Tokyo: Ueno Zoo
Tokyo Zoo Ueno Park 上野動物園
Tokyo's major zoo is Ueno Zoo, located in Ueno Park.
The oldest zoo in Japan, Ueno Zoo was established in at its present site in Tokyo in 1882 as part of Japan's modernization drive during the Meiji Period.
Tokyo's Ueno Zoo is world class, with animals and birds from around the globe. Best of all, its settings convincingly imitate the wild, meaning the animals can be observed in what come pretty close to their native habitats.
Tokyo Zoo is divided into 63 main sections, grouped into such categories as the Gorilla and Tiger's Forest, Japanese Animals, The Children's Zoo (with animal petting area), Animals of Africa, a Birdhouse, and the Vivarium (turtles and reptiles).
The big attractions at Ueno Zoo are the big animals: elephants, gorillas, polar bears, giraffes, etc. However, a leisurely inspection of the smaller enclosures and cages will reveal a huge assortment of smaller animals, and particularly birds, that you may well be seeing for the first time.
The entrance to Tokyo's Ueno Zoo
A monorail offers a 90 second ride for 180 yen (150 yen/80 yen for secondary/elementary schoolchildren) between the East Garden and West Garden.
The West Garden is dominated by the big Shinobazu Pond, the southern part of which is full of lotus plants. In the middle of it is a small island with a shrine to the goddess Benten.
Check out the Zoo Hall in the West Garden under Aesop's Bridge (the bridge you cross if you don't wish to join the queue for the monorail) for exhibitions. Reading room upstairs (in Japanese only) - accessible from outside stairs.
In the East Garden, check out the Five-Storey Pagoda (an original fixture from Kaneiji Temple) across from the elephant enclosure.
Tokyo Zoo is well equipped with amenities. You are never far from a restaurant, snack stall, souvenir shop or toilet.
Tokyo Zoo Hours & Admission
Open 9.30am - 5pm (last admission at 4pm)
Admission 600 yen (adults 15-64 years old), 300 yen (senior citizens), 200 yen (children 12-14 years old)
The entrance to Tokyo's Ueno Zoo in Ueno Park
YouTube JapanVisitor Goes to Ueno Zoo
From Ueno Station
Take the Ueno Park Exit of JR Ueno Station, and cross the road. While the Ueno Exit is the most direct route, going out the Central Exit is recommended if you want to pick up English-language information about the Park beforehand . (There is an information booth with English info at the entrance to the Park, but they don't really speak English.)
Ueno Station on the Ginza subway line.
Keisei Ueno Station on the Keisei Honsen line
Uguisudani Station on the JR Yamanote line, behind the Tokyo National Museum.
Tokyo Tourist Information Center
Nearby Attractions to Ueno Zoo
Bunkyo ward, rich in indoor and outdoor cultural attractions, is just west of Ueno.
Asakusa, the heart of old Tokyo, famous for its Sensoji Temple, is just east of Ueno.
Accommodation in Ueno
Find a hotel in Tokyo close to Ueno Zoo.