A roundup of must-see animals & popular souvenirs at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. Let's go see the Giant Panda!

One of the popular Tokyo tourist areas is Ueno. Because various lines such as JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, and Keisei Electric Railway Skyliner pass through or have a terminal station here, it is convenient to access not only from Narita International Airport (NRT) but also from various places in Tokyo.

Speaking of classic spots in Ueno, Ueno Zoo might be one of the first things coming to mind! In this article, we will thoroughly explain how to buy tickets for Ueno Zoo, popular animals that are a must-see, and gift shops where you can get souvenirs.

※All the information featured in this article is as of April 2024. Please check the official website for the latest information.
※If you purchase or reserve products introduced in the article, a portion of the sales may be returned to FUN! JAPAN.

5 minutes walk from JR Ueno Station! How to buy entrance tickets & access to Ueno Zoo

How to buy entrance tickets & access to Ueno Zoo
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

Located in Ueno, the heart of Tokyo, is the Ueno Zoological Gardens (commonly known as Ueno Zoo). Opened in 1882, this is Japan's first zoo, housing about 300 species and approximately 3,000 animals in a park area of about 14.4 hectares.

There are three entrances/exits: the Main Gate, Benten Gate, and Ikenohata Gate. The Main Gate is within a 10-minute walk from JR "Ueno Station", the Benten Gate is accessible from JR and Tokyo Metro "Ueno Station" and Toei Subway "Ueno-okachimachi Station", and the Ikenohata Gate is near Tokyo Metro "Nezu Station". Choose the entrance/exit closest to the railway line and station you use.

How to buy tickets and access to Ueno Zoo
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

You can purchase admission tickets to Ueno Zoo at manned ticket counters (pictured left), automatic ticket machines (pictured right), or online sales sites. If you don't enter the zoo on the day you purchased your ticket at the counter or ticket machine, you can use it on another day, so you can rest assured even if your plans change suddenly. On the other hand, online tickets are date-specific, but the advantage is that you can avoid long lines at the ticket counter.

Please note that you can enter the zoo without purchasing a ticket on free opening days, March 20th (Opening Anniversary), May 4th (Greenery Day), and October 1st (Tokyo Citizen's Day).

👉【kkday】Tokyo Museum Grutto Pass 2024

Popular animals that can be seen in the East and West Gardens of Ueno Zoo

Map of Ueno Zoo
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

The Ueno Zoo is divided into two areas: the West Garden (Nishien), located on the north side of Shinobazu Pond, and the East Garden (Higashien), situated on the hilly terrain of Ueno Park.

In the West Garden, you can see the giant panda and the shoebill, famous as the "unmoving bird", as well as adorable guinea pigs and squirrel monkeys. On the other hand, the East Garden is home to popular animals such as polar bears, seals, Ezo deer, and Japanese serow.

Giant Panda【West Garden・<Panda Forest>】

Giant panda seen at Ueno Zoo
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

"Panda Forest" (Panda no Mori) is home to the popular giant pandas. As of 2024, you will be greeted by four pandas: the male "Li Li", the female "Shin Shin", and their twin offspring "Xiao Xiao" and "Lei Lei". In an environment that replicates the ecosystem of their natural habitat in Sichuan Province, China, with recreated trees and rocks, they eat bamboo, take naps, and play. You can enjoy their adorable antics.

Guinea Pigs【West Garden・<Children's Zoo STEP>】

Guinea pigs at Ueno Zoo

One of the programs you can experience here is "Friends with Guinea Pigs". After learning about the life of guinea pigs through fun videos, you can observe their adorable, plush-like appearance up close and gently stroke their fluffy fur. You can enjoy a fun time interacting with them. It is on a first-come, first-served reservation basis. Please check the official website for the event dates and reservation methods.

Shoebill, Pygmy Hippo and others【West Garden・<Animals of Africa>】

Shoebill and Pygmy Hippo at Ueno Zoo
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

At "Animals of Africa", you can encounter animals that inhabit regions such as Africa, South America, and Australia, including the Shoebill. The Shoebill is a popular creature known as the "unmoving bird" because it hardly moves in a zoo environment. In addition, large animals such as giraffes, hippos, and rhinos are also highlights of this area.

Polar Bears, Seals, and more【East Garden・<Polar Bear and Seal Ocean>】

Ueno Zoo's Polar Bears, Seals
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

Experience the "Polar Bear's Sea", home to the polar bear. In the "Corridor of Water and Ice", which recreates the environment of the Arctic Ocean, you can feel as if you are underwater with the polar bears swimming vigorously behind the glass. Nearby is the seal pool, where you can observe seals swimming freely through the glass.

Ezo Deer, Japanese Serow, and others【East Garden・<Japanese Animals>】

Ueno Zoo's Ezo Deer, Japanese Serow
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

In the "Japanese Animals" area, you can view Ezo deer, Japanese serow, which is a special natural monument, and wild birds of Japan, with the nationally designated Important Cultural Property, the Five-Storied Pagoda, as a backdrop. The sight of the Japanese serow running up rocky areas and blending into the scenery with its rock-like fur color is a must-see.

Get souvenirs featuring animals at the gift shop!

Ueno Zoo's gift shop
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

After enjoying encounters with animals, wouldn't you want to buy souvenirs featuring the animals you can see in the park?

Visit the gift shops in the West and East Gardens of Ueno Zoo and get souvenirs that can only be purchased at Ueno Zoo.

Gift Shop Petit Chameleon [West Garden]

Ueno Zoo Gift Shop
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

Located near the Shinobazu Pond in the West Garden and the "Panda Forest", the gift shop "Petit Chameleon" mainly sells original products such as stuffed animals and souvenir sweets based on popular animals in the park. In particular, panda goods such as stuffed animals and handkerchiefs with a giant panda motif are very popular.

Gift Shop Little Trunk [East Garden]

Ueno Zoo Gift Shop
(Public Corporation) Tokyo Zoological Park Society

The gift shop "Little Trunk", located in front of the Asian Elephant exercise area in the East Garden of Ueno Zoo, offers a wide range of original products, including stuffed animals and souvenir sweets inspired by the animals seen in the zoo, as well as other goods. You can enjoy shopping here. Not only pandas, but also goods such as shoebill hand towels are popular.

Recommended way to tour Ueno Zoo & estimated sightseeing time?

The estimated time required at Ueno Zoo varies greatly depending on whether you tour efficiently or take your time. The zoo is very large, so it's a good idea to plan to spend about 2 to 3 hours there regardless.

If you want to start from the East Garden where the Ezo deer and polar bears are, the main gate is recommended. If you want to start from the West Garden where the giant pandas and shoebills are, Benten Gate or Ikenohata Gate is recommended.

Recommended Model Course ① at Ueno Zoo

Enter from the Benten Gate and head to the "Panda Forest" in the West Garden. Then go to the East Garden and visit the "Polar Bear and Seal Ocean", "Japanese Animals", and the gift shop "Little Trunk" in order. Buy souvenirs and return to the West Garden. After lunch, visit the popular shoebill, which is as popular as the pygmy hippo and panda, the "Children's Zoo", etc., and start sightseeing in Ueno from the Benten Gate.

Recommended Model Course ② at Ueno Zoo

Enter from the main gate and follow the same route as Course 1, except for "Panda's Forest", which you will visit last. However, the viewing time for the giant pandas is until 4 pm for the parent panda and until 3:30 pm for the baby panda, so make sure to line up in time to see them※. Don't forget to get your panda goods at Petit Chameleon after seeing the pandas!

As such, it's important to research the areas where the animals you want to see are located in advance. For example, if you're visiting to see the giant pandas, you can line up early if you enter from Benten Gate at the opening time of 9:30 am.

Ueno Zoo does not disclose the feeding times, but many animals are fed around noon, so if the timing is right, you may be able to see them moving actively. Find your favorite plan and spend time being healed by animals and nature in Ueno!

※Depending on the congestion of the day, we may close earlier than the usual viewing deadline.

  • Address: 9-83, Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo
  • Opening hours: 9:30 to 17:00 (Admission and ticket & annual passport sales until 16:00)
  • Closed: Mondays (next day if it is a public holiday, substitute holiday, or Tokyo Citizen's Day), December 29 to January 1
  • Admission fee: Adults 600 yen, 65 years old and over 300 yen, junior high school students 200 yen, free for elementary school students up to 6th grade
  • Access:
    【Main Gate】About 5 minutes on foot from JR "Ueno Station"
    【Benten Gate】About 5 minutes on foot from JR "Ueno Station", about 8 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro "Ueno Station", about 10 minutes on foot from Toei Subway "Ueno Okachimachi Station"
    【Ikenohata Gate】5 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro "Nezu Station"
  • Official website: https://www.tokyo-zoo.net/zoo/ueno/


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