You can even see giraffes! Ikeda Zoo's restaurants and shops have been renovated

You can even see giraffes! Ikeda Zoo's restaurants and shops have been renovatedの画像

In April 2024, the restaurants and shops at Ikeda Zoo in Okayama City, which has a history of over 70 years, will be renovated!


The interior of the store is made of wood from Okayama Prefecture, giving it a warm wooden feel, and there are fun touches throughout, such as animal paw prints painted on the floor. The shop sells stuffed animals and miscellaneous goods with animal motifs, and its original products are also a hot topic! We will introduce the top 3 most popular items in the shop, as well as a restaurant where you can see giraffes.

(Some photos provided by Ikeda Zoo)

What is Ikeda Zoo?

Ikeda Zoo is about a 10-minute drive from JR Okayama Station. It's close to the city center, but it's located in the mountains, so you can feel the nature. It opened in 1953 as Japan's first privately run zoo. Its predecessor, Ikeda Farm, opened in 1948.

The zoo is home to around 90 different kinds of animals. Among them, white tigers, spotted hyenas, and white raccoon dogs are said to be rare even nationwide. Ikeda Zoo has bred animals in the past, and baby spotted hyenas have been moved to other zoos, so the zoos are working together to protect animal species.

The original goods designed by the zookeepers are interesting

As soon as you pass through the entrance, you will see a stylish building. This is the newly renovated "Footprint Shop" and "Gochisou Kitchen." It is barrier-free and strollers can easily enter.

Inside the "Footprint Shop," stuffed animal toys are on display. As the name of the shop suggests, there are footprints of lions, birds, and giraffes on the floor! The shop is bright with penlights, and the spacious space allows you to take your time choosing souvenirs.

The top three most popular items are original products that can only be purchased here

1. Original badge (350 yen)

Photos of the animals taken by the zookeepers have been made into badges. These are very popular. The sense of distance that only a zookeeper can capture and the adorable expressions of the animals are irresistible. The baby monkey at the top is a Geoffroy's spider monkey, born in January of this year. So cute!

② Original T-shirt (2,800 yen)

T-shirts with illustrations of animals at Ikeda Zoo. Available in sizes from 80cm to XXXL, it would be cute to have matching outfits for the whole family.

③ Original postcard (160 yen/each)

The best shots taken by the zookeepers will be printed on postcards. Postcards of your favorite animals are sure to become a keepsake of your trip.

Speaking for animals in Okayama dialect

The original product "Okayama Dialect Jaga!" is sure to make you chuckle as it sounds as if the animals are mumbling. There are three types available - an original hand towel, a badge and a pouch - and the spotted hyena, flamingo and reticulated giraffe are mumbling. The spotted hyena eats even the bones, so it says "I like bones". The flamingo, standing on one leg, blurts out how it really feels, saying "My feet are cold". The reticulated giraffe seems to be aware that it has a long neck, saying "My neck is so long".

The shop is not the only zoo initiative that the zookeepers come up with and that incorporates their opinions. Many of the athletic facilities where the animals play and the signs in the zoo are handmade by the zookeepers. Please pay attention to these as you observe the animals.

Okayama Dialect Jaga! Original hand towel (1,000 yen), badge (350 yen), pouch (1,200 yen)

[Footprint Shop]

Opening hours: Weekdays 10:00 to closing time / Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 9:30 to closing time

"Gochisou Kitchen" where you can see giraffes from the window

The restaurant seats 60 people and is stylishly café-style. With sofa seats and tables that seat six, it is comfortable for both small and large groups. There are also five chairs for children, so you don't have to worry. Before the renovation, it was a typical Showa-era restaurant with a TV, but it was a place filled with memories for regulars. "It's sad that the old restaurant is gone, but it's good that it's being renewed," said one customer, who was looking forward to the new restaurant.

You can see the reticulated giraffes from inside the restaurant through the large windows. You can get even closer from the terrace seats, something you can only experience at a zoo. The staff have also kindly commented, "We hope you will enjoy your time in this stylish cafe-style restaurant."

Introducing popular products from Gochisou Kitchen.

①Ikeda Ramen (800 yen)

The most popular dish is the traditional ramen with a sweet soy sauce base. The char siu pork is handmade in the restaurant. It is a dish that is loved by everyone, from children to adults.

②Lion Curry/White Tiger Curry (750 yen each)

The mild curry is very popular with children. The lion curry has a mane made of roux. There is also a white tiger curry, with the tiger's mouth wide open and filled with roux. It's hard to decide which one to choose. The menu has a list of 28 allergens, which is a nice touch.

3) Chicken Nanban set meal (980 yen)

One of the popular set menus for those who want to eat a hearty meal is the "Chicken Nanban Set Meal." In addition to this, there are also fried chicken set meals and cutlet set meals, and you can get a large portion for an additional 150 yen. There are also seasonal menus, and you can enjoy Zaru Udon and Bukkake Udon at this time of year. There are about 20 types of menu items, including pasta and rice bowls, so you'll want to come back again and again.

[Feast Kitchen]

Opening hours: Weekdays 11:30-14:30 / Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 11:00-15:30

*An admission fee will be charged when using the Footprint Shop and Gochisou Kitchen.

*The seats inside and on the terrace of Gochisou Kitchen are only available to those who order at the restaurant. Please use the benches in the garden if you have brought your own lunch.

There is also a shop where you can purchase snacks. The "Ikeda Soft Serve" comes in eight different flavors and comes with an animal cookie. It's a surprise which animal cookie you'll find! There is also a wide variety of snacks available, including takoyaki, curry bread, and chicken wings.

[Snack corner]

Opening hours: Weekdays 10:00 to closing time / Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 9:30 to closing time

The Ikeda Zoo's official Instagram page posts photos of the animals taken by the zookeepers. The adorable expressions they show to the zookeepers are soothing. They also update information about events, so be sure to check it out.

Ikeda Zoo | Instagram

Let's go see the nocturnal animals in August!

During the summer holidays in August, the "Ikeda Zoo Night Zoo Illumination" will be held, allowing you to enjoy the zoo at night. There are nocturnal animals, so it would be interesting to predict how they behave at night, observe what they actually do, and compare it to daytime activities as part of your independent research. The zoo will also be lit up with illuminations, and food trucks from popular Okayama restaurants will also be gathering. You can also enjoy food and drinks, so it's sure to be a memorable summer holiday experience.

[Ikeda Zoo Night Illumination]

Dates: August 10th (Sat), 11th (Sun), 17th (Sat), 24th (Sat), 31st (Sat), 2024

Event hours: 17:00-21:30 (entrance open until 20:30)

*For details, please check the website

Baby friendly too!

It was Baby's first time at the zoo and he had a great experience meeting the animals.

If you get tired of walking, you can take a break in the lovely "Gochisou Kitchen"!

Ikeda Zoo offers stroller rentals (200 yen per day) and has two baby rooms. The baby rooms have diaper changing beds and you can breastfeed on the sofa. The restaurant provides milk and hot water for baby food. They also sell large diapers for 80 yen each, making it a child-friendly facility. The zoo is located in the mountains, so there is a slope. It is recommended that you bring as little luggage as possible. Don't forget to bring insect repellent.

[Ikeda Zoo]

Address: 2-5-1 Kyoyama, Kita Kita Ward , Okayama City Prefecture TEL: 086-252-2131 (9:00-17:00)

Opening hours: April to October 9:30 to 17:00 / November to March 9:30 to 16:30

* Admission is accepted until 1 hour before closing.

Closing days: Check the website for details

Parking: Available (paid)

Strollers: OK

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