#1. Asahiyama Zoo – Asahikawa
Asahiyama Zoo is one the most famous zoos in Japan by its unique facilities. It keeps animals in a near-natural environment to not give stress on them and to let people learn how animals live in nature.
One of the attractive animals in the zoo is polar bears. They dive into the pool and you can see their swimming from the side through the glass. Penguins are also fantastic. When you walk through the transparent tunnel under the pool you can see penguins’ swimming that is just like they’re flying. The exhibition of seals is interesting, too. Seals look like feeling relaxed and playing while swimming through the tunnel. On the contrary, animals in Asahiyama Zoo look like observing people unlike other zoos.
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Address: Kuranuma, Higashi-Asahikawa-cho, Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Access: About 40minutes bus ride from JR Asahikawa Station/About 35-minute bus ride from Asahikawa Airport
9:30am ~ 5:15pm (Apr.29 – Oct.15)
9:30am ~ 4:30pm (Oct. 16 – Nov. 3)
10:30am ~ 3:30pm (Nov. 11 to Apr. 7 )
*9:30am ~ 9:00pm (Aug. 9 to Aug. 15)
*Closed from December 30 to January 1
Admission Fee: 820 yen (over high school students), free (under junior high school students)
Website: Asahikawa Zoo
#2. Maruyama Zoo – Sapporo
Maruyama Zoo is located in a residential area and it is easy to visit for Sapporo citizens and tourists. Since the zoo opened in 1951, it has been loved by people for long time. There is a special event of exciting experience. The event differs by the day; for example, you can see the inside of hippo’s mouth.
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Address: 3-1 Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Access: 15 minutes walk fromSapporo City Subway “Maruyama Koen” Station
9:00am ~ 5:00pm (Feb. 1 – Oct. 31)
9:00am ~ 4:00pm (Nov. 1 – Jan. 31)
*Closed from December 29 to December 31
Admission Fee: 600 yen (over high school students), Free (under junior high school students)
Website: Maruyama Zoo
#3. Kushiro Zoo – Kushiro
Photo Credit: pelican@flickr
Kushiro Zoo is established in the woods with rich natural environment. As the zoo preserves the natural environment, animals live there without stress.
Photo Credit: Mikiyoshihito@flickr
The most remarkable point of the zoo is that they keep endangered animals including snowy owl. Snowy owl is to bring happiness to those who see them. The owl appears in the movies of Harry Potter series as a pet of Harry Potter has beautiful pure white wings which are really beautiful and mysterious.
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Address: 11 Shimoninishibetsu, Akan-cho, Kushiro, Hokkaido
Access: About 55 minutes bus ride from JR Kushiro Station
9:30am ~ 4:30pm (Apr. 10 – the mid of October)
10:00am ~3:30pm (the mid of October – Apr. 9)
*Closed every Wednesdays from December to February/From December 29 to January 2
Admission Fee: 570 yen (over high school students), Free (under junior high school students)
Website: Kushiro Zoo (Japanese)
#4. Noboribetsu Bear Park – Noboribetsu
Photo Credit: Jiashiang@flickr
As you can guess from the name of the zoo, various kinds of bears living in Japan are mainly kept in Noboribetsu Bear Park. Most of people think bears are ferocious and dangerous, but bears in this park are friendly and lovely. They are not scared of people and beg for food with cute posture. You can’t help smiling if you see the real Teddy Bears.
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Noboribetsu Bear Park
Address: 224 Noboribetsu-onsen-cho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido
Access: 15 min bus ride from JR Noboribetsu Station to “Noboribetsu Onsen Bus Terminal” stop. 5 min walk from there.
8:00am ~ 5:00pm (Jul. 1 – Sep. 30)
8:30am ~ 4:30pm (Apr. 1 – Jun. 30/Oct. 1 – Jan. 31)
8:30am ~ 4:00pm (Feb. 1 – Mar. 31)
Closed the beginning of April
Admission Fee (including ropeway fare): 2,592 yen (over junior high school students), 1,296 yen (from 4-year to elementary school children)
Website: Noboribetsu Bear Park (Japanese)
#5. North Safari Sapporo – Sapporo
North Safari Sapporo is the strangest zoo in Hokkaido. You can touch various kinds of animals that you would never experience at any other zoos. As well as lovely animals, the zoo keep many dangerous animals and you can challenge going through “Dangerous Woods” where you can see many signs of disclaimers. You need to sign a contract before entrance.
In the zone, kangaroos may attack you to ask for food, porcupine may run after you and piranhas and alligators may bite you if you fall down from narrow bridge above the ponds of them. The message, “DANGER – You die when you fall down” inspires a feeling of fear. Moreover, there is a fast food restaurant named Kitchen Savannah that serve bizarre foods such as worms, bees, grasshoppers, scorpions, geckos, etc. It is recommended if you got bored with normal zoo and would like to have adventurous experience.
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North Safari Sapporo
Address: 469-1 Toyotaki, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaid
Access: 60 minutes bus ride from JR Sapporo Station in total. Board Jotetsu Bus and get off at Toyotaki Shogakko Mae bus stop and take free shuttle bus from there
Opening Hours: 10:00am ~ 5:00pm
*Closed December 1 to January 8
Admission Fee: 1,500 yen (over junior high school students), 500 yen (under elementary school students), Free (under 3-year old children)
Website: North Safari Sapporo (Japanese)