I really like Giant Pandas so it made perfect sense to incorporate a trip to Adventure World into our Japanese holiday. See Adventure World is home to the largest “family” of Giant Panda outside of China. At the time of writing (and our visit) 7 were living there.
It’s not all about the Pandas though with the park being a hybrid of theme park and zoo. During our visit the persistent rain kept visitor numbers down and we didn’t explore the whole park.
Getting to Adventure World
Our journey to Adventure World started at Okumizuma Onsen, which meant a small bit of local back-tracking to get onto the “JR” line heading for Wakayama. At Wakayama we changed trains and continued on to Shirahama Station.
From there we caught the local bus direct to the park for Y600 (return). In a Taxi it’s about Y1250 one-way which is still very reasonable.
Overall navigating our way around wasn’t difficult, however I do suspect “western” tourists are in a minority in the closer you get to Shirahama.
Check out my previous Post on Giant Panda Zoos in Japan to get more details!
What to do?
In good weather a trip to Adventure World could easily deliver a full day of entertainment, but with the majority of the park devoted to outdoor exhibits and rides the wet weather put a dampener on things. We still spent the better part of the day enjoying the park.
The best thing to do on arrival is to grab a Park Map and check the times for live shows and animal feeding.
Like a lot of Asian zoos the animal enclosures can be considered quite small, and for larger species like the Polar Bears I hope this does change in the future.
I will note that the marine life show although spectacular just highlights what appears to to be some cramped and less than ideal living conditions for the dolphins and false killer whales.
For me it’s all about the Pandas
What drew me to Adventure was of course the Giant Panda family, and on this from the park delivers with two excellent exhibits each with a number of enclosures/viewing areas. The newer “Panda Love” pavilion has two indoor enclosures (as seen in the video below) and an outdoor area. This is where the cubs born at the park are growing up.
Over in the more established “Breeding Centre” the enclosures are more traditional indoor concrete and glass style, but there is a large outdoor area to the rear where we got to see an adult enjoying bamboo in the rain!
Photos from Adventure World
We had a great day at Adventure World, and are planning to go back and stay in Shirahama for a few days to explore the area around the town as well as have a full day at the park without the pressure of the ~2 hour train ride each way from Osaka.
I’d really recommend the park to Panda fans, or if you have a generous amount of time to explore a part of Japan that is a little off the regular tourist routes.