Asahikawa City is a city located in the Kamikawa sub-prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. The city is the capital of the sub-prefecture and the second largest city on the island, after Sapporo. It is a city-nucleus since April 1, 2008. It has a total area of 747.6 km² and a population of 356,203 people. It was founded on August 1, 1922. The city is known for being a gastronomic destination in Japan, as there are countless restaurants of various kinds.
The Ainú called the river Asahi Chiu Petsu, which means “river of waves,” but it was misinterpreted as Chup Petsu, which means “river of the sun,” and hence took its current name: Asahi = Morning Sun, Kawa = River. In 1890 Asahikawa was established as a village, in 1900 it was promoted to town, in 1914 to neighborhood (ku), and in 1922 Asahikawa became a city. Since then the city has merged with other towns such as the village of Kamui and Etanbetsu (1955), the village of Nagayama (1961), the village of Higashi-Asahikawa (1963), the village of Kagura (1968) and the village of Higashi-Takasu (1971). Finally in 2000 the city is promoted to core city.
Asahiyama Zoo is located in the city of Asahikawa and is the northernmost zoo in Japan. Normally, in zoos, only animals are shown regardless of the space where they live, but to show the natural behavior of the different species, the natural habitat of the animals has been recreated. Families, couples and groups of friends usually go to this zoo, which in 2018 was visited by more than a million and a half people.
In the Asahiyama Zoo you can find seals, polar bears, penguins, giraffes, hippos and other species of Hokkaido animals distributed in 21 spaces, as well as an interpretation center and museum about the different animal species. In each space the natural behavior of the animals is represented, where you can see the peculiar way of swimming of the seals in a circular water tank, literally see the penguins fly through an underwater tunnel, see a leopard from a space under his cage, etc. It is also possible to see wolves, red pandas, monkeys, chimpanzees, eagles and hawks in an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat. During the winter it is possible to see tigers, deer, arctic foxes scamper through the snow. In contrast, other animals that are not resistant to cold, such as lions, orangutans, and capybaras, are exposed to the outside for a short time, so keep this in mind depending on the season in which you are going to visit the zoo. The opening hours during the summer season are from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (last entry pass at 4:00 p.m.), and in winter from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (last entry pass at 3:00 p.m.) . Please visit the website to confirm opening hours (available in English, Chinese and Japanese).
May / 7 – October / 15: 09:00 – 17:15
October / 16 – November / 3: 09:30 – 16:30
November / 11 – April / 7: 10:30 – 15:30
Closed: November / 4 – 10, end of the year and new year
Adult: 1,000 yen per person
Child (under 15 years old): Free
From Asahikawa Station: There is a bus (400 yen) every 30 min and 40 min to the zoo. Asahikawa station bus stop is number 6 and bus number is 41 and 47.