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Animal interaction spots in Hokkaido to visit with kids
Blessed with abundant natural resources, lots of animals such as red foxes are unique to Hokkaido inhabit. There are spots where you can interact with such animals, and some of these spots include the northernmost zoo in Japan, Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa city, and the zoo that specializes in foxes, Kitakitsune Farm. In this article, we introduce spots that we would like to recommend for families.
(1) Behavioral exhibitions and munch time are popular at
"Asahiyama Zoo" (Asahikawa City)
"Asahiyama Zoo" in Ashikawa city can be said to be one of the most famous zoos, not only in Hokkaido but even in Japan. It is characterized by the inclusion of “behavioural exhibitions" that encourages the ecology and behaviour that animals naturally have for observation purposes.
One of the most popular events is the seal behaviour performance. You can observe the seals swimming vertically in the 1.5-metre-diameter columnar aquarium, "Marine Way", that is large enough for two seals to cross paths.
“Munch time" is also popular, where you can observe the natural appearance and characteristic behaviour of animals while they are eating food. You can observe the moment when they eat the food, which displays their animal-likeness to the max. A must-see event is the polar bear's munch time. You can see the food being scattered in the water and the polar bear swimming dynamically.
We also recommend seeing the penguin swallowing fish whole!
April 29th, 2021 - October 15th, 2021, 09:30 - 17:15 (last admission at 16:00) October 16th, 2021 - November 3rd, 2021: 09:30 - 16:30 (last admission at 16:00)
November 11th, 2021 - April 7th, 2022 10:30 - 15:30 (last admission at 15:00)
Admission fee: ¥1,000
About 40 minutes via the Asahikawa Electric Orbit Bus (Asahiyama Zoo Line 41/47) from Asahikawa Station Bus Touch. Or about 35 minutes from Asahikawa Airport via the Asahikawa Electric Orbit Bus (Asahikawa Airport Asahiyama Zoo Line 78)
* In order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) the facility may be temporarily closed or business hours may be adjusted. Please check the official website for the latest information.
(2) The only zoo in Japan where red foxes and Ezo tanuki live together in a free roaming area!
"Kitakitsune Farm" (Kitami City)
Kitakitsune Farm, a zoo that specializes in foxes, is located at Onneyu Onsen in Rubeshibe-cho, Kitami City. You can meet "red foxes", which live in many areas throughout Hokkaido and has light brown fur with black fur around the ankles and the backs of its ears, and "Ezo tanuki (racoon dog)", which inhabits some areas of Hokkaido.
The farm is characterized by its 60 red foxes that are always free to roam without being put in a cage like a normal zoo. You can see the cute red foxes up close while taking a stroll along the promenade. From May to June, you may even encounter newborn foxes!
Looking at adorable animals getting along can be relaxing!
(3) A horse-themed amusement facility with a horse theme "Northern Horse Park" (Tomakomai City)
"Northern Horse Park" Tomakomai City, Hokkaido is a horse-themed amusement park that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids, including attractions such as Japan's first pony show, horse riding experiences, and seeing a former racehorse. There are lots of activities that children can enjoy to the fullest, such as "Sightseeing horse-drawn carriage", "Sightseeing horseback riding", "Horse trekking", and more.
Let’s enjoy the nature of Hokkaido on horseback! The horseback riding guided by staff which offers you an easy-to-enjoy experience is especially popular.
Moreover, the "Happy Pony Show" that held 2-3 times a day is an absolute must-see for families. Not only can you sit and watch the ponies doing a variety of performances, but guests can also participate in some of them!
Be sure to check out the recommended souvenirs such as the horseshoe-shaped original cookie: "Horse Shoe Cookie"!
Name: Northern Horse Park
Address: 114-7 Misawa, Tomakomai-shi, Hokkaido
April 15th - November 5th: 09:00 – 17:00
November 6th - April 9th: 10:00 – 16:00
Closed: April 10th - April 14th
April 15th - November 5th: ¥800
November 6th - April 9th: ¥500
Access: About 15 minutes via the free shuttle bus from New Chitose Airport