I left the park with very mixed feelings at the end of the day. As with some other attractions in Japan you can either purchase individual tickets for the upper Panda Park, the Botanical Garden and the lower Crocodile Park (which are connected by a shuttle bus) or a combined ticket.
We started in the big Panda park and it was quite astonishing. Red Pandas are certainly a rare site and you can really get up close and almost touch them and we left with a few dozen of amazing pictures. This part of the park also has some crocodiles, turtles, a smaller garden and a lookout point which has nice view over Atagawa and the cliffs so it is absolutely recommendable.
However, it is noticeable that the cages are kind of small and some pandas appear to be racy from that confined space but overall in a good condition.
The shock came when we went down the hill to the crocodile park. What we saw there was a really sad sight with crocodiles almost being stacked in cages of not more than 4 square meters, the pools and animals being very dirty and it was apparent that they were not well or at all looked after. Considering the entry fees, prices for merchandise and souvenirs I'm sure someone is making a buttload of money and it is not being reinvested into the park or the animals.
In summary, get the individual ticket for the Panda Park which is really amazing but save the money for the crocodile habitat and try to send a message that nobody wants to pay to see animals treated this way (even though hundreds of Japanese will probably not read or understand this).
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