Look I’m just going to say it. I’m not a fan of zoos and my first visit to Japan and see the zoo in the 1980s left me indignant and determined never to go again. HOWEVER. Japanese notions of animal care have evolved a lot and while it’s not Taronga Zoo in Sydney or London Zoo, animals are much better-taken care of than in the past. Asa Zoo (Asa Doubutsuen) north of Hiroshima city has lots of interesting animals to see including a petting zoo and children play park for a better experience for kids.
The park is approximately 25 hectares and well spread so it rarely feels crowded The zoo hosts 160 animal species and 15 species of fish (approximately 1500 animals and 5000 fish). You’ll find giraffes, African elephants, pandas, tigers, and a variety of animals. The main section of the park is 2.2km long and the Western section of the park (walking trail) is another 1.8km.
There is a nice playground and shaded area with picnic benches just left of the entrance gate up a slope which makes a good respite from the sun and place for a bite and sip of something cooling. On the right at the entrance, is the information floor where you’ll find activities to learn about animals and get more detail about the park. The first enclosure is baboon enclosure, an artificial mountain where dozens of the apes climb up and around, mothers carrying babies and males occad¥sionally getting into a fracas. One of the main draws here is the tunnel that leads through the mountain’s interior, offering a closer look at the baboons through thick glass and even offers the chance to play tug-of-war using a heavy steel chain.
Down the path past the flamingo’s enclosure and further down the hill in the largest enclosure are the zebras and giraffes. At the bottom of the hill, you will find the elephant enclosure – poukar at feeding time. Highlights of Asa Zoo are its snake house and the petting area and pony rides for kids.
At Pichiku Park, the petting zoo, and popular spot within the park, visitors can interact directly with goats, sheep, guinea pigs with pony rides available on weekends and holidays. There are a range of events to enjoy throughout the year, such as the “Cool Night’s Safari” held in summer and the “Backyard Guide”, which is held every Saturday.
On top of all this, you’ll be interested to learn that the park also engages inbreeding in cooperation with other zoos in an effort to protect and preserve endangered species. The Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park is proud to be one of the few zoos in Japan to succeed in breeding Japanese giant salamanders, black rhinoceros, and zebras.
▪ Adults ¥500
▪ Children (up to18yrs) ¥170
▪ Guides to the park are available by advance appointment.
▪ Discounts for groups of 30+
▪ Parking fee- ¥440 for cars, ¥1350 for buses and trucks.
▪ Strollers and umbrellas are available for rent.
▪ Coin lockers available.
▪ Electric wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs are available for use free of charge.
**Please be aware that some of the experiences such as animal petting have been affected due to the current health situation
By Astram Monorail: Get off at Kami-Yasu (Chorakuji or Koiki-koen bound) and take a bus (Dobutsu-Koen Asahi-gaoka) or taxi up the hill to the Asa Zoo. (the walk will probably take 30 min or more, taxi 10 minutes)
By bus: take the Asahi-gaoka bound bus from JR Hiroshima Station (No 9 gate of B platform) to Asa Zoo (60min).
By car drive along Route 54 / Gion-Shindo highway that follows along the Astram Line for about 20 minutes to Kamiyasu Station from the city center. From Hiroshima-Kita Interchange, Hiroshima Interchange, and Itsukaichi Interchange, it is also about a 20-minute drive.