Hirakawa Zoo: Animal Attraction in Kagoshima
If you like zoos and you’re in the Kagoshima area, then maybe you might like to check this place out.
There are 3 ways to access to Hirakawa Zoo either by JR, Bus or Car. (Refer here)
If you are planning to take JR, from Kagoshima-chuo Station, you’ll take the Ibusuki Makurazaki Line (JR) to Goino Station. Roughly ¥300 for the fare about 20-25 minute train ride. The train ride may seem a little bouncy. An older train but very clean and some great views as you travel along your way, to your destination station.
From the train station you’ll walk south for 5 minutes, until you get to a split in the road, and you’ll see a sign with arrows pointing the direction (in English saying Hirakawa Zoo/ Hinkowan Park) for 15 minutes, somewhat uphill to the zoo. It is a nice walk from the station to the zoo. For your information, you’ll pass the park entrance and continue upwards towards the zoo entrance.
The entrance fee is ¥500 per person. Besides, you can get a discount if you buy a combo ticket of the Kagoshima aquarium and the zoo. Children under 6 do not need to pay but elementary and middle school aged children requires a fee of ¥100.
The zoo is open from 09:00-17:00 (daily) and they accept their last guest at 16:30. Normally, people will spend 1-2 hours visiting the zoo.
Things to See and Do
Within the zoo, you may find animals from the African Savannah, the Indian forests, from South America and even from Australia. There’s a variety of birds and reptiles. The area with kangaroos is an open space so kangaroos can walk right next to you, it’s pretty awesome. The Penguins also walk along with you during their show time. Very cute, especially for the children. They have a petting zoo area but it is only available at certain times. The other zoo in Ibusuki, called Nagasakibana is more of a petting zoo than this one.
Other highlights include the Indian Forest Zone, Australian Nature Zone, and Koala House. In the past, Hirakawa Zoo has successfully bred its koala population, which currently consists of two males and four females. It was also the first Japanese zoo to succeed in breeding the Erabu flying fox (northern Ryukyu fruit bat), a subspecies from Kuchinoerabu-jima Island and the Tokara Islands that has been designated a natural treasure by the Japanese government. The bats can be viewed in the Kagoshima Animals Zone.
To traverse the sprawling grounds, hop on a cute bus decorated with the faces of koalas and other animals. A footbath is also available for visitors to soothe their tired feet while looking at the animals and Sakurajima. The zoo shop sells souvenirs such as exclusive merchandise and sweets, as well as soft-serve ice cream. At the restaurant, an open terrace overlooks the African Savannah Zone and Sakurajima. Children and adults alike will be able to spend a whole day at this must-visit tourist attraction.
After touring the zoo, you can enter the amusement park area, where you can purchase tickets at the booth or at the machines for ¥100 per ticket. Most rides were ¥100 per adult. Lots of fun options. There is also a nice Ferris wheel with lovely views. There is a castle shaped building in which there are different cars and trucks, and planes that children can ride. Not for free of course, but you can purchase the coins at the machine booths within the building.
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