Ueno Zoo is the oldest zoo in Japan and one of Ueno's greatest attractions. The zoo began as a collection of wild animals affiliated with the National Museum of Natural History and first opened as a public zoo on March 20, 1882. The zoo has expanded significantly since then and is now home to over 3,000 animals and 400 different species. The attraction of Ueno Zoo, however, is the pandas, also because they have successfully reproduced. Ueno Zoo is actively committed to the conservation of wild animals.
The zoo is divided into two sections, a west and an east park, each with different animal species. The two areas are connected by a bridge. To the east are the pandas, Asian elephants, large numbers of bears and larger mammals like gorillas, tigers and lions. In the west area there is a petting zoo and a reptile and amphibious house. This area also focuses on animals from Africa: rhinos, hippos, giraffes and zebras.
A five-story pagoda and a tea house from the 17th century round off the visit to the zoo and give this historic zoo a typically Japanese touch.
JR Ueno Station is a 5 minute walk from the Main Gate entrance and Benten Gate entrance. The Benten Gate can also be reached from Keisei Ueno Station (4-min) and Subway Ueno Station (8-min). The western Ikenohata Gate can als be reached from Nezu Station (5-min).
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