I’m sharing a page from my “working mom” diaries: A recent outing at Ichikawa City Zoo and Botanical Gardens with kids…and when I say “kids,” I really mean a gaggle of 3 and 4 year olds.
Ichikawa City Zoo and Botanical Gardens is in Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture, right on the border of nearby Matsudo City. In fact, I used to pass by this zoo often when I was taking driving classes!
It’s a very popular field trip destination for daycares and kindergartens in the area (Katsushika and Edogawa Wards, Ichikawa, Matsudo and Funabashi City).
In fact, everywhere you go, it’s just families with babies and toddlers, and groups of preschoolers and kindergarten kids. I hardly saw any solo visitors, young couples, or groups of teens.
Exploring The Zoo
The zoo is very compact, with very few hills or staircases to climb. Slopes and ramps are located right next to any staircases. Strollers are available for rent for only 50 yen.
Entry tickets (400 yen for adults; 100 yen for kids 6+) can be purchases at the vending machines at the main entrance:
There is a nursing room near the entrance/exit, on the 2F of the Municipal Musuem of Natural History in Ichikawa (自然博物館内 | shizen hakkan nai):
The zoo has two separate indoor rest areas that are free to use: one near the petting zoo and another just beyond the playground/mini Shinkansen. These rest areas are called muryou kyuukei sho (無料休憩所)
The second rest area, beyond the mini Shinkansen tracks and next to the sledding hill:
There are two outdoor play areas for kids, with swings, a slide, jungle gym, and a hill for grass sledding:
Residents of Ichikawa City Zoo
As this is a small zoo, you won’t see a dramatic variety of animals, but just enough to keep kids entertained, like cows, ponies, and capybaras:
The petting zoo is a crowd favorite, and it’s the first attraction you reach after entering the zoo.
It’s usually filled with daycare groups and preschoolers, some eager to hold the guinea pigs, others ready for their class to move on to the next part of the zoo!
There’s plenty of monkeys, too!
If you look at any posters or flyers at city offices or train stations in Ichikawa City, you’ll likely see drawings of cute red pandas. There are currently 13 red pandas living at Ichikawa Zoo and they attract a lot of attention!
Flamingos and other large birds live in this black bird cage that’s in the middle of the pack. Enter after visiting the red pandas and riding the shinkansen and the exit will take you straight to the zoo exit!
The highlight for all kids is no doubt the mini Shinkansen.
There are three different trains that rotate throughout the week.
All riders 1 year and older need to buy a ticket from the vending machine (100 yen for one loop). The mini shinkansen operates daily from 9:45 to 11:45 and again from 12:45 to 4:00.
BONUS: Kids’ Obento (Japanese Lunch Box)
Ichikawa City Zoo and Botanical Garden
400 yen for adults, 100 yen for children and free for kids under 6
From the North Exit of JR Motoyawata Station, take the Keisei Bus bound for Ichikawa Zoo (動植物園行き).
The zoo is the final stop. This bus only runs on weekends and national holidays, though!
Ichikawa City Zoo and Botanical Gardens With Kids