Japan is notorious for all things cooky and colourful, but did you know that extends to the animal kingdom, too? From onsen-loving monkeys to social but hungry deer, here are some of the cutest, cuddliest and downright unusual animal encounters you can have in Japan.
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The Japanese macaque is also known as the snow monkey because it lives in areas prone to ice-cold winters and snow. But these native Japanese primates put on quite a show in the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Watch them soak in the hot onsens, groom each other and ultimately run around creating mischief.
Just an hour from Kyoto is the popular Nara Park and aside from the impressive temples like Yakushi-ji, there are the friendly and very social deer traipsing around the grounds. Buy a packet of deer biccies from one of the local vendors and watch as groups of deer gather around you for a friendly feed.
Okunoshima Island is affectionately known as Bunny Island because of the hundreds of fluffy bunnies that call the place home. A local school raised eight rabbits that were ultimately set free, resulting in a completely unmanageable, but adorable, population of these little guys.
Be prepared for a cuteness overload on Hokkaido Island because the native animals found here are cute, cuddly, fluffy and adorable. Not only are they native to Japan but they can’t be found anywhere else in the world in the wild. Keep an eye out for the ezo momonga, a chubby flying squirrel with big googly eyes and the Hokkaido Red Fox related to the common red fox.
If you need a good cuddle while on holiday in Japan then you can’t go wrong with a trip to a cat café in Tokyo. When the hustle and bustle of the city becomes too much, the simple pleasure of being around cute kitties can do a world of good. Drop by a cat cafe, or neko café, and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a cat in your lap.