Archive | Parks and Zoos RSS feed for this section

Night Zoo

11 Aug

One week in August, Ueno Zoo in Tokyo has a “Night Zoo” event. We went to it yesterday. We’ve been to it before too (click here to see my post about it in 2011).

Before we went to the zoo, we stopped for lunch at 東京駅 (Tokyo Station):

An 「駅弁」 (Train station “bento”) shop. Have you ever had a Japanese “bento”?

You can watch them preparing the bento meals.

The 「銀の鈴」 (“Silver Bell”) in Tokyo Station…a popular meeting spot.

2015-08-10 11.24.48

「チキンラーメン」 (“Chicken Ramen”)

The one on the left says 「有休とります」 (“I’m gonna take a holiday”) to give your boss or co-workers. The other says 「ごめんね」 (“I’m sorry”) to give someone as an apology.

The Ultraman Shop’s “manager”.

The less-photographed entrance of 東京駅 (Tokyo Station).

Break time

The popular Japanese cartoon character “Doraemon” in the small children’s mini-amusement park outside Ueno Zoo.

I have many memories of taking my kids to this 「こども遊園地」 (Kids’ Amusement Park) when they were little.

The entrance to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. We went to the zoo in the afternoon and stayed until the end of the “Night Zoo” event.

We could see the pandas eating, rather than sleeping – as they usually are.

パンダ (Panda)

シンシン (メス) … (“Shin-Shin” the female panda).

リーリー (オス) …. (“Ri-Ri” the male panda).

The polar bear was a highlight for us because it was feeding time when we happened to go to that exhibit…and also, Ueno Zoo has added a new viewing area where we could watch him swim!

Huge ゾウガメ (Giant Tortoise)

コビトカバ (Pygmy Hippo)

Sleeping seals.

The sun was setting and “Night Zoo” began.

 

Imperial Palace inner grounds

10 Dec

If you have ever visited the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, you most likely have only seen the outer grounds.
That is the area that is normally open to the public. There are only a few days each year that the general public are permitted to enter the inner grounds (and on those days, you must line up and go through a baggage search and pass a metal detector).

Last weekend was one of the rare occasions that the Imperial Palace inner grounds were open to the public.
People were allowed in to view (and photograph) the beautiful autumn colors in the royal gardens.

Last Sunday, my wife and I went there. Here are some of the photographs I took of the inner grounds:

2014-12-07 14.30.25

2014-12-07 14.30.53

2014-12-07 14.37.47

2014-12-07 14.39.13

2014-12-07 14.52.38

2014-12-07 14.57.40

The staff quarters.

 

2014-12-07 14.59.02

2014-12-07 15.08.23

2014-12-07 15.10.57

2014-12-07 15.12.32

2014-12-07 15.16.27

2014-12-07 15.17.35

2014-12-07 15.19.28

2014-12-07 15.26.08

2014-12-07 15.28.16

2014-12-07 15.29.12

2014-12-07 15.37.53

This foundation is the remnants of the original castle from centuries ago. The roof of the famous Nippon-Budokan can be seen in the distance.

 

2014-12-07 15.44.10

The Imperial music hall.

 

2014-12-07 15.55.51

One of the original guards’ quarters

 

2014-12-07 16.15.39

2014-12-07 16.15.42

2014-12-07 16.27.01

From there, we walked to the 100 year old Tokyo Station for dinner.

 

Zoo Jeans

15 Jul

From Japan Today:

A zoo in Ibaraki Prefecture has taken the catwalk to a wild new level, using some of its fiercest inhabitants to rip and claw jeans to a fashionably distressed look.

The facility in Kamine has unveiled “Zoo Jeans”, styled by the fangs and claws of lions, tigers and bears.

Zoo officials said the material held up well, all things considered.

“We wrapped several pieces of denim around tires and other toys. Once they were thrown into the enclosures, the animals jumped on them,” said zoo director Nobutaka Namae, adding that the pieces were later patched together to create the finished product.

bbcd92ab4354881298c1698f652d9bf726ddb683

“The denim was actually much tougher than we had thought, and it turned out nicely destroyed.”

The idea came from a Tokyo advertising executive who wanted to give something back to the zoo where he spent time as a child, Namae added.

Two pairs of jeans ripped by lions and a tiger-destroyed version are being auctioned on the Internet with proceeds to be donated to the zoo and the conservation group WWF.

As of Monday, bidding on the tiger-torn denim had soared to ¥121,000 (about US$1,191).

They will be on exhibit at the Kamine Zoo—along with a bear-savaged version—until next week.

Tokyo with kids…

4 Feb

I’m often contacted by parents in various countries who are planning to visit Tokyo with their children…and ask me for suggestions for places to take them in this city.

So I thought it would be helpful for people who are planning to visit Tokyo with kids if I wrote a post with some places that are popular with kids in Tokyo.

So, in no particular order, here is a brief list of places in Tokyo to take kids:

Tokyo Disneyland and/or Tokyo Disney Sea

KiddylandOne of the giant toy stores in Tokyo. In Omotesando, near Harajuku.

Yamashiroya – Another giant toy store. Near Ueno train station.

Hakuhinkan – This giant toy store is in Ginza.

Odaiba – A driverless train takes you to this part of Tokyo.  Has a shopping center, cat-cafe, bicycle rental, a Statue of Liberty like the one in New York…but smaller, and a life-sizeGundam” robot.

gundam

Children’s Castle

Zoos and/or Aquariums – There are many excellent zoos and aquariums in and around Tokyo. This site tells the government-owned ones in Tokyo limits…there are more than these.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Sky Tree – At 634 meters tall, it’s the world’s tallest tower. It’s within walking distance of Asakusa.

I also sometimes give inexpensive (not much more than the cost of my train fare) walking tours of Tokyo to foreign visitors, when my schedule allows.

Feel free to contact me with this form if you need more information:

都民の日

1 Oct

Today (October 1st) is 「都民の日」 (Tokyo Residents’ Day).

I wrote about this day last year (Click here to read it).

Students in Tokyo have the day off today, and public zoos, aquariums and museums offer free admission today (private ones normally don’t).

If you’re in Tokyo and you want to go somewhere free (and don’t mind the inevitable crowd)…here’s a list of places in Tokyo offering free admission on October 1st every year (there may be others…these are the ones I remember off hand):

Koishikawa Korakuen
Tama Zoo
Ueno Zoo
Tokyo Sea Life Park
Inokashira Zoo
Yumenoshima Greenhouse
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum

Disney Halloween

12 Sep

When I first came to Japan, there was no Halloween here.
But it’s become more and more popular in Japan over the years.

It’s different from Halloween in America though. Japanese kids don’t knock on their neighbors doors to “trick ‘r treat” for candy.

There are Halloween parades and some shopping malls let kids “trick ‘r treat” from store to store.

One of the most popular Halloween event in Tokyo is Tokyo Disneyland’s Halloween theme.
It starts in September and goes til October 31st (Tokyo Disney’s X-mas theme starts right after).

halloween

The Happiness Year

15 Apr

Tokyo Disneyland opened on 1983 April 15th … thirty years ago today.

image

I can’t believe how fast time flies!
When I first came to Japan, Tokyo Disneyland was only seven years old.

Tokyo Disneyland is calling this year, 2013, the “Happiness Year”.

Have you ever been to Tokyo Disneyland or any of the world’s Disney parks?