What Is the Best Zoo in Japan?
What is the best zoo in Japan? That's what we're here to find out. Zoos in Japan come in all shapes and sizes, with all manner of animals and attractions on offer. Using our list of 13 as a guide, find for yourself the best zoo in Japan!
We, as humans, are inherently curious. We go to zoos because we want to know more about the animals around us and Japan is more than happy to accommodate this. Here is a list of Japan’s best, to quench that curiosity of yours and break the monotony of hopping from temple to temple.
1. Best Zoo in Japan: Wakayama Adventure World, Wakayama
Don’t let the prices scare you away, this establishment is so much more than a zoo. It has an aquarium, a safari park and numerous amusement park rides. Wakayama Adventure World is also home to the biggest panda family outside of China, with a grand total of 8 giant pandas. You may need more than a day to enjoy the many attractions that Wakayama Adventure World has to offer. Thankfully for you, they even offer a 2-day pass.
Address: 2399 Katada, Shirahama, Nishimuro, Wakayama 649-2201
Closest station: Shirahama
Admission: 1-day pass: 4,100 yen for adults (18+), 3,700 yen for seniors (65+), 3,300 yen for junior high school and senior high school students, 2,500 yen for elementary school students; 2-day pass: 7,200 yen for adults, 6,700 yen for seniors, 5,500 yen for junior high school and senior high school students, 3,900 yen for elementary school students
Hours: Typically open SUN-SAT 9:30AM-5:00PM; here is a more accurate day-to-day hours of operation
2. Best Zoo in Japan: Asahiyama Zoo, Hokkaido
Japan’s northernmost zoo is home to numerous polar animals – including penguins, seals and polar bears. Asahiyama Zoo differs from most zoos with its unique enclosures, including an underwater glass tunnel for watching the penguins dart by!
Address: 11-18 Kuranuma, Higashi-asahikawa, Asahikawi, Hokkaido 078-8205
Closest station: Asahikawa
Admission: 820 yen for adults (senior high school students and older), free for children (junior high school students and younger)
Hours: April-October: SUN-SAT 9:30AM-5:15PM; October-November: SUN-SAT 9:30AM-4:30PM; November-April: SUN-SAT 10:30AM-3:30PM; here is a more accurate day-to-day hours of operation
3. Best Zoo in Japan: African Safari, Oita
In the 2015 movie, Jurassic World, characters ride alongside the dinosaurs they’re marvelling at. You can too! Except replace dinosaurs with African safari animals (e.g. lions, cheetahs, giraffes). At African Safari, you get to drive up right next to these animals, and there’s always a jungle bus for those this doesn’t appeal to.
Address: 2-1755-1 Ajimumachi Minamihata, Usa, Oita 872-0722
Closest station: Beppu
Admission: 2,500 yen for adults (15+), 1,400 yen for children (4+); additional 600 yen for personal car use or 1,100 yen for adults and 900 yen for children for jungle bus
Hours: March-October: SUN-SAT 9:00AM-5:00PM; July-August (summer time): SUN-SAT 9:00AM-8:30PM; November-February SUN-SAT 10:00AM-4:00PM
4. Best Zoo in Japan: Fuji Safari Park, Shizuoka
There are various ways this safari park can be tackled: on foot, in your car, 4×4 rental or jungle bus. Like the various methods of exploring the park, there are various types of animal to gaze at and even help feed!
Address: 2255-27 Fujiwara Aza Suyama, Susono, Shizuoka 410-1231
Closest station: Gotemba
Admission: 2,700 yen for adults (high school students and older), 1,500 yen for children (ages 4 to junior high school students), 2,000 yen for seniors (65+); additional 500 yen for foot or 1,200 yen for jungle bus
5. Best Zoo in Japan: Yokohama Zoological Gardens “ZOORASIA”, Yokohama
The themes of ZOORASIA are “symbiosis of life” and “harmony with nature.” At a whopping 131.7 acres, it’s no surprise the zoo is able to deliver on these somewhat grandiose ideas. The largest zoo in Japan, the 400 animals that live here have enough space to feel right at home.
Address: 1175-1 Kamishiranecho, Asahi, Yokohama, Kanagawa 241-0001
Closest station: Tsurugamine or Nakayama
Admission: 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for senior high school students, 200 yen for elementary and junior high school students, free for children younger than the age of elementary school students
Hours: WED-MON 9:30AM-4:30PM, TUE Closed
6. Best Zoo in Japan: Tama Zoo (Tama Zoological Park), Tokyo
Tama Zoo is an incredible 129 acres, allowing most of the animals to roam freely. For an additional charge of 350 yen, you can get up-close and personal with the lions in the Lion Garden, but don’t worry, you’ll be safely within the confines of the bus as you come face-to-face with the kings of the jungle.
Address: 7-1-1, Hodokubo, Hino, Tokyo 191-0042
Closest station: Tama Dobutsu Koen
Admission: 600 yen adults (16-64), 300 yen for seniors (65+), 200 yen for students (13-15), free for children (0-12); free on May 5 (Tama Zoo’s Anniversary Day), May 4 (Greenery Day) and October 1 (Tokyo Citizens’ Day)
Hours: THU-TUE 9:30AM-5:00PM, WED Closed
7. Best Zoo in Japan: Ueno Zoo (Ueno Zoological Gardens), Tokyo
Ueno Park is home to many attractions, and one of the best is Ueno Zoo, Japan’s oldest. Since 1882, the zoo has been home to many types of animals including their famed giant pandas: Lili and Shinshin.
Address: 9-83, Ueno Park, Taito, Tokyo 110-8711
Closest station: Ueno
Admission: 600 yen adults (16-64), 300 yen for seniors (65+), 200 yen for students (13-15), free for children (0-12); free on March 20 (Ueno Zoo’s Anniversary Day), May 4 (Greenery Day) and October 1 (Tokyo Citizens’ Day)
Hours: TUE-SUN 9:30AM-5:00PM, MON Closed
8. Best Zoo in Japan: Kyoto City Zoo (Kyoto Municipal Zoo), Kyoto
As Japan’s second oldest zoo, the Kyoto City Zoo has over 700 hundred animals in its care. This zoo not only cares for its inhabitants, it also rehabilitates injured birds and mammals at their Wildlife Rescue Center.
Address: Okazaki, Hoshoji, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8333
Closest station: Higashiyama or Keage
Admission: 600 yen for adults, free for children (until junior high school)
Hours: March-November: TUE-SUN 9:00AM-5:00PM; December-February: TUE-SUN 9:00AM-4:30PM, MON Closed
9. Best Zoo in Japan: Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, Hokkaido
Although Sapporo Maruyama Zoo is smaller than most zoos, it is very well-maintained and all 168 species housed there seem to be living in comfort. Come to this popular Hokkaido zoo during the snowy winter to see many polar animals frolicking contently.
Address: 3-1 Miyagaoka, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0959
Closest station: Maruyama
Admission: 600 yen for adults (high school students and older), free for children (junior high school students or younger)
Hours: February-October: SUN-SAT 9:00AM-5:00PM; November-January: SUN-SAT 9:00AM-4:00PM
10. Best Zoo in Japan: Tennoji Zoo, Osaka
Tennoji Zoo is designed so that herbivores and carnivores appear to be sharing the same space, affording it a pleasantly natural feel. In addition, Tennoji Zoo is the only zoo in Japan boasting a kiwi bird.
Address: 1-108 Chausuyamacho, Tennoji, Osaka, Osaka 543-0063
Closest station: Dobutsuen-mae
Admission: 500 yen for adults (16+), free for children (under 16) and seniors (65+)
Hours: Weekdays: 9:30AM-5:00PM; Weekends: 9:30AM-6:00PM; MON Closed
11. Best Zoo in Japan: Nogeyama Zoo (Nogeyama Zoological Gardens), Yokohama
Nogeyama Zoo, located in Nogeyama Park close to many of the city’s public facilities has a nicely homely feel; its lack of entrance fee and convenient location meaning many locals treat the zoo like their backyard. This is especially befitting given their concept and mission statement: “everyone can visit easily, can take a rest, can be healed. Small kids can meet a creature for the first time and touch them and feel their life.” Nogeyama Zoo is also a very popular place to enjoy cherry blossoms (sakura) when they bloom.
Address: 63-10 Oimatsucho, Nishi, Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-0032
Closest station: Hinodecho or Sakuragicho
Hours: TUE-SUN 9:30AM-4:30PM, MON Closed
12. Best Zoo in Japan: Tobe Zoological Park, Ehime
This medium sized zoo is home to around 163 species, with its main star being a polar bear by the name of Peace. The zoo gets especially crowded on her birthday, December 2nd.
Address: 240 Kamiharamachi Tobe, Iyo, Ehime 791-2191
Closest station: Matsuyama
Admission: 460 yen for adults (18+), 100 yen for seniors (65+), 100 yen for children (6-17), free for children younger than 6
Hours: TUE-SUN 9:00AM-5:00PM, MON Closed
13. Best Zoo in Japan: Inokashira Park Zoo, Tokyo
Compared to its Tokyo competition, Inokashira Park Zoo is smaller and less grandiose. It is, however, extremely kid friendly and the cheapest among the three. It has a guinea pig petting area, you can shake hands with otters, stroke foxes and enjoy a few kiddy rides. Enjoy a pleasant afternoon with your family at Inokashira Park Zoo.
Address: 1-17-6, Gotenyama, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0005
Closest station: Kichijoji
Admission: 400 yen adults (16-64), 200 yen for seniors (65+), 150 yen for students (13-15), free for children (0-12); free on May 17 (Inokashira Park Zoo’s Anniversary Day), May 4 (Greenery Day) and October 1 (Tokyo Citizens’ Day)
Hours: TUE-SUN 9:30AM-5:00PM, MON Closed