Guinea pigs as hina dolls! At Sayama Chikozan Park Zoo

Information for the small, but affordable Chikozan Park Zoo in Sayama City, Saitama Prefecture. Also included: information for the animal onsen – monkeys and capybaras – each winter at the zoo. In addition, information for the Hina Dolls Display, Guinea Pig version!

With the excellent Saitama Children’s Zoo practically on our doorstep, we rarely need to go to other zoos. But the Sayama City Chikozan Park is a lovely place for a day out for families and it has a small zoo that is ideal for toddlers. Furthermore, it has both a capybara and monkey hot spring in winter annually. And since 2022, there is an Anywhere Door in the zoo! In addition, in February, they have a guinea pig dolls display… see below!

Chikozan Park

Chikozan Park in Sayama is a nice place for a family day out, on a fine day. It has a lovely walkway through a wooded marsh. There are gardens beside a large open space. They have two playgrounds within the woods; an adventure playground and a general playground with swings, slides and climbing equipment. There is a lake designated for fishing.  And there is a small zoo, ideal for toddlers in particular. The park’s entry is free, as are the use of the playgrounds. Make sure to check out all the park has to offer on the park’s blog post here.

Chikozan Park Children’s Zoo

Chikozan Park Children’s Zoo is on the east side of the Chikozan park. It is a relatively small zoo in comparison to the likes of Saitama Children’s Zoo and Tobu Zoo, but bigger than the free zoos in parks such as Omiya, Maruyama and Kitamoto. There aren’t a huge amount of animals, but they are the type of animals that children like to view / interact with.

fodder dispensing machine at the Sayama City Chikozan Park Children's Zoo
Fodder dispensing machine at Chikozan Park Zoo
Feeding the goats at Chikozan Park Children’s Zoo

What I like about the Chikozan zoo is you can feed some of the animals. They have some of those fodder dispensing vending machines which are convenient and (a little too) popular with kids! For 100 yen you get a capsule of food.  There are various feeding stations, but today we just did the sheep/goats, monkeys and ducks. The capsules costs can add up if you have a few kids, but unlike the Saitama Children’s zoo in Takasaka (which is an excellent zoo) the parking is free. Moreover, the entrance fee is so low, that I personally don’t mind. You can also pay for carrots to feed the horses and donkeys. 

Pony ride at Chikozan park

Petting corner

Other things you can do in the zoo include holding small animals in the petting corner. They have rabbits, guinea pigs and, in season, chicks. However, please note that since the pandemic they do things a bit differently. You need to get a ticket to participate in petting corner. They only give out a certain amount a day. On the weekend, they distribute the tickets from 9.30 am for the morning session, which is at 10.30 to 11.30 am, and from midday for the afternoon session which is from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm on weekends. They get picked up pretty quick. You can also pay to ride a pony, between 1 and 2 pm.

Hina Dolls display of Guinea Pigs at Chikozan Park Zoo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture
Guinea pig ‘Hina’ in 2023

There is a free guinea pig show after the petting hour, where the guinea pigs go back to their pen along a narrow bridge. Each year for one month they have a gorgeous dolls display made of guinea pigs! Pictured above. The Hina Guinea Pigs are on display from 10.30 to 11.30 am and again from 1.30 to 2.30 pm, daily (on days the zoo is open) from Saturday February 3rd to Sunday March 3rd 2024.

A Doraemon Anywhere Door 'Doko Demo Doa' in Chikozan Park Zoo January 2022
An Anywhere Door in the zoo, 2022

In 2022, there is a “Dokodemo Door” or “Anywhere Door” from Doraemon, pictured above. They also have various seasonal events, such as the popular monkey and capybara hot springs, outlined below.

The zoo looks particularly pretty when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Facilities / Services

  • Some playground equipment in the large opening where the cherry blossom trees are, including a…
  • Mini train (electric)
  • It’s alright to bring your own food
  • 5 buggies/strollers available to rent
  • Nursing room
  • 2 nappy changing areas within toilets
  • There is a restaurant within Chikozan park, near the zoo (closed during the pandemic)
  • There is a petting corner
  • Events such as Happy Halloween and the animal hot springs…

Monkey and Capybara hot springs at Chikozan Park zoo

Each year in winter you can see animals in an ‘onsen’ hot spring at Chikozan Park Zoo. Unlike Saitama Children’s zoo which only has a capybara onsen, Chikozan Park Zoo has two different ones. In Chikozan, both monkeys and capybara get to enjoy a hot spring each year. (Not together!) However, apart from weekends, they alternate the days of the hot spring for each animal. Please note that this zoo is much smaller than Saitama Children’s Zoo. Likewise, the capybara enclosure and thus the hot spring, is much smaller too.

So on weekdays you can see one animal two days of the week, and the other animal the other two days of the week (they close on Mondays). Then on the weekends you can see both animals in the onsen (times in the information section). The event starts on Saturday November 18th 2023 and for that weekend both animals will have an onsen each day. Then from Tuesday November 21st, starting with the monkeys the animals alternate on each weekday and on weekends, except for Saturday November 25th, both animals will have an onsen. It carries on like that for the rest of the season until the end of the event on Thursday February 29th 2024 (a month shorter than normal). Thankfully they have a calendar (here) which makes it much clearer!

Sheep Shearing experience

Each year in Golden week they usually have a sheep shearing event, where you can try your hand at shearing a sheep. In 2024 it will be on Saturday May 4th from 11 am. It is limited to 20 people and costs 200 yen. You need to buy the ticket from the relevant gachapon machine, which will be open from 9.30 am. Official event page.


Event: Animal Onsen (Monkey and Capybara Hot springs) at the Chikozan Park Zoo

Date: November 18th 2023 to February 29th 2024. Please note the zoo is closed on Mondays and will be closed from December 29th to January 1st for New Years.

Hours: The monkey onsen is on from 1 pm on the weekdays that it is scheduled and on at 11.45 am on weekends. The capybara onsen is on at 1 pm on both weekends and the select weekdays.

Cost: The entrance to Sayama’s zoo is only 200 yen for adults and 50 yen for elementary and Junior High School Students. There is no charge for children under the age of six. Discounts are available for a group of over 30 people. Feed, rides and seasonal events have individual charges starting from 100 yen. An annual pass, that gives you unlimited access throughout the year, only costs 600 yen for the year!

Venue: Chikozan Park Zoo, 864-1 Kashiwabara, Sayama City, Saitama. View on Google maps.

Chikozan Park Access

You can get a Seibu Bus bound for the park from Sayamashi station.

There is parking available in front of the zoo and in other car parking lots for the park.

Official website

If you are going to Chikozan by car, Saiboku is just around the corner. The popular Market Terrace buffet restaurant is also reasonably close by car. There is also a gorgeous Starbucks with a play area just a five minute drive away:

Where can I go to the zoo in Saitama?

There are several zoos in Saitama Prefecture. The largest two are the Saitama Children’s zoo and Tobu Zoo. But there are several other smaller zoos, including a nice one for toddlers in Chikozan park in Sayama City. Free zoos include the small zoos at Omiya park, Kitamoto Park and Maruyama Park. There is also a zoo on Mt Hodo and one in the Musashi No Mura amusement park too.

No Comments

    1. Author

      Its a coincidence you mentioned Saiboku as I just updated an older post about it yesterday!! The last time we were there I was very surprised to hear that the onsen has closed down. Did you hear; two people died from bacteria in the water?

      1. Of course, I know the news because it’s very famous.
        However, I didn’t know there were the dead. It’s sad.

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