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5 Must See Japanese Animal Hotspots

Normally if you want to see animals you have to visit a zoo, circus or go camping. But Japan has a variety of hot spots where you can see, touch, feed and interact with animals. Here are 5 places in Japan that will entertain and amaze every animal lover. Just make sure to bring your selfie stick so you don't miss any of the amazing interactions with the cute loveable creatures you encounter.


5. Cat Island

Japan introduced the world to cat cafes and now many countries have seen cat cafes popping up in city centers. But Cat Island in Miyagi is much more than a room filled with cats and coffee. This island is populated with so many cats that they outnumber the population of humans. There is even a shrine located on the island dedicated to the cats. The island originally used cats to control the mice population to protect silkworms used for textiles. However, although the textile industry declined here, the cats did not. As the cat population increases, so does its popularity with cat lovers. Visitors from all over the world come to see and feed the cats all year round.


4. Snow Monkeys

Probably the most famous image internationally of Japanese wildlife are the snow monkeys sitting in natural hot springs in the moutains. Located in Nagano Prefecture in a place called Jikokudani(Hell's Valley), the red faced monkeys can be seen in groups relaxing and soaking in the steaming natural hot onsens. The monkeys don't fear humans and carry on grooming, searching for food and hot spring baths regardless of who's watching. If you are lucky you might even have a chance to pet one sitting close by.


3. Rabbit Island

On an uninhabited island called Okunoshima two hours from Hiroshima, lives a population of rabbits. The island which was once the location of a chemical weapons factory in World War II is now a tourist spot to see wild rabbits. The rabbits enjoy roaming the island and receiving food from tourists.

No one knows exactly how the island became populated with rabbits with theories ranging from left over rabbits from the testing facilities that escaped to someone abandoning their pet rabbits long ago which bred, like rabbits do, uncontrollably and without predetors flourished. Now they roam the island in search of lonely visitors looking to cuddle.


2. Shika Deer

Nara is similar to Kyoto with tourists visiting temples, shrines and seeing traditional Japanese culture. However, unlike Kyoto, Nara is also popular for the amount of deer who freely roam the streets and temples. Unlike typical deer who shy away from humans, these deer have grown accustomed to people and more importantly accustomed to all the rice crackers (sembei) people feed them. And the deer have learned to bow as you feed them in thanks.

The deer have become so loved and "endeared" that they wander fearlessy and swarm anyone carrying sembei crackers.


1. Fox Village

Located in remote North Japan, an enclosure houses over 200 foxes who are friendly and tamed. Operating for over 20 years, foxes roam the grounds and do fox things like run, play, fight and sleep. People can walk freely through the enclosure feeding the foxes, playing with them and having their shirts, hats, bags or other loose items tugged and torn.

The fox village also has a shrine dedicated to foxes and the foxes have no fear of the humans walking around. Although the foxes get a little agressive and might bite or grab clothing they are regularly fed and pose no danger to the people visiting. Watching the feeding time is quite an interesting and loud experience as the foxes whine and fight over the food.

Learn more about interesting spots in Japan from Chris’s channel, Abroad in Japan which always carries a dose of sarcasm, humour and plenty of knowledge.

For more check out the YouTube channel!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.