Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo was on my list of want to dos when we visited in February.
I mostly knew of the zoo because of its promotional food products, you can buy Maruyama Zoo instant noodles and desert in convenience stores throughout Japan.
They are also famous for their polar bears! Theres even one featured on the Starbucks Hokkaido tumbler (which I bought).
So imagine how excited I was to meet the polar bears!
We arrived at the zoo after a trek through thick snow and ice from the station, to find it was involved in the snow festival and entry was free.
A lot of the zoo was under construction though as they are updating the Africa area.
Cute pictures on the construction screens.
Where are the animals?!
Inside! For most of them its a bit too cold so a lot are moved indoors for winter.
Not too cold for the red pandas though! They have an indoor and outdoor enclosure and can freely move between them using pipes and tracks.
One led on the track above us inside. Red pandas are so cute, we watched them run around for quite a while.
Afterwards we headed towards the polar bears only to find out the enclosure was closed as one of the polar bears was expecting. Boo. I did see one from a distance from the tropical area though, so that made me happy.
Cheap and delicious mochi with white chocolate or something inside? I cant remember exactly.
After we saw everything we warmed up in the small gift shop / cafe area and then took a bus back to town which was much easier than the subway and walking.
Of course I was disappointed not to see the polar bears properly but the red pandas made up for it! We didn’t actually have to pay when we went so we had a day out for free, and just bought photo gifts and souvenirs instead.
Now the best thing that came out of our visit was discovering Maruyama Zoo have a YouTube channel, so much cute.