As an Australian, squirrels are still something of a novelty for me, so when I found out about the Machida Squirrel Park in Tokyo, I had to go!
In a city full of dubious animal cafes and cramped zoos, the Machida Squirrel Park in Tokyo is an animal experience you can happily participate in, knowing the squirrels are well cared for in a huge enclosure full of hiding spaces and no forced participation.
The bus stop from Machida Station was easy to find (more transport tips below) and took me on a nice ride through suburban Tokyo with mums walking kids to school and elderly residents tending their gardens. It’s a nice little area that’s completely different to the hustle and bustle of the big city. The bus stops right near the park, I just kept an eye on Google maps to see when we were near so I could ding the bell.
Inside you’ll find the squirrel enclosure to the right and some other enclosures around the place housing other small animals like rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and parrots.
You’ll notice the park employs a number of special needs people. They do a great job of making sure no squirrels get out when you go into the enclosure.
Inside you can pick up an oven mitt, to be used when feeding the animals, along with some sunflower seeds.
Walking around you’ll find lots of squirrel boxes, mini houses, piles of logs, trees and resting spots for the squirrels who have free run in the enclosure. They’ll only approach you if you hold out your mitt with seeds on it. They also have access to other foods like fruit.
The main species of squirrel here is the Pallas’ Squirrel. They are originally from Taiwan, China & India. Also, keep an eye out for Sachiko and Junko, two Kedzume land turtles that slowly roam the enclosure.
In the afternoon you’ll also see the guinea pigs parade, as seen at the end of this video.
How to get to Machida Squirrel Park
Located in the outskirts of south-west Tokyo, it takes just over an hour to get there from Shibuya or Shinjuku. (Shinjuku doesn’t need a train change, it’s also one train from Ikebukuro, Tokyo and Ginza on the Marunouchi Line).
Catch the train to Machida station. Come out the north-east exit (or north or east exit if you can’t find the smaller north-east) and then take the 55 or 53 bus which stops right near Machida Squirrel Park’s entrance. See the map below to get from the train station to the bus stop.
Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm, daily. Closed on some Tuesdays, call to confirm. Ticket sales close at 3.30pm.
Price: 400yen (adults), 300yen (senior citizens and people with disabilities), 200yen (children). Feed is extra at 100yen a packet.
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