Tama Zoological Park
Being from San Diego, if there’s one thing I love, it’s a good zoo! I’d been hearing great things about Hino’s own Tama Zoological Park, so I had to go take a look. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the park makes use of Hino’s hilly woods in its design and shows animals in cageless, open-air exhibits. This technique makes it easier to get a clear view of the critters in the park, like this fuzzy little red panda.
The Tama Zoological Park first opened 59 years ago in May, 1958. Since then, it has grown into the present day home of around 1,700 animals and 20,000 insects. Among these are special animals like the oldest Asian elephant in Japan and the only Tasmanian devil on display in all of Asia! The park also is active in conservation and breeding, welcoming new furry friends every few months. One example is the snow leopard exhibit, which just incorporated a cub born this June.
With 129 acres packed with exhibits and new animals popping up every few months, there’s more than enough to make a full-day excursion out of. If you’re around in the morning, don’t miss the chance to see the park’s skywalkers in action! No, not those skywalkers. Tama Zoological Park has a long cable ropeway called the Skywalk extending over the park from its starting point at the orangutan exhibit. The rope is a dizzying fifteen meters high, making the orangutan’s risky journey across it absolutely breath-catching. They’ll go on break when it gets cold in winter, but don’t worry if you miss them; they’ll be right back in spring.
The park has English maps and signage, so it’s relatively easy to get around and check out the animals you’re interested in, whether that’s servals, raccoon dogs, reindeer, or otters. Of course, you can’t trek through the enormous park on an empty stomach! There are a number of picnic areas neighboring exhibits where you can take a breather without missing a minute of the animal action. If you’re more in the mood for a cool, indoor break, you could check out the cafe near the front of the park. They’ve got cute, animal-themed food like this elephant bento.
After lunch, try heading to the donguri garden in the middle of the park. Provided you picked up a plastic petting time tag on your way to the orangutans in the morning, you can hold a guinea pig in the little petting zoo. Did you know that guinea pigs have higher body temperatures than humans? Thanks to this trait, they naturally feel extra warm (and snuggly).
You can also get up close and personal with some less cute-and-cuddly creatures – bugs! In the insectarium, you can “pet” creepy crawlies like stick bugs, roly polies, and cockroaches. There’s also a lovely garden full of butterflies. I’m not gonna lie, I took almost a hundred photos just in this area alone. The insectarium is right near the park’s entrance, so a calm stroll here could be a great way to end off a long day at the zoo. Come swing by next time you’re in Tokyo!
- 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (Ticket office closes at 4:00 pm)
- Closed on Wednesdays and over the New Years holiday. If a national holiday falls on a Wednesday, the park will be closed on the following Thursday as well.
- You can reach Tama Zoological Park via the Tama Dobutsu Koen (Tama Zoological Park) Station on the Keio and Tama Monorail train lines. From Shinjuku and central Tokyo, the trip will take around 40 minutes on the Keio line. The park is a one minute walk from the station.
- It is recommended to come by train, as there is not a designated parking lot for cars. There are paid lots in the vicinity if necessary, however.
Tama Zoological Park has zoo maps, event schedules, and signage in English. Don’t forget to pick up copies on your way in! If you visit the Watching Center near the entrance, you can also grab free leaflets explaining animals’ looks and behavior in simplified Japanese.
You’ll want to wear shoes you’ll be comfortable in, as a full lap of the park is a long walk. Be sure to use sunscreen and stay hydrated!
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Industry and Sports Department, City Promotion Division
Phone (Direct Line): 042-514-8098
Phone (City Hall): 042-585-1111
Address: Hino City Hall, 3th Floor
1-12-1 Shinmei, Hino, Tokyo 191-8686
Contact the City Promotion Division through our online contact form