Famous at Hokkaido’s Asahiyama Zoo! A Guide to Efficient “Mogu-Mogu Time” Tour

Asahiyama Zoo offers guests a guide on “Mogu-Mogu Time” (feeding time), wherein the people in charge of breeding and taking care of the animals talk about the distinctive behavior of animals while they are being fed. This event is very popular at this zoo because it gives people a close peek into how animals eat, and they get to hear inside stories about the animals that will make them say “Really?!” In this article, we have compiled and applied the important points in exploring the zoo as efficiently as possible while ensuring that all the popular animals there are seen. (This article is based on the schedule of May 11, 2017.)

First, you must check the schedule for the day

Mogu-Mogu Time takes place more than 10 times a day in various spot inside the zoo, so make sure to check the day’s time schedule first!

The time schedule is displayed at the Front, East and West Gates, as well as at the Support Center near the Azarashi-Kan (Seal House). In this tour, we basically want to see the Mogu-Mogu Times of penguins, polar bear, seals and orangutans that take place at fixed times every day. So, look at the map of the zoo and then draw up your plan on which animal to see first.

The first stop is the Penguin-Kan (House of Penguins) at 10:45 am, followed by the Hokkyoguma-Kan (Polar Bear House) at 11:00 am, the Azarashi-Kan (Seal Hous) at 11:30 am, and then the Orangutan-Sha (Orangutan House) at 11:45 am. These animals will be fed again in the afternoon.

The first three animals have areas that are close to one another, so their sequence in the tour can be interchanged. However, the Orangutan House is located on the East Gate side of the zoo that takes about 10 minutes to reach if you walking at a slow pace, so go to this zone in the afternoon. The Mogu-Mogu Time of the polar bear is hugely popular, so you’d probably want to line up at least 15 minutes early if you want to be the first in line in order to get photos. Having said that, you might want to enjoy the Penguin House and the Seal House in the morning.

You have to look at the animals without wasting time during the Mogu-Mogu Time

Mogu-Mogu Time takes about 10 - 15 minutes. If you take into account the waiting time and the travel time, then you have up to around 10:30 am as free time in the morning. Take that time to look at the animals that you should be seeing early in the morning.

First, go to Moju-Kan (Wild Animal House). The animals that can be viewed change a lot in the morning and afternoon, so this is definitely a spot you would want to check out. That day we visited, a group of Zaria (Siberian tiger) parents and children were playing in the water.

Next, head to the Lesser Panda-Sha (Red Panda House). These animals basically hate hot weather, so it would be best to drop in early in the morning or in the evening, when it is a lot cooler, if you want to see them actively playing.

You must not forget the Kaba-Kan (Hippopotamus House). On the day that we were there, the male hippopotamus, Momokichi, was at the pool on the outdoor enclosure, while the female hippopotamus, Asako, was inside the indoor pool. The indoor pool gets dirtier as the day progresses with feces floating, so you might want to see the hippos swimming in a clean pool in the morning.

Grab the chance to take photos of little-known great spots during lulls by using the viewing areas

Finally, the Mogu-Mogu Time with penguins has come! It was a weekday, so we managed to keep our front row seats by just waiting for about 10 minutes before the show started. However, there are three viewing platforms on the viewing space, so it would be best to watch from there.

When this ends, all the people watching will begin to sprinkle out to head to the next Mogu-Mogu Time.

Their destination is the area of polar bear, which boasts of deep-rooted popularity in terms of Mogu-Mogu Time. When the people gather at the Polar Bear House, you should move to the Seal House! The Marine Way, where seals glide and play, is quite a popular spot that is constantly packed with people. However, during the Mogu-Mogu Time at the polar bear zone, this place tends to have less people than usual, making it easier to take photos.

Once you have taken a souvenir photo at the Marine Way, go to the Mogu-Mogu Time at the zone of seals. Even on a weekday, this place gets quite crowded 5 minutes before the start of feeding. There is also a viewing platform here, but unlike at the penguin area, the guests get to witness feeding time from the second floor of the Seal House. To avoid the crowd, you can just wait on the second floor.

You have to maximize the East Gate area where the Orangutan House is located

The next Mogu-Mogu Time is at the Orangutan House starting 1:45 pm. The Orangutan zone is on the East Gate area, so in anticipation of the feeding time, it would be best to climb the East Gate area for a little lunch break and to view the animals around this zone.

Mogu-Mogu Time for the orangutans begins at 1:45 pm. That day we were there, this area was not as crowded as the penguin and seal zones, but it could have been due to the bad weather.

To see the polar bear, the most famous at the zoo, be prepared to line up and make sure to take a spot for viewing

The polar bear is particularly famous when it comes to Mogu-Mogu Time, so move to the Polar Bear House right away. Some people have to line up here, but on the day we were there, we arrived 15 minutes early and waited in front of the glass, with us being around second in line from both sides.

But the sight of the polar bear was truly spectacular. Although it was a weekday, visitors still began to gather about 15 minutes before the show. Those at the front side are required to squat from the yellow line, so those who find it difficult to crouch for more than 10 minutes had better stand from a high position at the back.

The feeding time ended at 2:45 pm. We managed to see all four Mogu-Mogu Time events that we hoped to see. There are afternoon Mogu-Mogu Time events (3:15 pm for seals and 3:45 pm for penguins), too, so for those who have time to spare, you might want to watch again from a position that is different from your first viewing.

Note that we went to the zoo on a weekday. Expect the zoo to be more crowded on weekends and over the summer break, so make sure to leave more time when you come to watch the Mogu-Mogu events!

※Photo provided by Asahiyama Zoo

Asahiyama Zoo

Kuranuma, Higashi Asahikawa-cho, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 05.24.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

Recommended articles for you

Can't find it in a guidebook? Looking through this app will definitely make you want to go to Japan.
Sightseeing information to make you say "Wow!", updated every day!