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Japanese Animals

Japan’s Most Common Species

Kawaii pets such as Hachiko the loyal dog, the unmissable Kitty-chan or Ueno Zoo’s giant pandas are the most famous, but many other animals live on the archipelago.

Domestic or everyday life animals

These are animals commonly encountered during a travel in Japan, though their meeting might not be always pleasurable!

  • Dogs, often of small size, with their humans;
  • Cats, in small groups ruling on parks and residential alleys;
  • Deers and monkeys, roaming free in dedicated parks or temples;
  • Koï carps, in traditional gardens’ ponds;
  • Cockroaches, the unavoidable guests of any Japanese house; or,
  • Crows, the konbini trash bins’ guardians…

Wild or dangerous animals

A hike in the archipelago’s abundant nature may lead to interesting encounters with:

  • Racoon dogs, more famous under their Japanese name tanuki, which are believed to have magical powers, as well as the fox kitsune;
  • Snakes and Japanese giant centipedes;
  • Bears, especially in Hokkaido, but also throughout the archipelago;
  • The suzumebachi, a giant and aggressive hornet.

The Japanese are also fond of big insects such as scarab beetles and fireflies.

Places to meet animals

Japanese people have found tactics to enjoy the presence of animals, as it can be difficult to keep one at home in Japan:

  • Themed cafés in large cities, to pet cats, dogs, rabbits, owls and even snakes!
  • Aquariums;
  • Zoos, whose bad reputation is well-earned.

Some small islands have been transformed into cat or rabbits colonies.

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