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A Course to Meet the Animals of Ueno

Imagining the history of the earth through the animals you meet in Ueno Park

A Course to Meet the Animals of Ueno

Ueno features many spots where the keyword is “animals.” These include Ueno Zoo, the oldest zoo in Japan, as well as the National Museum of Nature and Science where you can find countless stuffed and skeletal animal specimens, and Shinobazu Pond, home to the many wild birds that live in the city center. Let your imagination fly and walk through the park, whilst being surrounded by the diverse and varied animals as well as imagining the past and future of our planet.

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Exploring the Mysteries of Dinosaur Evolution exhibit on the first floor basement of the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

Exploring the Mysteries of Dinosaur Evolution exhibit on the first floor basement of the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

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Learn about the path of evolution at
the National Museum of Nature and Science

The first place to visit is the National Museum of Nature and Science, which serves as the comprehensive national science museum. Look for the life-sized model of a blue whale that extends over 30 meters in length. The museum is divided into two buildings, the “Global Gallery” and the “Japan Gallery.” Sites to see in the “Global Gallery” include the Dinosaur floor where you can find an exhibit of a life-sized skeletal specimen of the triceratops, which is said to be the best preserved in the world, and the third floor that features numerous stuffed specimens including an impressive array of mammals, including Fei Fei and Tong Tong, father and daughter giant pandas, which once resided in Ueno Zoo. At the Tree of Life on the first floor, you can see at a glance the entire range of the diverse and varied animals that exist on the earth today, from single celled organisms to humans.

Moving on to the Japan Gallery, you will find a stuffed specimen of the dog Hachiko, well known from the famous bronze sculpture found in Shibuya. In this gallery, you can learn of the natural history of the Japanese islands and Japan’s natural environment. As we learn about the evolution of life, we will realize the simple fact that we humans are also a part of it.

Animals of the Earth exhibit on the third floor of the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

Animals of the Earth exhibit on the third floor of the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

Fei Fei (father) and Tong Tong (daughter), giant pandas that once lived at the Ueno Zoo

Fei Fei (father) and Tong Tong (daughter), giant pandas that once lived at the Ueno Zoo

The Tree of Life on the first floor of the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

The Tree of Life on the first floor of the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

An Akita (hachi) breed dog on display in an exhibit “The Organisms Bred by the Japanese” on the second floor, the north wing of the Japan Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

An Akita (hachi) breed dog on display in an exhibit “The Organisms Bred by the Japanese” on the second floor, the north wing of the Japan Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science

Ueno Zoo

Ueno Zoo

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Meet the animals living today
at Japan’s oldest zoo

The next place to visit is Ueno Zoo. First opened in 1882, Ueno Zoo is the oldest in Japan, and today it is still the most popular with the greatest number of annual visitors. Here you can meet the diverse and varied animals of the world, including giant pandas, the western gorilla, the Galapagos giant tortoise, the stork-like shoebill, and the aye-aye lemur. If you use the monorail in the zoo, which is the first permanently installed monorail in Japan, you can travel to the western side of the garden where you will find the Children’s Zoo in which children can interact with such animals as sheep, goats, and rabbits. And don’t worry, adults are also allowed to participate of course.

Shin Shin, the giant panda

Shin Shin, the giant panda

Ueno Zoo monorail (official name: Ueno Kensui-sen)

Ueno Zoo monorail (official name: Ueno Kensui-sen)

The Children’s Zoo

The Children’s Zoo

Shoebill

Shoebill

Shinobazu Pond (Boat pond)

Shinobazu Pond (Boat pond)

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Observe the lives of wild birds while paddling
a swan boat at Shinobazu Pond

Exiting the Ueno Zoo, you will find the Shinobazu boat pond beyond the Benten Temple. Here you will find roughly ten different types of aquatic birds living in the pond. You can observe their lives up close if you take a ride in one of the available boats. From close proximity, you can observe them swimming smoothly along the water surface, or taking a nap in the shadow of the reeds. Here you will find such birds as the tufted duck, the black-headed gull, and the mallard. You can also enjoy bird watching at Ueno Park if you remember to bring a small pair of binoculars with you.

Shinobazu Pond (Boat pond)

  • Address: 2-1 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo

  • Telephone: 03-3828-9502

  • Opening hours: From 9:00 AM until sunset (varies by season)

  • Closed: Wednesdays between December and February

  • Admission fee: Swan boats are \700 for 30 minutes, other boats are \700 for 1 hour

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Panda Curry and Panda Latte at the Ueno Green Salon

Panda Curry and Panda Latte at the Ueno Green Salon

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Take a break and sip your Panda
Cafe Latte at the Ueno Green Salon

On your way home, why not take a break at the Ueno Green Salon cafe near Ueno Station. Here you can enjoy animal-themed menu choices to finish up your animal themed day. Popular choices include the Panda Cafe Latte that features a panda face drawn in cocoa powder, and the Panda Curry that includes rice depicting a panda. Relax and enjoy the numerous panda themed displays in the cafe.

Also, if you are looking for animal-themed gifts, we recommend the Parks Ueno shop right near the Ueno Park exit of Ueno Station. Here you can find the classic treat known as “Gorilla Boogers,” which upon eating, you will find is actually made from candied beans, and is the perfect thing to close out this animal tourist course.

Ueno Green Salon

  • Address: 7-47 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo

  • Telephone: 03-3824-9931

  • Opening hours: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM (or 5:00 PM between December and March)

  • Closed: Closed irregularly on Mondays (depending on days the Ueno Zoo is closed)

Parks Ueno

  • Address: 7 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo

  • Telephone: 03-5685-0181

  • Opening hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM (or 5:00 PM between November and March)

  • Closed: Year end/New Year holiday

Ueno Green Salon

Ueno Green Salon

Panda Boogers and Gorilla Boogers

Panda Boogers and Gorilla Boogers

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Route description

上野文化の杜のたのしみかた