The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 30 March 2015

Asahiyama Zoo, Ashikawa (Hokkaido, Japan)

Hello from sunny California! Our family is on vacation for the next week or so in the US, so expect blog updates to be scarce until I get back home. I promise to share photos of our California trip, but for now, here are some photos of snowy Japan from our trip last month to Hokkaido. After a few days of skiing and snowboarding in Furano, we headed north to Asahikawa to visit the famous Asahiyama Zoo. This is Japan's northernmost zoo, and it is most well-known for the daily Penguin Walk during the winter season (twice a day from December to February, and once daily during March). We were there to see the arctic animals, and we were quite surprised to see emus (yes, the Aussie birds!) on exhibition out in the snow! They seemed to cope as well as the other winter animals, so it didn't seem cruel (the tropical animals were housed indoors under appropriately warm conditions).

Finally get to see a real live tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog), many years after I first heard about this legendary animal:

Elegant Japanese cranes:

A young doe:

A snowy owl that was very well-camouflaged in the snow, and it did take us awhile to spot it:

The Penguin Walk! It was the main event that most visitors to the zoo wanted to see:

Apparently, the Penguin Walk is a measure to keep obesity at bay during the winter months when the penguins are not so active. Really cute to see them waddle down the pathway out of their enclosure:

One of the polar bears at the zoo:

Family photo fun:

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