Zoorasia in Yokohama
Before the Ramen Museum, I went to Zoorasia. Zoorasia is a relatively new and modern zoo in Yokohama and much more animal-friendly than Ueno Zoo. Back when I first visited Tokyo in 2004 I was shocked by the conditions some animals have to live in Ueno Zoo.
Giving the animals enough space and a place where they can rest without being watched inevitably means that you will likely not see all animals on one visit. When I visited Zoorasia on the 22nd, it was a hot Summer day without any rain.
I took the bus from Nakayama Station on the JR Yokohama Line. On the weekends there are usually a lot of people waiting for the bus. Zoorasia is the last stop of that bus (but there are also buses stopping at the station which do not head towards Zoorasia). The bus ride costs 290 Yen. You may want to check the bus schedule when you arrive at the zoo, but there is a shop outside the zoo where you can spend some time.The zoo is big but the seven ecological areas are organized in a way that following one path will lead you to all of them. There are various places to rest in the zoo, you can buy drinks from vending machines or ice there.
Due to the Summer heat, some animals preferred staying in the back of their area. Others were hard to spot and some animals (ice bears) preferred not to move very much. Summer may not be the best time to visit Zoorasia.
The elephants had no problems with the heat of course. Surprisingly, the Red Panda was also quite active.
My favorite animals are of course the penguins, at Zoorasia they can also be watched underwater. The glass was very clear so it was perfectly possible to photograph through it.
I was also positively surprised by the size of the ape area, which is similar to modern Western zoos.
The design and architecture of the zoo itself is impressive and I can recommend this zoo, despite it being a bit far away from Tokyo. Skip Ueno Zoo and go to Zoorasia (official website)!