Surprisingly, so many of my adventures here in Japan have been centred around animals. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved animals, I always thought they were cute, but I’d never sought them out quite so much before. And even more surprisingly, I’ve actually had lots of opportunities to enjoy experiences with my favourite animals – Penguins!
Animal Kingdom, Kobe
The first time I got up close and personal with these adorable little birds was at a kind of petting zoo in Kobe. They have all sorts of animals here, and no cages. You get to walk around the park and interact first hand with kangaroos, capybaras, seals, and of course, penguins. I paid a few hundred yen and was given a little bucket of fish, and a pair of barbecue tongs. Then I got to have my turn at feeding the penguins! So. Much. Fun.
This place was amazing. It really felt as though the animals were happy here. They had lots of space and freedom, it was a very calm environment. Then I went during Golden Week. There were so many people there, and so many kids. None of the parents seemed bothered that their children were pestering all these animals, it wasn’t nice. Now I’m not so sure if this place is better or worse than a regular zoo. So, if you want to check it out- make sure it’s on a quiet day, preferably in term time.
Bar Little Feat
Japan may be known for it’s themed cafe’s and strange restaurants but this is just amazing. There are penguin bars guys. Bars with Penguins!! So on my birthday I had to check one out. Bar Little Feat is in Kobe, just a few minutes walk from Sannomiya Station. It’s pretty much your average bar, for the most part. Kind of an American theme with tables, cocktails, and good music. But they also have a tank in the corner with penguins! The bar actually works with the local zoo and has 12 penguins that they regularly rotate. There’s only ever 3 penguins there at a time, and they’re only there once or twice a week. It was such a cool experience to be able to relax with a beer and watch the penguins playing in their pool right next to me.
The staff here were super friendly too, and were able to answer any questions we had about the penguins and the bar itself. Even though they only spoke a little English, and I only speak a little Japanese, we managed to communicate just fine.
Penguin Parade – Asahiyama Zoo
We’re heading a bit further up north for this one, all the way to Hokkaido. Up here on Japan’s snowy island is a very famous zoo, and at this zoo is the penguin parade! Twice a day they open up the penguin enclosure and take the penguins out for a walk around the zoo. I have never seen anything cuter than a group of penguins waddling along through the snow accompanied by the zoo keepers. Just looking at the photo’s you can see just how excited I truly am.
Who’d have thought there would be so many opportunities to interact with penguins in Japan. It was never a country I’d associated with such adorable creatures!