Tokyo Ueno Zoo

For our final day in Tokyo, we headed to the zoo.  It wasn't the best weather, but for pretty much every other part of the trip we couldn't have asked for better weather.

You know you are getting close when you find cute sculpted bushes like this.
Here is the front entrance to Ueno zoo, right in Ueno park.  Besides the zoo, this park houses many museums.  The zoo itself is 130 years old (opened in 1882), and is the oldest in Japan.
We started off with a visit to the panda exhibit.  This was exceptionally sad because this zoo just lost it's first baby panda born in this zoo in years just days before we got there.  They were hopefully it would do well, but it became sick, and just could not fight the infection (I believe it was pneumonia).
I have no idea which panda this is, but I do not think it was the mother of the recently lost baby panda.
Super cute!  Now, I have sat with and pet a panda before (in China), so I can tell you that as soft and cuddly as they look, they are NOT!  They are very bristly.  But, I still enjoyed my up close time with a panda, even if it felt a little different from what I was expecting.

Here is one of the memorials in the panda area that is set up for people to come and pay their respects.
Just outside the panda exhibit was this, which I believe was a Thai monument as an indicator of friendship between the 2 countries for some years now.  Sorry, I don't remember what the sign said, and I forgot to take a picture!
This was a little badger.
Big bird!!!

One of the many monkey varieties that they have here.

This is a really neat looking bird that we liked.
Something in the dog family.  Can't remember the name.
Sea lions.
Hanging with the bear!
The front one is actually dancing and Ryan has an awesome video of this.  
While the rain held out in the morning, it did start to rain around lunch time, so we headed to one of the cafeterias in the zoo for lunch.  Ryan had curry (on the left) and I had a fried seafood plate.  Too bad I discovered that although it said seafood, they put a fried hamburger patty on here.  I was so lucky that they were so kind in switching out what I ordered, and even let me order a curry dish minus the curry sauce (it is usually cooked with pork).
I thought these condiments were so cute.  You can easily tell what they are to be used for if you can't read Japanese.
This was the second dish I ordered, and the one I actually ate.  It is rice underneath scrambled eggs.  Usually the curry is on top, but I was able to get it just like this.  It was really good.
After lunch we headed to the other side of the park.  Here are some more pictures of the animals we saw.

Tapir, which I actually like even though it looks so funny.
Pallas Cat, which is one of my new favorite animals.
Okapi, which is my new favorite animal.  It was once thought to be extinct because it hadn't been seen in years, and then one was finally spotted in Africa, and now many zoos have these.  I think it was only rediscovered a few years back.  It looks like a mix between a few different animals.  It is hard to see, sorry, but the back end looks like a zebra.
Ok, this picture is a little better, but now the front half is harder to see.  Trust me, this is one neat looking animal.
Yes, this is as big as you think it is.  Huge!
So cute, and soon I will be headed to Australia and plan to see the penguins there, in the wild!
We totally checked out the pandas again before leaving.  They are such cuties!
After a fun day at the zoo, we headed back to the room to dry off, warm up, and rest.  We also tried those treats we bought from the 100% Chocolate Cafe the day before.  It is sort of bread like and filled with chocolate.
Later that afternoon we headed to the craziest part of Tokyo.  Ok, it is one of the craziest parts.  This are is known as Shibuya.  There is an intersection here that is literally a tourist attraction.  At a huge Manhattan like intersection the traffic stops from all directions and then the people are allowed to cross. But it is not like any cross walk you have ever seen.  You can cross diagonally.  So traffic moves in 12 directions (6 ways to cross, people move in both directions).  I took a picture of it last time, but this time it was too busy and raining, plus getting dark, so it was not easy to get a good shot.  If you are ever in Tokyo, this intersection is a must see.  You can't miss it is you get off at Shibuya station (on the subway).

After walking and staring in awe at the buildings and lights, we decided to seek out some Indian food for our last dinner in Tokyo.  Finally, after searching and searching, we spotted a sign that read "Raj Mahal 5F".  So we got in an elevator and pushed 5.  When the doors opened we were transported into a very nice looking Indian restaurant.  We looked at each other and both thought "jackpot"!  Jackpot indeed.
We started with some papadam.  I liked that it came with some cashews.  We were really hungry at this point because we had been walking around all day, so this was a great start while we waited for our entrees.
I ordered the vegetarian thali, which is just like a course meal, but everything comes on one plate.  Like a combo platter or sorts.  Everything was delicious.
Ryan went with the non-vegetarian version, but he swapped a few things because some just didn't appeal to him (so he ordered them without meat).
Plus, it came with naan, and I do love naan.  We were so happy to have stumbled upon this place.
Well, that was it for our Tokyo trip.  It was a great week, but it had to come to an end, and now we are back to our busy lives.

QUESTIONS:  What is your favorite zoo?  What is your favorite zoo animal?  Do you like Indian food?


Anonymous said...

xo - Mer

Biz said...

Those Indian trays look amazing - and I love naan too. I actually made chicken tikka masala for my lunch today - such complex flavors!

Everytime I see a panda, I think of this video of the sneezing panda bear. Makes me laugh every time!

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