The likes of Ueno and Tama naturally take the glory when it comes to zoos in Tokyo but there are a few smaller and less well-known ones dotted in and around the capital. To my knowledge there are also little zoos in Kichijoji, Itabashi and this cosy, admission-free zoo in Edogawa ward which I came across completely by accident when cycling around the area a couple of months ago.
It’s located within Gyosen Park in Kitakasai (one kilometre north of Nishi Kasai Station on the Tozai Line) and I only really went in to check out if it might be a place of interest to take our nephew one day. The first animals I encountered on entry were a load of penguins which are always to view regarding their movement and mannerisms.
Next up, as I wandered round in a clockwise fashion, were the monkeys which were doing as monkeys do and swinging around on ropes and hanging upside down.
My knowledge of animals is not great but I think these are otters (below) which I last saw seven years ago at Ichikawa Zoo in Chiba.
There’s a flavour of Australia with a couple of Bennett’s wallabies present which I really didn’t expect to see. Of course I just thought they were kangaroos on first sight and to my shame I still don’t really know the difference. That’s not going to change here though!
The most interesting sight for me was an animal I’d never really heard of. I was captivated by it’s size and had to actually check what kind of animal it was! The giant anteater is supposedly a crowd favourite but I was the only one seemingly taking an interest in this striking mammal. With it’s bushy tail and long snout it is a rather peculiar looking ant bear thus making it an interesting species for kids to draw. One such picture was displayed nearby.
The zoo houses a couple of red pandas (known as lesser pandas in Japan which is a name I hate) but sadly they didn’t show their faces during the time I waited. Admittedly, that was only a few minutes!
Other highlights include squirrels, giant tortoises, spider monkeys, prairie dogs (below), birds as well as a few interactive things like real feathers for observing their colour, shape and feeling. Educational workshops are also run at this zoo.
My final port of call was actually right back by the entrance and exactly what I expected to see in this zoo. A few domestic/farm animals (sheep, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits etc) being petted by young children accompanied by their parents is no doubt the main reason many visit this small zoo. For the record, the petting area sessions run from 10:00 – 11:45 and 13:15 – 15:00 apart from in the summer when the latter is 14:30 – 15:45.
Combined with a wander round the adjacent Japanese Heisei Garden, this is a nice combo for a simple half-day out. There were far more animals on show than what I had expected to see beforehand and following my “research” my wife and I are now keen to find an opportunity to actually take our nephew there!
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