10 Must-visit Zoos In Japan 2024

I’ve put together a list of the top 6 incredible zoos in Japan that everyone should visit, complete with fascinating animals, lovely gardens, and exciting activities for all ages!

Venture into the wild heart of Japan, where majestic creatures roam in meticulously crafted landscapes.

From the snowy peaks of Hokkaido to the subtropical shores of Okinawa, Japan’s zoos offer a remarkable glimpse into the animal kingdom, with unique experiences and a focus on conservation.

Whether you’re enthralled by giant pandas, captivated by playful penguins, or awed by the grace of Amur tigers, prepare to be enchanted by the diverse tapestry of life waiting to be discovered in these must-visit zoos.

Must-visit Zoos in Japan

Ueno Zoo (Ueno)

Ueno Zoo is one of the quintessential must-visit zoos in Japan and a long-standing tourist hub.

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Ueno Park in the vibrant metropolis city of Tokyo, Ueno Zoo is home to some of the country’s most beloved animals, making it a great destination for children and adults alike.  

Ueno Zoo harbors a plethora of animal species from around the world, including polar bears, koalas, pandas, and elephants. 

Take a walk through the Zoo’s landscaped pathways and spacious enclosures as you observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. 

Be sure to check out the unique nocturnal house, which provides a great opportunity to get an up-close look at some of the less visible but equally fascinating creatures.

When you’ve had your fill of animal gazing, take a break indoors with an educational tour of the Zoo’s popular Science Museum. 

Learn about the evolution of animals and the unique habitats they inhabit all around the globe. 

There are also multimedia workshops and interactive displays to bring science to life and give visitors a greater appreciation of the Earth’s biodiversity.  

Ueno Zoo is also a great place to take a break from the bustling city streets. 

Set in the peaceful environs of Ueno Park, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic outing. 

Spot soaring herons, lazy turtles, and soaring eagles amongst Ueno Park’s picturesque lake and forest landscape, or grab a bite to eat at one of the Zoo’s many restaurants and cafes.  

Those seeking a cultural experience should be sure to visit around March to witness the Sakura Matsuri Festival. 

Witness the Zoo come alive with parades and performances, or take a leisurely walk through enshrined shrine paths on a guided tour. It’s the perfect way to explore Ueno’s special history while adding a bit of spice to any Japan travel itinerary. 

No matter the season, Ueno Zoo is the perfect place to explore and learn about the world’s wildlife.

Nogeyama Zoo (Kanagawa)

Nogeyama Zoo in Kanagawa is an absolute must-visit for any visitors to Japan who are keen animal lovers. 

Located in the heart of Kanagawa’s Shiroyama Park, this delightful zoo is a delight to visit for people of all ages. Nogeyama Zoo opened its doors in 1948 and has been enchanting visitors ever since.

The zoo proudly houses over 480 species of animals from all over the world and is considered one of Japan’s most outstanding zoos for its rich variety. 

From majestic lions and curious tigers to the stately Japanese serow, there is something for everyone to marvel at here. The zoo also features a dedicated cat house with a wide selection of domestic and wild cats under one roof.

What really makes a visit to Nogeyama Zoo particularly special is its rich historic heritage.

The zoo was built over 70 years ago and today, it looks very much the same as it has done since then. Year-round, you can wander around the spacious, vibrant grounds and admire the various habitats that have been designed and set up. 

Throughout the year, the zoo also holds various events such as animal shows, workshops, lectures and entertaining daily feedings.

Nogeyama Zoo also has some wonderful educational opportunities for children. The zoo has set up a range of unique activities and interactive exhibitions to spark the imaginations of children and to teach them about the incredible variety of wild animals. 

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Kids can also enjoy some free petting sessions and a range of educational lectures which are available in both English and Japanese.

Nogeyama Zoo is an idyllic place to spend a day and as an added bonus, it’s also free of charge! Admission is free for everyone, making it an ideal place for families on a budget or those looking to save money on sightseeing. 

It’s definitely worth a visit to indulge in some quality time with nature, marvel at the zoo’s lush variety of animals and witness the wonder of its historic heritage.

Zoorasia (Kanagawa)

Zoorasia in Kanagawa is a must-visit for any zoo enthusiast who makes the journey to Japan.

Located just outside Yokohama City in Yokohama Prefecture, this sprawling zoological park and botanical garden stretched across nearly 200 hectares of land offers the unique chance to experience a dazzling range of flora and fauna up close.

The star attraction at Zoorasia is the giant panda, with guests regularly queuing up to catch a glimpse of the furry icons. It’s also home to many other endangered species such as Japanese wildcats, Tanuki, Owston’s Civet, and Japanese macaques. 

Visitors can even see animals such as brown bears, snow leopards and Eurasian lynxes since each area in the zoo is designed to replicate the wildlife’s natural habitats. 

Furthermore, Zoorasia is the largest botanical garden in Japan, boasting more than 10,000 species of plants. The variety of stunning blossoms, trees, and flowers will please the eyes of any nature lover.

The park is divided into six distinct areas, each featuring its own unique style.

Notable areas include Asian Tropical Forest, Subarctic Environment, and Oceanic Zoo, which each deliver an alluring mix of animals and plant life, as well as an atmosphere that is special to that particular area.

zoos in japan

In addition to its abundance of wildlife, visitors may also take advantage of the variety of activities available, such as a safari tour, a petting zoo, and a go-kart track around the park. 

At certain times of the year, special events such as parades of beautiful animals are offered as well. 

For those looking to make an even more permanent commitment while they’re in Zoorasia, they also have the opportunity to adopt animals. 

This is a great way to do your part to help ensure these creatures are well taken care of during their stay in the zoo. Once adopted, the adopted animal receives extra care and notable benefits, such as personalized presents and discounts on tickets. 

But regardless of whether you have adopted an animal or not, Zoorasia offers something truly special to everyone. Few places are able to deliver such a variety of experiences and opportunities in one place. All this and more make Zoorasia a must-visit for every visitor to Japan!

Tobe Zoological Park (Ehime)

Tobe Zoological Park in Ehime is one of Japan’s must-visit zoos. Sitting atop a hill overlooking the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, the park has a breathtaking panoramic view. 

The variety of animal species it houses and its overwhelmingly beautiful landscape will make you forget that you’re in an urban environment.

Tobe Zoological Park was founded in 1983 and is an impressive 125 acres in size! This well-established garden has captivatingly diverse flora that adds to the charm of the park, making it an ideal spot to explore and enjoy. 

Here visitors can encounter fascinating wildlife up close, including endangered species such as the Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and the Blakiston’s Fish-Owl (Ketupa blakistoni). 

Furthermore, the park offers multiple activities for visitors, such as walking tours, animal viewing areas, and restaurants.

The park itself isn’t the only interesting aspect of the area— Tobe Zoo is directly connected to Tobe Aquarium, making it a great combination for those seeking a comprehensive animal-themed experience. 

Tobe Aquarium displays a wide variety of sea creatures such as dolphins, sea turtles, jellyfish, and more. This diverse range of aquatic species gives visitors an entertaining opportunity to learn about and interact with aquatic life.

In Tobe Zoological Park, not only will visitors be able to observe a wide variety of animals in their natural habitats, but they can also participate in unique activities. 

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Popular activities include the goat walk, which allows visitors to feed goats, the “Meet the Animals” program, and the Giraffe Observation Deck. The “Meet the Animals” program is the most exciting as it allows visitors to feed, talk, and get up close to the animals.

Tobe Zoological Park isn’t only a wonderful destination for animal lovers, but it’s also great for families and young children alike. 

There are plenty of fanciful attractions that provide fun and entertainment, such as the “Sky Walk” where visitors can observe the wildlife from above, the “Maze” which is full of interactive puzzles, and the “Banana Boat” ride which will have visitors riding with cute animals while enjoying the breeze of the sea.

Tove Zoological Park is a must-visit location for anyone looking to explore the vast wildlife of the region. Its abundant attractions make it a great destination for visitors of all ages and preferences. 

With its diverse eco-system, beautiful landscape, and captivating wildlife, it’s no wonder why this notable spot is a favorite amongst families, wildlife lovers, and tourists alike.

Fuji Safari Park

Open daily from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, there are no zoo closing days. 

Fuji Safari Park

The zoo, which is also referred to as Japan’s largest safari park, is situated in Susanoo City near Mt. Fuji in the Shizuoka Prefecture. A lot of the zoo’s summertime attractions for families feature rides and exhibits with a safari theme. 

The zoo’s location is very captivating due to the vast area it takes up (740,000 square meters). You might get uneasy around some animals, especially in the safari area where they are trying to get close to you or interact with you.

Facts:

  • The zoo has a lot of human activities, but it also encourages visitors to explore the park to find the rare and unusual species that it is home to. 
  • The parking space is free. 
  • Except for the zoo’s provided jungle bus, all types of vehicles are forbidden in the safari area. 
  • The zoo offers two different kinds of tours: walking tours and traveling tours (which use the jungle bus). 
  • There is an option to rent a car if you want to go to the safari zone but don’t have a vehicle.
  • From nearby train stations, buses run to Fuji Safari Park. The most popular route travels from the park to Gotemba Station every two hours (35 minutes, 780 yen one way).

To know more, visit official website

Address: Japan, 〒410-1231 Shizuoka, Susono, Suyama, 字藤原2255−27

Sapporo City Maruyama Zoo

hours start from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The last entry was at 4:00 PM.

Sapporo City Maruyama Zoo

If bears were cute and non-harmful, who wouldn’t adore them? I’m grabbing the attention of everyone who loves bears as much as I do. The Polar Bear Pavilion, Sun Bear, and Himalayan Bear are all part of their Bear Department, which I was also able to visit.

The main exhibits at this zoo are polar bears and seal life. The lion pavilion and a snow leopard are two of the world’s most lethal creatures that I have seen in a zoo. 

The Maruyama Zoo is located in Sapporo City, Japan, and is regarded as the oldest zoo in the Hokkaido region. As we all know, only about 200 animals were kept there when it was first established as a Municipal Park (Sakura Park) by the city’s then-ruler in 1904.

Facts:

  •  From the Tozai Line’s Marumaya-Koen station, it takes 15 minutes to walk. 
  • The highest admission fee is 2,000 yen, while junior high school students and younger visitors are admitted free of charge. 
  • If you are a student, you may be eligible for a discount on the admission fee depending on your grade level and length of residency. 
  • There are 737 animals in this zoo, representing 168 different species.
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Review:

“The facility was clean and new, but the variety and number of animals was small. I took a bus from the subway, but I waited for a while because the number of buses was small.” 

To know more, visit Sapporo City Maruyama Zoo official website

Address: 3番地1 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0959, Japan

Kyushu Natural Animal Park African Safari

Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and reservations are advised.

Kyushu Natural Animal Park African Safari

One of the biggest safaris in Japan, the safari is situated in the middle of the Oita Prefecture.

My day was spent successfully after making a wise decision to visit the animal park, including feeding the animals while watching them and a trip to the wild zone, where I could see animals interacting and hunting.

Facts:

  • It has a campsite where you can set up your tent close by and leave your car parked in the private lot. 
  • The entrance fee and the ticket for the jungle bus are also included in the campsite fee! 
  • You can benefit from free admission for a year by joining their annual free passport program. 
  • There are no reservations for the jungle bus, which operates on a first-come, first-served basis and costs 1,100 yen for a single passenger for a 50-minute trip.

Review:

“Feeding experience on the bus It’s fun no matter how many times you do it.”

By:原敬子

To know more, visit the Kyushu Natural Animal Park African Safari official website

Address:Japan, 〒872-0722 Oita, Usa, Ajimumachi Minamihata, 2−1755-1

Inokashira Park Zoo

Open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily (and closed every Monday). 

Inokashira Park Zoo

Known for its native Japanese species as well as its animal breeding, the Inokashira Park Zoo is situated in Musashino, Japan. Inokashira Park’s corner and the close-by Ghibli Museum. 

One of the most thrilling experiences I had at this zoo was getting to pet and feed the smaller animals, like guinea pigs. 

The Tsushima Leopard Cat, which is a globally endangered cat, is the main feature of this zoo that most impressed me. According to what I’ve learned, they are still trying to breed that kind of cat in a different way.

Facts: 

  • The Kichijoji station on the JR line and the zoo are only ten minutes’ walk apart. 
  • The zoo shouldn’t have any parking lots. Commuting is preferable. 
  • The zoo offers free admission to children under the age of 12.
  •  When notable occasions like May 4 (Greenery Day), May 17 (the zoo’s anniversary day), and October 1 (Tokyo Citizen’s Day) occur, the zoo offers free admission.
  • Have the Aquatic Life Park and the zoo area as your two main areas.

To know more, visit the official website of Inokashira Park Zoo

Address: 1 Chome-17-6 Gotenyama, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0005, Japan

Tobu Zoo

Open from 9:30am to 5:00pm.

Tobu Zoo

The zoo is in the Japanese city of Miyashiro. 1200 animals of 120 different species are present. The zoo was well-liked and is renowned for its red panda exhibit (Endangered animal) 

Because the Tobu Zoo has an amusement park with rides and physical activities, it’s a great place for kids to play, discover, and learn all at once. 

The Zoo offers various forms of entertainment that you can envision yourself enjoying, including feeding the elephants, petting small and adorable animals, and pony riding (Which I enjoyed the most)

Facts: 

  • Visitors of different ages pay different admission and discount fees; adults pay the highest fee (1,800 yen), while children pay the lowest fee (800 yen). 
  • Keep in mind that the activities and amusement park depend on the weather, inspection work, etc. The “Fureai Animal Parade,” in which animals parade through the park, is one of the many reasons to visit this zoo. 
  • Pony rides start operating around noon to 3:00 p.m. 
  • You will see many different animals at the zoo, including monkeys, lions, fireflies, penguins, and more.

To know more, visit Tobu Zoo’s official website

Address: 110 Suka, Miyashiro, Minamisaitama District, Saitama 345-0831, Japan

Nasu Animal Kingdom

Hours open: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, closed: Wednesdays 

Nasu Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom is situated in Nasu, Japan, and is known for its fun and interactive zoo to visit, which it still does to this day.

The first attractions the visitors will find are giraffes and elephants, as these two species are one of the very few kinds you can see in the public 

The zoo has different types of animals performance which are different types birds performances, new Zealand farm performances (sheepdogs), aqua friends (seal’s specialty), cats, and many more!

Facts:

  • You can pet the majority of the animals in the zoo.
  •  At the zoo, you can enjoy the most picturesque sunsets on Mount Nasu! 
  • Online ticket sales for admission are available; prices and discounts depending on the visitor’s age.

To know more, visit official website of Nasu Animal Kingdom

Address:1042-1 Oshima, Nasu, Nasu District, Tochigi 329-3223, Japan

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