Free day today so we headed to the railway station across the road, bought a one day pass and headed for the Ueno Zoo to see the Pandas. A little difficulty getting our ticket from the vending machine (in Japanese). Had a set of instructions with pictures to show the steps to follow but the second step was not the one in the instructions so decided it was easier to use the counter which also clarified which line we would be on. Done.
Easy to use train system with almost all signs in English as well and a great map showing all the lines. Electronic signs in the carriages showing current and upcoming stations make it easy to get around. Off at Ueno and after a couple of circles and a false "Continue straight ahead", we reached agreement with Google Maps and found the zoo.
Sign gives prices for Adults and discount for Seniors. May as well try. No luck, further reading shows this was only for over 65's. Hit up the vending machine for tickets, select Adult of Child, and a big red notice saying today was seniors day and all over 60 are in for free. Out with the Seniors card and in we went. Great.
We headed for the Panda exhibit as Therese had read that the queues could get long. Found the queue, though it wasn't the front, wasn't the back either but somewhere about the middle and a lot of signs pointing out to continue to the end of the queue. A cut lunch and water bag later, we found the end of the queue and a bloke with a sign saying 80 minutes. Great! 70 minutes later we were almost in and we read a sign saying "Have cameras ready - only about 1 minute for pictures". "Well", I thought, that's good value for standing in line for 70 minutes. I did manage to get a couple of OK photos though and that was when we struck a problem that was to plague us all day. Many displays had glass walls for viewing and with lots of people around, reflections on the glass ruined many photos.
Anyway, today is Nature Day for you so the photos you get will be of animals we don't often see in Australian zoos, so I hope they entertain you. I did the Sacred Ibis display and took the time to photograph it for you. It looks like we maybe we should be giving our "Bin Chickens" more respect.
After about 3 hours of looking at birds and animals it was back to the train in light rain with the intention of hopping off at a couple of spots on the way back but, after we sat down for a while, the 10 klms yesterday, 6 more today and more to come tomorrow, took over and we decided to call it a day.
Earlier start in the morning, pack up, breakfast, check-out and ready to roll at 8:30. Rain forecast which may spoil the Mt Fuji visit.