A popular zoo among family with little ones just a kilometer away from Sakuragicho Station
The Nogeyama Zoo is a cozy little zoo located on a hill just a kilometer away from Sakuragicho Station where you can see the Minatomirai 21 district below your eyes.
The zoo holds up to become “a zoo where small children can meet, interact with, and feel life for the first time”. It makes this place the favorite to families with little ones within the four municipal zoos in the city of Yokohama.
Opened in 1951, it may reminds you of the good and old days as you walk through the zoo. The zoo covers the area of about 4.5 soccer fields, and the admission is free (if you wish to donate, feel free to do so at the lion shaped donation box). You can just visit there like as if you were visiting a park.
In this article we will advise the way to handle your strollers, facilities and services for families with kids, and the way to access the zoo based on our visit on a Saturday morning.
It was our son’s first visit to a zoo.
Plenty facilities and services for families with kids such as nursery rooms and stroller rentals
The Nogeyama Zoo provides plenty of services and facilities that satisfies families with little ones.
Near the entrance of the zoo, next to the “Duck and Ibis exhibition” is a nursery room. Inside there are three separated rooms (two are for feeding and one is a common area facilitated with a water heater, a sink, a microwave and a baby crib). There are plenty of space for you to push your stroller directly into the room.
Other than this nursery room, baby cribs/diaper changing tables are located in 6 different areas inside the zoo. You can find a restroom for children by the “Nakayoshi Hiroba (a facility for petting with small animals)”. At the shop (“Nakayoshi shop”) you can purchase diapers and baby wipes.
Inside the zoo there is a picnic area ( “Hidamari-hiroba”) where you can enjoy your food. You can also go outside the zoo and relax at the Nogeyama Park. You can bring your own food or you can purchase at the restaurant and the shop.
The zoo is equipped with slopes, enabling you to push your stroller through the zoo to meet every animals. At the reception, you can also rent a stroller (suitable for babies from 7-24 months old) for free. If you wish to leave your own stroller at the entrance, there is a keep area with a roof.
Do you need a stroller during observation?
We walked through the zoo having our son (1 year 4 months old) on the stroller this day. Going straight to the point, we did not need a stroller this day. We know this depends on your kid’s age, but for your reference, we will tell you why we did not need one.
1. The zoo being quite crowded, the paths around popular animals were often blocked. It requires patience to walk around.
2. Taking slopes instead of stairs made us walk a longer way. The Nogeyama Zoo stands on a hilltop of “Nogeyama”. Literally, the zoo is full of ups and downs. It requires energy to walk around.
3. The fences blocked our son’s sight from observing animals from sitting on a stroller. Either your kids or the stroller need to be taller.
These are the reasons why, in our next opportunity, we plan to visit without a stroller.
What kind of animals can you meet at the Nogeyama Zoo?
There are 93 kinds of animals in the zoo (as of March, 2020). You are able to meet most of the animals you can think of such as giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, ostriches, and lesser pandas. Our one year old son who has recently started to show interests to animals, was happy to meet giraffes for the first time in life.
Unfortunately, there are no elephants in this zoo. After the long living Indian Elephant “Hamako” died, elephants became unavailable due to space problem. However, there is a small bronze statue of Hamako in the zoo.
One of the highlights in the zoo is the exhibition of a retired street car which served as a Shi-den (city) train until 1972. You can actually get in the car, so it is a favorite attraction to kids.
There is also a scenery spot where you can enjoy the nice view of the Landmark Tower and the Minatomirai 21 district. Animal panels await your kids to be photographed together!
What is the best way to get to the zoo?
There are no parking at the zoo. If you wish to drive there, you need to find a nearby private parking. However, there is a parking at Nogeyama Park which is about 220 meters away from zoo.
The access to the zoo from Sakuragicho Station is following.
Advantages: Free of charge. No need to worry for time tables.
Disadvantages: You need to climb up the hill. Don’t waste your power. You’ll need it at the zoo!
Municipal buses depart every 20-30 minutes from the bus stop in front of Sakuragicho Station. It is a 10 minute ride to the zoo. The fare is 220 yen for an adult, 110yen for a child. The buses are fixed-route buses and are decorated with cute animal pictures. The bus stop is located at the east exit of the JR Sakuragicho Station. If you are using the JR Line to Sakuragicho, it is best to take the north gate and then go out from the east exit.
Advantages: cheap fares, cute designs.
Disadvantages: idling time to wait for the next bus, very crowded in weekends, limited space on the bus.
About 500 yen to the zoo, taking less than 10 minutes.
Advantages: free from time tables!
Disadvantages: cost more compared to taking a bus.
We took the bus on the way to the zoo, and a taxi on our way back.
We recommend taxis the most.
Taxi simply had the best cost performance. Taking a bus cost us 440 yen for two adults, but the taxi only cost us 500 yen for the family.
Buses are only available every 20-30 minutes. Once you miss a bus you will need to kill time with your bored kids. Plus, the bus may be crowded, so you might not have the chance to sit and relax.
On the other hand, you can always catch a taxi at the taxi pool in front of the station, or if you are on your way back, it isn’t difficult to catch one at the entrance of the zoo.