Translated by Hilary Keyes
Free Entry and Incredibly Cute Animals: Nogeyama Zoo Yokohama
Written by Mami Wakamatsu
At the free Nogeyama Zoo in Yokohama, you can visit a petting zoo and see larger animals relatively close-up. Let's find out more about Nogeyama Zoo.
Rabbit cafes, owl cafes, cat cafes... There are many popular spots in Japan where you can see animals up close.
Of course there are also plenty of zoos, but zoos don't really have the feel of "coming into contact" with animals to them, as they have high fences and lots of walls keeping everyone apart.
Although counted as a zoo, at Nogeyama Zoo found in Yokohama city in Kanagawa prefecture you can actually interact with the smaller animals and, though there are still fences, you can see other animals up closer too.
Here you can not only see children's favorites, but you can also see some rather rare animals too, as there are over 100 different species gathered here.
And, because the entrance fee is free, Nogeyama Zoo is really popular every day of the week.
Yokohama's Free Zoo - Nogeyama Zoo
The closest stations to Nogeyama Zoo are the JR Sakuragichō station or Keikyū line's Koganechō which are both 3 minutes by train from Yokohama station. Nogeyama Zoo is a 10-15 minute walk from either of these stations.
Because there isn't an entrance fee, it's quite easy to enter the park directly.
But, before you enter the zoo there are a couple things you must know. First, you are not allowed to use selfie sticks in the zoo. Second, you cannot feed the animals. Please keep these points in mind as you head into the zoo.
Once you head inside the gates, you will see this cute sign featuring many of the animals found at Nogeyama Zoo. Doesn't that make you feel excited?
There isn't a set course for walking through Nogeyama Zoo, so you can go about as you please, but if you find yourself getting lost, the park guide and the pamphlets give each area a number so you can find your way once more. If you take your time, you will be able to see the entire zoo in roughly an hour to 2 hours.
The Charms of the Animals
From here, let's take at a look at some of the animals you'll meet within the zoo.
Just beyond the entrance to the zoo, you will see a rest area with what looks like a little house in it. Here you'll see your first animal: the red, or lesser, panda. They are really cute and a favorite of photographers.
West African Dwarf Crocodile
Next you'll find the Reptile Area that crocodiles, snakes, iguanas, lizards and turtles call home.
Northern River Terrapin
New born (2016) Angonoka tortoise babies
Among the numerous creatures that call the Reptile Area home are some very sweet newborn turtles. Cute little things, they barely measure anything in length. The Reptile Area has become really popular thanks to them.
Up next you will see Nogeyama Zoo's most popular member, the lion. The area from the fences are a bit closer than other zoos, making it possible to see the gallant yet cute lion more closely.
This lion was born at the Zoorasia Yokohama Zoological Gardens and moved to Nogeyama Zoo in June of 2014. Though he is quite imposing-looking now, he was such a tiny cute kitten once upon a time.
The tiger is also really popular.
Though its size is impressive, many people call it adorable as they would a housecat.
As giraffes are rather friendly, they often lean their heads and necks over the fence.
Found in the forests of New Caledonia is the flightless bird, the kagu; a beautiful bird with bright red eyes and pale grey feathers. In all of Japan, you can only find kagu birds at Nogeyama Zoo.
Here are the penguins. Lots of children gather here to watch the penguins.
Little Animal Petting Zoo: Nakayoshi Hiroba
Here is Nakayoshi Hiroba, the petting zoo portion of Nogeyama Zoo, where you can meet guinea pigs, mice and other small creatures.
Kids can freely pet and even hug them.
The house mice are so small and cute. You'd think that they would climb out of their box and run away, but they never do - it's kind of a miracle.
There are also chickens to pet here; they freely walk about within the plaza. The Nakayoshi Hiroba is open from 9:45-11:45, 12:15-14:15, 14:45-16:15, making it easy to visit the little animals living there whenever you'd like during your visit to Nogeyama Zoo.
On weekends and holidays, you can visit the animals for about 20 minutes at a time, from 10:00-12:00 and 13:30-15:30. Only on these days will you be issued a numbered ticket (free) where the last entrance to the Nakayoshi Hiroba in the morning is at 11:40, and in the afternoon at 15:10.
Rest Stops and Restaurants
Inside the park there are two outdoor rest areas, a food vendors corner, an indoor rest area and there are seven bathroom facilities located throughout the park. A great relief if you find yourself getting a bit tired from walking or your children need a little break.
Isn't it great to see and meet so many different animals for free at Nogeyama Zoo? And, to see so much greenery all the while is wonderful. During the spring there are plenty of cherry blossoms to see too.
Please drop by Nogeyama Zoo whenever you visit Yokohama.
Yokohama City Nogeyama Zoo
Address: Yokohama, Nishi, Oimatsuchō 63-10
Hours: 9:30-16:30 (last entrance 16:00)
Closed: Every Monday (if a holiday, the next day); Dec. 29-Jan.1 (no holidays May-Oct)
Credit Cards: -
Other Languages: -
Signs in Other Languages: English pamphlets
Nearest Station: Sakuragichō station (JR桜木町駅), JR Negishi Line or Yokohama Subway; Koganechō station (日ノ出町駅), Keikyū Main Line
Access: 15 minute walk from Sakuragichō station, 10 minute walk from Koganechō station
Entrance Fee: Free
Phone Number: 045-231-1307
Homepage: Yokohama City Nogeyama Zoo