Nishiyama Park is a symbol of Sabae City where was certified as “Japan’s Top 100 Historical Parks” and approximately fifty thousand azaleas bloom in spring. It is the largest scale in the Sea of Japan side. You can also enjoy about 1,000 cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in fall. Among them, the autumn leaves of the Japanese garden “Kyoyo Teien” located on the east side of the park are famous. The local people and tourists are treated to a spectacular view of about 1,600 autumn trees.
Besides the plants, red pandas are famous. There is an admission free “Nishiyama Zoo” in a corner of the park, and around 10 red pandas are bred. The zoo has one of the excellent track records of breeding red pandas in domestic, and those that were born here participate actively in the zoos nationwide. While deepening exchanges in a wide range of fields such as industry, culture and sports between Beijing and Sabae, the red pandas were given by the Beijing Zoo as a symbol of the friendship. There are also other animals such as white-handed gibbons, white side-burned black langurs, red-crowned cranes, and brown eared pheasants in the zoo.
The red pandas are raise both outdoors and indoors, so you can meet them even on rainy days. Also, you can check the live red panda cameras on the following website. (The live streaming cams are available to watch from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Japan time.)
In addition to the zoo, there is a beautiful view from the observation deck at the top of the mountain at the Nishiyama Park. You can enjoy the view of Sabae urban area and faraway Hakusan Mountain Range.
Also, Michi-no-Eki (Roadside Rest Areas) next to the park is bustle with many people where there are restaurants, local shops selling the regional goodies, items of the red pandas and souvenirs. The Nishiyama park is popular not only to the local people but also to the tourists. In 2016, along with the famous sightseeing areas of Fukui Prefecture “Tojinbo” and “Dinosaur Museum”, the number of tourists exceeded one million people.
15 minutes walk from JR Sabae station or 1 minute walk from Fukui Tetsudo Nishiyama Koen station. There are also car parkings and it’s free for the first 2 hours.