Opened in 1882, Ueno Zoo is Japan's oldest zoo. Its most popular residents are giant panda bears, which first moved here in 1972 on the occasion of the normalization of relations between Japan and China. The zoo temporarily had no pandas after the death of Ling Ling in 2008, but received two new baby pandas in February 2011.
"Wild" beasts break loose from Tokyo Zoo to the delight of Japanese children: Ueno Zoo's "Escaped Animal Drill" is one of Tokyo's oddest annual events, but one that has built up a cult following among elementary school-aged children, and lovers of the absurd. Zookeepers dress up in elaborate animal costumes and make a break for it, while 150 of their colleagues, together with police and emergency workers, practice how they would handle the situation if an animal really breaks loose.