Photo: PR Times

Ueno department store bids farewell to giant panda with sweets & souvenirs

By Jen Santelices, grape Japan

This month, one of Tokyo’s most popular zoos, Ueno Zoo, will bid farewell to one of its star attractions: Xiang Xiang the giant panda. The female giant panda is currently loaned to the Tokyo zoo by the Chinese government, and will be returning to China at the end of December.

Due to the low number of pandas that are still alive today, they are considered an endangered species and there are special rules in place for their conservation. Countries can borrow pandas from China, but these rules mean that rare animals like pandas and their cubs cannot be legally traded.

Xiang Xiang was born at Ueno Zoo and turned three years old this year. According to a report by the Mainichi, she was originally supposed to be sent back to China once she turned two years old, however, because of her popularity, the Tokyo government negotiated her stay to last until the end of this year.

In preparation for her upcoming departure, a department store located in Ueno is holding a “thank you” celebration for Xiang Xiang through panda-themed merchandise and food items.

The food items include a strawberry and sour cream cake with the cream depicting panda head shapes, two forms of chirashizushi (sushi rice in a bowl sprinkled with ingredients) with fish and eggs forming a panda face, and colorful panda sweet buns.

Photo: PR Times

Photo: PR Times

The panda-themed merchandise, on the other hand, includes a commemorative medallion with an image of Xiang Xiang, and the inscription “Thank you, Xiang Xiang” written in Japanese. Owing to its material being pure gold, the medallion is priced at a whopping 650,000 yen.

Photo: PR Times

The food and merchandise is currently being sold at the Ueno branch of Matsuzakaya department store. Their “thank you” celebration also includes a photo exhibition featuring photos of Xiang Xiang, and the display of a giant balloon featuring the giant panda’s face that’ll take place on Dec 23 to 25.

You can find more details in Japanese through the department store’s website.

Read more stories from grape Japan.

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© grape Japan

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I think the Ueno Zoo, which has succeeded in raising pandas that are difficult to breed, is amazing. Above all, I really want to eat this food that brings out the cuteness of pandas.

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Not a fan of zoos but Xiang Xiang will not receive better VIP treatment than that she’s received in Ueno.

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