Located near Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, Asahiyama Zoo is one of the most popular and unique zoos in the country. Known for its innovative and interactive animal exhibits, Asahiyama Zoo attracts visitors from all over the world.
If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable winter experience in Japan, then the Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido is the perfect destination. Known as Japan’s best winter zoo, Asahiyama Zoo is home to a wide range of animals that thrive in the snowy and icy conditions of the region.
In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about Asahiyama Zoo, including its history, key attractions, and practical information for your visit.
Visiting Asahiyama Zoo
Asahiyama Zoo is open year-round, with different exhibits and activities available depending on the season. The zoo is located in Asahikawa, a city in central Hokkaido, and is easily accessible by public transportation.
Here are some practical tips for visiting Asahiyama Zoo:
- Admission to the zoo is 820 yen for adults and 410 yen for children.
- The zoo is open from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm in the winter, and from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm in the summer.
- The best time to visit the zoo is in the morning or late afternoon when the animals are most active.
- During peak season, the zoo can be very crowded, so it’s a good idea to arrive early and plan your visit ahead of time.
- The zoo offers a variety of food and drink options, including restaurants and snack bars. There are also picnic areas for visitors who prefer to bring their own food.
- Asahikawa is a popular tourist destination, with many hotels and other accommodations available. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak season.
What is Asahiyama Zoo?
Asahiyama Zoo is a zoo located in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan. The zoo is known for its unique approach to animal exhibits, with enclosures designed to mimic the natural habitats of the animals and allow for close-up viewing.
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When is the best time to visit Asahiyama Zoo?
The best time to visit Asahiyama Zoo is during the winter months when the animals are most active and the snowy landscape adds an extra layer of beauty to the experience. The zoo is open year-round, but many of the animals are more active and visible during the winter season.
What animals can you see at Asahiyama Zoo?
Asahiyama Zoo is home to a wide range of animals, many of which are native to the Hokkaido region. Some of the most popular animals at the zoo include:
- Polar bears
- Seals and sea lions
- Red pandas
- Arctic foxes
- Japanese macaques
What are the highlights of Asahiyama Zoo?
One of the most unique features of Asahiyama Zoo is the design of the animal enclosures. Rather than simply featuring animals in cages or pens, the zoo’s enclosures are designed to mimic the natural habitats of the animals and allow for up-close viewing. Some of the highlights of Asahiyama Zoo include:
- The Penguin Parade: During the winter months, the zoo’s penguins are taken on a daily walk around the zoo to the delight of visitors.
- The Polar Bear Enclosure: The polar bear enclosure is designed to simulate the Arctic tundra, with a large pool and rocky outcroppings for the bears to play on.
- The Arctic Fox Tunnel: Visitors can walk through a tunnel that goes through the Arctic fox enclosure, allowing for up-close viewing of the playful animals.
- The Seal Tank: The seal tank is designed to mimic the rocky coastline of the Hokkaido region, with a waterfall and underwater viewing areas.
How do you get to Asahiyama Zoo?
Asahiyama Zoo is located in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan. The easiest way to get to the zoo is by taking a bus from Asahikawa Station.
There are also regular bus services and tours from Sapporo and other major cities in Hokkaido.
How much does it cost to visit Asahiyama Zoo?
The cost of admission to Asahiyama Zoo is 820 yen for adults and 410 yen for children. The zoo also offers a range of special packages and discounts for families and groups.
Getting to Asahiyama Zoo
Asahiyama Zoo is located in the town of Higashikawa in central Hokkaido. The easiest way to get there is by train and bus.
From Sapporo, take the JR train to Asahikawa Station (about 1.5 hours) and then transfer to the Asahiyama Zoo bus (about 40 minutes). Buses depart regularly from Asahikawa Station and cost 440 yen one way.
If you are coming from other parts of Hokkaido, there are several direct bus services to the zoo. Check the timetable and book in advance to avoid disappointment during peak seasons.
Hours and Admission
Asahiyama Zoo is open from April to October, and the hours vary depending on the month. During peak season (July and August), the zoo is open from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm. During the shoulder seasons (April to June and September to October), the hours are slightly shorter, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
The admission fee is 820 yen for adults and 410 yen for children. There are discounts available for groups of 15 or more people.
Tips for Visiting Asahiyama Zoo
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit to Asahiyama Zoo:
- Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds
- Dress warmly, as the zoo is located in a mountainous region and can be cold, even in the summer months
- Take advantage of the guided tours to learn more about the animals and their habitats
- Try to catch the animal shows and feedings, which are scheduled throughout the day
History of Asahiyama Zoo
Asahiyama Zoo was established in 1967 as a municipal zoo for the city of Asahikawa. At the time, it was a typical zoo with traditional animal exhibits, but over the years, the zoo underwent a transformation to become a leader in innovative and interactive animal displays.
In the 1980s, the zoo introduced its first “swimming pool” exhibit for penguins, which quickly became one of the most popular attractions. This led to a renewed focus on creating unique and engaging animal exhibits, which have since become the hallmark of Asahiyama Zoo.
Today, the zoo is home to over 700 animals from 150 different species, and it continues to attract visitors with its innovative and interactive displays.
Key Attractions at Asahiyama Zoo
One of the most popular exhibits at Asahiyama Zoo is the Penguin Parade, which takes place several times a day. During the parade, the zookeepers lead a group of penguins on a walk around the zoo, allowing visitors to see the birds up close and learn more about their behavior and habitat.
Another unique exhibit is the Polar Bear’s Underwater World, which features a large glass tunnel that runs through the polar bear enclosure. Visitors can walk through the tunnel and see the bears swimming and playing in the water.
The Wolf Forest is another popular exhibit, featuring a large enclosure for a pack of wolves. Visitors can observe the wolves from a variety of viewpoints, including a bridge that runs through the center of the exhibit.
Other notable exhibits include the Arctic Fox Tunnel, the Orangutan Sanctuary, and the Seal and Sea Lion Pool.
Other Things to Do Near Asahiyama Zoo
If you have extra time after your visit to Asahiyama Zoo, there are plenty of other things to do in the Asahikawa. Here are some recommendations:
- Visit the nearby Daisetsuzan National Park, which is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Hokkaido
- Explore the historic town of Biei, which is known for its rolling hills and picturesque landscapes
- Take a relaxing dip in one of the many hot springs (onsen) in the region
- Go skiing or snowboarding at one of the nearby ski resorts during the winter months
The Sum Up
Asahiyama Zoo is a must-visit destination for animal lovers and families visiting Hokkaido. With its innovative and interactive exhibits, the zoo offers a unique and unforgettable experience that is sure to delight visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a fan of penguins, polar bears, wolves, or any other animals, Asahiyama Zoo has something for everyone.
By following the tips in our guide and planning your visit in advance, you can make the most of your time at the zoo and Asahikawa area.