Trip Report: Higashiyama Zoo (Amusement Park)

My second stop on my day of five parks in Nagoya was the Higashiyama Zoo. Higashiyama means east mountain, and the park is on a mountain east of the city, easily accessible via Nagoya's subway.

I wish I could say that this zoo was as exciting as the song in the video. You'll see...
 I arrived at the zoo around 1 PM, and it was manageable but there were decent crowds. Admission for children is free, so it's an easy place to take your kids on the weekend.
 There is a monorail, although I don't know where it really goes and it seems kind of old. I did see some people riding at one point.
 The amusement park area of the zoo is pretty close to the entrance, just head up the stairs.
 This fun house looked interesting, but I was on a mission and a budget. My only rides here would be the three coasters.
 The first coaster you reach is the first I've encountered of its kind, called Slope Shooter. It's a side friction coaster and instead of running on a track it travels along a path with guide walls to force it to turn (see the images below and the car above).
 There used to be many more of these rides, but only a few remain in operation today. It shouldn't be a big surprise, because their design requires a relatively tame layout and are low-capacity.
 This model was built in 1961 and is still going strong. The ride is casual but graceful.
At the top of the hill, Jet Coaster lives up to its name. It's a decent-sized coaster with a very uneventful layout. Photography of that coaster proved quite difficult from the park itself, as it is surrounded by other rides. I could have gotten some good images from the Ferris wheel, but as I said before, time and money were at stake. 
 There are plenty of flat rides here, great for kids to spend pocket change on.
 Following the park around to the left and down the hill, the last coaster is Bear Coaster (Kumasan Coaster), a simple kid's coaster built recently compared to the other two.
 The Ferris wheel had nicely themed gondolas. After finishing the rides, I took a quick walk around the zoo portion of the park. After the lively atmosphere of the rides section, the zoo displays were at times shocking.
 The animal selection in the areas nearest the rides (on the left side of the park, relative to the main entrance) is not exactly thrilling.
 A lot of people enjoyed watching the old giant tortoises wander around. At the back of the park, you have to climb over and back down the mountain. There's an observation tower (additional charge) up there too. The "right" side of the park has the big ticket wildlife.
 I'm never surprised when the animals are resting when I visit the zoo. Let's face it, they tend to be most active when I'm not there. But what surprised me was the size of the exhibits - tiny cages with bars and nothing really natural.
 This polar bear looked bored and possibly hungry. There was a brown bear nearby pacing back and forth near its door, and a wolf had been running back and forth along a trail it had worn in its cage.
 The penguins were cool, despite the warm temperatures. Apparently they have koalas though I didn't see them (photographs aren't allowed at that exhibit anyway).
 The giraffe exhibit seemed to get the most space at the zoo, oddly enough. I know the zoo has been open for quite some time, but I think it's time for them to do some serious upgrades or even relocate to a new facility to better accommodate the animals.

There is a botanical garden with lots of trails for walking at the back of the park.
The zoo is open 9:00-16:50 (closed Mondays and around New Years). Admission for adults is 500 yen, and free for children (junior high school and under).

Access is easiest via the Higashiyama Line. Get off at Higashiyama Koen Station (3 minute walk) for the zoo and rides, or Hoshigaoka Station (7 minute walk) for the gardens.


  1. Oh man I used to live like right next to Higashiyama Koen. This brings back so many memories for me :').

  2. Did you actually like it? I can't imagine it being a fun place except for very little kids...