Tennoji Zoo (Osaka Zoo), opened in 1915, is Japan`s third oldest zoo. Over the years Osaka City`s Recreation and Tourism Bureau has been working to contribute to the protection and preservation of wild species by renovating the zoo`s old facilities into more efficient ones as well as introducing natural habitats for the animals.
Tennoji Zoo houses approximately 1,500 animals representing 300 of earth`s species on 27 acres (11 hectares) of land. Improvements have been made to the zoo; a new rhinoceros paddock was built with an environment similar to an African savanna (1998), the Herbivorous animal zone was created so giraffes, zebras and elands can graze in a grassy, open space (2000), the Forest of Asia zone was built to imitate a more natural habitat (2004) and the Carnivorous zone was built so lions and hyenas can relax in an open space (2006).
Tennoji Zoo was also the first in Japan to create an underwater viewing pool where visitors can watching hippos through a clear glass wall of the pool (1997). The zoo circulates 450-tons of water in the pool every 38 minutes to keep it clean.
Little A and I got off at Dobutsue-mae station (access also from Tennoji Station, a 10 minute walk) and were delighted to see adorable murals of zoo animals adorning the walls and stairs of the station. As you take subway exit 1 I recommend walking through the Shinsekai alley to take a look at old, interesting restaurants and shops instead of walking along the main road.
We entered Tennoji Zoo and headed toward the African Savannah. We were surrounded by vegetation – it almost felt like a walking safari. It made us forget were in Metropolitan Osaka. We saw hippos, giraffes, zebras, lions, hyenas and more grazing peacefully in close to their natural habitats.
Another popular attraction was the petting zoo where kids can feed sheep with food pellets (100 yen a pack), and pet guinea pigs (free). The petting zoo is available by reservation at the Friendship Square and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Petting zoo hours: Monday – Friday: 14:00 / 14:20 / 14:40 / 15:00; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 11:30 / 14:00. The petting zoo is located near a food stall which sells a variety of Udons and Sobas for 400 – 500 yen, fries (300 yen), corn dog (american dog
200 yen), soft cream (300 yen) and more. Tables, drink vending machines and zoo shop is also located in this area.
Little A especially enjoyed seeing penguins and seals swimming and playing happily in their areas however the wolves and monkeys looked like they needed some outdoor time and a little TLC. We hope the zoo will continue to make improvements to all the facilities and support all the animals in the near future.
Tennoji Zoo, Osaka Details:
Address: 1-108 Chausuyama-cho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka City (〒543-0063 大阪市天王寺区茶臼山町1-108)
Zoo Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9:30 – 17:00 (last entry 16:00); May and September: Sat, Sun & Holidays open till 18:00 (Last Entry 17:00). Closed on Monday. (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday), Year-end and New Year holiday (Dec.29 – Jan. 1)
Admission fee: Adults 500 yen; Elementary and JHS students 200 yen
Access: 5 minute walk from Dobutsuen-Mae Station (Midosuji Line). 10 minute walk from Tennoji Station.
Notes: Stroller and wheel chair friendly. Diaper changing tables available.
Tennoji Zoo, Osaka – An Urban Oasis in Metropolitan Osaka
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