Japan 2014 – 33 The Kyoto Municipal Zoo in Sakyo, Kyoto (2014-10-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 DEC 2015

So with a Goddess of Mercy, dolphins and trains now spotted on the day, Ryan and I next decided to take a lengthy march through to the Kyoto Municipal Zoo, passing by the massive red torii gate of the Heian-jingu shrine in the process.

IMG_20141007_150232 massive red torri gate of heian-jingu shrine, kyoto, japan

Kyoto Municipal Zoo is a small 3.4-hectare zoo located in Sakyō ward, Kyoto. Established in 1903, Kyoto Municipal Zoo is the second oldest zoo in Japan, after Ueno Zoo in Tokyo.

Although facilities have been added and removed over the years, most animals are housed in concrete and steel cages constructed between 30 and almost 90 years ago – which is probably what made this one of our least favourite experiences whilst in Japan.

IMG_20141007_161915 giraffe sculpture at kyoto municipal zoo, kyoto, japan

The zoo as mentioned is reasonably small, yet still houses quite a large variety of animals, ranging in size from big to small. Our favourite without a doubt was the cute as a button red panda, but sadly it was the bigger animals that were at the heart of our discomfort.

While South African zoos tend to be spacious with large enclosures for the animals, this zoo was the complete opposite: A lion pacing about in a tiny concrete room, an elephant stuck on a concrete slab – well, you kind of get the picture.

IMG_20141007_154642 elephant getting a wash at kyoto municipal zoo, kyoto, japan

Look, zoos are always controversial for this very fact, but upsetting enclosures aside, we did enjoy viewing animals that we weren’t necessarily familiar though – though of course, being from South Africa meant that all their main exhibits were things that we already ARE quite familiar with!

IMG_20141007_152431 animal enclosures at kyoto municipal zoo, kyoto, japan

There was a quite a few areas to explore (though some were closed due to construction), and despite my by now aching feet, it was a good little excursion.

Naturally, I didn’t take very many photos at all (fences and glass don’t usually allow for decent photos), so you’ll just have to take my word that they do in fact have around 721 animals from 175 species there!

Once we eventually made it back to our lodgings, I put my feet up and drank beer, whilst Ryan plodded out again for the night. Seriously, the man is a walking machine I tell you!

Related Link: Kyoto Municipal Zoo

About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don't have time for myself any more.