10 Best Zoos in and near Tokyo!

Nature

Even in the urban confines of the concrete jungle, you can still enjoy nature by visiting zoos to get up close and personal with wildlife and see cute and furry friends even in the big city. Tokyo boasts a number of great zoos which allow visitors to enjoy memorable encounters with a wide range of animals from every corner of the world. While each zoo on its own has its own unique attributes and specialties, check out our special guide to the best zoos near Tokyo to experience them to the fullest!

1. Ueno Zoo

Ueno Zoo’s very own Shin Shin

Established in 1882, Ueno Zoo is widely recognized as one of the most popular and oldest zoos in Japan, making it a perfect choice for your first zoo experience in Tokyo! It boasts a massive collection of different animals with more than 500 species. Exploring the large zoo will allow you to encounter diverse wildlife ranging anywhere from small adorable critters such as hedgehogs, all the way up to beasts such as tigers and bears. Above all, however, the biggest reason to visit Ueno Zoo however is to see the only resident Giant Pandas in any zoo here in Japan. Shin Shin is the name of the female panda in Ueno Zoo, and she gave birth to twin panda cubs earlier this year. They are expected to be shown to the public early next year so stay tuned! 

(※Temporarily, there is a limit to the number of visitors that can enter the park at once time. Additionally, all the visitors are required to buy a ticket in advance on their website before arriving at the zoo.)  

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm (Last entry is at 4 pm)

 ※Closed on Monday

Admission

¥600 (adults)

¥300 (65+)

¥200 (junior high school student)

2. Tama Zoological Park

The giraffes at play in Tama Zoological Park

Tama Zoological Park is another popular zoo located in Hino city, Tokyo. It is home to around 370 different species of animals that have been collected from across the globe. Animals are showcased in different exhibits based on their natural habitats, such as Asia, Australia, and Africa. They are also kept in spacious areas surrounded by moat instead of fences, making the environment comfortable for them to live without feeling stressed. This large park is also perfect for taking a refreshing stroll in nature while enjoying a wildlife adventure. Don’t forget to hop on their Lion Bus which takes you up close to the fierce lions freely roaming around a spacious open space! 

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm (Last entry is at 4 pm)

※Closed on Wednesday

Admission

¥600 (adults)

¥300 (65+)

¥200 (junior high school student)

3. Inokashira Park Zoo

Some endemic birds of the park

Inokashira Park Zoo is a family-friendly zoo located in Inokashira Park, Musashino-city, Tokyo. It is conveniently located about a 10-minute walk from JR Kichijoji station and accounts for about one-third of the space in the beautiful park. The park consists of two separate areas, the main park, and the Aquatic Life Park. The main park features an animal zone, a peaceful botanical garden, and a sculpture museum that are all included in the basic admission. At the main park, you will encounter a wide range of animals such as Japanese serow and raccoon dogs (tanuki)  that are native to Japan. Aquatic Life Park occupies the rest of the zoo which is home to interesting exhibits of water birds as well as underwater creatures! Although the size of the zoo is relatively small compared to other popular zoos near Tokyo, it is definitely worth a visit to enjoy some unique wildlife encounters!    

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm (Last entry is at 4 pm)

※Closed on Monday

Admission

¥400 (adults)

¥200 (65+)

¥150 (junior high school student)

4. Edogawa National Zoo

Could the red pandas at Edogawa National Zoo be any cuter?

If you want to enjoy animal encounters around Tokyo without breaking the bank, head over to Edogawa National Zoo! Nestled in the peaceful Gyosen Park in Edogawa-ku, it is around a 15-minute walk from Nishi-Kasai station, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line. The exhibit is home to nearly 550 animals, including mammals (penguins, red pandas, and wallabies are particularly popular!), reptiles, and over 60 different species of birds. Admission is completely free for everyone regardless of age, and visitors can enjoy a range of animal interactions such as touching rabbits, goats, or sheep! (*animal interactions are temporality unavailable due to Covid-19)       

Opening hours: 

10 am – 4:30 pm (March – October)

10 am – 4 pm (November – February)

(From 9:30am on weekends and national holidays)

※Closed on Monday

Admission

Admission free

5. Machida Squirrel Garden

Your new best friend at Machida Squirrel Garden

Machida Squirrel Garden offers a unique animal experience that won’t be found at any other zoo here in Japan. While Machida Squirrel Garden doesn’t offer a wide range of different animals, countless numbers of squirrels call this exciting attraction home and are a blast to enjoy! Exploring the cozy garden will allow you to encounter more than 200 adorable squirrels. They freely roam around the garden, climb trees, and occasionally rest in some of the many small wooden houses that have been lovingly built by local children. You can also feed the squirrels with sunflower seeds which are sold for ¥100 in small packs. If you hold some seeds on the palm of your hand, hungry squirrels will energetically make a beeline for you and crawl up your legs to reach their favorite food! However, always make sure to protect your hands with gloves when feeding them.       

Opening hours: 10 am – 4 pm (Last entry is at 3:30 pm)

※Closed on Tuesday

Admission

¥400 (adult)

¥200 (age 3 – elementary school student)

6. Hamura Zoo

You never know what kind of crazy animal you’ll find at Hamura Zoo!

Nestled in a quaint little neighborhood in Hamura city, Hamura Zoo is a perfect spot for a family weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city! From JR Hamura station, it is about a 20-minute walk to reach the small, but quaint zoo. The compact size of the zoo is easy to walk around even for little ones and can you can expect to only be there for just a couple of hours. Their animal collection includes giraffes, zebras, monkeys, meerkats, red pandas as well as a variety of birds and reptiles. They offer a wide range of animal interactions that allow visitors to pet, feed, or hold small animals such as guinea pigs and chicks. A playground area is also available for children where they can enjoy small amusement rides!           

Opening hours:

9 am – 4 pm (November – February) 

9 am – 4:30 pm (March – October)

(*Last entry is 30 minutes before the closing time)

※Closed on Monday

Admission

¥400 (adult)

¥100 (elementary school/junior high school student)

※Free admission for children under the age of 4

7. Yokohama Zoorasia

Japanese macaques are found all over Japan but rarely venture to big cities like Tokyo

Located in Yokohama city, Yokohama Zoorasia is one of the largest zoos in Japan. Since its opening in 1999, it attracts more than 1 million visitors every year. A wide range of animals are on display and are kept in spacious areas created to resemble their natural habitat, making it a perfect environment for them to live. 

The park is divided into eight areas where different kinds of animal exhibitions can be found according to the region or country they originate from. Head to the Japanese Mountain Village area which is home to unique animals such as Japanese macaques that are native to Japan. The African Savanna area is a perfect spot to get up close to the most popular animals such as giraffes, zebras, and cheetahs. Enjoy an exciting animal encounter at the Asian Tropical Forest area which welcomes you with Indian elephants and Sumatran tigers! For families, a playground with play equipment for kids is also available!      

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm (*Last entry is 30 minutes before the closing time)

※Closed on Tuesday

Admission

¥800 (adult)

¥300 (high school student)

¥200 (elementary school/ junior high school student)

8. Nasu Animal Kingdom

Meet and greet all sorts of animals at Nasu Animal Kingdom

Nasu Animal Kingdom is a popular zoo located in Nasu city, Ibaraki prefecture. From Tokyo, it is about a 1.5-hour train journey to reach Nasu-Shiobara station. From there, you can take a shuttle bus to Nasu Animal Kingdom. They welcome visitors with a plethora of animal exhibitions as well as enjoyable experiences. Don’t miss their bird performance shows featuring a variety of adorable birds such as colorful parakeets and stoic hawks. Camel riding is also a popular activity among families with children that can be enjoyed at the park. They also offer animal interactions such as petting friendly dogs, cats, alpacas, capybaras, or even kangaroos. Most of their animals are kept indoors, which allows visitors to enjoy a close-up interaction with them even on a rainy day!

Opening hours: 10 am – 4 pm (*Last entry is 30 minutes before the closing time)

※Closed on Wednesday

(*Opening hours may vary depending on the season)

Admission

¥2,400 (adult)

¥1,000 (children aged 3 – elementary school student)

9. Ichihara Elephant Kingdom

The Ichihara Elephants are not only adorable, but also very clever

If you want a unique zoo experience, visit Ichihara Elephant Kingdom tucked away in the center of Ichikawa city, Chiba prefecture! They have ten friendly elephants which entertain visitors with a number of different and exciting performances. They can dance to the music, paint colorful pictures, play with balls, or even walk around with their keepers on their backs! At Elephant Village, You can feed them a bucket of their favorite food for ¥500. They also sell original items such as stuffed animals and impressive paintings made by elephants at a gift shop. Sayuri Park is a newly opened area where visitors can enjoy close interactions with other animals, including giraffes, capybaras, rabbits, and kangaroos!     

Opening hours: 10am – 4pm (※Last entry is 30 minutes before the closing time)

※Irregularly closed

Admission: (Combo ticket for Ichikawa Elephant Kingdom & Sayuri World)

¥2,900 (adult)

¥2,800(65+)

¥1,200 (children age 3 – elementary school student)

10. Tobu Zoo

The elusive white tiger of Tobu Zoo!

Tobu Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Saitama prefecture. It is a hybrid facility that combines a large zoo and an amusement park, making it a perfect spot to spend a memorable weekend for families! The zoo area is home to approximately 1,200 animals across 120 different species which include some rare species such as the elusive white tiger. If you want to get up close and personal with the animals, you can touch, feed, or pet small animals such as penguins, goats, or sheep. The amusement park area features a variety of exciting rides and attractions ranging from kid-friendly ones to adrenaline-pumping roller coasters which can be enjoyed by all ages! Make sure to check the opening hours on their website as they vary depending on the season and the day.     

Opening hours:

Vary depending on the season and the day (generally from 9:30am – 4:30pm)

(*Last entry is 30 minutes before the closing time)

Admission: (Combo ticket for zoo & amusement park)

¥5,100 (adult)

¥4,800(junior high/ high school student)

¥3,800 (children aged 3 – 11)

¥3,800 (60+)

While many people associate zoos as a place to bring young children, they are becoming more and more popular among other generations as an ideal spot to spend a peaceful leisure time while watching friendly animals. In addition, it will also offer you great opportunities to learn about their conservation efforts to protect the animals and their natural habitats!

Don’t forget to check out our private tours!

Planning a trip to a foreign country alone is never easy! If you need some help to organize your trip to Japan and want to see Japan like a local, you should definitely check out our private tours complete with an English guide! We’re glad to help you make your trip to Japan a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!

1. Tokyo Private Tour [Customized, 7 Hours]

Visit the must-visit highlights in Tokyo with our friendly guide! This tour is flexible and destinations are completely customizable according to your requests.

2. Kyoto Private Full-Day Walking Tour [Customizable]

Kyoto is a beautiful city full of historic temples and shrines. It is also a perfect spot for enjoying the incredible autumn colors in fall!  

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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with traveling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.

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