If you like animals, how about visiting some tourist spots in Japan where you can play with them?
Japan is home to unique animals such as japanese spider crab, giant salamanders, and Japanese monkeys. There are also spots where you can play with various animals such as owls, cats, rabbits, foxs and deer. This page introduces some of the most popular spots.
Click on each map to see nearby tour and activity information on a separate page.
Table of Contents
- Asahiyama Zoo (Asahikawa Ciry, Hokkaido)
- Tashirojima = Cat Island (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)
- Zao Fox Village (Shiroishi City, Miyagi Prefecture)
- Owl Cafe (Tokyo etc.)
- Hedgehog Cafe(Tokyo etc.)
- Jigokudani Yaen-koen – Snow Monkey (Nagano Prefecture)
- Nara Park = Deer (Nara City, Nara Prefecture)
- Okunoshima Island = Rabbits (Hiroshima Prefecture)
- Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa Prefecture)
Asahiyama Zoo (Asahikawa Ciry, Hokkaido)
Have you ever seen a seal darting or rising vertically? Have you ever seen a polar bear jumping into the pool with amazing momentum? At Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido, you can see the usual appearance of these animals in front of you. The Asahiyama Zoo is a zoo that has been very devised so that you can see the energetic appearance of animals. This zoo is a tourist attraction that is representative of Hokkaido. In winter, you can see some cute penguins marching up snowing well as in the photo above!
Tashirojima = Cat Island (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)
Tashiro Island is a small island of 11 km / l, located approximately 15 km southeast from Ishinomaki port in Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi prefecture. There is a “cat shrine” in the middle of this island. The fishermen on this island pray for a big catch at this shrine. People on this island value the cats very much. Once in this island, sericulture was flourishing. Cats capture rats that are natural enemies of silkworms. So people on this island cherish the cats. On this island cats are more numerous than humans. Bringing dogs on this island is forbidden. For cats, Tashiro Island is surely a place like heaven. To Tashirojima Island is about 45 minutes by ferry from Ishinomaki Port.
Zao Fox Village (Shiroishi City, Miyagi Prefecture)
There are about 250 foxes in Zao fox village (the official name is Miyagi Zao fox village). More than 100 of them are released in the forest. The foxes in this village are used to humans. You can observe the foxes in this forest. However, since the foxes have a habit of chewing out when you hand out them, you can not hold the foxes in the forest. Instead, there are places in the fox village where visitors can feed the foxes. Visitors feed the outside foxes from inside the enclosure. There is another corner in Zao Fox village where you can embrace children of foxes. You can embrace the newborn fox around May every year. They are very cute!
Foxes are smart from spring to autumn, but as winter approaches, the fur is enriched. If you go to Zao Fox village in January or February, you can see lots of fur-rich foxes!
Zao fox village is located about 20 minutes by car from JR Shiroishiokao station. It takes about 1 hour to use the bus from JR Shiroishi Station.
Owl Cafe (Tokyo etc.)
In Japan, owl cafes are on the rise. In many owl cafes, owls are kept in the room. Visitors can gently stroke the owls and take pictures with them. It has a name of a cafe, but there are few places to actually provide coffee etc.
A typical owl cafe is “Akiba Fukurou”. This cafe is located in Akihabara, Tokyo. Akiba Fukurou has so many kinds of owls. I have actually been to this cafe. The inside of the room was unexpectedly narrow. However, owls of various kinds greeted me more than I imagined. They are marvelous. The owls are really cute, so I was healed by the owls. The official website of Akiba Fukurou is below. Reservations are required for this cafe.
In addition to owls, there are cafes with various animals in Tokyo. Among them, cafes with hedgehogs have become particularly popular recently. In these cafes, you can touch cute hedgehogs. Hedgehogs may sleep comfortably on your palm. There are also stores where you can feed the hedgehogs. If you feed the hedgehogs, the hedgehogs will be delighted. You can surely take a nice picture. These cafes are so popular that I recommend that you reserve in advance. The price varies depending on the store, but it is around 1500 yen in 30 minutes including the drink price.
The most popular stores are “HARRY”, which are located in Harajuku and Yokohama. You can also make a reservation on the official site of “HARRY”. For more information, please visit the official site.
Jigokudani Yaen-koen – Snow Monkey (Nagano Prefecture)
Jigokudani Yaen-koen is a park where you can observe wild monkeys. This park has an outdoor bath where the monkeys enter. Approximately 60 of about 160 monkeys enter the hot spring from December to March every year. Monkeys are not very interested in us. Therefore, we can observe the monkey’s entrance into the hot springs closely.
In this area, wild monkeys invaded apple fields and others, and the damage of eating apples and the like was increasing. So the local people began to feed the monkeys now where Jigokudani Yaen-koen is located. As a result, the monkeys are less likely to enter the field. Near the park there is an outdoor bath where humans enter. Monkeys have come into the bath. Then, because humans are in trouble, an outdoor bath was built for the monkeys. Jigokudani Yaen-koen prohibits tourists from giving food to monkeys. Therefore, the monkeys are not interested in humans. So the magical space where humans and monkeys coexist is maintained.
Jigokudani Yaen-koen is about a 10-minute drive from Yudanaka station of Nagano Electric Railway. However, in winter the road leading to Jigokudani Yaen-koen is closed due to the snow. So in winter, tourists have to walk about 30 minutes from Kanbayashi Onsen on the way. Because there is snow on that road, you need to wear nonslip shoes such as snow boots. For winter as well, weekends and year-end and new-year holidays, direct buses are operated from nearby Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Station. In order to get on this bus, you need to make a reservation.
Very unfortunately, you do not seem to be able to make a reservation on the internet. You need to purchase a ticket at Shibu Onsen the day before get on or call the day.
Nara Park is a vast park in the center of Nara City. Approximately 1,200 deers live in an area of about 660 hectares including adjacent Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple, Kasuga Taisha etc. Strictly speaking, these deers are owned by Kasuga Shrine. At Kasuga Taisha Shrine, deers have been carefully protected as God ‘s use. If you go to Nara, you can meet these deer.
Deer is a very cautious animal. However, the deer in Nara has been treasured since long ago, so there is little vigilance against humans. On the contrary, deer goes closer to humans seeking food. Some deers bow when you bow. They think that they will get food if they bow.
The bait of deer is sold at Nara Park. If you are interested, please try feeding the deer too. A surprisingly large number of deers come near to you.
Okunoshima Island = Rabbits (Hiroshima Prefecture)
Okunoshima Island is a small island located in the south of Hiroshima Prefecture and 4 km around. It is a 15-minute ferry ride from Tadanoumi Port, a 3-minute walk from JR Tadanoumi Station. There are about 700 wild rabbits in Okunoshima Island. It is said that rabbits kept in elementary schools that had been before went wild.
Currently, almost no people live in Okunoshima Island. On this island there is a public resort facility called “Kyukamura”. The residents of the island are about the employees of this facility.
Wild rabbits are near from when you got off the ferry. What I recommend especially is the lawn open space near the entrance of Kyukamura. There are a lot of rabbits here. To Kyukamura, you can use a free bus from the ferry platform. On Okunoshima Island, general cars are forbidden to pass, so you should use this bus well.
The rabbits are not very wary of humans. Before you come to the island you should prepare foods such as carrots and cabbages. If you raise them to a rabbit, a lot of rabbits around you come near.
You can stay at Kyukamura. There is a hot spring in Kyukamura. Let’s use the restaurant of Kyukamura (the only restaurant on this island!) and rental bicycle.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa Prefecture)
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a very large aquarium in the northwestern part of the Okinawa Main Island and has become one of Okinawa’s leading sightseeing spots. The largest water tank in this aquarium is 35 meters long, 27 meters wide, 10 meters deep. In this water tank there are whale sharks (total length 8.7 m) and manta etc. There are 77 water tanks in all.
I have been to this aquarium. I was quite surprised when I entered. Such a big aquarium is not quite in the world. In the huge water tank, the magnificent landscape of the ocean is spreading. Corals are also beautiful. You will be impressed by the fact that there are so many types of living things.
Next to the aquarium there are facilities such as dolphins, manatees and sea turtles. These are also very popular among visitors.
Thank you for reading to the end.
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!