Kids and Parents Will Enjoy the Whole Day! A Guide to Osaka’s Tennoji Zoo
The historic Tennoji Zoo, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015, is a historic zoo that has long been loved by the people of Kansai as an urban oasis. Here is a guide that highlights the attractions at this famous zoo!
Located in Osaka City, Tennoji Zoo is an urban comprehensive zoo that’s run by the Osaka municipal government. It boasts of great accessibility, as it is just a 10-minute walk from the nearest subway, and JR train stations are directly connected to the zoo’s two entrances (Shinsekai Gate and Tenshiba Gate). This 11-hectare zoo houses 1,000 animals from about 200 species, with around 1.6 million guests visiting each year. The contrast between the zoo and the skyscrapers outside is quite interesting. The zoo reproduces the habitats of the animals as much as possible, and holds ecological exhibits to teach others about the natural environments that these animals live in. This has catapulted it into becoming a much-talked-about zoo, resulting in an exponential surge in the number of visitors during recent years.
The zoo is divided into four major areas. Below are the highlights and famous animals in every area.
Resembling the savanna that is surrounded by rocky hills called “kopje”, this zone has an observation trail within the rocky hills that will make you feel like you are actually exploring the savanna. Go and observe how rhinoceroses, giraffes, and zebras coexist! Lions also live with them, so you will be able to enjoy a world view that looks like it was extracted straight out of the savanna. You should also check out the underwater observation pool in the Hippopotamus House, which is in the same area. If you’re lucky, you just might catch the thrilling feeding time (held on an irregular basis)!
This zone reproduces the Asian tropical rainforest, where you can see elephants live freely and vivaciously. Children and adults alike are transfixed by the sight of an elephant walking slowly, and then eating by using its trunk to attain food. Behind the elephant, you can see the skyscraper, Abeno Harukas, so grab the opportunity to snap a strange photo of an elephant and a building – something that you can only do in urban zoos! Head to the house of nocturnal animals, and observe the animals that are active at night. Inside, night and day are reversed, so look closely to spot kiwis and other rare animals that you can only find in this zoo in all of Japan! You will also get to enjoy the popular koalas, monkeys, and baboons in the surrounding area.
Flight Aviary (aviary zone) features springs, dams, small streams, forests, marshlands, and ponds. You will see birds as you walk inside the huge cage that resembles nature. There are no nets or glass walls, so you will see birds flying, making nests, and feeding. It will make you feel like you have strayed into a birds’ paradise. If you take a good look at the ceiling, you will see nests nearly everywhere – it’s a sight to behold! Around the area, you will also find the famous Polar Bear House, where you will see sea lions swim in the sea lion pool, and polar bears playing with toys and diving into the pool!
At this petting zone, you can enjoy interacting with the adorable animals to your heart’s content. You can feed the sheep and goats, and pet the guinea pigs. When you are here, it will feel like at any moment, you might hear a child and their parent wondering if the fur of the fluffy sheep they are touching will be turned into a sweater at the end. You can also view the Noma Uma (Noma horse), which is a native Japanese pony species that is adorable, kind, and smart. At the petting corner for guinea pigs, you can experience interacting with guinea pigs (stroking and hugging them) on a same-day reservation basis. Reservations are not required on weekends, so you can enjoy as much patting and stroking as you want then (hugging is not allowed).
Starting with the elephants at 10:00 am every day, do not miss the opportunity to watch as carnivores, polar bears, penguins, and other animals get fed and eat. Feeding lasts approximately 5 - 10 minutes. Note, though, that there are animals whose feeding times are irregular, so make sure to check the homepage of the zoo beforehand. Furthermore, various events are held throughout the year, and the Night Zoo that is held several times a year is especially popular with guests. While reservations for these events are not required, there may be restrictions on admission. Enjoy the cool evenings in the summer, and take the necessary provisions against the cold during the winter.
※Photo of the Night Zoo is for illustration purposes only.
Children would probably be glad if you go up Tsutenkaku Tower and Abeno Harukas, which you can see from Tennoji Zoo, and then let them look down at the zoo that they just visited. Please check out this zoo that is in the heart of Osaka!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.