Are there pandas in Japan? (2023)

When you think of a panda, what image can you visualize best?

Perhaps the vision of a panda sitting in a bamboo forest eating bamboo comes to mind at first.

Since there are quite a few bamboo forests in Japan, you may be wondering if there are pandas in Japan.

Are there pandas in Japan? (1)

Well, today I come to clear all your curiosity about it.

So read on to quench your thirst.

Do pandas live in Japan?

Yes, pandas live in Japan, but you can only find them in Japanese zoos, since they are not native to our homeland. Despite this, pandas are very popular in Japan.

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But few know how this cute animal became one of Japan's favorite symbols.

Anyway, pandas are native to southern China. So pandas are actually Chinese, not Japanese.

So how can you see them in the Japanese zoo? You are probably thinking about it right now.

Well relax. I am letting you know all these facts about pandas in Japan.

When did pandas come to Japan?

People of the Republic of Chinaof the gifted pandasto Japan as part of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1972.

These two pandas were namedKang KangmiLan Lan.

The Japanese were very quick to welcome these adorable wild animals into their culture. His arrival triggered a remarkable "panda boom" in Japan.

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Well, this is not the end. What happened after that?

For more details, keep reading….

History of the arrival of pandas in Japan

One day, these two pandas left this world, and after that, the female Huan Huan and the male Fei Fei were brought in in the early 1980s.

Later, in 1886, Huan Huan gave birth to a female panda named Tong Tong, and in 1988 a male panda, You You, was born.

Meanwhile, in 1984, pandas were listed as animals that could no longer be traded as part of conservation.

Unfortunately, this move led to pandas in Japan being considered a loan from China.

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Therefore, there is an agreement or agreement between the two countries that any panda born in Japan must be returned to China within two years of being born. And things were going according to plan.

Let's see what happens next.

In the year 1992, a male panda, Ling Ling, came to Tokyo. His mating partner, Shuan Shuan, also joined him at the Ueno Zoo to accompany him, but unfortunately, in 2008, she died without leaving any offspring.

For the next three years, from 2008 to 2011, the Ueno Zoo had no pandas!

(Video) Panda cub Saihin at Adventure World in Japan

Then, in 2011, a male and female panda named Ri Ri and Shin Shin, respectively, arrived at the Ueno Zoo from China.

When this couple gave birth to a cub named Xiang Xiang in 2017, a new panda boom broke out once again at the Ueno Zoo.

Now it's time to tell a joyful story about this couple.

Importance of pandas in Japanese culture

In Japan, pandas are beloved creatures seen throughout Japanese culture. These cute animals have become a symbol of peace, love and joy due to their adorable appearance and gentle temperament.

See Also All About the Tanuki Japanese Raccoon Dog

Throughout the years, pandas have been synonymous with culture in Japan, inspiring hope and joy wherever they appear.

According to a folk tale, the pandas received their unique black and white markings as a blessing from the gods, who used their special magical powers to ensure the pandas' protection in the future.

This explains why they are now seen as a symbol of protection and good luck in Japan.

The love for pandas was evident in Japanese art, symbolizing innocence and inner peace. You will often see them accompanied by children or on wall scrolls or figurines, as a symbol of peace and prosperity.

When it comes to literature, pandas also hold a special place in literary works. In the Edo period, their appearances were often used as symbols of joy in Noh theater, and in the Meiji period, their fur was used as a poetic metaphor for happiness.

Today, pandas have become an endlessly useful tool for authors and illustrators, who use them to convey simple and poignant messages and serve as a reminder of life's joys.

In food and drink, pandas also have a place in Japanese culture. Tea companies often use them in marketing campaigns as they represent innocence and peace, as well as serving as an attractive presence that people are expected to find comforting.

No matter where they appear, pandas in Japan are never far away. An important part of Japanese culture, these gentle animals represent peace and protection, as well as providing an emotional connection to those who encounter them.

For the people of Japan, pandas are an invaluable part of their lives, representing a soft and gentle reminder of the strength and joy of life.

A pleasant surprise in the oldest zoo in Japan: the birth of two twin pandas

After Xiang Xiang was born, Ri Ri did not mate with her partner Shin Shin for almost four years.

Finally, in early November 2020, after a four-year hiatus, the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo announced the news of Shin Shin's pregnancy.

And then, on June 23, 2021, Shin Shin gave birth to not just one, but two puppies! So they were the first twin pandas born in Japan.

It's great news!

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Besides the Ueno Zoo, you can see pandas in other places in Japan where pandas are kept in captivity.

No matter how cute this animal is, you cannot keep it as a pet, since private captivity is not allowed.

So pandas live in the wild only in China, and after 1984 all pandas technically belong to China. Pandas are only rented from other countries, including Japan.

Anyway, now that you know that pandas exist in Japan, you might be curious about where to visit them. Good?

Alright, let's settle these places now.

Where to see pandas in Japan?

Ever since pandas were brought to Japan, we Japanese have loved this wild animal immensely.

Some Japanese zoos are your only option if you too are looking forward to seeing these adorable animals.

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Tourists, as well as locals, flock to the Japan Zoo to see the pandas.

Zoos in Japan with pandas

The places where you can see pandas in Japan are given here:

(Video) 3 Pandas in Japan Full Gameplay Walkthrough

1. Ueno Zoo, Tokyo

Ueno Zoo, the oldest zoo in Japan, is located in the center of Tokyo and is easily accessible for visitors. The main attraction of this zoo is the pandas.

See also 10 must-see zoos in Japan 2023

Previously, this zoo was presented with outdated cages, but recently an initiation was made to keep its environment as close as possible to the natural habitat of the animals.

Therefore, you may consider bringing your young children or the whole family for the pure entertainment.

I have included some information here for your convenience.

Needed information
Zoo opening hours (regular):9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are only available until 4:00 p.m. m. on the counter.
Closed days:Monday (if Monday is a holiday, the zoo closes on Tuesday).
Parking lot:This zoo does not have parking areas, but you can get paid parking nearby.

Time can change for any obvious situation. So you have to be sure about the time before you go there.

Canto checkfor schedule details and advance ticket reservations.

Fee according to age
Children (0-12):Book.
Students (13-15):200 trae.
Adults (16 -64):600 trae.
Seniors (64+):300 trae.

Here I am attaching a video about the year-long journey of a baby panda Xiang Xiang. You already know that you are the son of the Ri-Shin couple.

I hope you liked seeing so much cuteness.

2. World of Adventures, Wakayama

Adventure World, also known as Safari World, has a relatively larger area where animals are kept in an environment almost similar to their natural habitat.

In 1994, the first panda arrived at Adventure World, and as of 2016, 14 captive panda cubs have been born here.

However, you will currently see six pandas here, including the giant panda baby Yuihin, who is everyone's favourite.

The exceptional thing about this place is that if you want to get up close and personal with these adorable animals, this place is perfect for you.

They even run a Panda Love Tour, which gives you the chance to see the pandas up close. You can even feed them their favorite apples.

Needed information
Opening time:9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The time may vary according to the season.
Closed days:Closed days are not scheduled.

You have to check yourofficial websiteto find out in advance about the closing days and opening hours. You can also buy tickets here.

Tickets are also available at the counter.

Fee according to age
Children (4-11):2800 trae.
Students (12-17):3800 trae.
Adults (18-18+):4800 trae.
Seniors (65-65+):4300 trae.
pandas love tour
Cost per person:7000 trae.
Duration:50 minutes
Limitations:15 people a day.

Check out this cute mini video of Saihin panda cub who was born on August 18, 2018.

3. Kobe Oji Zoo, Kobe

There have been pandas in this Kobe Oji Zoo for many years, but recently, on June 1, 2020, the panda rental from Tan Tan China ended.

Tan Tan was the last panda at the zoo and sadly, he was sent back to China.

Therefore, there is a high possibility that the Kobe Oji Zoo will welcome another panda soon.

Needed information
Business hours:9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (March to October, last entry: 4:30 p.m.) and 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (November to February, last entry: 4:00 p.m.).
Closed Day:Wednesday.
Fee according to age
High school and minors, over 65 Hyogo Prefecture, Disabled person: BOOK!!!
Adults (secondary and higher):600 trae.

To checkits websitebefore going there as the weather may vary for certain conditions.

Well, these are the places where you can see pandas in Japan.

We have seen that the number of pandas in Japan is so low that you can count them manually.

How many pandas are there in Japan?

As of 2020, before Tan Tan was sent back to China, there were ten pandas in total. But now there are only nine left in Japan. Three of them are at the Ueno Zoo and the other six are at Adventure Park.

See also Are there squirrels in Japan? quench your thirst

Current Panda Statistics in Japan

NameGenderCurrent location

ri ri


Ueno Zoo



Ueno Zoo

xiang xiang

Ffor mom

Ueno Zoo

I could


world of adventures


Ffor mom

world of adventures

oh go

Ffor mom

world of adventures

go there

Ffor mom

world of adventures


Ffor mom

world of adventures



world of adventures

Since you have been with me for a long time, I can assume that you are immensely interested in visiting these cute creatures.

You already know where to go, but what time of day will be the best time to visit the pandas?

Best time to see pandas

Pandas are generally very lazy animals. They eat and sleep a lot. However, they do not follow a fixed routine.

(Video) 3 pandas in japan

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But if you want to have the best experience, you should go to the zoo in the morning. This is the time when they are likely to be active. You can even see them chewing on bamboo.

And a panda holding a bamboo with its front paws: what a cute scene!

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Be prepared to head out early in the morning if you don't want to miss out on this utter cuteness.

Well, I have already provided you with all the necessary information.

Now we go to another part of this writing. The pandas I've been talking about all this time were all giant pandas.

But what about red pandas? Now let's know about them in brief.

You can read:

Are there squirrels in Japan? quench your thirst

What are the differences between giant pandas and red pandas?

Despite having 'panda' in their name, these two are not related to each other.

Are you surprised to hear this?

Yes dear! Giant pandas are members of the bear family, like black bears and grizzly bears, while red pandas are included in the ailuridae family. In fact, red pandas are the only living part of this family.

The giant panda is much bigger than the red panda. The appearance is also different. See the photo below of a red panda and you yourself will understand the differences.

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Now the question is, do red pandas live in Japan?

Are there red pandas in Japan?

Like giant pandas, red pandas are also not native to Japan.

They are native only to a certain part of Asia. You can find red pandas in the bamboo forests of this continent, and this is the only similarity between a giant panda and a red panda.

Mood all day 😴 Cute Red Panda in Japan 🧡

- Fubiz (@fubiz)January 29, 2023

However, you can see them in zoos in Japan.

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Where to see red pandas in Japan?

Here I leave the places for your convenience.

1. Nishiyama Zoo
Zoo operating hours (normal):9h-16h30.
Closed Day:Monday.
Contact details:3-chome-8-10 Sakuramachi, Sabae, Fukui 916-0027, Japan.
Telephone:+81 778-51-1001
2. Nagano Chausuyama Zoo
Business hours:9h30 – 16h30.
Contact details:570-1 Shinonoiutabi, Nagano, 388-8016, Japan.
Telephone:+81 26-293-5167
Are there pandas in Japan? (11)
3. Nogeyama Zoo
Business hours:9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.).
Day of rest:Monday.
Contact details:63-10, Oimatsu-cho, Nishi-ku Yokohama, 220-0032, Japan.

4. Ueno Zoo:Information already provided.

5. Kobe Oji Zoo:Information already provided.

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It is good to contact them before going there, as the opening hours can change under certain conditions.

My long discussion on pandas ends here. I have nothing more to report.


So are there pandas in Japan?

I think you already have your answer. Although pandas are not native to Japan, you can see them in Japanese zoos.

I have provided all the details about the pandas in Japan.

Now, I hope you don't have any more questions in mind.

I wish you a pleasant and memorable time with the pandas.


Frequent questions:

Yes, it is true that all pandas are born female. When a panda is startled within the first 48 hours of its life, it transforms into a male. This is the reason why some zoos employ panda ghosts.

Spring is the mating season for pandas, which occurs between March and May. Males and females usually get along for 2-4 days, with gestation usually lasting 95-160 days.

Pandas' eyes are usually black or brown, and they have a ring of black fur around their eyes.

Pandas have 6 toes on each paw, including one that is opposable, which helps them eat bamboo more quickly and efficiently. It actually looks more like an extended wrist bone than a thumb. This extra appendage helps pandas hold and peel the bamboo while they eat.

Pandas are nearly vegetarian, their diet consisting mainly of the stems, leaves, and shoots of various species of bamboo.

However, pandas sometimes eat other plants and even meat. For meat, they sometimes hunt pikas and other small rodents.

(Video) A Japanese panda keeper's China story


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