Park

JAPAN: Oita Prefecture, Beppu (African Safari Wildlife Park/ アフリカンサファリ)

Having written about the Fuji Safari Park in Shizuoka earlier, I would like to introduce you to yet another safari park in Japan that is popular with both adults and children.  Located about an hour from Beppu Station is The African Safari Wildlife Park (アフリカンサファリ). Situated on the island of Kyushu, Beppu City in Oita Prefecture is popular with tourists because of its many onsens (hot spring baths). The sprawling African Safari Wildlife Park is just a few miles outside of Beppu City on the Tsukahara Plain (Tsukahara Kogen) and is equally popular.

Open year round, the park affords visitors the opportunity to view the animals either from the safety and comfort of their own vehicles or from within a safari park bus. Unlike other zoos, the animals of the safari park roam freely and it is the humans who are restricted.

The safari park buses are designed to look like enormous exotic animals. Their large windows are protected by heavy gauge wire and visitors can feed the animals through the bus windows. If you drive your own car through the park you are  not permitted to roll down your car windows or get out of your car under any circumstances.

The safari park is divided into multiple zones because while some animals are allowed to mix freely, others have to be kept separate from each other. It is easy to understand because lions, for instance, are the natural predators of gazelles and cheetahs may not get along with the tigers, etc. There are “neutral zones” in between the various habitats.  This design enables the park rangers to send back any animals who may have followed the cars or park buses and may potentially end up in a different zone.

The cost of your admission includes a food tray with various treats for the animals roaming the park.  Instructions on how to feed the animals is in Japanese however, the animals themselves will clue you in on what treats they will accept as they are known to refuse something that is out of their ordinary selection of food items. You will be given a pair of long-handled tongs to pass out the treats with.  Understandable, as you will be feeding carnivorous animals in the park who may confuse your hand as part of their treat!

There is a petting zoo area within the park as well with the typical creatures you will find in other petting zoos.

The safari park is open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (March 1 to October 31) and from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (November 1 to February 28).  There is a night safari offered on a limited basis from 5:00 PM – 7:20 PM. Admission is ¥2,500 for adults and ¥1,400 for children. Please note that there is an additional charge for the safari buses. The rate is ¥1,100 for adults and ¥900 for children.

 

Location:            2-1755-1 Ajimumachi Minamihata, Usa-shi, Oita, JAPAN

Web page:         http://www.africansafari.co.jp/english/

Please visit Amazon.com to purchase my book, “A Blogger’s Guide To Japan,” where you can read about the Fuji Safari Park and many other interesting destinations in Japan.  The book is available in print and electronic format.

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Japan: Tokyo (Shinjuku Gyoen/ 新宿御苑)

Once having served as a feudal lord’s residence, Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks.  It is home to more than 20,000 trees, including approximately 1,500 cherry trees, which make it a popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) destination from late March to late April. The park is also nice to visit during autumn when the leaves change. The spectacular fall colors typically appear from mid-November to mid-December.

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Shinjuku Gyoen, which spans 58.3 hectares is comprised of three different types of gardens. The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden, which features the Taiwan Pavilion, constructed on the occasion of the Showa Emperor’s wedding.  During the first two weeks in November, a chrysanthemum exhibit is held here with beautiful floral displays and temporary pavilions erected around the park’s grounds. You can also find a traditional Japanese tea house here.

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The park’s other main gardens include a formal French garden and an English landscape garden. The remainder of the park consists of forested areas, lawns and several structures including a restaurant, an information center and an art gallery. There is also a beautiful greenhouse with numerous tropical and subtropical flowers on display. The park was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but it was eventually rebuilt and reopened to the public in 1949. It is not uncommon to walk around the park and find various artists creating beautiful water color images of the scenery.

Shinjuku Gyoen also has three gates. The Shinjuku Gate and the Okido Gate are both just a five-minute walk from the Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line. The third gate, the Sendagaya Gate, is located five minutes on foot from the JR Sendagaya Station on the local Chuo/Sobu Line.

The park is open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM Tuesday through Sunday, except during cherry blossom season and chrysanthemum season, when the park is open seven days a week.

Web page:         http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/