Past the main gate, the African Savannah Zone stretches out against the sweeping panoramic backdrop of Sakurajima and Kinko Bay. With Sakurajima standing in for Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, African animals like giraffes, zebras, and rhinoceroses seem right at home. From here, visitors can proceed into the Wild Dogs & Cats Zone and Bears of the World Zone. The warm southern atmosphere of Kagoshima can be felt on the deck overlooking the Goino River as it flows through the grounds.
Other zoo highlights include the Indian Forest Zone, Australian Nature Zone, and Koala House. In the past, Hirakawa Zoo has successfully bred its koala population, which currently consists of two males and four females. It was also the first Japanese zoo to succeed in breeding the Erabu flying fox (northern Ryukyu fruit bat), a subspecies from Kuchinoerabu-jima Island and the Tokara Islands that has been designated a natural treasure by the Japanese government. The bats can be viewed in the Kagoshima Animals Zone.
To traverse the sprawling grounds, hop on a cute bus decorated with the faces of koalas and other animals. A footbath is also available for visitors to soothe their tired feet while looking at the animals and Sakurajima. The zoo shop sells souvenirs such as exclusive merchandise and sweets, as well as soft-serve ice cream. At the restaurant, an open terrace overlooks the African Savannah Zone and Sakurajima. Children and adults alike will be able to spend a whole day at this must-visit tourist attraction.