Visiting: Wakayama Adventure World

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.

Continue reading Visiting: Wakayama Adventure World

My Panda Moments: Adventure World Japan

As you know I’m a bit keen on the good old Giant Panda.  So when we started planning our trip to Japan I knew I was going to be having some Panda moments!

There are three Zoos in Japan that have Giant Pandas on exhibit; Oji Zoo in Kobe, Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and Adventure World in Shirahama.

On the 10th of May 2016 we made our way to Adventure World in the town of Shirahama.  Adventure World is home to the largest Panda “family” outside of China and has had considerable success with breeding Giant Pandas over the years.  If there’s one place in the world where you can have Panda moments this is it!

Continue reading My Panda Moments: Adventure World Japan

All About JaPandas – Where to find Pandas in Japan – Shirahama

By now I’m sure every reader is familiar with my love for the Giant Panda.  So with a trip to Japan coming up it’s only natural that I seek out the Pandas of Japan or JaPandas (I’m pretty sure that’ll stick as a name).

Can’t get to Shirahama?  There’s Pandas at Kobe and Tokyo too!

Pandas in Shirahama / Wakayama

Initially I found it a little odd that despite Japan having a massive number of Giant Pandas in Zoos the majority are held by one park in a more “remote” area of Japan.  To clarify while the Wakayama region is a known domestic tourist location it’s probably not on the itinerary of many foreign tourists.

Wakayama Adventure World is a combination Amusement Part and Zoo in Shirahama that can be easily accessed by Air from Tokyo or by the plentiful Rail and Bus services (typically from Osaka).


Here in Adventure world 8 pandas live healthily. This is the biggest Panda family through the world except for China.(Yuhin left for his parents’ native country, China on June 21, 2004 and Ryuhin & Shuhin left on October 27, 2007, Kohin left on March 15, 2010 to comply with request by China Zoo Association.)  Our Giant Pandas breeding and preservation research program has been bearing fruit steadily in an ideal rearing environment.

A small history of their Pandas can be read here (

The Park is typically open 10:00 to 17:00, and closed on 1-2 Wednesdays per month.  A complete schedule of Hours and dates is maintained online (

Park Fees are very reasonable for the scale.

(Age 18+)
(Age 65+)
(SHS &
Ages 4+)
1Day Pass 4,100yen 3,700yen 3,300yen 2,500yen Entrace to the Park,
Marine Live, Safari on the Kenya Tour.
2Day Pass 7,200yen 6,700yen 5,500yen 3,900yen Valid for any two days
with in a three day period.


All About JaPandas – Where to find Pandas in Japan – Kobe

By now I’m sure every reader is familiar with my love for the Giant Panda.  So with a trip to Japan coming up it’s only natural that I seek out the Pandas of Japan or JaPandas (I’m pretty sure that’ll stick as a name).

Can’t get to Kobe?  There’s Pandas at Tokyo and Shirahama too!

Pandas in Kobe/Osaka

If you’re heading for Japan you may find yourself in the Kobe/Osaka region with some spare time.  Why not add some Black and White Panda love?

Kobe is home to the Oji Zoo.  While most attractions in Japan have English language options on their websites I’ve yet to find one.  Instead I’ve relied upon for English details.

The Oji Zoo is one of three large zoos in the Kansai area. The total area is more than 80,000 square meters with 850 animals from a total of 150 different species on the premises, including rarely seen animals such as giant panda, koala, golden snub-nosed monkey, Amur tiger, and snow-leopard among others. Some of the most popular attractions are the pandas Koko and Tantan, and the female elephant Suwako, born in 1943, making it the oldest living elephant in Japan.

Obi Park is located a 3-minute walk to the west of the “Prince Park” station or 5-minute walk to the north of JR “Nada” station the address is: Yubinbango 657-0838 Kobe, Hyogo Nada-ku, prince-cho, 3-1


The Zoo hours are; 9:00 to 16:30 from March to October and 9:00 to 16:00 from November to February.  The Zoo is Closed on Wednesdays.

Tickets are 600 yen per adult.


All About JaPandas – Where to find Pandas in Japan – Tokyo

By now I’m sure every reader is familiar with my love for the Giant Panda.  So with a trip to Japan coming up it’s only natural that I seek out the Pandas of Japan or JaPandas (I’m pretty sure that’ll stick as a name).

Not heading for Tokyo?  Maybe Kobe or Shirahama will be in reach?

Pandas in Tokyo

If you’re heading for Japan it’s probably likely that you’ll be heading for Tokyo at some stage.  Why not add some Black and White Panda love?

Tokyo is home to two Giant Pandas at the Ueno Zoological Gardens.

Ueno Zoological Gardens is the oldest zoo in Japan. Founded in 1882, it has grown over the years, expanded its area to 14.3 ha (35.2 acres) and been the flagship of the Japanese zoo world. Now it’s home to over 2,600 animals from 464 different species and provides visitors with learning experience about the diversity of animals as well as fun and enjoyment.

Located in Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, the zoo is 5-10 minites’ walk from JR Ueno Station, Subway Ueno Stations (Ginza-line or Hibiya-line), Keisei Ueno Station, or Subway Nezu Station (Chiyoda-line).

Getting to Ueno Zoo

The Zoo is home to Ri Ri and Shin Shin who arrived in 2011.

You can grab a PDF Map of the park to better plan your day.

The Zoo opens at 9:30am and closes at 5pm.  The Zoo is not open on Mondays.

Admission is very reasonable (Correct at February 2016)

Adults (16-64) 600 yen
Seniors (65+) 300 yen
Students (13-15) 200 yen
Children (0-12) Free

Review: Zoo Negara (Day 3)

Zoo Negara – Pandas in Malaysia!

It may be becoming clear to readers of this blog that I’m a fan of Pandas.  Not obsessively, but lets just say I think they’re awesome.


Getting There:

While Bukit Bintang may be more centrally located in Kuala Lumpur Zoo Negara certainly feels a little out of the way.  I used the MyTeksi “GrabCar” Service which hustled me to the Zoo for 30RM.  The car was clean, driver friendly and the trip was a little quicker and more comfortable than the Mono-rail-Train-Taxi combination recommended by some.

I was dropped off at the carpark entrance so a short walk up to the main entrance was in order.

Zoo Negara – Addressing the TripAdvisor Forum Posts

After paying the 85RM entry fee I pushed through the turnstiles and entered the zoo.  It was finally my chance to form my own impression after reading hundreds of reviews and forum posts on TripAdvisor which were less than complimentary.

Malaysias Zoo Negara is not the most modern zoo, not is it the best maintained “old style” Zoo I have seen but I would not say boycotting attendance over this facts is in any way an effective strategy, I would counter that more International Visitors, more support and more encouragement are in order.

You’ll still find some of the animals in small exhibits, you’ll still see “pacing” and other traits of boredom, but to be honest you can see that at just about every zoo in the world.  A rare exception may be the open range zoos where the sheer size of exhibits counteracts it.  There are signs throughout the zoo indicating that there are changes underway, and I certainly saw no signs of outright abuse that some of the TripAdvisor forum posts talk about.

Getting Around

Like most zoos you end up walking along a number of paths that loop and wind around the park, it’s not a massive zoo so you can take time to look at the animals, take photos at a relaxed pace and still not consume a full day.  Starting early – closer to the 9am opening time – will give you an hour of two in the relatively “cool” part of the day.  As the sun starts warming up there’s adequate shade but the animals are also keen on staying out of the heat.

Young Lion @ Zoo Negara

The standard exhibits are all there, many looking a little ramshackle or run down, the usual array of big-cats, African savannah “game”, Malaysian & Asian Locals as well as some representatives from Australia.  My pictures certainly don’t cover all the animals, but I was there for one of the most exotic animals, the Giant Panda.

How ’bout them Pandas?

After I saw my first Giant Pandas in Hong Kong I hadn’t really expected to see more (well maybe the pair in Adelaide) until we’d be able to make the journey to Chengdu in China.  So when I made my trip to Kuala Lumpur in 2014 I kind of overlooked the opportunity,so this year I was going to set that right.

The Giant Panda “enclosure” is built at the back of the Zoo and is a completely separate building/exhibit which has it own entry fee that can be purchased either at the Zoo entrance (as I did – making my total entry fee 85RM) or at the Panda exhibit.

Around the exterior are a number of less life-like Pandas you can use as photo props, a wandering Panda suited photo opportunity and the typical stands of bamboo to complete the very panda-centric environment.

Once you’ve been scanned in, you enter a “briefing” area where groups are given an introduction to the exhibit, reminders of the rules (no loud noise, no flash photography).  The intent seems to be groups run through the exhibit in 30 minute blocks, however thanks to my early start I was able to stay much longer in the air-conditioned exhibit, as the crowds never built up to a point where the staff had a need to move on groups.

The exhibit itself is small, and follows the pattern of a raised walkway dividing the exhibits with the Pandas relaxing on either side.



After I’d taken and sent a bunch of Selfies around to people back home the path through the exhibit enters a small gift-shop of Panda Merchandise and finally a cafeteria where I had to try a Panda CupCake.

Last stop is picking up the souvenir photo with the suited Panda out the front before emerging back in Zoo Negara to wind back to the front of the park.

In Summary

Zoo Negara is not the most impressive zoo I’ve been to, some visitors may find the exhibits run-down and in the style of zoos of old.  The range of exotic animals is fairly typical, however the addition of the Giant Panda exhibit makes this a “must do” activity in Kuala Lumpur.  There’s only ~51 Pandas on exhibit outside China and this is on of the best value opportunities to see two of them!