Tobu Zoo Review

I’m back! So sorry for the delay. Life got nuts and I bought a Canon 6D. Good times. Anyway the show must go on, so this time we’re checking out Tobu Zoo as part of my Japan 2012 update.

Sunday rolled in and we journeyed our way out to Tobu Zoo for our first full day theme park experience. We were there primarily for a mega-lite roller-coaster known as “Kawasemi”, made by Intamin (for the Aussies, they’re the guys who did Tower of Terror, Superman Escape plus a bunch of other rides), but ended up staying for some crazy “only in Japan” zoo antics plus some other great rides which caught us by surprise.

 

We've arrived at Tobu Dobutsu Koen Station and were immediately greeted with this! Some photos current, some photos not current, either way we're in for a good day!
We’ve arrived at Tobu Dobutsu Koen Station and were immediately greeted with this! Some photos current, some photos not current, either way we’re in for a good day!
After walking for nearly 2 days straight, we were feeling a little cocky and decided to snub the shuttle bus for a few minutes of fresh air and sight-seeing.
After walking for nearly 2 days straight, we were feeling a little cocky and decided to snub the shuttle bus for a few minutes of fresh air and sight-seeing.
We could practically see most of the rides from our short walk anyway, and it gave us a chance to check out country living in Japan.
We could practically see most of the rides from our short walk anyway, and it gave us a chance to check out country living in Japan.
At this point we figured we'd walking in a straight line straight towards the rides and with our little to no knowledge of Kanji, walked straight past the obvious "ENTRANCE" signs.
At this point we figured we’d walking in a straight line straight towards the rides and with our little to no knowledge of Kanji, walked straight past the obvious “ENTRANCE” signs.
So, uh… This is the pathway to the park, right?
So, uh… This is the pathway to the park, right?
Japanese country-side!
Japanese country-side!
We can see the park, so we must be close to the entrance!
We can see the park, so we must be close to the entrance!
Look! Kawasemi! We must be close!
Look! Kawasemi! We must be close!
Yeah, this was the wrong way.
Yeah, this was the wrong way.
Bugger it. We had come this far, and there were all these park mascots and cool pretty things to look at along the way, so we kept walking.
Bugger it. We had come this far, and there were all these park mascots and cool pretty things to look at along the way, so we kept walking.
Okay, we've been walking for 20 minutes now, we're about to walk the perimeter of the park…
Okay, we’ve been walking for 20 minutes now, we’re about to walk the perimeter of the park…
So we've passed the park and we're now walking past the waterpark. AWESOME.
So we’ve passed the park and we’re now walking past the waterpark. AWESOME.
So this path turns a corner and ends. F*ck.
So this path turns a corner and ends. F*ck.
Well it couldn't get much worse I thought. On the brightside, our off the beaten track park experience meant we were probably the first tourists to ever cover this part of the park! #VIP #IsThisACredit?
Well it couldn’t get much worse I thought. On the brightside, our off the beaten track park experience meant we were probably the first tourists to ever cover this part of the park! #VIP #IsThisACredit?
"Where are we?"
“Where are we?”
Finally, after jumping across a small river and a fence some Tobu Zoo staff helped us from the Zoo Back of House entrance back to the Zoo Entrance.
Finally, after jumping across a small river and a fence some Tobu Zoo staff helped us from the Zoo Back of House entrance back to the Zoo Entrance.
This was the kind gentleman who pointed us back in the right direction. Interestingly enough the park is basically split into two distinct sides, Zoo and theme park, yet because of the way the park tickets are sold it's essentially just one huge theme park.
This was the kind gentleman who pointed us back in the right direction. Interestingly enough the park is basically split into two distinct sides, Zoo and theme park, yet because of the way the park tickets are sold it’s essentially just one huge theme park.
Holy crap batman, we're here!
Holy crap batman, we’re here!
OMG! DUCKIES!
OMG! DUCKIES!
Certainly not as gratuitous as the bobble head caricatures of other parks.
Certainly not as gratuitous as the bobble head caricatures of other parks.
Some really nice long pathways that stretch out through some nice dense forest.
Some really nice long pathways that stretch out through some nice dense forest.
..Could it be? AWWW YEAH. Kawasemi, bitches. And no line. Today is about to get awesome.
..Could it be? AWWW YEAH. Kawasemi, bitches. And no line. Today is about to get awesome.
But first, a quick look around the area. Here's the in your face Rainbow Train building across from Kawasemi.
But first, a quick look around the area. Here’s the in your face Rainbow Train building across from Kawasemi.
Here's the surprise of the trip, Regina! The name was so baffling, but what a lovely woodie!
Here’s the surprise of the trip, Regina! The name was so baffling, but what a lovely woodie!
For the most part, it's situated over a large pond/lake that's a weird green (for Aussies, anyway).
For the most part, it’s situated over a large pond/lake that’s a weird green (for Aussies, anyway).
See! Regina. WTF.
See! Regina. WTF.
So this happened.
So this happened.
And then so did it this. Maybe they were supposed to be the other way round? Doesn't matter, Shell is "Marvelous!!"
And then so did it this. Maybe they were supposed to be the other way round? Doesn’t matter, Shell is “Marvelous!!”
Queue to nowhere. Clearly this park gets busy around summer.
Queue to nowhere. Clearly this park gets busy around summer.
Another crazy random vending machine drink. This time it tasted awesome. Some sort of energy drink. AWESOME.
Another crazy random vending machine drink. This time it tasted awesome. Some sort of energy drink. AWESOME.
Only in Japan does the drop tower not only lack a seatbelt, but the restraints pop up before the ride's even touched the ground!
Only in Japan does the drop tower not only lack a seatbelt, but the restraints pop up before the ride’s even touched the ground!
Park mascot photo. Check.
Park mascot photo. Check.
We went up in their ferris wheel and quickly discovered why they're building the new one. I've never felt more unsafe in a Ferris Wheel in my life! Even Fuji-Q's was in better nick!
We went up in their ferris wheel and quickly discovered why they’re building the new one. I’ve never felt more unsafe in a Ferris Wheel in my life! Even Fuji-Q’s was in better nick!
Oh to be ladylike again.
Oh to be ladylike again.
The rain has closed the kid's coaster! Noooo!
The rain has closed the kid’s coaster! Noooo!
Screw it, let's go back for some Kawasemi! This, by the way, was absolutely insane. Checkout the POV for reference. We need more of these in the world. For something that's only 30m tall, it packed a crazy, out of control minute of epicness.
Screw it, let’s go back for some Kawasemi! This, by the way, was absolutely insane. Checkout the POV for reference. We need more of these in the world. For something that’s only 30m tall, it packed a crazy, out of control minute of epicness.
Just outside of Kawasemi.
Just outside of Kawasemi.
You can never have enough Kawasemi photos.
You can never have enough Kawasemi photos.
And some more of the park. To the left of this photo was where the park's old looping Wild Mouse Coaster was.
And some more of the park. To the left of this photo was where the park’s old looping Wild Mouse Coaster was.
Back to Reggie for some more Intamin Woodie Goodness!
Back to Reggie for some more Intamin Woodie Goodness!
Lift hill porn.
Lift hill porn.
It's a very pretty coaster.
It’s a very pretty coaster.
Get your tourist info on.
Get your tourist info on.
More people sleeping/resting in Japan!
More people sleeping/resting in Japan!
I Choo, Choo, Choose you.
I Choo, Choo, Choose you.
Looks like they do some epic fireworks displays here.
Looks like they do some epic fireworks displays here.
Ladies.
Ladies.
Rawr.
Rawr.
Bear hug anyone?
Bear hug anyone?
Sahhh cute.
Sahhh cute.
Totally got photobombed by that little Japanese chick.
Totally got photobombed by that little Japanese chick.
I thought this was funny. Like honestly, it was a total mystery as to what they were building.
I thought this was funny. Like honestly, it was a total mystery as to what they were building.
Get ready for lots of "Only In Japan-ness!" See this photo of the monkeys?
Get ready for lots of “Only In Japan-ness!” See this photo of the monkeys?
No fence, no handrail, no nothing. Apparently they hate water, otherwise they'd be making a run for it I guess.
No fence, no handrail, no nothing. Apparently they hate water, otherwise they’d be making a run for it I guess.
Seriously! If you wanted to lean over and grab a monkey to take home as a souvenir, this place would be it!
Seriously! If you wanted to lean over and grab a monkey to take home as a souvenir, this place would be it!
This is how close we were to two Rhinos fighting. Uhh, okay.
This is how close we were to two Rhinos fighting. Uhh, okay.
THEY WERE RIGHT THERE! Only. In. Japan.
THEY WERE RIGHT THERE! Only. In. Japan.
Half of the people watching these two square off got drenched by the mud being flung around.
Half of the people watching these two square off got drenched by the mud being flung around.
Stepping away, here's some Flamingos.
Stepping away, here’s some Flamingos.
Black and white quota now filled.
Black and white quota now filled.
I thought this was pretty awesome. Clearly this lion was showing this poor guy up.
I thought this was pretty awesome. Clearly this lion was showing this poor guy up.
Unfortunately, as much as the park was a clean, friendly place, the Zoo is certainly not up to "Western" standard when it comes to caring for the animals. Small cages, bare environments were just the tip of the iceburg. Infact, I left alot of photos out of the blog for the simple fact that while we had an amazing day, I didn't leave everyone on a downer by seeing snaps of one-eyed eagles and birds missing patches of feathers (and that's just for starters.)
Unfortunately, as much as the park was a clean, friendly place, the Zoo is certainly not up to “Western” standard when it comes to caring for the animals. Small cages, bare environments were just the tip of the iceburg. Infact, I left alot of photos out of the blog for the simple fact that while we had an amazing day, I didn’t leave everyone on a downer by seeing snaps of one-eyed eagles and birds missing patches of feathers (and that’s just for starters.)
Poor fellar.
Poor fellar.
Elephants wear hats now?
Elephants wear hats now?
Damn. No hat.
Damn. No hat.
Who do you back? Men's Team or Girl's Team? FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
Who do you back? Men’s Team or Girl’s Team? FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
Suppose the hippoes have got it pretty good.
Suppose the hippoes have got it pretty good.
Apparently they don't need much to be happy.
Apparently they don’t need much to be happy.
So I could've seriously patted a penguin while I was there.
So I could’ve seriously patted a penguin while I was there.
Hey buddy. We're seperated by bushes and nothing else! Wanna high five?
Hey buddy. We’re seperated by bushes and nothing else! Wanna high five?
That's not a big bush.
That’s not a big bush.
Oh good, we're still in Japan. I hadn't seen a crazy looking animated character in atleast five minutes and got worried!
Oh good, we’re still in Japan. I hadn’t seen a crazy looking animated character in atleast five minutes and got worried!
Screw it! Back to Kawasemi!
Screw it! Back to Kawasemi!
Us with the Kawasemi crew after a long day!
Us with the Kawasemi crew after a long day!
These guys were great. Having employees like this make a park what it is. They were polite, friendly, happy and great with the kids who ended up following us around.
These guys were great. Having employees like this make a park what it is. They were polite, friendly, happy and great with the kids who ended up following us around.
Nearly time to go!
Nearly time to go!
Something we didn't do while we were there, the steam boat.
Something we didn’t do while we were there, the steam boat.
It was kinda weird walking into the entrance for the first time to leave.
It was kinda weird walking into the entrance for the first time to leave.
Got paint?
Got paint?
We finished off our day at our local ramen joint, which was made awesome by awesome locals, lots of beer and crazy good Ramen! Look out for more updates soon!
We finished off our day at our local ramen joint, which was made awesome by awesome locals, lots of beer and crazy good Ramen! Look out for more updates soon!
Ben Roache

Editor in Chief

Photographer, film-maker & thrillseeker, sometimes all three at the same time. Lover of great design, captivating stories & amazing people.

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