The zoo is nice enough. It's got the regulars--elephants, giraffes, lions and tigers and bears. The city seems to be proud of its koala bear exhibit. The seals and sea lions seem to have a nice, big place, but there's a good bit of pacing amongst the big cats and the bears. What made the trip to the zoo so special for me was to be able to see the Japanese families out at the zoo together. They take their little Spider Man or airplane mats and spread them out before an exhibit. Then they take their colors and brushes and paper out, and as a family, they paint and draw what they see, taking their time and lounging. The parents seem to enjoy their children very much. It is all lovely--so calm, so content, and so worthwhile.
Between the zoo and the botanical gardens is a children's play area with rides, a lake with paddle boats, and other fun things.
The botanical gardens are beautiful and extensive. They include greenhouses, wetlands, rose gardens, dogwood, a tea house, some rustic historic structures, bright flower beds. The works. The zoo and the gardens together cost 500 yen--great value for money. It costs about 150 yen extra to go up the big tower.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.