Japan love their animals, that’s for sure. Every city you visit comes with an array of animal-centric activities that can be difficult find anywhere else. Hokkaido is no different; here you’ll be able to get up close to see some adorable penguins at Asahiyama Zoo!
The zoo in Asahikawa is famous in Japan for being beautiful and full of arctic animals. Visiting there in the Winter, when the whole site is blanketed in snow, is something very special. You can see all the arctic animals outside in their natural habitats. They have a large variety of animals here, including; penguins, polar bears, arctic wolves, tigers, apes, and birds of prey. Of course, the biggest highlight here is the twice daily Penguin Parade!
About 30 minutes before the parade starts, people begin to gather along the red lines in the snow, painted on by the staff members, marking the path of these adorable creatures. Now, this is Japan, and people are perfectly happy to wait for long periods of time, so make sure to head on over to the parade route fairly early to get a good spot! When the time comes, the penguins are led out of their enclosure by the zoo keepers and proceed to waddle along the parade route, which is a nice big circle around one area of the zoo.
This is a fantastic experience for animal lovers, and provides the opportunity to get some really great photographs too! Unfortunately, there’s no touching! It makes sense really, the poor penguins would be terrified if everyone started mobbing them for a feel. But, being so close, it is difficult to maintain restraint as they are just so cute!
Getting to the zoo is pretty easy. From Sapporo just take a train to Asahikawa. Once at the station, you can hop on a dedicated shuttle service to the zoo. Or, if you don’t want to wait, you can hop in a taxi for around 3000 yen. So, if Hokkaido is on your travel agenda for next winter, be sure to visit the penguins and all the other amazing animals at Asahiyama Zoo!