Ueno Zoo is one of the three zoos housing Giant Pandas and also the oldest zoological park in Japan. Located a short distance from the electronics/tourist centre of Akihabara alongside Ueno Park it’s easy to get to and thanks to a very low Y600 (under AUD10) admission price very affordable for even a short visit.
Our Visit to Ueno Zoo
During our visit to Tokyo we stayed in Akihabara partly because it’s one of the the hot spots for tourists and partly because it was a short walk or subway ride ride from Ueno Zoo.
Our walk “up” from Akihabara took us through the picturesque Ueno Park. We stopped past Benaiten Shrine on our way to the Ikenohata Gate entry. Taking some additional time to have a look around the greater Ueno Park area seems to be worthwhile as it contains many other places of interest.
Once inside the zoo we found a combination of “old” style enclosures which had been revamped over the years to provide greater enrichment for the animals. Newer larger enclosures are in the more “modern” zoo style. I would say that neither is ideal and may arouse the animal rights arguments in some visitors.
The main purpose of our visit was of course to see the Giant Pandas. They enjoy large indoor and outdoor enclosures. For our visit both were outside snoozing in the warm spring air.
We walked the zoo for a couple of hours, returning to check the Panda exhibit a few times only to be greeted with a situation that wasn’t changing. That is, no movement, from either!
The maps and information signage could be considered a little vague. We found ourselves walking in circles from time to time trying locate particular exhibits.
We enjoyed our visit to the zoo. The weather was great and the park wasn’t crowded early in the day. The number of visitors was increasing dramatically as the day progressed so if you want a quieter experience I suggest arriving and leaving early.
Spending a few days in the Ueno area as part of a visit to Tokyo would be ideal. That way you’d have time to explain all the other attractions on offer.