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Nogeyama Zoo

Last updated date:2018/9/28

Nogeyama Zoo

Nogeyama Zoo's Entrance

Here is a piece I have been wanting to write ever since I arrived to Yokohama 2 years ago and visited the Nogeyama Zoo(外部サイト). I don’t know what made it so special. I just instantly liked the place.

The Nogeyama Zoo is a free municipal zoological garden that opened in April 1951 under the name “Nogeyama Amusement Park”. It celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2011 and has attracted to date more than 50 million visitors. On top of animals, the zoo houses Yokohama’s only reptile terrarium. Since 2008, it is managed by the Yokohama Greenery Foundation which also manages Zoorasia and the Kanazawa Zoo located in Kanazawa National Park. This allows easy collaboration between zoos for a greater experience at any given location.

A fun day out for the whole family

Donation board

Entrance to Nogeyama Zoo is free. It is beloved by visitors for being a zoo in the middle of the city and close to everyone’s heart. Donations are what allow the zoo to evolve together with the animals it houses while carrying on daily maintenance. One innovative initiative to attract support is the possibility to sponsor an animal via the “Ani-pair” program. Visitors can choose to be paired with an animal and donate gifts to the animals or money for improvements geared towards them.

In 2012, Nogeyama Zoo was visited by as many as 900,000 visitors, a number that hadn’t been reached in almost three decades. You see, back in 1999, the zoo hit an all-time low with barely 350,000 visitors. Various projects were then set forth to bring popularity back to Nogeyama, such as in-depth explanations by guides during the animals’ meal time, opportunities for elementary school students to get closer to the animals, and ad campaigns reaching all across town. A ceremony was also held to celebrate the 900,000th visitor entering the grounds!

The zoo counts among its residents many notable animals.

Manager Tsugaru

Most impressive is probably Tsugaru, a 37-year-old camel (camel life expectancy is about 25, making it over 90 in human years). It is the oldest camel in captivity in the world and has been a resident of Nogeyama Zoo for 25 years. Not only does her age call for respect, but the love of both staff and visitors have earned her the title of Sales Manager! Manager Tsugaru often gets gifts from her fans. She especially likes apples. Last year, on Respect for the Aged Day (a Japanese national holiday), she received a gift in the form of a mural for her habitat. Children and adults joined hands in painting various colorful animals to replace the originally grey walls of her home.

Tsugaru and me


Another animal unique to Nogeyama is the Kagu. It is the only place this bird endemic of New Caledonia can be seen in Japan.

Lesser panda

One of the most popular animals at Nogeyama Zoo is the lesser panda. It’s the first thing you see when you check the official website or brochure. It’s adorable! And the way it moves around and takes things in its front paws is just so cute!!!

Lunch time

The chimpanzees, the youngest of which was born at Nogeyama Zoo in 2011, also remain among the most popular animals year after year. By the way, if you pay attention to the boards placed throughout the zoo, you can find information on the meal schedule of different animals. The reason this is neat is that if you can manage to go to those places at the right time, you can see staff from the zoo feeding those animals. Knowledge of Japanese will allow you to understand the information given during that time, but even if you don’t, it is quite an entertaining sight.

Petting zoo

Nakayoshi Hiroba (‘Make Friends’ Square) is a section where visitors can pet and play with various small animals such as mice, guinea pigs and chicks. It is a definite hit with children! The installation for mice is actually quite impressive in itself, with a network of ropes hanging above the whole area on which the mice can move freely.

Mist system

During summer, the zoo has implemented a system that sprays a mist throughout the facilities. This, with other initiatives, is part of an endeavor aimed at refreshing both animals and visitors at the zoo. They have named it Cool BiZoo, a portmanteau of the famous Cool Biz initiative, where office workers can dress more comfortably during the hot summer days, and the word ‘zoo’.

General Information:

Open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Entrance allowed until 4:00 p.m.)

Closed every Monday (Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday)

*The zoo is also closed from December 29th through January 1st.


(Cette page en français)

Nogeyama Zoo Official Site(外部サイト)

Note: Tsugaru, the oldest camel in captivity in the world and the pride of Nogeyama Zoo, passed away on 25 May 2014 at the remarkable age of 38.

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