Journey in winter Hokkaido! – Pair of NTU JAC students, Day 6

Today was the last day of our trip. The sun, having just risen not long ago, was lighting up the city in a gorgeous golden colour. We had planned to visit Asahiyama zoo, so we left the hotel early to walk to the station, where we caught a bus to the Zoo, giving us plenty of time to admire the city’s beauty.


Beautiful cityscape of Asahikawa

The zoo houses different types of wildlife. Some of these unique animals include arctic foxes, red pandas, japanese cranes, reindeer, mountain monkeys, owls, hokkaido sika deer, and wolves.

Male student: “When arriving at the zoo, my first thought was that it was huge.”

Female student: “Some of these animals we don’t have to opportunity to see in Singapore.”


Arriving at Asahiyama zoo

We first visited the penguin exhibit. Aside from housing the penguins, the exhibit had informative graphics around for people to look at and learn more about penguins. There was a display case which showcased the development of penguins inside of the eggs. One of the penguins had stood right in front of the glass pane that was for visitors to observe the penguins, giving us a wonderful photo opportunity to take pictures close up as well as fully indulge in the penguin’s cuteness.


Penguin exhibition



Showcase of penguin egg development


Penguin enclosure

There was also a penguin walk available, however, there was not enough snow present for the penguins to walk.

Male student: “I was quite saddened by this as I was looking forward to seeing the penguin walk.”


No penguin walk today

The penguin exhibit is not the only exhibit where visitors can get a closer view of the animals. The seals exhibit also featured a glass tunnel where the seals would occasionally swim through, much to the delight of the visitors who all waited for their appearance.


Seals exhibit


Seal enclosure with glass domes

The polar bear exhibit, and the wolf exhibit have small glass domes for visitors to take a peek into the enclosure of the animals too. If visitors would like a more hands-on experience with the animals, there are several Children’s Farms where one can pet dogs or hold guinea pigs.


Entrance to Polar bear exhibit


Polar bear enclosure



Wolf exhibit


Children’s farm



Guinea pigs and rabbits in the children’s farm


Dog petting experience


Holding guinea pigs experience

The enclosure for the arctic foxes featured a bridge connecting to a platform where the foxes could walk towards and provide visitors with a closer view of them. The fox was running around from one corner of the enclosure to the next, that it was difficult to snap a shot of it. The red panda enclosure had a plank bridge that connected one end of the enclosure to another. Several red pandas were resting on this bridge and when other tourists noticed this they tried to make sounds to capture the animal’s attention in hopes of getting them to face the camera. The japanese cranes were kept in a rather spacious enclosure and there were two of them.

Female student: “Apart from the penguin exhibit, I was excited to visit the arctic foxes exhibit, the red pandas and the japanese cranes. For the cranes, watching these elegant creatures go about their day and falling asleep soon after, it was a wonderful experience to be able to observe these majestic and beautiful birds.”


Arctic Fox enclosure


Red Panda enclosure


Japanese crane enclosure

Tigers, lions and leopards were housed in the Fierce Animal House.

Male student: “This was one of the exhibits that I enjoyed the most. It allowed us to get a close look at the animals, such as tigers, lions, and leopards. To have these animals walking around just an arm’s length away from you, with only a cage separating you from them, was very frightening. It was so close that we could reach out and touch the animals (of course, we didn’t).”


Tiger introduction


Tiger enclosure


Lion enclosure

Because of how close the viewing area for these animals were, one of the leopards had spotted a zoo staff member approaching the enclosure. The leopard must have thought that the staff was there to feed him because he started to follow the staff very closely and never stopped looking at him. It was quite adorable to see this unfold.


Leopard enclosure

Aside from this, there were also the Sika Deers, which we do not have in Singapore.


Hokkaido Sika Deer exhibit


Hokkaido Sika Deer enclosure

Male student: “Overall, the zoo was really fun. With lots of animals to see, and some animals I have never seen before in person, along with how beautiful the zoo grounds were, I enjoyed my time here immensely and would recommend others to visit as well.”


Final picture of the grounds of Asahiyama zoo

Closing thoughts on our Hokkaido trip:

Male student: “This trip has been amazing, every location we visited had good food, wonderful scenery, friendly people and I especially enjoyed the weather. Looking back at all of the pictures I had taken, every location is so unique and charming. Trains and buses were all extremely punctual which made planning the time we would spend at a location easy. There were plenty of hotels near most train stations and we could always get a hotel which is near the train station, making it very convenient for us to check in after every train ride we took to get from city to city.

One of the most memorable locations was Lake Akan. Reason being the one of a kind onsen at the hotel and how the town feels laid-back and relaxing. Besides the food offered at the hotel, Flavour of the North Banya had really good food too. This is a place you would go to if you want a relaxing time away from the city.

Another was Asahikawa. Good mix between city, shopping and chain restaurants like mosburger and starbucks, and still being able to find good traditional Japanese foods, like Hachiya ramen. The zoo was also very accessible, you just need to take a bus from the train station. With there being a tourist center, Asahikawa is a good place to visit being very tourist friendly. The staff there are very friendly and majority of them can speak english, making the center convenient for finding out where to go and how to get there.

Lastly, was Daisougen-no Chiisana-ie. The lunch buffet was really delicious, very homely and comforting. The location is also very beautiful. Patisserie Roku, which was just beside, was a very nice place to just spend a couple of hours with your friends and family.”

Female student: “Eastern Hokkaido was a nice change up from the city life that I am used to back in Singapore. I enjoyed the slower pace that Eastern Hokkaido offered and had the opportunity to eat delicious local food like the lunch buffet at Daisougen-no Chiisana-ie (Obihiro) and the mashu pork bowl at Poppotei (JR Mashu station). While it was a magical experience to see snow all over and even witness snow fall, I wished I had prepared myself better for the cold. Nonetheless being able to finally experience winter and make snowballs in this winter wonderland is something I would look forward to again.

Apart from Eastern Hokkaido, Asahikawa was a fun place to visit and I wish I had more time to explore the area. For a future trip, I would love to dine at the cafes and the local food establishments recommended by OMO7, visit the snow crystal museum, tour the Asahikawa city museum and so much more! Asahikawa has several activities to offer to visitors and should not be missed if you’re ever visiting Hokkaido, the Asahiyama zoo is also not to be missed.”

 

Please continue to check out Hokkaido Government Representative Office’s blog and Facebook page for more information on Hokkaido and tourism spots!

Hope to see all of you in Hokkaido.

Hokkaido Government Representative Office Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HokkaidoGovernment/

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