Don’t you think a trip to a zoo can be an enchanting and educational experience for children and parents alike? If you find yourself in Sendai, make sure to put Sendai Yagiyama Zoological Park on your must-see list. A great spot to visit if you have kids, but also if you just want to have a great day outdoors.
Sendai Yagiyama Zoological Park, also known as Yagiyama Doubutsuen (八木山動物園), is the biggest and the oldest zoo in Sendai. It is located at the top of Yagiyama Mountain, also home to a theme park called Benny Land. It has been opened since 1965 and there are two entrances, the main gate and South gate (near the parking lot). This zoo is home to more than 550 animals and 145 species, including popular animals likes giraffes, rhinos, elephants, tigers, zebras and polar bears.
At Yagiyama Dobutsuen, you also can have a delightful picnic while enjoying the view of the zoo and its luscious greenery. You are allowed to bring your own food, or you can buy snacks at the cafe inside the zoo. There is a variety of picnic areas on offer, both covered and uncovered.
There are 5 interesting ‘Houses’ that my kids especially enjoyed while visiting this zoo. First, at the ‘Elephant House’ they can observe these large animals from up close, also during feeding time. Second, at the ‘Reptile House’ they can watch a variety of snakes and turtles while at the ‘Monkey House’ they enjoyed seeing the monkeys swing and climb in their habitat. My kids were also lucky to be able to watch a polar bear swim in the water at the ‘Polar Bear House’. Lastly, we saw the tigers walk around and take a rest in the ‘Tiger House’.
This year Yagiyama Dobutsuen celebrates its 50th anniversary. If you want to get an overview and enjoy the excitement of this zoo, you can watch its official video at https://Youtu.Be/vmTaavUAP7Y If you would like to visit, opening hours are from 9:00 to 16:45, and last admission is at 16:00 except during winter when it will be closed earlier at 16:00 and the last admission is at 15:00. Admission fee is 400 yen for adults, 1000 yen for an annual pass, 100 yen for elementary and junior high school student and free for children under 6. Surprisingly, it is also free for international students! Not only you but your whole family will get free admission! Please make sure that you do not forget to bring your resident and student card when you go in order to gain free entry.
If you plan to go to Yagiyama Dobutsuen by bus, take bus lines no. 9, 11 or 12 from the West entrance bus terminal of Sendai Station. The bus ride is about 25 to 30 minutes from the station, and you should get off at Dobutsuen-mae. If you plan to go there by car, don’t worry about parking because there are 400 parking spaces provided by the zoo, and you just need to pay 400 yen per car without a time limit.
If you don’t have any plans yet for the weekend or public holidays and want to spend quality time with your kids, I would definitely recommend visiting the Sendai Yagiyama Zoological Park.
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