno zoo Tokyo
It kept walking around, back and forth.
Polar bear under water Ueno Zoo
Occasionally it would go under water. But go back up and walk back and forth in the same constricted space.

Here is a short video clip of the polar bear taking a dip:

Ueno Zoo rest area Tokyo
I sat down at the rest area, had some water and snacks before moving on
Sacred ibis Ueno zoo Japan
These birds are called Sacred Ibis
Gold breasted starling Rothschild Mynah
I was in the Bird House next
Buddy kingfisher Ueno Zoo Tokyo
Buddy kingfisher (shot these close ups using the 70-200mm lens)
Gorillas Ueno Zoo Tokyo
Next to the bird house is the gorilla enclosure. The gorilla on the right just had that look: “It’s really boring being here”
Tapir Ueno Zoo Tokyo Japan
This animal is called a Tapir
Ueno Zoo view Tokyo Japan
Ueno Zoo is divided into two zones — East Garden and West Garden
Ueno zoo bridge Tokyo
I was now going to the West Garden side
Ueno zoo pond Tokyo
There’s a reasonably large pond on this side
West garden Ueno Zoo Tokyo
But I had to check out the attractions on this side first
Japanese kid feeding goat Ueno zoo
They had farm animals and a kids corner here
Llama Alpaca Ueno zoo Tokyo Japan
Llama and alpaca (they’re cousins)
Red pandas Ueno zoo Tokyo
Red pandas!
Red panda tree Ueno Zoo Japan
They had more than one but it was hard to photograph them as they were quite elusive
Red panda climbing tree Japan
Red pandas are native to China and the Himalayan region

Aside from this, the West Garden had sections for penguins, crocodiles, hippos and some more. This map on the official website has all the details. I didn’t feel like checking out anything else I had seen enough at other zoos I have visited, like Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Chiang Mai Zoo.

Pond birds Ueno Zoo Tokyo
I had walked around a lot, so I just sat for a while beside the lake.
Pelicans Ueno zoo Tokyo
I don’t know if these birds were put here by the zoo or the birds naturally made this pond their home
Bird feeding Shinobazu pond Tokyo
Shinobazu pond is the name
Monorail Ueno Zoo Tokyo Japan
By the way, there is a monorail at Ueno Zoo but the wait times were very long and it was just quicker to walk
Shinobazu pond Tokyo Japan
Anyway, I was done with Ueno Zoo. It was time to leave.
Shinobazu pond walkway Tokyo
This pond, the zoo and Ueno Park in general must come as a relief to Tokyo’s citizens — amidst the bustle of the concrete jungle all around
Flea market Ueno Tokyo
This was a small flea market near the pond
Ueno park entrance Sakura Japan
I walked past the Ueno Park entrance en route to Ueno subway station

I decided to head to Shibuya next, to check out the Hachiko statue and the famous Shibuya Crossing. All that in the next post!

Next posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku β€” views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015 – Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji β€” and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport β€” and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo β€” and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

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  • Lisa Hoover


    I just wanted to let you know how wonderful
    and ACCURATE and helpful your posts have been to me and my daughter
    on our first trip to Tokyo!!

    You are a talented photographer and blogger.

    very very helpful
    Thank you so much, Lisa and Sarra
    from Charlotte NC following I your footsteps in Tokyo : )
    March 2016

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Why thank you so much for your compliments! πŸ™‚ I’m glad the effort I put into my articles are helping other travelers!

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