What better for a family day out than a trip to the zoo? Fukuoka City Zoological Garden is home to 130 different species of animals. The zoo itself is part of Minami Park and connects directly with the botanical garden, so it's worthwhile making the trip! From JR Kyushu Hakata Station, take the subway to Yakuin-odori on the Nanakuma Line (change at Tenjin) and it’s around a 15-20 minute walk from Exit 2. Follow Josui Street directly south, taking in the interesting shops along the way.
The zoo is set amongst the hillsides of Fukuoka, creating a lush and leafy atmosphere, making it feel very natural and authentic. The zoo is currently undergoing large-scale renovations, so some of the newer enclosures are extremely impressive such as the gibbon and elephant homes. However, further into the zoo there are clear signs of the zoo’s age. Because of this, it may not be to everyone’s taste (looking at a hot monkey in a shabby enclosure can be a little depressing). However, after seeing the renovation work which has already been completed you can see that the improvements are vast and impressive. Once these renovations are complete, all the zoo’s inhabitants will have spectacular and stimulating enclosures.
The zoo is home to both rare species, such as the tapir and red panda, as well as some more common animals such as the rabbits and goats in the petting corner. I would advise making sure you see the Japanese Macaques as their enclosure is huge and they are very entertaining to watch. It’s great to be able to see the animals such as the red panda and deer so close up. As the zoo can be fairly quiet, it means you can usually get a great view of your favourite creature.
On a hot July day wandering around in the sun can take its toll. Thankfully the zoo offers relief in the form of mist sprays around the seating areas. The zoo has a wide selection of food stalls in the shade opposite the main entrance. As well as the petting corner the zoo has a small children’s area with a Ferris wheel and other fun games to keep the kids entertained.
The entrance fee is just ¥400 - but beware it's cash only! I think the price of this trip does not reflect the quality of this zoo, though I think when renovations are complete the price will be increased. I am looking forward to visiting again in a few years once all of the enclosures are replaced and the animals have a more stimulating environment. Though it may not be the best zoo I have visited, it’s still entertaining and makes a good day out, especially when combined with the beautiful botanical garden.