The biggest stars in Ueno district are UNDOUBTEDLY the giant pandas living in Ueno Zoo. In this panda-loving town, a fantastic new thing was added to the zoo. The panda family got the new house!
I FINALLY visited it this November, so I’ll show you how it was like!
The Long Way to the Panda House
The construction of the panda house was finished in September, 2020. Yes, it opened more than 1 year ago, but I hadn’t seen it myself for a year.
It was a long way, even if not a long story.
In fact, the new panda house was supposed to be completed before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games. People imagined that they would hold its opening ceremony surrounded by cherry blossoms in Ueno Park. They also expected that international travelers would bring home an extra memory to see the happy pandas in the summer.
And then, COVID-19 viruses destroyed all the sweet dreams.
Tokyo 2020 Games was postponed to 2021 and the construction was delayed, too, because of the national emergency. It was completed in autumn after all, but you’ll see that the opening ceremony didn’t become ideally flourishing. Can it be a joyful celebration under the limit of the zoo visitors? The pandemic forces us to get a reservation ticket to enter Ueno Zoo!
I can’t help pointing out that the timing was too bad – it was the middle of the pandemic, right?
But the crisis went down in Japan this autumn, so I made a plan to meet the happy pandas at last.
“Panda no Mori”
The new panda house is named, “Panda no Mori”, which means “Pandas’ Forest”. It is much larger than the old one and full of inspirations from the Chinese woods. Now the panda family can live in the environment similar to their home in China! Sounds fantastic, isn’t it?
So this is the playground…
In my ideal world, there should be Ri Ri & Shin Shin playing around in the garden. But when I went there, Ri Ri was inside the house and Shin Shin wasn’t on display. Things don’t go as I wish…
But at least I can see it’s a good environment for them. Don’t you think that the playground is so natural with many trees and rocks?
According to the explanation, the rock cave can be a shelter from rain.
I learned later that they are eating and playing out in the morning and go back to the room in the afternoon. Hopefully I’ll get a reservation in the morning next time!
Ri Ri the Dad is So Fine!
At this moment, only Ri Ri is on display. Of course, I was in the line to wait to see him. Thanks to the limitation of visitors, it took just 10 minutes.
Yes, he is! He was eating in the new room just as he used to!
He didn’t look at us face to face at that time, so I went to see him again, and then…
Yeeees!! He was waling around, and sat down.
Yes, this is exactly Ri Ri’s lifestyle. In my opinion, he is the last panda who will fail you by just napping (and Shin Shin as well). Whenever I see him, he’s eating TONS of bamboo leaves. Look at his face!
I was so happy to see Ri Ri perfectly fine during humans’ pandemic. It was kind of heartwarming that COVID-19 seems NOTHING to the pandas’ life.
The Twins: Not Yet
If you are following me on Facebook or somewhere, you probably got the news that the twin cubs were born in June.
Where are they?
Actually, they haven’t made their debut to the zoo yet. They are growing up safely in the background with Shin Shin the Mum now.
Ueno Zoo says we will be able to see them in the coming January. Hopefully I’ll go to see the family in the new playground as soon as possible!