Panda fever grips Tokyo as two new guests head to Ueno Zoo
Panda fever is gripping Tokyo as two of the furry creatures arrived at Ueno Zoo late Monday night.
With their own specially painted All Nippon Airlines jetliner and colorful transport boxes, the pair received a welcome treatment usually reserved for royals, with various decorations appearing around the streets of Tokyo.
Special panda manju buns have even been made, with all manners of trinkets on sale around Ueno station as the area geared up for the new arrivals.
Click View Gallery above for images of the panda-monium
The zoo will pay a hefty price tag of US$950,000 per year over 10 years to lease the animals, with the money going back to China where it will be used for wildlife protection.
According to Associated Press, the female Xiannu and male Bili endured a 30-hour journey from China's Sichuan province.
The arrival of the plane even got live coverage on national broadcaster NHK.
"Bili seemed a bit nervous and whining, but Xiannu is very steady," said Ueno Zoo Director Teruyuki Komiya on Tuesday morning.
Ueno Zoo first hosted pandas in 1972 after the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and China, but the last inhabitant, Ling Ling, died in 2008.
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