A little over 2 hours from Sapporo, about 1 and half by train to Asahikawa and then about a 40 minute bus ride, Asahiyama Zoo is one of Japan’s most famous zoos and is the northern most zoo in Japan. If you plan on going to Biei, Furano or more north such as Wakkanai, Asahikawa is a nice place to stay for a day/night making it easy to make it to the Aasihayam Zoo and continue with your trip. As of February 2007 you could buy a combination ticket including round-trip transportation for an express train, bus and admission to the zoo, from Sapporo for 5500 yen or 7300 yen from New Chitose Airport. If you want to go to the zoo, this is definitely the way to go as it saves you about about 1000 yen. You can purchase this combination ticket at any JR ticket service. If you are in Sapporo and ask them or the tourist information center about the Asahiyama Zoo they will be able to provide you with more information.
I have not been to many zoos in my time but I have to say I was pleased with Asahiyama Zoo. There are some exhibits that are set up really nicely to take some very interesting photographs. The two best for this are the penguin exhibit and the polar bear exhibit. If you are traveling with kids, I highly suggestion considering taking a trip to the Asahiyama Zoo, and come on, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like animals? Especially ones that you most likely will not have a chance to see real life in the wild.