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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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