There is no place quite like a zoo for seeing different kinds of wildlife up close. The most famous zoo in Japan is none other than the Ueno Zoo, located inside the Ueno Onshi Park (or Ueno Park for short).
As much as 2,500 animals of approximately 350 different species inhabit this zoo, including three of the world’s rarest animals, such as the Giant Panda, Okapi, and the Pygmy Hippo. I will now show you the best way to navigate the zoo, from the top highlights to the smallest details.
What To Do In Ueno Zoo: From A to Z
Into the Zoo! Walking from the East Garden
Near the gate are two types of Park Maps, one in Japanese and the other in English, Chinese, and Korean.
The feeding times and location for the Pallas’s Cat and Meerkats are also listed on the map: Small Mammal House (from 2:30PM~3:30PM) and the Aye-aye House (at 3:30PM). The feeding times for the other animals are not publicly listed, so if you are able to catch any one of those in progress, consider yourself lucky!
Walking to the East Garden!
Located in the hilly area of Ueno Park with its enormous trees is the East Garden, where you will find the Giant Pandas, Gorilla Woods and Tiger Forest, Elephant Forest, and Bear Hill. The Polar Bear and Seal Ocean is also located here.
Walking Around the West Garden!
The West Garden is a scenic area on the shores of Shinobazu Pond which grows thick with lotus plants. Here you will find many animals of African origin, such as giraffes, hippos, and the shoebill. There is also a Children’s Zoo where you can touch and interact with some of the animals!
If you want to learn even more about the animals, I recommend taking the 45 minute guided tour. A Zoo Educator will guide you through the park introducing various themes, such as the eating habits of the animals, and how they go about their daily lives.
Ride the Monorail Connecting East and West Gardens
The East and West Gardens are connected by Aesop Bridge, which takes about 10 minutes to cross on foot. But if you wish, you can ride the monorail which only takes 90 seconds! However, this monorail is scheduled to close by the end of the year. If you want to ride this first monorail built in Japan, please make sure to do so before it’s gone!
Lunch and Souvenirs: The Park Shops Have it All!
If you start feeling hungry, head to the shops! All around the East and West Gardens are shops that sell foods such as fried chicken, drinks, and ice cream.
I recommend the self-serve food shop in the West Garden, opposite the Small Mammal House: the cafeteria. If you sit near the windows or on the terrace, you can even watch the hippos, rhinoceros, and zebras as you eat.
The cafeteria has a bathroom, a baby changing room, and even a Wi-Fi hotspot. There are English menus available at the order counter, and you can even bring your own lunch.
There are also gift shops, one in each of the East and West Gardens, which sell original animal-themed goodies such as plushies, souvenirs, and sweets. Today the park was crowded with tons of people carrying goods from the shop.
You can also buy necessities such as diapers, batteries, SD cards, and umbrellas, perfect for times when your camera runs out of space, or when it starts raining out of the blue!
Fun for Kids! Touch the Animals at the Children’s Zoo
Some example programs and activities are "Hands-On Mouse Class", where children can observe and pet cute house mice, and the "Hands-On Guinea Pig Class," where they can touch these small animals while watching a picture-story show. You will need a free ticket for this activity, which you can get at the ticket counter near the Benten Gate, West Garden. Tickets are available from 9:30AM until they run out.
There is also an activity called “Touch me!?” in which you can dare to touch animals such as snakes and lizards and take photos with them. It is held every Sunday from 1:20PM to 1:40PM in the Reptile and Amphibian House. (Not held in rain).
But Wait, There’s More! Other Services Available at Ueno Zoo
The General Information Center provides help for issues such as lost items and missing children. There are also coin lockers, stroller rentals, and a nursing space for your convenience.
●General Information Center
●Coin Lockers (available from small, from 100 yen)
●Stroller Rental Service (500 yen each)
●Great Value! “Free Entry Days”
There are three days that you can enter Ueno Zoo for free: March 20 (opening day), May 4 (Midori no Hi, or “Greenery Day”), and October 1 (Tomin no Hi, or “Tokyo Citizen’s Day”).
●Navigate the Zoo with the Smartphone App
There is also a local park-walking app for your smartphone, “Tokyo Parks Navi,” available in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, which provides information on the ecology and animals of the park.
9-83, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-8711
Ueno Station （Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line）
5 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3828-5171
- Address 9-83, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-8711
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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