Ueno Zoo

(Sept 20) Since my flight home left in the evening, I was left with almost a full day to kill in Tokyo. I had never been to Ueno Park, so I decided to check it out.

There are lots of interesting things in the park, but the single most popular attraction is surely the zoo. My expectations were not very high based on my previous experience with Japanese zoos, but in this case I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t quite measure up to one of the top-ranked American zoos (e.g. San Diego, Washington or the Bronx) but given the limited space they have available it is really pretty good.
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Hakodate

(Sept 18) Hakodate takes its name from the Ainu words for “box house”, referring to a trading post built there centuries ago. Over the years it grew into a bustling port. When the Shogunate was forced to end its policy of isolation, Hakodate and Shimoda were the first two ports opened to foreign trade in 1854. Thus Hakodate became one of the first places where Western culture entered Japan.
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