The Tokyo Zoo (Ueno) is a zoo operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in Taito, Tokyo, Japan. The zoo is Japan’s oldest and best known zoo and was originally opened on March 20, 1882. Loated int eh midst of Ueno Park, a five minute walk from the Ueno Station, makes it incredibly easy to reach as well and the Ueno Zoo Monorail, the first such operation in Japan, connects the two sides of the zoo.
The Tokyo Zoo was created by the Meiji government during the initial years of western reform in an effort to emulate western style parks in Tokyo. The zoo was enormously popular and led to multiple other zoos opening throughout Japan, though Ueno always remained the largest and most popular.
During World War II, the animals in the zoo were ordered executed to keep them from escaping and running wild in Tokyo in the event of a bombing of the park allowing them to get free. The issue became a hugely contentious point in an otherwise unified Japanese national front and led to a number of protests following the war.
The zoo currently is home to 422 species of animals, with the Sumatran Tiger and Western Lowland Gorilla atop their list of principle animals and a larger stable of animals than any other zoo in Japan.
Recently, the zoo’s cages and close style interactions have been replaced with more modern habitats to provide a more environmentally sound and respectful habitat for the animals. Additionally, animals were redistributed throughout other zoos in Tokyo.
Best known for its Giant Panda, Ling Ling, The Tokyo Zoo was left without its star attraction on April 30, 2008 when Ling Ling died of heart failure. Two new pandas will be lent to the zoo from China as a result. Additional principle animas include: