Where to Go in Japan for Unique Encounters with Animals22 April 2020
When in Japan, you should definitely take some time to discover its variety of indigenous animals. They can often be found in special habitats, which will permit you a close encounter with them. Here are a few ideas of where to go to discover and spend some time in their presence.
Okunoshima: An Island Filled with Rabbits
Who doesn’t like these little furry balls? For a lot of us, bunnies remind us of Easter and, of course, the chocolate that comes along with it. On Okunoshima Island, you will enter a rabbit paradise as they are the main population living on it. They were intentionally set free on the island, a few decades ago and are considered protected animals. The island is located close to the city of Hiroshima, and visitors can reach it by a short ferry ride. Bring carrots please! (More animal news here)
Jigokudani: A Hot Spring-loving Snow Monkeys Park
If you thought only humans enjoy a nice warm bath, get ready to be surprised! At Jigokudani Park, the native macaques of Japan just love to sit in hot springs and enjoy a warm long relaxing dip. They say that this tradition started when on a cold winter day, one of the snow monkeys discovered that entering and staying into a hot spring was a great way to stay cosy and warm in Nagano. Of course, being monkeys, they immediately copied him and they still enjoy it to this day! Humans have helped a little by accommodating the hot springs for them, and now people can enjoy looking at the blissful monkeys taking their warm baths.
Tokyo: Animal Cafés
It is easy to find an animal café in the largest cities of Japan. Among them you will find cat cafés which have become popular around the world, but also ones with rabbits, goats and even penguins! The rage now is all about owl Cafés (Fukuro Cafés) in Tokyo. They are actually friendly animal which you can interact with. You can pet them, let them perch on your arm, or, if you are really patient and have a lot of time on your hands, you can have a staring contest with one of them. Good luck winning this one, though…
Zao: A Fox Village
Fox are known worldwide for being clever and in Japan, this is particularly considered to be true. In Japanese traditional views of foxes, it is said that they can shapeshift and play tricks on humans. It probably won’t happen when you visit this village but you can at least be sure to discover six breeds of foxes and over 100 animals. It is said that they really enjoy fried tofu but you’ll have to feed them only with prepared food at the village.