Inokashira Park Zoo

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Inokashira Park Zoo (Japanese: いのかしらしぜんぶんかえん; Kanji: 井の頭自然文化園) is a city zoo in Musashino, Tokyo. It is in a corner of Inokashira Park near the Ghibli Museum. A branch of the zoo is in Mitaka. It opened on May 17, 1942.[1]

Overview [edit]

Large animals such as the Asian elephant Hanako were bred until 2016. Other animals such as the Japanese serow and raccoon are bred as well.

In 2006, to disperse the risk of breeding, the Ministry of the Environment moved some endangered Tsushima leopard cats to the zoo (Breeding restarted on February 22, 2008).[2][3]

It is divided into a main zoo in Gotenyama, Musashino and a branch location in Inokashira, Mitaka. In the main park, mainly mammals and birds are raised, and water birds are kept in the garden surrounded by Inokashira pond. Also, there is a cultural museum, where special exhibition, lecture meeting, and etc. are held.[4] There was also a "tropical bird greenhouse", but on June 2, 2013 it closed due to its age.[5] There is an aquarium with fish and amphibians in the secondary park.

A sculpture garden is set up in a corner of the park with works by Seibo Kitamura.[6][7]

In addition, a small amusement park (a merry-go round, teacups, train) is set up in one corner of the park.[8]

Smoking is banned at the zoo starting at July 5, 2018.[9]

List of bred animals[edit]

A Japanese squirrel (Sciurus lis)
  • Asian elephant
  • Guinea pig
  • Goat
  • Japanese serow
  • Deer
  • Raccoon
  • Capybara
  • Fennec fox
  • Patagonian mara 
  • Tsushima leopard cat[3]
  • Rhesus monkey 
  • Mandarin duck
  • Japanese squirrel[10]
  • Swan 
  • Japanese giant salamander
  • Salty salmon 
  • Little grebe 
  • Tokyo bitterling
  • Diving bell spider

History [edit]

In September 1905, Shibusawa Eiichi borrowed a corner of Inokashira Gotenyama Garden from the Imperial Family and founded the Tokyo Maternity Hospital Conversion Division (later Inokashira School) to accommodate juvenile delinquents.[11] On May 1, 1917, the entire town was granted to Tokyo and Inokashira Park was opened. On May 5, 1934, "Nakanoshima small animal zoo" opened at the current branch location.[12]

In 1939, when the Inokashira school relocated, the plan to build a big zoo in this area was advanced. Initially it was conceived as "a big zoo" comparable to the Ueno Zoo, but due to the wartime budget and supplies shortage, large animals can not be gathered. The plan changed to a "nature observation park". It opened on May 17, 1942.[12]

Two giraffes were bred at the time of the opening, but both died by the end of the war.[12]


Hanako on April 28th, 2006
Statue of "Hanako the elephant" in front of Kichijōji Station (taken on March 23, 2018)

Hanako is a female Asian elephant which was raised at Inokashira Park Zoo. She was born in Thailand in 1947. She came to Japan for the first time after the war, gifted to Ueno Zoo in 1949. She inherited the name of the elephant "Hanako (Wanry)" who was starved to death during the war. Hanako visited the whole country and Tokyo under the Ueno Zoo's "Mobile Zoo" project that began in 1950 and visited Inokashira Natural Culture Park for 3 consecutive years. On 5 March 1954 she was moved to Inokashira Park Zoo from Ueno Zoo.[13][14]

In 1956, she stepped on and killed a drunken man who was trespassing before the garden opened,[15] and in 1960 she stepped on and killed a male keeper.[16]

Her lower left teeth fell in the 1980s, so she was fed with a liquid diet with banana and apple.

In 2013, Hanako broke the longevity record of elephants raised in Japan.[17]

On May 26, 2016, she died at the age of 69.[18]


  1. ^ "井の頭自然文化園の歴史 | 井の頭自然文化園公式サイト - 東京ズーネット". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  2. ^ "第1回 絶滅危惧種ツシマヤマネコに会ってみた" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  3. ^ a b "井の頭自然文化園:「ヤマネコ祭」29・30日開催…東京 - 毎日新聞". 毎日新聞 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  4. ^ "井の頭自然文化園で「大人のための動物園・水族園講座」 ゆったり学び楽しむ". 吉祥寺経済新聞 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  5. ^ "熱帯鳥温室の取り壊し工事開始のお知らせと、飼育されていた動物たちの移動先について". 東京ズーネット TOKYO ZOO NET (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  6. ^ "動物が生き生き暮らす「井の頭自然文化園」 親子向けエリア紹介 | いこレポ". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  7. ^ 日本経済新聞社・日経BP社. "東京・武蔵野、三鷹 昭和史、文人に思いはせる 四季の移ろい、自…|フード・レストラン|NIKKEI STYLE". NIKKEI STYLE (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  8. ^ "「こどもの日」都内の入園無料スポット11選! 遊園地&動物園も | いこレポ". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  9. ^ "都立動物園・水族館すべて全面禁煙に 7月5日から". 日本経済新聞 電子版 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  10. ^ "【もふもふ天国】子リスたちがすくすく成長中!井の頭自然文化園まで会いにきて♪|ウーマンエキサイト". ウーマンエキサイト (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  11. ^ Laboratory, K Creative. "明治後期に高まる「郊外型公園」への機運 - 桜草数寄(Sakuraso House)". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  12. ^ a b c 井の頭自然文化園50年の歩みと将来. 武蔵野: 東京都建設局西部公園緑地事務所. 1992.
  13. ^ "はな子が去って、まもなく2年... 井の頭自然文化園の「ゾウ舎」特別開放". ニコニコニュース (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  14. ^ "三鷹市 |井の頭自然文化園のアジアゾウ「はな子」に感謝状を贈呈します". 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  15. ^ "父の生き方は象のはな子がみんな教えてくれた". オピニオンサイト「iRONNA(いろんな)」 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  16. ^ "朝日新聞社):「はな子」お世話、今後は柵越しだゾウ 飼育事故多発で - 社会". 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  17. ^ "アジアゾウ「はな子」、日本新記録!!". 東京ズーネット TOKYO ZOO NET (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  18. ^ "ゾウ:国内最高齢「はな子」死ぬ69歳 井の頭自然文化園 - 毎日新聞". 毎日新聞 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-11-27.

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