カテゴリーのアイコン Life in Japan
Why Are There Pandas in Japan?
Nov 02, 2023
4 min read
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Did you know that you can see pandas in Japan? In this article, we provide basic knowledge about pandas, background on why they can be seen in Japan, and where you can see them.

An Introduction to Pandas

Credit: Wonderly Imaging/Shutterstock.com

Scientific Name:

Pandas belong to the family Ursidae and their scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca.


Pandas are native to the mountainous regions of central China. They primarily inhabit bamboo forests at elevations between 5,000 and 10,000 feet.


Pandas have a distinctive black-and-white pattern. They have a round face with black patches around their eyes, ears, and shoulders. Their bodies are primarily white, while their limbs and ears are black.


Pandas are herbivores and their diet consists almost entirely of bamboo. They have a specialized wrist bone that acts as a thumb, allowing them to grip bamboo stalks and strip off the leaves.

Endangered Status:

Pandas are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Loss of habitat, poaching, and low reproduction rates are the primary threats to their survival.

Conservation Efforts:

Various conservation organizations are working to protect pandas and their habitats. Conservation measures include establishing protected areas, implementing breeding programs, and raising awareness about the importance of panda conservation.

Why Are There Pandas in Japan?

The presence of pandas in Japan can be attributed to international collaborations and conservation efforts. Here's why you can see Pandas in Japan.

Diplomatic Relations:

The exchange of pandas can be seen as a way to strengthen diplomatic ties between countries. Japan receives pandas from China as a symbol of goodwill and friendship between the two nations. These panda exchanges often occur as part of diplomatic agreements or to mark significant events.

Conservation and Research:

Japan, like many other countries, recognizes the importance of conservation and research efforts for endangered species. By hosting pandas, Japan aims to contribute to global efforts in studying and protecting these iconic animals. Panda research programs are often established to learn more about their behavior, ecology, and reproductive patterns.

Tourism and Education:

Pandas are a major draw for tourists. Having pandas in zoos or wildlife sanctuaries attracts both domestic and international visitors, which helps boost the local economy through tourism revenue. These facilities also serve as educational platforms, raising awareness about panda conservation and the importance of biodiversity.

Breeding and Conservation Centers:

Japan has established breeding and conservation centers to support panda conservation efforts. These centers provide specialized care, breeding programs, and veterinary support for pandas. The goal is to increase the panda population and eventually contribute to reintroduction programs in their native habitats. It's important to note that while pandas are not native to Japan, their presence in the country is driven by various factors, including diplomatic relationships, conservation efforts, and the aim to promote environmental awareness.

Where Can I See Pandas in Japan?

Credit: gracethang2/Shutterstock.com

There are only three places in Japan where pandas live; as of October 2023, one out of the three isn't open to the public, which means there are actually only two places.

Ueno Zoo (Tokyo):

The Ueno Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in Japan and is home to a pair of giant pandas. Visitors can observe the pandas in specially designed enclosures and learn about their behavior and conservation efforts.

Adventure World (Wakayama):

Adventure World in Wakayama Prefecture is a theme park and safari park with a panda breeding and research facility. Visitors can see pandas up close and watch them being fed.

Kobe Oji Zoo, (Hyogo):

Kobe Oji Zoo in Hyogo Prefecture is another place where pandas can be seen in Japan. This zoo has a dedicated panda house where visitors can observe pandas in their natural habitat. However, the pandas here are currently closed to the public due to aspects of their physical condition.

Why Not Visit Pandas While You Are in Japan?

Panda exhibits are subject to change, and temporary closures may occur, so visitors are advised to always check the latest information and opening hours before making plans to visit these locations. Why don't you go see pandas while you're in Japan? It will be a very enjoyable experience for families with children.

Pandas, popular on social networking sites, are adorable and soothing animals. It is very sad that pandas are in danger of extinction.

If you live in Japan, why not visit them?

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