The goal of Tama Zoo is to display animals from various parts of the world in naturalistic habitats. Spread out over the vast 129-acre grounds are three distinct ecological areas - the Asiatic Garden, African Garden, and Australian Garden. There's quite a bit to see, and quite a lot of walking to do - the zoo is set in hilly terrain, so you can enjoy an afternoon hiking at the same time as you're looking at the animals. There's also a bus making the rounds every ten minutes or so if you want to get off your feet.
Although the zoo officially closes at five, some of the indoor areas close between 3:30 and 4:30pm, so it's worth getting here in the early afternoon and checking the schedule. The biggest indoor attraction is the Insectarium, a huge tropical greenhouse full of butterflies. There's also a more science museum-style annex where you can learn about different kinds of bugs and look at specimens.
Other popular attractions include the walk-in aviary, the Koala House and the Mole House. We counted at least nine different picnic areas (including the unfortunately named "Insect Picnic Area"), plus a big cafe and the usual gift shop. The zoo is located about forty minutes from Shinjuku station, and it's a nice alternative to the much more cramped Ueno Zoo. It can be easily combined with a visit to the Keio Rail Land theme park, located just across the street from the zoo's entrance.
This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From our sister site Bento.com.