An Animal Lover’s Guide to Japan

Mirjam’s top three wildlife destinations in JapanDSCN1284

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This week we say goodbye to the magnificent Mirjam! Mirjam was a dedicated student and showed fantastic progress over the past ten weeks.  Amongst all of her study, she still found time to travel! Every Monday morning we loved hearing about her weekend adventures, which always involved a new city and a cute animal. Mirjam’s love of animals took her to some fantastic places in Japan and she has been kind enough to give us her top three animal destinations… plus plenty of tips!


1. Bunnies at Okunoshima The island of Okunoshima is home to hundreds of wild bunnies, which are quite tame and used to humans. They often come in search of food are happy to be pet when being fed.

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Not only are the bunnies super cute, the scenery and war time history are equally impressive! Located in the Hiroshima prefecture, Okunoshima can be reached by JR line to Tadanoumi station followed by a boat trip to the island. 1957862_1404654146505609_8675743834408061590_o 10993531_1404655966505427_171698941536436215_o Mirjam’s travel tip: Make sure you check the train and boat timetables before you leave and remember to buy bunny food before you cross to the island. Better yet, bring along your own carrots!


2. Deer in Nara A town steeped in history and nearby Kobe, Nara is home to beautiful temples and extremely charming deer! Although Nara Kōen (Nara Park) is the main destination for deer spotting, these furry friends roam the city in parks, walkways and tourist destinations. They are not afraid to greet you and receive a pat on the head, but food will help them stick around. Biscuits can be purchased for around ¥150 from stalls around the city.

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Mirjam’s travel tip: Be careful not to leave your bag wide open! The deer are very inquisitive and brave. It might surprise you what they will eat- for instance, Mirjam’s map!

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3. Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani   Although visiting Jigokudani requires a weekend, it is well worth the travel to see these beautiful snow monkeys bathing in natural hot baths. It is a unique Japanese experience and the fascinating behaviours of these creatures will have your attention for hours. You can reach Jigokudani via Nagano, 5hrs by train from Kobe.

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To top off the journey, Mirjam returned to Kobe via Tokyo and was able to see Mt Fuji from the Shinkansen window!

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Mirjam’s travel tip: Wear good shoes and make use of the local tourist information office- they are very helpful! If you don’t have the time or money to visit Jigokudani, Arashiyama near Kyoto is a good alternative. Iwatayama Monkey Park is home to around 130 Japanese macaques. You can feed the monkeys or sit back and watch their human ways!


Thankyou Mirjam for sharing your experiences and photos with us!

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