Asahiyama Zoo

Asahiyama Zoo (旭山動物園) is one of the best zoos in Japan. As would be expected from a zoo in Hokkaido, there are animals such as penguins, polar bears and seals. What makes the zoo extra special is the layout of some of the cages, which encourages the animals, such as monkeys, to jump around and play (sometimes right above you!). There are also many feeding displays and shows to see.


Open: 9:30 to 4:30 (summer), 10:30 to 3:30 (winter)

Closed: April 8th to 25th, December 30th to January 1st

Cost: 820 yen (children free)

Budget travel tips

  • Check out the green notice board as you enter, which shows the event and feeding times. It’s in Japanese, but staff can show you which are which on your map.

How to get there

From Asahikawa station, take the well signposted bus (41, 42 or 47) directly to Asahiyama Zoo.


Hostels and Cheap Hotels

Mimatsuso Ryokan

Super cheap place with excellent service (free Japanese confectionery and tea on arrival!) and a good location near Asahikawa station. Check prices at

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Published by Matthew Baxter

Matthew Baxter is a British travel author who lived in New Zealand and Japan for many years. Having traveled across these countries, without much money, he has built up an extensive knowledge of budget travel, and also worked at many leading tourism companies in both countries. He also writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, All About and the Japan National Tourist Association. Those heading to Taiwan should check out his new site, Taiwanna Travel.