Want to see a host of creatures great and small across a natural parkland environment? The Satoyama Art Zoo in Niigata is the perfect spot to visit - but you might be surprised when you see the animals on display! They're all art installations rather than the real deal, and each is beautiful in their own unique way.
The pieces here make up part of the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale, an event held every three years to exhibit artworks from both local and international artists across the Niigata countryside.
The animals on display are made of a variety of different materials - there are creations made of hay, wood, metal and even plastic tubing. If you find yourself headed to the art triennale, this exhibition is one you shouldn't miss. The Satoyama Art Zoo is conveniently located on the grounds of the Nakago Green Park, which has an on-site cafe offering drinks, ice creams, and basic meals such as udon, ramen, curry rice and gyudon bowls.
To get to the Nakago Green Park where the Satoyama Art Zoo is held, head to Tokamachi Station. From there, buses depart to Motomachi (stop TA27) and the Nakago Green Park is approximately 10 minutes on foot from there.
If you visit by private vehicle, there is plenty of free parking at the site.
I'm an expat who has lived abroad for almost a decade, including 7 years in Japan. I've also visited 44 of 47 prefectures and hope to get to the last three someday! I'm particularly fond of exploring off the beaten path destinations, gardens, and tea houses, and have a real interest in Japan's gr...