Header image courtesy of Nicholas Doherty via Unsplash
Who doesn’t love Tokyo? This is the city where you can shop till you drop and eat till your belly burst, but when you are travelling with kids, you have got to think of ways to entertain them. Here’s some good news for you—while Tokyo is a metropolis packed with skyscrapers, it is also home to some really amazing zoos where both you and your kids can actually have fun together. Bonus: They are all easily accessible from the city centre. Here are three of the best zoos in Tokyo, where you can spend some quality time with your kids without losing out on shopping or eating time!
Topping the list is Ueno Zoo, which is the oldest zoo in Japan. Located right inside the majestic Ueno Park, you can easily get there by taking the JR. Aside from the usual tigers and gorillas, your kids will also have the opportunity to get a close-up view of giant pandas and their new-born cub, plus other uncommon species, such as the African okapi and the Japanese giant salamander.
Aside from the zoo, Ueno Park is also home to quite a number of museums, so if the zoo doesn’t work out for your kids, you will still have other options, or you can just let them run around the park while you take a stroll to enjoy the scenery and fresh air.
Ueno Zoo, 9-8-3, Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo | (+81) 03 3828 5171
Even though Tama Zoological Park is an hour from central Tokyo by train, it is definitely worth the trip because of its sheer massiveness with 52 hectares of land. With various enclosures sitting on or around Tama Hill, the zoo is designed to present its animals in a more open and realistic environment. You will see tigers, wolves, and lions climbing onto rocks and resting on the grass. The park consists of four sections—Asiatic Garden, African Garden, Australian Garden and Insectarium, and you can travel between them either on foot or by shuttle bus. Some of the must-dos include taking the lion bus—which lets you get close to the lions as they roam around the grounds, visiting the bird dome—where you can stroll amongst cranes, peacocks, and other exotic birds, and walking to the skywalk—where you can watch the orangutans swinging around on a 150-metre rope.
Tama Zoological Park, 7 -1-1, Hodokubo, Hino, Tokyo | (+81) 04 2591 1611
If you have young kids, Inokashira Park Zoo is going to be the perfect place as the zoo mainly houses small animals that include tanuki, fennec fox, red-crowned crane, and Yaku deer, with the exception of one large animal—an Asiatic elephant. The zoo is divided into two sections—the Main Park and Aquatic Life Park. It also includes a petting zoo, where your kids can have a hands-on experience with over 180 adorable guinea pigs! If you have time to spare, you can also explore other parts of Inokashira Park and visit the botanical garden, rent a paddleboat at the lake, or head over Inokashira Sports Land, where you kids can enjoy rides, such as the mini cars, teacups, and sky basket. The admission fee for the zoo is ¥400 for adults and free for children aged twelve and below and it includes access to Inokashira Sports Land.
Inokashira Park Zoo, 1-17-6, Gotenyama, Musashino, Tokyo | (+81) 04 2246 1100