For more than 30 years, this Japanese zoo has been keeping its capybaras cozy, and visitors oohing and aahing at their adorable hot spring-style setup.
Halloween has now come and gone, and while the festivities in Japan this year were bigger than ever, it’s time to turn our attention towards other upcoming events before the year’s end. And sure, we’re definitely looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but we’ve also got November 19 marked on our calendars.
That’s because it’ll be the first day this fall for the adorable capybaras of Izu Shaboten Zoo to enjoy soaking in their outdoor Japanese-style bath.
While a number of animal parks around Japan offer similar amenities to their capybara residents during autumn and winter, Izu Shaboten Zoo, located in Shizuoka Prefecture, claims to be the first. The practice goes all the way back to 1982, when a zookeeper was cleaning the animals’ habitat with warm water. A puddle formed, and after observing the capybaras come over to soak their feet and backsides in it, the zoo decided to set up warm bathing facilities for them to use regularly during the colder half of the year.
▼ A more recent look at Izu Shaboten Zoo’s bathing capybaras
In keeping with Japanese tradition, a number of special baths are planned, during which yuzu citrus fruits, apples, or fragrant herbs will be added to the bathwater.
Starting November 19, the capybaras will be taking an hour-long dip every weekday at 1:30 p.m., and on weekends and holidays they’ll have two soak sessions, one at 10:30 a.m., and the other at 1:30 in the afternoon. Their last day for hot baths will be April 9, after which it’s back to cold water until the next fall.
Izo Shaboten Zoo / 伊豆シャボテン動物園
Shizuoka-ken, Ito-shi, Futo 1317-13
Open 9 a.m-4 p.m. (November-February), 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (March-October)
Admission: Adults 2,300 yen (US$22.30), elementary school students 1,100 yen, children 4 and younger 400 yen
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