Hybrid leisure at its finest.
Dubbed a Hybrid Leisure Land, Tobu Zoo in Saitama is a zoo and rollercoaster and water park all rolled into one.
Make your way to the zoo on the west side of the park to see the stars of the furry friends show – a group of rare white tigers. The younger cubs are showbiz pros having been born into the limelight with a live video streaming back in 2013. But they are just one of 120 species of animals on display, which also includes lions, penguins and bears. For children, there’s a petting zoo for hands-on play with everything from docile rabbits to exotic lemurs.
Tobu Zoo also has the world’s first firefly theater. Fireflies have become hard to find in urban Japan, even in the summer season, but here you can see the light of 10,000 fireflies at any time. There are also events like bird shows, pony rides and geese marches.
It’s everything you can expect from a zoo but spread across attractive spacious grounds that at some point morph into an adrenaline-pumped rollercoaster park. Make your mind up, people.
Head for the big ferris wheel to the amusement park section in the east. Here you’ll find roller coasters, teacup rides and pirate ships – plus more than 30 other attractions. Then there’s also the Tobu Super Pool, a water park that opens in the summer featuring a wave pool, water rides and more.