Fu’s aunt and cousin visited recently, and they love zoos, so we decided to bring them to a different kind of zoo… a safari park!
Fu and I visited the safari park in Shizuoka several years ago, but our friend told us there was one in Gunma too, so we thought to head to somewhere new! (yay, can check Gunma off the travel Japan list! :D)
Gunma is just a 2-hour drive from Tokyo, so we made it a day trip :)
Arriving at the park!
As you can see, this safari park is tucked away in some ulu place, so it will be pretty difficult to reach without a car.
Now, the most interesting thing about safari parks in Japan is that… you can feed animals! No, not just horses or goats, but LIONS.
You will be the one in a cage (in the form of a bus) and going into THEIR territory. The animals will then approach the bus and you can feed them the food allocated!
The bus will drive towards the gates with a manned tower by the side. The operator in the tower will open the gate and the bus will move in and stop behind a second set of closed gates. For security reasons, only after the first set of gates close will the second set of gates open.
Feels a bit like going into Jurassic Park… so exciting! Haha.
We drove past some animals (giraffes, zebras, rhinos, elephants, etc), but did not feed them. The driver kept talking and gave a lot of interesting information about the animals, but all in Japanese. Fu kept asking me to translate for them and I tried but they were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the animals so after a while I gave up lol.
Our first feeding targets… BISONS!
I think bisons are pretty ugly, but baby bisons are super adorable though!
After feeding the bisons, the bus drove to an area where we could get off and explore for 25 minutes.
There were horses, goats, deers, rabbits and we could feed them too! Must pay extra though, bloody bloodsuckers -_- 100 yen for a bunch of grass to feed the horses, 100 yen for a small cup of food for the goat, 100 yen for deer crackers. The rabbits’ were the cheapest. 50 yen. Because one small piece of carrot only -_-
But what to do? Just suck it up and pay. Cause it’s fun to feed them! :D
Man, I met a really smart and vicious goat! I was feeding it, and I noticed that instead of placing its entire mouth inside the cup to eat like the other goats, it place only its upper jaw inside, with the lower jaw outside the cup.
Before I could process what it was doing, it clamped down on the cup and jerked it away forcefully!!!
It gobbled up everything inside in an instant and dumped the cup unceremoniously in the mud :( Give me back my cuuuuuuuup~~~!
So done with the stupid goats and headed to where the deers were instead! They’re the same deers as the ones in Nara :)
We headed back to the bus and finally entered…
And then it was time to feed the lions!
PRO TIP! Divide the meat into smaller pieces so as to increase number of feedings. To make them stay longer, grip on to the meat as hard as you can so that they will have to spend a bit more effort to pull it out (but it really only buys like an extra 2-3 seconds. They’re really strong! And probably experienced with people who use such cheap tricks haha)
We like safari parks because it provides a unique chance to be really up close and personal with the animals! And it’s also the first time we got to feed animals that are usually kept far away from humans.
The downside to Gunma Safari Park is that it is rather small. Once the bus finished the tour (took about 70 mins) and exited the safari area, there were no more animals to see. There were only souvenir shops outside.
We each paid 2,700 yen entrance fee + 1,300 yen for the feeding bus tour. If we wanted to enter the park again, for example, drive in with our own car (yep, we can do that for +500 yen and stay as long as we like), we had to pay the entrance fee AGAIN. EACH!!! Basically, the entrance fee allows you to enter the park once. Once you exit, you must pay again to enter! Madness.
But apart from that, I enjoyed the park and I hope our guests did too :)
GUNMA SAFARI PARK
(with discount coupon)
1 Okamoto, Tomioka-shi, Gunma