Ueno Zoo, or the Ueno Zoological Gardens, is the oldest zoo in Japan. Founded in 1882, it has grown over the years and had expanded its area to 14.3 ha (35.2 acres) and carries the flagship of the Japanese zoo industry. Currently, it's home to over 2800 animals, from 500 different species, and also provides visitors with learning experiences about the diversity of animals, as well as being a fun place to visit. For example, there is the Five-storied Pagoda and the tea ceremony house that gives the Ueno Zoo a traditional Japanese touch. The pagoda was built in 1631, rebuilt after destruction by fire, and in 1958 the owner, Kan'ei-ji temple, gave the pagoda to Tokyo Metropolitan Government, who assigned its management to the Ueno Zoo. The tea ceremony house was built to entertain the Shoguns in 17th century, and it still stands as a historic, heritage structure in the zoo's grounds.
Historically, Ueno Park was formerly a part of Kanei-ji, a family temple of the Tokugawa Shoguns, and there remain historical buildings from the Edo period in the zoo area. This is also an attractive and unique feature of Ueno Zoo.
A Must See.... at the Ueno Zoo
Ueno Zoo is divided into two sections, the East Garden and the West Garden, where there are unique facilities in each area so you can see wild animals up close, exploring their fascinating worlds.
When you enter the main gate, and you are in the East Garden, where you will see Asiatic elephants, snow monkeys, and other exotic animals. Please don’t miss the Gorilla and the Tiger Forest, as well as the Bear Hill!
The outdoor enclosures in the West Garden are inhabited by giraffes, hippopotamuses and zebras, all of which are African hoofed animals. The Vivarium displays a collection of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The Children’s Zoo gives children direct contact with domesticated animals, and the Shinobazu Pond is the home of wild ducks, geese, and cormorants.
A view of the East Garden
Ueno Zoo is composed of 2 large gardens that have abundant greenery. To explore the entire garden area, it would take 2 or 3 hours. Travel Tip: If you are visiting the Ueno Zoo, and halfway through your Tokyo tour and don’t have much time, it is recommendable to see only one of the 2 gardens.
The Monkey Hill
The Monkey Hill was completed in 1931 as the first of its kind. The area of the Monkey Hill is 553㎡ and it is 11m high. You will see about 40 Japanese macaques and their unique group-behaviour: such as the young monkeys at play, parenting, feeding, grooming and play in the pool. It definitely won’t bore you.
The Monkey Hill
In the Gorilla and the Tiger Forest, you will experience the thrill of facing, nose-to-nose, with these amazing wildlife. In an effort to breed endangered species, we have organized nationwide and worldwide zoo networks, and share experience and knowledge of animal husbandry and management.
The Bear Hill, opened in April 2006, has been effectively designed on a slope so you can see the bears and their activities at various angles, from above, from below, or right in front.
As the name suggests, the Naked Mole Rat is a rodent which has little hair. They build tunnels and live underground. At the Small Mammal House in the West Garden, they are exhibited in transparent plastic tubes, which are branched and interconnected to simulate their natural underground tunnels. You can watch their nest areas, toilet chambers, and food storage rooms.
At the Vivarium in the West Garden, you can meet the Japanese Giant Salamander, designated as a Special Natural Monument of Japan. Meeting these types of unique animals at Ueno Zoo will be a lasting experience from visiting Tokyo.
In the West Garden, there is an area called the Children’s Zoo. The Nakayoshi Square is located within the Children’s Zoo, and gives many children the opportunity to come into contact with free-ranging domesticated animals.
Shinobazu Pond is a bird sanctuary in Ueno Park and still retains its original natural form and setting. It is hard to believe there is a lovely pond like this, within a 5-minute walk and very close to the famous and very busy market street called Ameyoko.
Location and Contact Information
Address: Ueno Zoo, 9-83, Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-8711, Japan
Ueno Zoo (Ueno Zoological Gardens) - Official Web Site
Map of the Ueno Area...Click here
Hours of Operation
Open: From 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (Admission tickets sold until 4:00 PM)
Closed: Mondays (closed on Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday).
The Vivarium and the Small Mammal House closes their doors at 4:15 PM
The zoo closes from December 29 through January 1.
Adults (ages 16-64) 600 Yen
Seniors (65+) 300 Yen
Students (ages 13-15) 200 Yen
Children (ages under 12) Free
*Groups of 20 or more paying individuals are entitled to a 20% discount, providing the group gains admission together, and enters one at a time.
*Free admission for the disabled, and for one assistant per disabled person.
*The admission is free on March 20 (Ueno Zoo's Anniversary Day)
May 4 (Greenery Day), and October 1 (Tokyo Citizens' Day).
Services and Facilities
- 45 min. guided tours are available.
- Includes Gift shops, snack bars and restaurants. At gift shops and restaurants, payment by credit card is acceptable.
- Baby strollers, coin-operated lockers, and wheelchairs (non-motorized) are available.
- Parking : We have no parking lots, but there are public parking in the vicinity.
Ueno Zoo is easily accessible from anywhere in Tokyo.
Located in Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo.
- 5 minute walk from JR Ueno Station Park Exit
- 12 minute walk from Ueno Station Ginza Subway Line/Hibiya Subway Line
- 10 minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station
- 15 minute walk from Ueno-Okachimachi Station (Oedo Subway Line)
- 5 minute walk from Nezu Station (Chiyoda Subway Line)
Essential Transit Information
From Narita International Airport to Ueno by train.
By Keisei Line, you can go directly to the Keisei Ueno Station from Narita Airport Station. (Approx. 70 min.)
Keisei Ueno Station is next to the JR Ueno Station.
From JR Tokyo Station to JR Ueno Station by train.
By JR Yamanote Line, it takes approximately 8 min.
A 5 min. walk from the Ueno Park Exit of the JR Ueno Station to the main entrance gate of Ueno Zoo.
From JR Shibuya Station to JR Ueno Station by train.
By JR Yamanote Line, it takes approximately 30 min.
A 5 min. walk from Ueno Park Exit of the JR Ueno Station to the main entrance gate of Ueno Zoo.
From Asakusa to Ueno
By Ginza Subway Line, it takes approximately 6 min.
* Loop Bus "Megurin ( http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/kurashi/kotsu/megurin/ in Japanese)
You can also take a loop bus called Megurin, that travels around the Asakusa and Ueno area. The fare is only 100 Yen for a ride, and it is convenient.
In Asakusa, there is a bus stop in front of the Kaminari-mon Gate (on the street across the way and near the tourist information center.)
In Ueno, there is a bus stop in front of the Ueno Park Exit of the JR Ueno Station. Please refer to the Ueno Map.
From Ueno to Akihabara
Approximately 4 min. by JR Yamanote Line.
It is a 30 min. walk from Ueno to Akihabara, since you can reach Akihabara directly. A good way to enjoy more of Tokyo.