Gunma Safari Park 群馬サファリパーク
Gunma Safari Park, where the world's animals roam free
Gunma Safari Park is one of two true safari parks in Japan. Located in Tomioka in southwestern Gunma Prefecture , the park boasts over 100 species of animals from Africa, Asia and Japan, including a white tiger. You can drive your own car through the park or board special buses to cruise through the grounds. Elephants, rhinos, lions, bears, giraffes and more move freely across terrain made to resemble their natural environment.
- The adjoining theme park, which has rollercoasters and restaurants
- The Walking Safari Zone, where you can pet and feed animals
How to Get There
The park is accessible via train and taxi, or by private vehicle.
Regular trains from Tokyo to Takasaki Station take around two hours, or take the Joetsu Shinkansen, which takes about one hour. From Takasaki Station, change to the Joshin Dentetsu Line for Joshu-Tomioka Station (35 minutes).
Gunma Safari Park is 10 minutes by taxi from Joshu-Tomioka Station. If driving, the park is five to 10 minutes from Tomioka IC on the Joshinetsu Expressway.
This was the first genuine safari park in eastern Japan
Pop superstar Michael Jackson visited the park on tour in 1988
Getting around the park
You can use your own car to tour the park at your own pace, and go around as many times as you like. Be sure to rent an English audio guide at the entrance, which is GPS-linked to provide timely explanations at each stage of the park. Follow the rules and do not leave your vehicle.
If you don't have a car, you can ride the Safari Bus. The Feed the Animals Experience Bus will give you the chance to feed lions and more. If you would rather go in a smaller vehicle with a private tour guide, then the Ranger Tour is an excellent choice.
Up close and personal with the animals
Travel through the various zones at Gunma Safari Park, including the Africa Zone, the Japan Zone and the Asian Zone, each occupied by animals from that region that are free to roam.
There are special zones for lions and tigers.
Without bars, you can see how these magnificent animals live, with just a glass window between you and a lion's jaws or a buffalo's horns.
Get even closer with some feathered and furry friends
The Walking Safari Zone is a nice alternative that puts you even closer to the wild. The Wolf Forest, Bird Zone and Little Farm are filled with animals such as wolves, flamingos, squirrel monkeys, lesser pandas and ponies. The Bird Park features hawks and large parakeets, and you can ride ponies at Little Farm.
Spend a fun day in Tomioka
In addition to the safari area, there is a theme park with roller coasters, an event hall, family restaurant and barbecue terrace. There's enough here to keep you entertained for half a day at a minimum.
Just a short distance away, the Tomioka Silk Mill is equally worthwhile and totally different. This well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage site was key in making Japan the world's leading silk exporter for a time and driving industrialization.