{Travel Tuesday #39} Gunma Safari Park (Japan) Review

Gunma Safari Park - Japan - Bumble Bee Mum

While we were in the Gunma Prefecture with the main purpose of checking out the Hello Kitty Onsen, I took the chance to check off one more item that has been on my to-visit list for a long long time: Gunma Safari Park.

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I have visited the more popular Fuji Safari Park, located at the foot of Mount Fuji, twice.  I have always been very curious how Gunma Safari Park compares.  I just had to go there to take a look for myself at least once.

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Just like at Fuji Safari Park, Gunma Safari Park is a zoo where we were allowed to drive our own cars around the zoo grounds with free roaming animals.  If you do not have a rental car, you can opt to take their bus instead.  But I always prefer to self-drive at my own pace when I visit a safari park.

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When we entered Gunma Safari Park, we received an audio guide.  They did not have this at Fuji Safari Park, so that’s one plus point for Gunma Safari Park! We tuned the audio guide to English and the guide used a GPS system so that it knew which zone we were in and gave a narration about the animals as we drove around the various zones. Super cool!

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Africa Zone

We first entered the Africa Zone and immediately found ourselves surrounded by giraffes, zebras and other African animals!

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While the giraffes couldn’t reach us, other animals could.

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The animals were totally nonchalant over our existence and happily crossed the road in front of us.

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Yeah yeah, take your time… I’ve got all day.

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The kids were absolutely unfazed over the animals brushing past our cars.  I think I prefer the layout of Gunma Safari Park – starting with the friendly herbivorous animals to get the kids warmed up.  (This in contrast to the lion that freaked MF out at the start of our Fuji Safari Park visit.)

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Oh look! Rhinoceros! Although there wasn’t any barriers between the Rhinoceros and the road, they didn’t come near our car.   Bummer.  Though I think I may just freak out and drive off if they did.

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Japan Zone

Next, we entered Japan Zone and were welcomed by Japanese bears.   They were behind wires and barriers though.

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The Japanese macaques (a.k.a. snow monkeys) were free roaming.  But seriously, I had enough of snow monkeys for a single trip.  We saw them in Arashiyama and Jigokudani and then here again.

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Walking Safari Zone

We arrived at the walking safari zone and parked our cars to get off for a walk.

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I enjoyed the break from having to worry about knocking down animals and immersed myself in photographing the animals instead.

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The kids also got a chance to feed some animals.

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To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the walking safari zone because some of the animals were kept in cages and were looking very sad.

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So we hopped back on the car to spend more time in the driving zones.

Asian Zone

Back on the road, we found ourselves in the Asian zone with camels blocking our way.

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And woah! An elephant!

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There was no barrier between the elephant and us at all! This was my favourite part of Gunma Safari Park – being next to an elephant! I half-worried that the elephant would trample on our car, but yet could not contain my curiosity to drive as close as possible.

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Tiger Zone

Unlike Fuji Safari Park that started with the ferocious animals, Gunma Safari Park left them for the last.  As the saying goes, save the best for the last.  How do you like having a Tiger next to your car?

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Okay, maybe not.  I almost dropped the camera when the tiger decided to make a small dash in our direction!

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We drove on nearer to the more tame looking white tiger.  I would have been more amazed by the sight of the white tigers if not for the fact that Singapore Zoo has white tigers.

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But the white tigers at Singapore Zoo were pretty far away from the viewing zone, whereas here, it was right next to us.

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Lion Zone

After the Tiger Zone, we drove on to the Lion Zone.   Again, there was no barrier between the lions and us.

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We got to observe the lions super up close.

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Like WOAH, check out those teeth!  Please don’t jump on my car.

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And with that, our driving tour of Gunma Safari Park ended.  At the end, there was a U-turn for you to go back for more rounds if you want.  So if you want to make your admission fee worth, feel free to go for round 2 or more! But once you exit those gates, you can’t re-enter.

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And we ended our visit to Gunma Safari Park with a very late lunch (we had breakfast at our hotel followed by morning tea at Cafe Floresta prior to this).

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There was also an amusement park which you can visit if you have more time to spare.  We passed since we didn’t want to reach our next destination, the illumination at Ashikaga Flower Park, too late.

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How does Gunma Safari Park compare to Fuji Safari Park?

Fuji Safari Park


I found the two parks very similar in experience.  But overall, I felt we got much closer to the animals at Gunma Safari Park than at Fuji Safari Park.  I definitely did not get that close to an elephant at Fuji Safari Park.

Gunma Safari Park is a lot quieter than Fuji Safari Park, probably due to its more remote location.  In a way, it scares me a little.  Because at Fuji Safari Park, we weren’t the only car around and you know, safety in numbers?  Of course, in both parks, there were park rangers at every section so I shouldn’t need to worry.

The one thing that Gunma Safari Park was better was the availability of the audio guide.  But Fuji Safari Park gets one up for its view of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

The other thing Gunma Safari Park had that Fuji Safari Park didn’t was the walking zone.  Though as I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t a fan of the walking zone and its cages.

On the whole, I don’t think I can’t say one park is better than the other.  Both of them are definitely worth visiting.  I just love safari parks in general.  So if you are headed up to Gunma Prefecture, do KIV this safari park!

Admission Fee & Discount Coupon

Adult Admission: 2700yen per pax
Child Admission (3 year and above): 1400yen per pax

You can get 300yen discount per pax by printing out the discount coupon >HERE< and bringing the coupon there.  Each coupon can be used for up to 5 pax.

Information on Gunma Safari Park:

Address: 〒370-2321 群馬県富岡市岡本1番地

Map: Click here for Google Map location

Park Opening Hours:

  • March – October: 0930 – 1700 (last admission 1600)
  • November – February: 0930 – 1630 (last admission 1530)
  • Closed on Wednesdays

Tel: 0274-64-2111

Map Code (what is this?): 247 496 648

Official Website: Homepage | Facebook Page

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38 Comments on {Travel Tuesday #39} Gunma Safari Park (Japan) Review

  1. Ruth
    April 26, 2016 at 10:43 am (6 months ago)

    I have never visited a drive in safari. I like the idea of having an audio guide and GPS. That would make the experience more interesting. I love to be close to animals. I will giggle a lot in a place like this (like a little kid).
    Ruth recently posted…Los Olivos in PhotosMy Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      April 26, 2016 at 8:19 pm (6 months ago)

      I drove at Fuji Safari Park for the first time without kids and thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I had kids, I knew it was something I had to bring them for! I will never forget how my 2+ year old boy totally freaked out and burst out crying when a lion walked right past our car.

    • bumblebeemum
      April 26, 2016 at 8:21 pm (6 months ago)

      Haha.. I usually like it when it is quiet and non-touristy. But when I am the only tourist around surrounded by tigers and lions, my thoughts tend to run wild (pun intended).

  2. Cherry
    April 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm (6 months ago)

    Sometimes I wonder, do you really live in SG or Japan? Haha! Kiddin’ aside, any safari is G’s kind of place although I am not pretty sure about getting him that close to the animals.

    Hope to get Japan off my travel bucketlist before I turn too old to explore. LOL

    • bumblebeemum
      April 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm (6 months ago)

      I wonder too! I’m in Singapore but my mind is always in Japan.. haha.. And I definitely drive more in Japan than in Singapore.

      Japan has an aging population so I think we’ll blend right in even if we go there when we’re old. :p

  3. Jacqualine
    April 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm (6 months ago)

    The only thing that kept repeating in my head was, “OMG SO COOL” because I haven’t been to any safari parks before! I love your Japan travelogues because they are so different from the usual Tokyo Disneyland itineraries. Saving all these up so that I can visit them in the near future!
    Jacqualine recently posted…How I Met Your FatherMy Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      April 26, 2016 at 9:19 pm (6 months ago)

      Oh well.. I have done the usual Disneyland itineraries too.. Just that nobody needs me to tell them about Disneyland, right? So I spend my time writing about lesser known places!

  4. Dawn
    April 26, 2016 at 4:56 pm (6 months ago)

    Wow! It’s so cool to do a self-drive in the safari and the kids get to have such close proximity interactions with the animals! The GPS-Audio guide sounds extremely useful too!

    • bumblebeemum
      April 26, 2016 at 9:19 pm (6 months ago)

      Okay, to be honest, we were so excited over the animals around us that nobody was quite paying attention to the audio guide.. haha…

    • bumblebeemum
      April 26, 2016 at 9:20 pm (6 months ago)

      Not just the kids.. I loved it too!

  5. Lisa (Travel Loving Family)
    April 27, 2016 at 5:24 am (6 months ago)

    Wow! Your photos are incredible. You must have taken thousands to be able to select so many good ones to feature on your post? This safari park looks like it truly cares for the well being of its animals, the enclosures look spacious although I have to say I’m not sure I could drive up so close to wild animals with my children in the car! Thanks for linking up to #CityTripping
    Lisa (Travel Loving Family) recently posted…City Tripping #24My Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      April 27, 2016 at 8:47 am (6 months ago)

      Thanks. Oh well.. The animals were a lot easier to photograph than my kids. They didn’t move as much. Haha…

  6. Katrina Elisabet
    April 27, 2016 at 8:29 am (6 months ago)

    How COOL! The selfie with the elephant and the photos of the white tiger were definitely my favorites. The only safari park I’ve visited was at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, which isn’t quite the same. I like this experience as seen through your eyes better. :) Thanks for joining up with Travel Tuesday!

    • bumblebeemum
      April 27, 2016 at 8:50 am (6 months ago)

      Ah.. I would love to go to Disney World one day… Just don’t think I can survive the long plane ride from Singapore to US with the kids. :p

    • bumblebeemum
      April 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm (6 months ago)

      I was frankly quite nervous the very first time I drove through a safari park. But since this was my 3rd visit to a safari park, I felt more garang and inched my car slowly to get as close as possible.. haha…

  7. Mummy Ed
    April 27, 2016 at 3:47 pm (6 months ago)

    Wow so interesting! Do they have any keepers around? The Bangkok Safari had 2 keepers in the tiger area, just in case! No lions there though.

    • bumblebeemum
      April 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm (6 months ago)

      Yup, there were keepers in every zone.

  8. Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    April 28, 2016 at 2:46 am (6 months ago)

    I love your photos! They are brilliant. I’ve never done a driving safari park before. I’m amazed at how close you got to the animals…especially the lions, tigers and elephant. Shame about the sad looking animals in a cage… I hate that too. Other than that looks like a great day out and I bet the boys loved it! Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • bumblebeemum
      April 28, 2016 at 4:30 pm (6 months ago)

      Yeah, I like safari parks precisely because the animals have more space to roam so I wasn’t quite expecting to see cages at a safari park. Strange concept.

  9. Angie.S
    April 28, 2016 at 12:10 pm (6 months ago)

    Your photos of the Safari Park animals are so crisp and sharp! How awesome and memorable to drive so close to tiger and elephants without any barriers. A brave Momma you are! Where is Gunma? How far away from Tokyo?
    Angie.S recently posted…Capri by Fraser, KL – A little Gem for Families!My Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      April 28, 2016 at 4:39 pm (6 months ago)

      It is about 120km (2 hours drive) from Tokyo.

    • bumblebeemum
      April 29, 2016 at 11:46 am (6 months ago)

      Lol… I’ve been travelling to Japan regularly for more than 10 years now. But there is still so much I have yet to explore in Japan really. So can’t say I know every bit of Japan.

  10. Mama Munchkin
    May 1, 2016 at 4:53 am (6 months ago)

    Wow! What an incredible place to visit. I can’t believe the proximity in which you could view the animals. Amazing! #citytripping

    • bumblebeemum
      May 2, 2016 at 4:42 pm (6 months ago)

      Getting that close to the animals was both scary and exhilarating!

  11. mytravelmonkey
    May 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm (6 months ago)

    Ah, we love safari parks too! Gunma Safari Park looks very much like Longleat here in England – I love the fact that you can drive in your car and see the animals roaming freely… it makes me not feel so bad these animals are in captivity! Great photos #citytripping
    mytravelmonkey recently posted…The Top Five Beaches in DevonMy Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      May 3, 2016 at 10:16 pm (6 months ago)

      I must remember to visit Longleat when I’m in England then!

  12. Kate | Lesbemums
    May 6, 2016 at 3:43 am (6 months ago)

    This was a wonderful read!! What a great day out!

    Although our UK zoos are lovely, they certainly don’t compare to this. I hope the car didn’t get damaged.

    I really enjoy zoos, especially now that our son is growing up. Perhaps, one day, if we happen to visit we’ll pop by.


    • bumblebeemum
      May 9, 2016 at 1:15 am (6 months ago)

      Haha.. I was indeed quite worried that the animals may decide to come to our car and scratch it or something. Thank goodness it didn’t happen.

  13. Our Seaside Baby
    May 8, 2016 at 3:29 am (6 months ago)

    Wow, what a great day out! I’ve never been to a proper safari and it looks amazing. I think I’d be a little scared about the animals coming closer to the car but it must be wonderful at the same time and lovely that they get all of that freedom. You go on so many wonderful trips, lucky kids! Thanks for linking up with #MyFavouriteTrip Polly
    Our Seaside Baby recently posted…Our Trip to AmsterdamMy Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      May 9, 2016 at 1:45 am (6 months ago)

      This time we were less nervous because the animals that approached our car were herbivorous. When we visit Fuji Safari Park, a lion brushed right past our car! Frankly my heart skipped a beat and it didn’t help that my 2 year old totally freaked out and burst out crying like crazy and I had to put up a brave front to calm him down. But it was a truly unforgettable experience.

  14. Packing my Suitcase
    May 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm (6 months ago)

    Wow, you can see the animals sooo close!!! That must be pretty cool for the kids! I’d love to do a Safari, especially in Africa 😀
    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes

    • bumblebeemum
      May 9, 2016 at 2:00 am (6 months ago)

      Yes, doing a safari tour in Africa is so on my bucket list!

  15. Mummy C
    May 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm (6 months ago)

    It must have been an unforgettable experience for your boys & you! Lovely pics..wiill definitely consider it when we revisit Japan with my boy ~.<

    • bumblebeemum
      May 13, 2016 at 10:29 am (6 months ago)

      Unforgettable for me, not sure if it was unforgettable for the boys. You know how kids forget things…


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