| Centrip Editorial Board

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens: How to Enjoy the Zoo During the Pandemic

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens opened in 1937 in Nagoya. The zoo includes a botanical garden on its 60-hectare grounds and houses the largest number of animal species in Japan. The zoo is one of the leading parks in the Chubu area, with the second-largest number of visitors after Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens had to close temporarily in 2020 due to COVID-19. The following article is from an interview with Mr. Taya and Mr. Matsuda of the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It covers the reopening of the zoo & gardens and discusses how we can all enjoy the zoo during the pandemic.

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in the Wake of the Corona Crisis

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, a popular destination for foreign tourists

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens has attracted many visitors since its opening because of its easy access to public transportation from Nagoya Station and its location in the heart of the city, where visitors can enjoy their vast menagerie and abundant nature. It is currently upgrading its facilities following the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens Revitalization Plan and has set a target of increasing the annual number of visitors from the current 2.5 million to 3.5 million by 2032, the 100th anniversary of the zoo.

Amid the corona crisis, the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens is actively working with the Nagoya Convention and Visitors Bureau to attract foreign tourists, including visitors from Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. A multilingual map of the zoo (English, simplified Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese) is also available, and the introduction of a QR code system is under consideration.

Multilingual map of Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Impact of the COVID-19 on the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens were closed temporarily from April 10 to May 27, when the state of emergency began in Aichi Prefecture due to the spread of COVID-19. During this period, the animals got some much needed R&R and kept isolated for their safety as well.

A Lion Taking a Nap. Could It Be Summer Fatigue?

After June 30, the zoo returned to normal operations, but to avoid overcrowding during the autumn holiday season, when the number of visitors usually increases, the zoo announced that it would introduce a new reservation system on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays starting September 19.

Countermeasures against the COVID-19 at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

At the time of writing, there are no interactive animal events or animal explanation events held. They have also asked for cooperation among guests in wearing masks, disinfecting hands with alcohol, and washing hands. It has also increased its awareness of the need to ensure social distance. Because of reports of COVID-19 spreading from humans to animals, some feline animals and apes will be at greater distances from visitors than usual. At the famous indoor koala house, warnings are on display to remind visitors to keep their distance and to avoid prolonged viewing.

Koalas are a popular attraction at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
A reminder posted inside the koala house

Pre-booking system from September 19

You can make reservations via the Internet (a return postcard system is also available, but it is only for people who do not have access to the Internet). Reservations can be made from 9:00 a.m. one week before your visit up until the day of your visit. Up to 10 people can reserve at a time. Reservations are free, but admission tickets must be purchased separately. You must present the QR code with your reservation information when you enter the zoo. The zoo encourages visitors to buy tickets at convenience stores and other locations in advance to reduce congestion at ticket counters.
Persons 65 years of age or older, disabled persons (including up to two caregivers), and annual passport holders in Nagoya City do not need to make a reservation.

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in the COVID-19 era

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which allows visitors to spend time in the great outdoors while avoiding indoor crowds, is being touted as one of the best options for days off during the pandemic. Admission to the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens is ¥500 for adults and free for junior high school students and younger. The fee has not changed since 1994, more than 25 years. It is one of the best draws of visitors to the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

A pond in a vast park

The zoo is currently working on the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens Revitalization Plan. It will give new life to the zoo by renewing the animal houses. The ever-changing zoo gives you something new to see no matter how many times you visit. We hope you will take the utmost care to prevent infections by washing your hands and wearing masks before you go and visit Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

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