From Cute to Scary: 3 Common Animals in Japanese Wildlife

  • Japan, as a country, is not only made of big crowded cities but is also a home to abundant nature covered with mountains and trees. As these places are not a favorable environment for living, most people live on coastal plains. Most of these places are left untouched by humans making it a suitable place for animals to live. Here are some of the common yet interesting wild species which can be found all over Japan.


    Tanuki is also known as a Japanese raccoon dog which can be found all over Japan. These animals are greatly associated with ancient Japanese folklore. They are believed to be masters of disguise and shapeshifting. They can take the shape of a human in one day and an object in another day. They also have the nature of being jolly yet mischievous and dishonest. Sometimes, they can be seen as a theme in art forms such as statues. In Japanese literature, they are depicted as strange, supernatural animals. However, never mistake them for a badger as they are two unrelated species.

    Wild Boar

    The Japanese wild boar is a small, maneless, yellowish-brown species which can be seen throughout Japan except on the northern island of Hokkaido. In Japanese culture, it is commonly seen as a fearsome and reckless animal. They are so courageous that they are often the source of admiration for Japanese hunters.

    Boars are also seen as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. There is also one belief coming from the Meiji period claiming that a man can become wealthy if he keeps a clump of a boar’s hair in his wallet.

    Black Bear

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    The largest mammal which can be found on Japan’s major islands (Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku) is the Japanese (Asiatic) black bear. Many of these bears can be found on Mount Kurai, a mountain separating the watersheds of the northern and southern portions of the Hida region. However, they can also be found in other mountainous areas all throughout the country, even along the margin of Tokyo. But due to hunting and several drastic accidents, a sharp decrease in their number has been noted. This threat should be properly addressed and managed in order not to lose this unique species.

    These are just some of the common wild species you may be able to spot across the country which hosts a great diversity of wildlife. Explore the pristine natural environment of the Japan with these wild animals!

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