Maruyama Zoo

A unique view at the Reptile House

A unique view at the Reptile House


AdmissionAnnual Pass – 1000 yen
Adults – 600 yen
Children (under 15) – free
Group (30 or more) – 540 yen
Opening Hours9:00 – 16:00
ClosedDecember 29, 30, 31
Contact-
Notes-
Location /
Getting There
Japan, 〒064-0959 Hokkaido Prefecture, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Miyagaoka, 3−1
On the south-west side of Maruyama Park

For those who like zoos, there are two main zoos in Hokkaido. One being in ASAHIKAWA, the other being in MAURYAMA PARK in SAPPORO. Maruyama Zoo opened its doors to the nation in 1951 on May 5th for children’s day. It is the home to 177 varieties of mammals, birds and reptiles and is currently raising and exhibiting 991 types of living creatures.

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“Yuki”, one of the four timber wolves.

The zoo is not huge by any standards so it is easy to get around  and see everything in a couple of hours. Previously, the zoos enclosures had been criticized for being too small and although work still needs to be done, effort and progress has been made to build larger and more “naturalistic” spaces for the various animals. Work is constantly being done and the enclosures are being upgraded.

Breakdown of the areas:

  • Kangaroo house –  pandas, kangaroos and rabbits
  • Birds of Prey house
  • Ezo Brown Bear House
  • Ezo Deer and Wolf Enclosure
  • Monkey mountain – central point of the zoo
  • Ape and Monkey House
  • Marine Mammal House
  • World Bear House – polar bear enclosure
  • Tropical Birds House
  • Waterfowl House
  • African Zone – lions, hippos, zebras, giraffes
  • Reptile and Amphibian House
  • Petting Zoo
  • Anthropoid House – 0rangutans

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The zoos main selling point is the polar bear enclosure. As the polar bear is on the brink of extinction in the wild, zoos may be the only place to see these magnificent animals. Maruyama zoo is a place where you can get up close to see them. Currently residing are a male and a female “Lara”with her two cubs. Breeding polar bears in captivity is quite difficult, but even in the wild numbers have been dwindling due to a deteriorating natural environment. Since the year 2000 only two places in Japan have successfully birthed baby polar bears, Oga Aquarium and Maruyama Zoo. Of these Maruyama Zoo is the only place to have twins!

If you want to get even closer to the animals there is a petting zoo for the young kids. Fortunately, this is not the Hokkaido brown bear or the tigers, but  mostly farm animals. The petting zoo is home to sheep, chickens, geese and a plethora of other small cute animals. The zoo has various events during the day, with a zoo keeper feeding the animals and talking about them (in Japanese). If you cant speak Japanese its still a good time to see the animals having a feed. Afterwards, if you are getting a little peckish yourself, then there are a few restaurants, snack shops and even a convenience store on the grounds. Overall, for a cheap day out, the price is very affordable to see and learn about some animals you’ve never seen close up before.

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Lunch? The Hokkaido brown bear, “Towa”

ACCESS:

SUBWAY – Take the subway to Maruyama Koen station. Exit no.3 or no.6. It’s a 15 minute walk west and up along the right hand side of the park.

BUS – Takes about 8 minutes by bus. From the bus terminal at Maruyama koen Subway Station, take either Nishi (West) 15 Dobutsuen line and get off at Dobutsuen mae (5 minute walk)

SHUTTLE BUS – From Maruyama koen Subway Station, take the Shuttle Bus bound for Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, and get off at Dobutsuen mae. (Runs only weekends and national holidays between the end of Apr. and beginning of Nov.)

TAXI – 30 minutes from Sapporo Station

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About Matt Holloway

Hokkaido Guide contributor and editor. Keen photographer with a love of travel, the great outdoors and all things Hokkaido, Japan. Matt Holloway is a professional photographer and holds exhibitions around Sapporo, Hokkaido and Sydney Australia.