For new comers and repeaters to Japan, here is one of the fun places to visit with kids, friends and partners!
“Kuma Kuma Bear Park” in Kitaakita city, Akita, Japan!
This is not the same as other zoos or petting zoos but a unique “zoo” with only bears! Only bears!
Kuma Kuma Bear Park is located in Kitaakita city in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. It’s known as a city of “Matagi”, mainly known as a group of bear hunters in old days. Because Kitaakita city locates the opposite side of my hometown, which is Ugo town, I had never been there until this summer. Also, I thought bears were just scary.
But! This Kuma Kuma Bear Park changed my negative image!!
Thanks to this zoo park, I could find that bears are such funny animals!
As you can see on the above photos, bears in this zoo are cute and funny. When I saw them, these brown bears were staying in the water and just playing with a cabbage or a log… They looked goofy as well as really cute! haha!
Two types of bears live in this facility; Asiatic black bears and brown bears. If you are lucky, there is a chance to see and pet baby bears which was just born in early spring! Also, you can see big brown bears through transparent glasses. Bears show up close!! You may not be able to experience it in nature, right? Too dangerous!!
While looking at bears carefully, I found that their ears were round and fluffy! How cute!
Some of them were staying in the shade, while others looked like an old man sitting on the stone chairs. They are really funny animals!
Visitors can buy treats for bears at 200 yen per bag (*As of September 2019) and feed them. There is a distance to bears, so you need to throw the treats to their places. Some bears stand up and raise their hands to get the food. It’s so much fun!! Then, I felt really happy when they could catch the food! This is why I recommend you here as the place to visit with kids. Have fun!
This bear park has been reopened after renovation in 2014. The name of “Kuma Kuma” Bear Park was named by a four-year-old boy at that time. This year, a baby bear was born on February 2019! Happy birthday!!
Her name is Nagomi. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see her this time. But if you are lucky, there would be a chance to meet her!
Asiatic black bears in the park are separated into baby bears, cubs, female bears and male bears. According to the information board, a baby bear is 20cm tall, weighing 300g. It’s so small but when they grow up, they will become about 90cm～140cm tall, weighing about 70kg～100kg!
Finally, a male bear becomes about 150cm～220cm tall with the weight of about 120kg～200kg! They are far bigger than me!! Wow!!
Their average longevity is about 20 years.
In spring, bears wake up from hibernation.
In summer, they try to find as many foods as possible instead there is less food in nature this season.
In fall, bears become happy because it’s the harvest season! They eat a lot of wild plants such as nuts and grapes to prepare for hibernation.
In winter, they go into hibernation. During this period, they don’t eat anything but give birth to baby bears. It’s surprising that they raise their babies without eating any food!
This is the life-cycle of these bears in Japan. You may have fun by learning about them!
The above photo introduces members of brown bears living in this bear park. There are 17 brown bears in total (*As of September 2019). This information board shows each of their name, size, birthday, personalities, etc. Male bears have such names as “Taro” and “Ichiro”, while female bears are named as “Keiko”, “Matsuko” and so on. It’s funny that these names are unique and similar to people’s names!
According to the information, not all the 17 brown bears are exhibited at the same time by considering their safety. There are 3 bears at most in the same area in order to avoid fighting.
You can see brown bears up close through transparent glasses! I think this is a rare experience which may not be seen in any other places! So, please experience it when you come to Japan!
As I already told, these brown bears were staying in the water and just playing with a cabbage and a log. haha! I used to think that bears were scary animals. But when I saw them, they seemed like funny animals! Please don’t forget to take a look at their cute round ears!!
Sometimes, however, they suddenly came really closer to our side or just in front of us through the glasses! Exciting!
So, have you already decided to come to Kuma Kuma Bear Park? This is such a good place to see the funny animals! For both new visitors and repeaters to Japan, I hope you will have a great time with these cute bears in the near future. Enjoy!
~~~ Park Info ~~~
Kuma Kuma Bear Park
1-39 JiChin field, Utto, Ani, Kitaakita city, Akita, Japan
Open 9:00～16:00 (Last entry 15:30) from the end of April to the beginning of November (*Open throughout this period)
*Please make a reservation during winter (December ～ March)
【Price】Adult and high school students: 700 yen, Kids (junior high and elementary school students): 200 yen (*Bears’ food included), Free entry for kids below elementary school age
*Group of more than 15 people: 100 yen discount for adults
【Access by Car】From Morioka IC (Tohoku Expressway) ～ National Route 46 ～ National Route 105 (about 2 hours) ／ From Gojome IC (Akita Expressway) ～ National Route 285 ～ National Route 105 (about 1 hour and 30 minutes) ／ From Takanosu IC (Akita Expressway) ～ National Route 105 (about 1 hour)
【Access by Train】From Kakunodate Station ～ Akita Nairiku Jukan Railway, Ani Matagi Station ～ Pick up (about 1 hour) ／ From Takanosu Station ～ Akita Nairiku Jukan Railway, Ani Matagi Station ～ Pick up (about 1 hour and 30 minutes)
※Reservation for Pick Up: Utto Onsen, Matagi no Yu (TEL: 0186-84-2612)
【Access by Airplane】About 1 hour and 10 minutes by rental car from Odate Noshiro Airport ／ About 1 hour and 50 minutes by train from Takanosu Station
Written by Naomi in Ugo
*As of November, 2019.