Izu Shaboten Zoo
The Izu Shaboten Zoo is a “free-range” zoo, where animals such as pelicans, squirrel monkeys, and kangaroos roam freely around the park. A highlight is the capybara onsen (hot-spring bath)—definitely an unusual sight. The zoo has five pyramid-style greenhouses where tropical plants are cultivated, especially cacti and succulents.
A fun, family-friendly destination, the Izu Shaboten Zoo has a distinct Mexican theme, with many cacti from Mexico (as well as other parts of the world) and Mexican statues and artifacts. Most travelers visit independently while touring the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo, which is a popular getaway destination. Purchasing admission tickets in advance is an easy way to save time when planning a visit.
Things to Know Before You Go
Shows featuring capybaras and other animals are held every day, usually in the afternoons.
The Izu Shaboten Zoo is wheelchair-accessible and offers wheelchair rental, accessible parking, and accessible restrooms.
Given the zoo’s focus on cacti, it’s appropriate that you can buy food items such as green cactus curry, cactus burgers, and cactus ice cream at the zoo’s restaurants and cafés.
How to Get There
Izu Shaboten Zoo is located in Futo Ito City, in Shizuoka Prefecture. It’s easily accessible by road or rail from Tokyo or Yokohama. The quickest way is to get the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Atami station, in Shizuoka Prefecture. From there, take the JR Ito line to Ito station, and then take the Izu Tokai bus to the zoo, a journey of about half an hour.
When to Get There
The zoo is open every day of the year, with slightly reduced hours in the winter. The five warm greenhouses are especially nice to visit in the colder months. Animal shows are held in the afternoons.
Visit the Izu Teddy Bear Museum
Travelers with kids who are seeking another family-friendly activity on the Izu Peninsula should check out the cute Teddy Bear Museum, not far from the Izu Shaboten Zoo. It features teddy bears from all over the world, and every nook and cranny of the gardens and interior features some kind of teddy bear.
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