Ueno Zoo

Tokyo, Japan

About Ueno Zoo

Ueno Zoological Gardens is the oldest zoo in Japan. Founded in 1882, it has grown over the years, expanded its area to 14.4 ha (35.6 acres) and been the flagship of the Japanese zoo world. Now it’s home to over 3,000 animals from 400 different species and provides visitors with learning experience about the diversity of animals as well as fun and enjoyment.

Giant pandas at Ueno Zoo

In 1972, the government of the People’s Republic of China presented two giant pandas, Kang Kang  and Lan Lan, to commemorate the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and launched to be Japan’s first giant pandas to exhibit at Ueno Zoo.

The next panda pair Fei Fei and Huan Huan gave birth to Tong Tong in 1986 and to You You in 1988.

Ling Ling, the last panda with Japanese ownership died on April 30, 2008.

In 2011, the Ueno zoo’s current panda couple Ri Ri Shin Shin arrived on loan from China and produced a long-awaited female panda cub Xiang Xiang in 2017, creating a new wave of panda fever in Japan’s capital.

Ri Ri & Shin Shin were moved to a new Panda House on August 24, 2020, the place of birth of twin pandas Xiao Xiao & Lei Lei.

The name of the new facility became “Panda no Mori (Panda Forest).” Before explaining this name, we would like you to know that the sound of “mori” has two meanings in Japanese; “forest” and “conservation.”

The primary feature of Panda Forest is the landscape created to resemble the natural environment of China’s Sichuan Province, where the giant panda inhabits. With the same intention, lesser pandas and pheasants, which live in China’s mountainous regions, are exhibited nearby. The habitat consists mainly of bamboos and coniferous trees planted in the outside enclosure. Borrowing the scenery of the trees in Ueno Park, the view may evoke the visitors to imagine the deep forest of China.

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