Holiday Fun At Itabashi Children’s Zoo

Out And About

By Kirsty Kawano
July 21, 2016
Families, Lifestyle

Feed a goat, pet a sheep, ride a pony! There’s lots of holiday fun to be had at Itabashi Children’s Zoo, a petting zoo located in a large, leafy park that is also fitted with a variety of play equipment for infants and older children, too. Grab the kids, pack a picnic and have a relaxing family day out.

Located just a 10-minute walk from Mita Line’s Itabashi Kuyakushomae station, this lovely outdoor zoo is free, including all activities within the park. Due to a limited participant number, however, you need to pick up a ticket from the staff in advance. Activities will be cancelled if it rains, so make sure you check the weather forecast before you head out the door.

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Pet a goat

Pet a goat or a sheep while they roam the main enclosure area between 10 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. and again in the afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. Before entering the zoo, pack away any plastic bags you might be carrying or other dangling items, because goats will be goats and we don’t want them getting sick.

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Feed a sheep

You can feed the sheep and goats from 11:30 a.m. and again in the afternoon from 3:30 p.m. You will first need to get a ticket from the staff. Tickets are handed out from 10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m., and again from 2 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. Numbers are limited to 40 people for each session. The zoo will provide the feed. The animals are generally gentle, but watch your child’s fingers, just in case. 

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Cuddle a guinea pig

About twenty of these critters, sporting various colors and hairstyles, are available to hold. Pick up a towel at the enclosure entrance and place it on your lap when you sit down. A staff member will hand you a guinea pig. When you are ready to finish, call the staff and tell them you’re done: “owari (ni shimasu).”

Time: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Ride a pony

Children from age three and up to the sixth grade of elementary school (12 years old) can take a short, guided ride on a pony. Each child is allowed only one ride each session, and kids under five need to be accompanied by a parent. This is a great fun for the kids and parents alike! 

Time: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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Take a carriage ride

Once a month the zoo holds carriage rides for parents and children up to sixth grade to enjoy together. Rather than a grand, horse-drawn carriage, this is a cozy affair, with just one pair at a time seated on a buggy pulled by a staff-led pony. The morning session starts from 11 a.m. and the afternoon round from 2 p.m. Tickets are available from 30 minutes in advance. Numbers are limited to just 20 pairs each session. This event is usually held on the first Sunday of the month.

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Play in the park

The zoo is located within the spacious Higashi-Itabashi Park, which was renovated a few years ago to add a range of modern, fun play equipment. There’s a slide and climbing structure for infants and one for older children, too, a sand pit, a pyramid-shaped rope climbing structure, stretch and workout equipment for adults and lots of space to run around. During summer the water-play feature is up and running, so pack a towel and change of clothes for the kids. Don’t forget the bug spray too! 

A lunchtime picnic in the park is a good way to while away the time between the end of the zoo’s morning activities and the start of the afternoon ones. If you haven’t packed anything, no worries — there are plenty of convenience stores nearby and even a McDonald’s on the way from the subway station to the park.

The zoo also has a satellite premise further along the Mita Line at Takashimadaira. It is similar to the main zoo, but pony rides are held only occasionally, as a special event. The feeding sessions start earlier, from 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with tickets available an hour in advance.

The Deets

Itabashi Children’s Zoo
Address: 3-50-1 Itabashi, Itabashi Ward (within Higashi-Itabashi Park)
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Closes at 4 p.m. December – February)
Admission: Free!
Closed Mondays (or the following weekday when a public holiday falls on Monday), and December 29 – January 3.