For anyone who likes birds, plants and animals, but really isn’t into the whole dirty and bug infested wilderness thing, there are a variety of places in Japan where you can take in “the nature” without lathering up in DEET and lugging a sleeping bag around with you. If you are in Kobe, that option is Kobe Animal Kingdom. Originally created by Japanese botanist and collector Kamo Mototeru, who is well known around Kobe as that “weird guy who likes birds” (total fabrication), the business was sold a few years ago to a larger company which has improved the attraction a great deal. Purportedly, they still have a bit of improvement to go to make the enclosures and living spaces better for the adorable little animals, but that is par for the course in Japan.
Located on Port Island within a 16,000 square meter greenhouse, the park offers a surprisingly wide assortment of exotic birds, flowers, and plants, many of which you are able to experience up close, even touching or feeding them in some cases. From meerkats to Capybaras and Patagonian mara, to an assortment of owls including that Northern white-faced owl we know and love, back again to Two-toed slothes and Southern tamanduas, and then a weird turn into tortoise like the Aldabra giant tortoises this place may not have it all, but it has a lot.
But wait… there’s MORE! Not willing to relegate themselves to the unusual and interesting, they also have a large collection of the more pedestrian house pet types of animals, such as American short hair cats and pekinese dogs… why? Well if you have to ask you have obviously never spent much time with a Chinchilla; have you… (stares disapprovingly).
Anyway, this all weather attraction is great fun for the whole family, and while not particularly time intensive, it is ALSO located very near to a variety of Kobe’s other most famous attractions, helpfully listed for you on the website… as if they somehow knew you needed just a touch more convincing…but they were be wrong… as EVERYONE knows, the Binturong they care for alone is all the incentive anyone could need (stares expectantly, waiting for agreement).
Image by Kobe Animal Kingdom, www.kobe-oukoku.com