Asahikawa Municipal Asahiyama Zoo
A zoo featuring fascinating exhibits showing the behavior of the animals in their natural habitats
Located in the very north of Japan, Asahiyama Zoo is home to 700 animals of 124 different species, and is the first facility in Japan to have succeeded in the natural breeding in captivity of animals that live in cold regions, such as polar bears, Amur leopards, and Scops owls. Moreover, the zoo has become popular for its exhibits that enable visitors to see each animal's innate attributes and their unique abilities and movements, so there are always many tourists, not only from within Japan, but also from overseas.
A tunnel enables visitors to see how penguins swim in a way that looks just like flying, while spotted seals behave just like they do in the wild, as they swim vertically through a transparent pillar-shaped tank called a marineway. Other popular attractions include the Polar Bear Aquatic Park, where visitors can see polar bears, weighing almost 300 kg, as they dive into the pool, and the Orangutan Trapeze, where orangutans stroll around 16m above the ground. You mustn't miss the sight of the penguins walking around in the snow to alleviate their lack of exercise. They happily walk around briskly in a group in front of the tourists. Their daily feeding time is also a must-see. The keepers put on diving suits to feed the penguins in the water; this method of feeding the animals in a way that brings out their natural traits is unique to Asahiyama Zoo. All of the animals can be seen living in a natural environment as they entertain visitors.
Address: Higashi Asahikawacho Kuranuma, Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Hours open to visitors: Late April-early November (Please check at official website). 09:30 - 17:15 (last admission: 16:15); November 3 - April 7: 10:30 - 15:30 (last admission: 15:00)
Admission Fee: 800 yen (high school students and older); free (junior high school students and younger)
Directions: 40 minutes by Asahikawa Denki Kido Bus from JR Asahikawa Station (2 hours from New Chitose Airport); alight at the terminus, which is right by the zoo. (Bus) 30 minutes by Asahikawa Denki Kido Bus from Asahikawa Airport. (Car) 30 minutes by car from Asahikawa-kita interchange on the Hokkaido Expressway (2 hours 20 minutes from New Chitose Airport).