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Ueno Zoo, Ueno – Free Zoo for Tokyo Kids!

Ueno Zoo is Japan’s oldest and most famous zoo having opened its gate to the public in March 1882. The Ueno Zoo is conveniently located in Ueno Park which is near both Ueno Station and Nezu Station. It is one of our families favorites for 2-3 hours. Not only do they have a great selection of animals but the Ueno Zoo is free for kids under 12, and if you can show you junior high school student studies in Tokyo they also can enter free; most Zoos in others countries are $20+.  Although the Zoo may not be the same green level of say the Ueno zooSeattle Zoo or the San Diego Zoo, for an urban zoo the standards are quite good and improvements are being steadily made.  I recommend reserving Ueno zoolunch seats at Innsyoutei, Japanese Traditional Restaurant, Ueno Park and adding on a stop or two at the following locations: visit the National Museum of Nature and Science, the Shitamachi Museum,  a visit to Yamashiroya Toy Store, or a walk through the bargain street of Ameyokocho.  Note: If you are entering from Ueno Station there is a Starbucks Coffee shop in the center of the Ueno Park before you come to the main gate of the park – always good to be awake for a zoo day!

Ueno Zoo, Ueno – Free Zoo for Tokyo Kids!

Ueno Zoo, UenoThe Ueno Zoo is split into two sections (Eastern and Western Grounds) and connected by a monorail (150 yen) or an elevated walking path.  It takes a good 3 hours to make it around the entire zoo at a decent speed. If you have little ones I highly recommend bringing your stroller. The Ueno Zoo does have strollers you can borrow.   Trivia Tidbit: The Ueno Zoo is 14.3-hectare (35-acre); for comparison, the Bronx Zoo is 275 acres, Beijing is 219; San Diego is 100 acres and Toronto 710 is acres.

The Ueno Zoo is home to more than 3.000 individuals; over 400 species.

Ueno Zoo, Ueno

The Zoo has more species than any other zoo in Japan. The Zoo is very famous for the resident Pandas which includes Xiang Xiang who was born in 2017. The gorilla exhibit, the polar bear exhibit, and the petting zoo are top of most kids lists. The Ueno Zoo also has some rather rare animals including a Higuma, Aye Aye,  Okapi, and a Japanese Giant Salamander. Other animals housed at the zoo include Asiatic lionsPolar bearsAsian elephantsReticulated giraffesAmerican bisonottersred foxesbatstoucanstapirskangaroosCalifornia sea lionsfennec foxespygmy hipposhipposanteaterscrocodilesturtlesflamingoslemurspelicanspuffins and black rhinoceroses.

Ueno Zoo, UenoThere are a few places to buy food in the Zoo where various noodle and rice dishes are sold, as well as ice cream and dessert pancakes. I recommend the shaved ice in the hot summer. You can also bring your own picnic and enjoy on the picnic tables.Ueno Zoo, Ueno

Ueno Zoo Details
Business Hours: Closed Monday unless National Holiday and then open, but closed Tuesday. Open 9:30 – 17:00 (last ticket sold 16:00)

Cost: Kids 0-12 Free, students 13-15 are 200 JPY (although if they attend school in Tokyo they are free); adults 16- 64 600 yen; seniors 65+ 300 JPY;  — March 20 (Ueno Zoo’s Anniversary Day), May 4 (Greenery Day), and October 1 (Tokyo Citizens’ Day) – But these days are super crowded so I advise to pay to visit

Address:  Ueno Park 9-83, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3828-5171
Access: 5 min walk from the Park Exit of Ueno Station on the Ginza, Hibiya and Yamanote Lines, also a 10 min walk from Nezu Station on the Chiyoda Line; there is public parking near Ueno Station. (google map for parking) 
Website: English https://www.tokyo-zoo.net/english/ueno/
Guest Services:  Gift shops, snack bars and restaurants. Baby strollers, coin-operated lockers, and wheelchairs (non-motorized) available.

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Ueno Zoo, Ueno – Free Zoo for Tokyo Kids!

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