Ueno Zoo is a beloved institution, but it’s not exactly a must-see if you have limited time in Tokyo. Go only if you really care about giant pandas.
Ueno Zoological Gardens - image © Florentyna Leow
Ueno Zoo in Ueno-koen Park is the oldest zoo in Japan. It’s a beloved institution, not least because it is home to giant pandas from China. 2018 was also the first time in 29 years that there had been a panda cub born in the zoo resulting from natural mating, making it a rather momentous occasion.
Of course, with over 3000 animals from over 400 species gathered at the zoo, ranging from flamingos to pangolins to pygmy hippos, visiting the zoo isn't all about the pandas. The zoo is a firm favorite with families, and weekends at the zoo are particularly lively.
There are three days a year when Ueno Zoo opens its doors to the public for free: 20 March (Ueno Zoo’s Anniversary Day), 4 May (Greenery Day), and 1 October (Tokyo Citizen’s Day). If you don’t mind braving the crowds, try visiting on one of these days.
Ueno Zoological Gardens
9-83 Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8711
9:30am-5pm (last entry 4pm)
Closed Monday or the following Tuesday when Monday is a national holiday
65 years old and over: 300
Junior high school students: 200
Elementary school students and younger: free
Train: 5-minute walk from the Park exit of Ueno Station.
Subway: 5-minute walk from exit 2 of Nezu Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line.
Official Website (English)
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Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
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- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
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- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's why it's worth it
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