Nagoya: Higashiyama Zoo, Botanical Gardens and Sky Tower
If you want to spend your ¥640 well in Nagoya then you must visit here. This joint ticket gives you passes to the zoo, botanical gardens, amusement park and a landmark in Eastern Nagoya, the Higashiyama Sky Tower.
HIGASHIYAMA ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN
We went here on weekdays to avoid the usual weekend crowds, but during our visit we saw some students in their field trips as well as some families. The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens (東山動植物園 Higashiyama Dōshokubutsuen) was built before the outbreak of the Second World War, in 1937, and it is said to be one of the largest in Asia. In Japan, it is the second most popular zoo, only behind Ueno Zoo in Tokyo.
The zoo houses more than 125 species of animals including elephants, bear, koala, kangaroo, zebra, giraffe, lions and tigers. Some animals usually seen in polar areas such as the polar bears and penguins are housed in a controlled environment. Each species have a very informative information about them, installed beside their cages. These information include their basic information, their habitats, diets and other trivial matters written in Englishû, Korean, Chinese and most of all Japanese. Between the zoo and the botanical garden, a man-made lagoon was built, called the Kamiike Pond. You can even navigate on this one by pedal boats.
If you want to navigate much faster, you can take the Sky Train, a monorail that traverses through large span of the park (it is paid separately). The skies were quickly getting overcast so we decided to skip our visit to the botanical garden and instead spend our time in the Sky Tower.
HIGASHIYAMA SKY TOWER
As we expected, it rained hard shortly after entering the Sky Tower. Because the tower is elevated we took the automatic escalator to bring us to the base. Afterwards we took the elevator going up to the observation deck.
Higashiyama Sky Tower was opened in 1989 as part of the commemoration of the centennial of Nagoya City’s foundation. Aside from the observation deck, it also has a restaurant.
Being a disaster-prone country (especially earthquakes), the Sky Tower was also fitted with a vibration-damping equipment, designed to absorb energy from the earthquakes (I believe many buildings in Japan were also fitted with similar systems). The Sky Tower is also used as a relay station for disaster-prevention wireless communications of the local government.
Standing over Mount Higashi by 134 meters, the glass needle-like Higashiyama Sky Tower is perfect to have a view of the entire zoo, botanical gardens, Nagoya City and its nearby places. Too bad we weren’t able to stay long enough to see the sunset and the night view.
It’s cute to see one graphics posted in the Sky Tower where it shows the different towers around Japan, and each of them have their own mascot. Cool, isn’t it!
- Adult: ¥500 (Zoo and Garden)
- Sky Tower Joint Pass: ¥640
- 9:00 am-4:50 pm
- From Nagoya Station, take the subway Higashiyama Line.
Alight at Higashiyama Koen(Higashiyama park) Station and 3 minutes’ walk from exit3