20 very adorable and fascinating animals of Japan
Looking for japan animals are the most famous? As in many other island countries, Japan has unrivaled native flora and fauna.
Due to its geographical location and the protection offered by the country's geography, there are animals from Japan that they are one of a kind and that they are only found in a few natural reservoirs.
From very unique species of snakes that only live on a Japanese island, to birds that they migrate every year from one end of the planet to the other, but whose breeding place is exclusively the Japanese country.
There are species that have not evolved in thousands of years, and others that come from the exclusive mix of other mammalian species that were brought centuries ago by European colonizers.
If you are also animal lover, and you want to know which are the most exclusive animals of Japan, surely this list will surprise you.
We choose the native animals of Japan more unknown that today are part of the country's wildlife.
Be amazed by the most kawaii mammals, sacred animals that are practically extinct, native birds and reptiles, and the most curious inhabitants of the forests of Japan.
Do youWhat animals live in Japan? What animals does Japan have? Let's see how many you knew so far!
In this article you will find ...
The most curious animals of Japan
When you think of mythological japanese animals, one of the first that comes to mind to all lovers of the culture of Japan is the Asian crane or Grus japonensis.
For centuries it has been considered one of the most revered traditional animals, National symbol and currently protected.
Like other migratory birds around the world, the Japanese white crane moves through nearby countries and also tends to breed in other areas of Mongolia and Russia.
Nevertheless, its natural habitat is in Japan, specifically in the northern islands where they find their main food, consisting of fish and small crabs.
This beautiful bird differs from other types of cranes by its white body and black spots on the tail and neck.
As a characteristic it has a red circular crown, in the purest style of the flag of Japan, which is why it is considered a symbol of good luck.
Its white color allows it camouflage in the snow of Hokkaido where it lives.
However, when the breeding season arrives, the red crown becomes brighter and more striking in males, becoming lighter in females as protection for the nesting stage.
In Japan they also have their own pheasants originating from the main islands of the country. One of the curiosities of this bird is that they have a very different green plumage to other species.
The Japanese Green Pheasant or Phasianus versicolor it is only found here, and therefore It is considered a national bird, protected against hunting.
Although very few foreigners know it, this typical Japanese animal is highly praised among the Japanese. Centuries ago it almost became extinct due to the high consumption of its meat, but little by little it is recovering.
It inhabits the forests and grasslands of the islands of Honshu, Shokoku and Kyushu, although the breeding for recovery is spreading to other parts of the country, with very good adaptation by birds.
What is special about these beautiful pheasants? Without a doubt, the beautiful plumage of the green males dark with iridescent tones in the sunlight.
His head is bluish, with a large deep red crest and long gray tail.
These beautiful colors are only seen in the male pheasant. The females, which usually nest on the ground in the grass, have the brown feathers for camouflage.
However, it also presents more beautiful colors than other species of pheasants, with black and white spots of the most characteristic.
From wild animals we went to a most elegant domestic bird and stately.
The onagadori rooster or long-tailed chicken is a unique Japanese animal in the world, with bright colors and a long train that leaves anyone fascinated.
Since 1952, this breed of chicken is considered another of the iconic animals of Japan and National Treasure.
It is currently one of the domestic animals that most are bred for presentation at different trade shows and competitions inside and outside the country.
Why all the fuss with these national animals of Japan? You just have to look at its long tail, with feathers that can measure more than a meter and a half in length.
Longer than the feathers of the peacock, it combines perfectly with its white body, legs and intense black belly, and its lovely red crest to attract females.
There is also other varieties reddish in color with black and white breast, and roosters with totally white plumage of a special breed purity.
As you can imagine, the provenance of this rooster is from the perfect mix of various species Over the years, it has been used as an ornamental animal to the delight of emperors and great lords.
Is the shima enaga possibly the most adorable and kawaii bird of all the world? We bet so.
And it is impossible to look at the photos of this little bird And don't let your heart skip a beat. They are to be eaten! In the figurative sense of the word, of course.
In Spanish are known as 'myths'. To the Japanese children love it, and they also delight many adults. It is one of the most beautiful animals!
These sparrow-sized birds are Hailing from the island of Hokkaido, so they have a characteristic white color in their feathers, to be able to camouflage themselves with the snow that covers this area most of the year.
They only measure between 13 and 15 cm long, from the beak to the tip of the tail feathers. But its weight is only a few grams.
Due to the shape of their very fine feathers, it seems that they are actually covered in hair, like soft cotton balls. But this is precisely to help them fight the cold.
One characteristic that makes the myth more adorable is that young people have small black feathers above the eyes that look like eyebrows.
As they mature, they lose these feathers and their face turns completely white, as a sign that they are ready to find a mate and raise chicks in clutches of up to 10 eggs by season.
Fukuro means 'owl' in Japanese, although the exact translation of this peculiar species of nocturnal bird of prey is ural owl.
Also typical of northern Russia, this bird is considered one of the cutest animals from the island of Hokkaido.
Although it is not in danger of extinction, and is one of the most common that can be found throughout the country, this owl in freedom it is very difficult to see.
This is due to its small size, much smaller than other species, and its perfect camouflage with some white and gray feathers that go unnoticed in the snow and tree trunks.
The owl, and more specifically this typical species of the country, is considered one of the most important animals of Japan.
Symbol of wisdom and temperanceThere are many legends around the figure of this bird that is represented on many occasions as a deity.
Nowadays it is very common to be able to see them in person in famous owl cafes scattered throughout Japan. However, you should know that these animals are not always in the best conditions when they are bred in captivity.
Note that They are nocturnal animals and that daylight can damage your delicate eyes. So if you are lucky enough to be able to see a Japanese owl in the wild, it is much better than in a cafeteria where they are not within their habitat.
He will be Capricornis crispus It is one of the endemic animals of the islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku, and it is very common to see them in freedom in the mountains.
It is a wild deer species, mixed with a goat, so unique that there is no other similar animal in Japan or anywhere else in the world.
Although in appearance they seem friendlyYou wouldn't want to run into a Japanese serau while taking a walk in the countryside.
Are quite aggressive animals, especially males, who defend their mates and their territory striking hard with his big head and strong skull.
You can differentiate them by their brown or gray fur, very abundant and somewhat longer in the winter season.
Have two small pointed horns, which in the case of mature males are larger and can be dangerous when goring.
A curiosity of these herbivorous ungulates is that they form monogamous couples.
They are paired from young according to their compatibility, the female staying faithful with the male to form a family that gives several offspring throughout their lives.
Japanese black bear
Inside of japanese fauna we couldn't stop including one of the most incredible bears in the world, the Ursus thibetanus.
The Japanese bear is characterized by its dense deep black fur, marked by a white or light colored spot on the chest and snout, which is the hallmark of each individual, varying in shape and size.
Bears are typical animals of Japan, and they are very loved by the Japanese.
Although they also live in some areas of China, Korea and Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, in Japan they have managed to conserve, and today it is the hope for the recovery of the endangered species.
These incredible Asian black bears can grow up to 2 meters tall, and weigh more than 300 kg.
Despite its fierce appearance, feeds on fish, small birds, plants and carrion, although if they feel threatened they can sometimes attack humans.
It is not one of the most dangerous animals in Japan, but better not to mess with them. The natural habitat of the Japanese bear it is distributed by practically all the islands.
However, today the vast majority of bears are on the island of Hokkaido, where they have been able to adapt perfectly to the cold climate, and find areas less populated by man to live peacefully.
The deer is one of the animals of Japan best known by the natives and foreigners. Today we will talk about the sika deer, also called Cervus nippon.
Not in vain, deer is Japan's national animal, protected and cared for both in totally wild environments, as in parks and in the heart of cities like Nara or Miyajima.
This species of deer can be found in other countries such as China, Vietnam, Taiwan or Siberia.
However, while in these areas freedom lives exclusively and is usually hunted, in Japan it is a mythological animal who take care of themselves as protective gods of nature.
Unlike European deer, the deer Oriental is smaller in size, characterized by its red fur with white spots All over the body.
Males have a oversized horns covered by a thin layer of hair in winter.
In some regions of Japan the hair color may be more mahogany, greyish brown and even black.
This is due to the adaptation that animals have had to the environment that surrounds them, varying according to the color of the vegetation to camouflage and go completely unnoticed.
Japanese red fox
Although it is not one of the animals of Japan exclusive to this country, it is well known by all the importance that this little one has within Japanese culture.
Foxes represent the deity Kitsune within Shintoism, one of the most important gods in the entire country, a symbol of good luck and protection.
The Japanese fox o Vulpes vulpes japonica resembles western fox breeds, but with some own characteristics.
It usually has a smaller size, with a long and deep red coat.
They feed on insects, birds and small animals. But they also drive farmers in their heads, because they are expert egg thieves.
These clever beasts know how hide among the vegetation of the forest, because they are very difficult to see.
They are everywhere, and their presence is noticeable both in nature and in rural areas. If you are lucky you may bump into one while hiking through some japanese forest.
If you want to know more about the importance of the red fox in Japan, and the figure of the god Kitsune in Japanese mythology, don't miss this complete post on our blog: Click here.
There where you see him with his adorable little face, the iriomote or Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis is part of the wildlife in Japan's wildest.
It can be a very aggressive animal, and it certainly does not allow itself to be petted like a kitten. However, nowadays It is in danger of extinction for the loss of their natural habitat.
The Japanese wild cat is original from the island of Iriomote, its environment being limited to highest mountains in the area.
Little by little, with the construction of new houses, he is running out of space to live, exposed to multiple hazards.
Compete with domestic cats and dogs for their food, eating practically like them. Its usual menu includes small rodents, mice, rabbits, birds, fish, amphibians and insects.
It is totally carnivorous, and helps in the regulation of pests of rodents and insects throughout the island.
It is characterized by having a fur with similar spots to those of the leopard, with large rounded ears, green eyes and sharp claws for hunting.
Very little this animal has evolved from its ancestors thousands of years ago. It is considered a living fossil that is on the verge of extinction if the forests it inhabits are not properly cared for.
From the frozen forests of Siberia, the marten or Tuesday melampus It was introduced thousands of years ago in nearby countries like Korea and Japan.
Today it is an animal that is part of very different habitats throughout the Japanese geography. But mostly they can be found in the north, since they adapt perfectly to cold weather of winter in Japan.
This mammal does much good to ecosystems, since it feeds on small animals that frequently form pests in crops, and also on wild fruits.
Are excellent seed dispersers, so many of the small shoots that come out in spring when the snow melts, are thanks to these little animals.
Unlike other species of martens, which tend to have a dark brown to reddish coat, Japanese martens are lighter to be able to camouflage in the snow.
In winter they have the body covered with a thick cloak of white hair, which they lose in spring to discover a tan fur that blends with the branches of the forest.
Its size is also slightly smaller, and although it has a very charming lookTrying to touch one of these bugs is not safe at all.
They have some pointed and sharp fangs that serve as a defense against the attack of an enemy. So don't risk taking a painful bite from him.
The badger is an animal that is scattered for practically any corner of the world.
Of course, in Japan they also have their own species, known as the Japanese badger, it belongs to the Genus Meles anakuma, and has certain very particular characteristics.
The badger is endemic to the Japanese islands from Shodoshima, Kyushu and Shikoku, and lives in coniferous forests.
Currently is in danger of extinction, since it is an animal that can barely defend itself from the predators in the area, and due to the expansion of the cities it is running out of territory to live and reproduce.
Are nocturnal animals that feed on earthworms, insects and wild fruits.
They belong to the family of Mustelidae like martens, but not being as slender as them, they have been hunting target in previous centuries, almost becoming extinct.
However, the main enemy of these animals it's the raccoons Americans, an invasive species in Japan that competes for food.
Added to the fact that they have a greater difficulty in procreating Compared to the European badger, it is estimated that in a short time no Japanese badgers will be left living in the wild in the country's forests.
Tanuki raccoon dog
Known as raccoon dog, tanuki, nursery dog or Nyctereutes procyonoides, It's one of the most curious animals of Japan that very few people know.
It has the appearance of a raccoon, the body plump like a badger, but in reality it is a species descendant of the dog family. What a mix!
Along with the fox, the tanuki is one of the animals of japanese mythology that stars in more stories and legends.
This is due to the intelligence they demonstrate and their way of living, building authentic families and societies to help each other. In fact, it is considered a symbol of protection and good luck.
These canids have a black coat with grayish spots. The hair is longer on the head and on the back, especially in winter as protection against the cold.
On the sides they have a funny light colored ridges, which give it an appearance similar to that of the American raccoon, but if you look closely, it will help you differentiate them.
In fact, the tanuki appears in many cartoons, manga comics and anime series.
It also appears in video games as Animal Crossing by Nintendo, in which the character of Tom Nook, one of the main ones, is actually a Japanese raccoon.
Japanese giant flying squirrel
Since we are talking about amazing animals, we could not fail to mention the incredible japanese giant squirrels.
While there are many varieties of squirrels in Japan, none are as special as this flying species of plump body but very light, also called Petaurista leucogenys.
This is the kind of world's largest flying squirrel, reaching a size of up to 50 cm in the body, plus the length of the tail of 40 cm.
Almost a meter is what the largest specimens measure, which take advantage of the size of their bodies to glide from tree to tree.
When they are in the trees, they are the most adorable little animals. They have a large round head, with a flattened nose and a very characteristic snub nose.
They cling to the trunk with a tiny hands, equipped with pointed nails so as not to fall off.
However, the really impressive thing comes when you see the giant flying squirrel in action. It is launched into the void, opening membranes that it has between its legs and tail, to form a kind of parachute.
The tail serves as a rudder to plan and land right where you want it, with minimal chance of failure. They are incredible!
Very close to Tokyo there is a small island called Ogasawara where a species of bat unique in the world lives.
Belonging to the Pteropodidae family, it is a close relative of the australian giant bats, although the Japanese have somewhat smaller dimensions.
Despite their menacing appearance, these flying mammals only feed on fruits, plants and small insects.
They live protected in small caves and among the nooks and crannies of the stones during the day, going out at night to feed and interact with the members of their own social groups.
Its physical characteristics include a body covered with a fine brown fur coat, and big black wings with thin but resistant membranes.
Thanks to these wings are some experienced flyers, moving long distances across the island depending on the time of year.
The bats of Ogasawara o Pteropus pselaphon they are so special for being a endemic species of Japan, and more specifically of these islands.
They are not found anywhere else in the world, and for this reason, work is being done on their protection and conservation of their natural habitat.
Macaques are one of the famous animals in japan best known to tourists. This primate will not leave you indifferent.
Protagonists of those viral images that show funny monkeys taking a bath in natural hot water pools under the snowIf you are going to travel to Japan in winter, it is a picture that you cannot miss.
The Macaca fuscata usually lives in forests and mountainous areas of Japan, although they can be found in different areas of the country. Of the most intelligent animals!
They withstand the hot summer weather very well, but also the coldest winters, thanks to their intelligence and teamwork that leads them to form large families with several dozen members.
The Japanese red-faced macaque is unique in its kind, and it certainly has a different behavior than other macaques in Asia.
You will easily differentiate them by their gray to white fur, a serial demeanor on their red face, and the striking red butt of the males.
Would you be excited to see wild monkeys in Japan? Besides of Jigokudani valley and its hot springs, there are many other locations where you can see these cute little animals. Click here.
Japanese reptiles, amphibians and fish
On the island of Tsushima located within an archipelago of several islands within the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan, there is a type of snake that is unique in the world.
It's one of the most dangerous poisonous animals from all over Japan, although it does not pose much risk to the inhabitants of the island as long as they are not disturbed.
This snake lives in aquatic environments and humid forests. It moves through tall grass and moss, also climbing trees to hide from man and predators.
Very little is known about his type of life, since it has not been too much studied by zoologists.
What is known is that feeds on frogs and small fish, so it is normal to find it especially on the banks of rivers.
Easily recognizable, it has a large and flat head, with an oval-shaped nose, brown scales and light rings All over the body.
It belongs to the genus Gloydius, of the viper family native to Asia. No one knows how this snake could get to this remote part of the world.
What is clear is that it has known how to adapt over the centuries, integrating perfectly with other species animals until a perfect balance is established.
In Japan there are several species of salamanders among which the salamander of Ishizuchi, the salamander of Sato or the salamander of Tohucho for being endemic to these remote regions.
Nevertheless, the most popular is the Japanese giant salamander or Andrias japonicus, due to its larger than normal size in this type of amphibian.
Also known as the giant salamander, it is distributed on the islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku.
Lives in the rivers and wetlands, feeding mainly on fish and small crustaceans that it hunts with great skill. It is one of the rarest on this list.
What is special about Japanese salamanders? Well, they can reach measure up to a meter and a half long!
From the tip of the tail to the head, these hulking animals they look like crocodiles, although they are totally harmless.
The largest amphibian in the world It can only be found in this country, and it is one of the most studied animals in Japan for its uniqueness.
It is not very easy to run into her in wild nature. But if you do, you better not dare to touch it, because when it feels threatened it releases a milky liquid with a very strong smell that will be most unpleasant for you.
Colloquially known as the daruma frog, this amphibian belongs to the family Ranidae, more specifically to the species Pelophylax porosus.
With a similar shape, there are Various species They receive the same name, which differs slightly according to the region.
This frog is only found in Japan, inhabiting temperate grasslands, freshwater marshes, ponds, lakes, and also rice and other cereal plantations.
Its presence is important in all these environments, since regulates insect pests, feeding on all kinds of critters at their fingertips.
Males are somewhat smaller than females, measuring up to 6 cm long.
They instead can measure up to 7.5 cm, with a larger body to be able to transport the eggs between its legs during the breeding season.
It has a brown color, mixing several shades with darker spots. Depending on the specific species, they have green reflections that shine in the water.
Another feature is its slightly rounded body. Possibly that's where the peculiar name comes from, with a reasonable resemblance to the Daruma lucky dolls.
Koi carp is one of the animals of Japan best known around the world.
This fish is another of the National symbols, bred in captivity for centuries to beautify the lakes and ponds of Japanese palaces and parks.
Like other animals in Japan, the origin of the Japanese carp is Chinese. They came to Japan through the neighboring country, where it was very well received due to its beautiful and striking colors.
Today is a ornamental animal, although they are cared for with great care through a very committed upbringing.
Japanese carp are currently the ones that present the larger sizes and weights all over the world.
They turn out highly intelligent animals, reaching out to establish links with their breeders, who teach them even some tricks in exchange for prizes in the form of food.
Do you want to find out much more about this incredible fish? Do not miss this koi fish curiosities that we tell you in our blog Alternative Japan: Click here.
Where to see animals in Japan
As lovers of animals and Japanese culture, the theme of japanese fauna we are interested and fascinated in equal parts.
Since we were little we have been fans of cats and dogs of Japanese breeds, and over time we have learned much more about the care of animals in the land of the rising sun.
Do you also like this theme? Do not miss the best ones on the blog curiosities about the animals of Japan, and where to enjoy the best experiences with unique species in the world:
Take advantage of your vacations to enjoy the animals of Japan first-hand and learn more about the species of pets and world's most exotic wildlife.
Ideal for sightseeing with children or for animal lovers, this is undoubtedly an activity that you cannot miss. And for you, what are your animals in japan favorites?
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