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What to do in Tokyo - My Hundredth Zoo

Discussion in 'Japan' started by FunkyGibbon, 3 Dec 2018.

?

Which Tokyo collection should be the big 100?

Poll closed 20 Dec 2018.
  1. Sumida Aquarium

    4.3%
  2. Tama Zoo

    60.9%
  3. Tokyo Sea Life Park

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Ueno Zoo

    8.7%
  5. Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

    8.7%
  6. Zoorasia

    17.4%
  1. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Following @Arizona Docent's example, I thought we could have a little fun and let the forum 'decide' which will be my hundredth zoo. I'm currently on 99, and I was planning to bring up my century with the recently opened Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park. However, having seen photos of it I'm quite confident it will be a fairly ambivalent day out for me, and so I'm looking elsewhere.
    For a few glorious days it looked like my available dates lined up with cheap flights from Shanghai to LA (and thus San Diego Zoo), but sadly it wasn't to be.

    Therefore I'm casting my gaze a little closer to home, and really in Asia there is only one place left for me to go if serious zooing is my primary purpose: Japan.

    If all goes to plan I will fly to Tokyo in mid-January with about two weeks to play with. I'm going to limit myself to the northern part of the country; Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Nagoya will have to wait for a future trip. The greater Tokyo area will provide delights enough I'm sure.

    I plan to visit almost all of the major Tokyo collections: Ueno, Tama, Zoorasia, Yokohama Sea Paradise, Tokyo Sea Life, Sunshine and Sumida. I'm not really interested in Epsom or the Tower Aquarium, and I'd need be convinced about Shinagawa. Further afield the little peninsular with Namazu Deepsea Aquarium, Atagawa Garden and KawaZoo offers some more niche delights if I decide to do a bit of a nerdy deep dive. In the other direction Kamogawa Sea World seems to have garnered mixed reviews.

    Obviously there are plenty of other things to do in Tokyo; I intend to do many of them.

    So, with my hundredth zoo being the first one of the trip, which should it be?
     
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  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    You could always go the route I went with my trip to the continent in February and choose the first zoo you visit on the basis of a single special rarity which might not hold on until the latter portion of your trip - in my case I visited Duisburg in the (fortunately) mistaken belief that Baby might not last long - in which case the question is one of "where has something extra special of that nature?".

    Failing that, I think Ueno is the obvious choice as it strikes me as the one which would most benefit from the high energy and relaxed nature of a "first zoo on the trip" visit.
     
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  3. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    Ueno is definitely a "quantity over quality". The place seems to be too crowded (as specially in weekends), it does have some rare species though.

    I would recommend Tama. Just for the only mole/shrew house in the world,
     
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  4. antonmuster

    antonmuster Well-Known Member

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    As a zoo experience I found both Ueno and Sumida decidedly underwhelming - and that's putting it nicely. As japanese experiences I found both worth their while, though much more so Sumida. Can't comment on the others.
     
  5. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    It depends on your interests. For me it would be Tama no question because they have king cheetahs.
     
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  6. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    A great idea and I chose Tama Zoo as from what I've heard the quality is high. It's got an Orangutan Skywalk, a huge invertebrate complex and even a Mole House.
     
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  7. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest either Tama or Zoorasia. Both are excellent. There's room for improvement at both, but they'd be big enough to make a special number 100. I think given that your preferences lean towards the more unusual exhibits, Tama might win.

    I don't keep an accurate enough list to have such solid numbers - I recently realised I'd missed a collection which had pushed all listings forward one place, and it's not an infrequent occurrence.

    Your plan is a good one, although I found Nagoya, Toba and Osaka far too tempting on my 2017 trip.

    EPSON Aqua park is now called 'Maxell Aqua Park', and the Tokyo Tower Aquarium has now closed permanently.

    I will fail to convince you to visit Shinagawa Aquarium, probably the easiest to drop on your list. In a city where there can be such a high standard of aquarium exhibitry, Shinagawa fails - it feels tired, outdated and plain. There are a few interesting species in the collection, but nowhere near the variety listed on the JAZA inventory (I failed to find my first bowfins there, which I had really been hoping for). Their location is great, but this is one that I'd happily encourage you to sacrifice in favour of another collection.

    Atagawa Tropical & Alligator garden (with its Amazonian manatee and orchid & crocodilian collections) is easy to visit in the same long day as iZoo or, I imagine, KawaZoo. Having been to iZoo I would strongly recommend a visit there if you're keen on unusual and rare species. There are some fascinating displays, but overall you're looking at a high-quality reptile house.

    Numazu is a very small aquarium, but you'll find that they'll have a number of interesting creatures during the winter. The level of detail here is incredible, with even the smaller tanks equipped with air conditioning vents to avoid condensation on viewing panels, and a tiny darkened room housing a panoramic tank of over one hundred flashlightfish. I'm not sure that you'll find it worth going so far out of your way for (unless you're heading to Nagoya anyway...)
     
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  8. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Also, don't miss Inokashira Park Zoo when in Tokyo - if you book a visit (well in advance) to the Ghibli museum, which isn't far, I'm told you can see both facilities easily within the same day. Although it's a relatively small zoo, Inokashira Park must have one of the most comprehensive collections of Japanese native animals around, with some very interesting exhibits on site.

    You mention staying in the north of Japan; do you plan to visit Hokkaido or Fukushima, by any chance?
     
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  9. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    I've never been to Japan, I'm not likely to visit Japan, but if I did then I'd choose Ueno. It's the most well known and significant of the Japanese collections with some stunning species. And it will possibly be the easiest to reach, so makes it an easy (and world renowned) collection 100.

    Brum's personal note; After re-reading @devilfish's thread I think I'd visit an aquarium as apparently they all have bars that are open until the evening, and I'd like to celebrate a milestone collection with a beer! ;) :p
     
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  10. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Tama is certainly the popular choice at the moment, but I'm avoiding direct comment on the poll so as to not influence it :D

    I wrote this a couple of months ago on the 'How many zoos have you visited?' thread:

    I was doing my 'zoo accounting' after my summer travels and came to the rather startling conclusion that I was on 98 zoos! Then I remembered another zoo from my childhood, which brought me to 99. The thing is, I don't count just any collection as a zoo; sanctuaries are out, as are 'aviary in the park' type places. The problem is the line between zoo and not-zoo gets a bit blurred and when I looked down my list I found a couple of marginal candidates. So, deeming the whole thing to be fairly subjective anyway, and with three new zoos on my horizon before the end of the year, I'm unilaterally determining my current total to be 97.
    Because the 'hundredth zoo' is essentially a meaningless, narrative-driven milestone, I'm quite comfortable adopting a meaningless, narrative-driven approach to calculating it. I know that quite a few of the places we have both visited (Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Centre for example) have made it onto your list but not mine. I don't know the exact number of animal collections I have chosen not to count as zoos off the top of my head, but it is probably around twenty.​


    That's an easy miss then. I've also discovered that Hakoneen Aquarium (near Namazu) has Baikal Seals in a much nicer exhibit than Sunshine so barring a reappearance of sea otters I think that's another good substitution.

    From the map it looks like Atagawa, Kawazoo and Hakoneen are relatively near to Namazu so I think if I have two days loose in the itinerary that'll be a nice option.

    I haven't, and most probably won't, researched all the rarities thoroughly, but I think the Amazonian Manatee at Atagawa comes closest to fitting the bill here; given that it is only an option at this stage of planning and that it's the furthest outside of Tokyo I won't be applying the same logic :p

    ---

    On a separate note someone has asked privately for my current list of 99; I'll post it here when I have a chance.
     
  11. Hipporex

    Hipporex Well-Known Member

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    I chose Tama zoo because, while I've never been to Japan, my friend who recently moved there tells me good things about the zoo.
     
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  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not going to suggest Atagawa as FG's 100th zoo, but I definitely say he should visit it if he can while in Japan - the manatee is very old and it is perhaps unlikely he will get a chance to see another one.
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    You could just make every aquarium a milestone collection!
     
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  14. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    Each to their own and all and I've never been to any of the zoos under discussion but I'm not sure how there is still a debate going on after this was brought up. That would absolutely be the winner for me. :D
     
  15. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    And a walkthrough (?) glow-worm cave, which I've yet to see. :D
     
  16. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    Thread over. Go home everyone. :D
     
  17. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Inokashire is definitely going onto the list, although I guess relatively near the bottom of it. I actually have no interest in Ghibli :eek:

    I am also hoping to visit Japan for the Rugby World Cup next September. England's first two group games are in Sapporo and Kobe, so I would bizarrely visit Hokkaido as part of a trip focused on the Osaka/Kyoto area. However, I recently found out I was unsuccessful in the initial ballot, so that plan has been thrown into uncertainty. We'll see.

    Fukashima is theoretically within the scope of this trip, but it just seems too far to travel for ribbon seals. I know it's supposed to be a very good aquarium, but I already have lots of very good aquariums on my itinerary. I'm also aware that distances in Japan are not such a big deal, but still....

    I broadly agree. I definitely want to see it, but if I have to make some decisions about cutting zoos I think realistically Atagawa will be quite high up. Also, having recently seen my first African manatees I'll be honest that if they hadn't been correctly signed I wouldn't have realised they weren't Antillean I think. However, it would be nice to complete the Sirenia set.

    I'd also like to think that there is a South-American trip in my future at some point....
     
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  18. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    One more day of voting people! I know it's not exactly close but still... who's going to save me from a cold winter's day at Tama :p
     
  19. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Well, that wasn't close at all! Tama it is then, despite having being told privately that it's a bit of a nightmare to get to when you're new in Japan.

    I booked my flights today (VERY last minute, but got a really convenient deal) so this time next week I'll be there.

    Next question:

    Other than zoos, what do people recommend to do in Tokyo? I already have my own list but there's always something you miss. Opinions educated or otherwise welcome!
     
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  20. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Go to Akihabara. There’s a particular time of the week when the cosplayers are out and about, but I forget when it is (I’m helpful, no?).

    Weird suggestion, but try to ride between Ueno and Central stations at peak hour. If nothing else it’s an authentic Tokyo experience.