Hamura was the starting point of Tamagawa Aqueduct, built in 1653 to provide vital water supplies to the town of Edo (present-day Tokyo). Located in the city is Hamura Zoo, which marks its 40th anniversary in 2018. When the zoo opened in 1978 as a place of rest and relaxation for the residents of the Nishitama area, where there had been no zoo, it was the first ever municipal-operated zoo in Japan. We take a tour and explore the history of this fascinating public institution.
Located in the middle of a residential area, Hamura Zoo is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a newly refurbished entrance festooned with brightly colored tapestries and signs depicting the various animals.
Forty years ago, when the zoo was surrounded by chestnut orchards, the entrance was an unassuming country-style gateway. (Photo courtesy of Hamura Zoo)
The first thing you see as you enter the zoo is Dokidoki Hands-on (inside the animal Study Hall), a petting zoo where children can hold chicks and guinea pigs. The combination of fur and body warmth can have a wonderfully therapeutic effect.
Every day at 11:30 a.m. you can feed the Humboldt penguins. A group of elementary school children who had come from afar on a school excursion was entranced by the sight of the cute penguins scampering across as soon as they spotted their favorite small horse mackerel on offer.