Japan is blessed with some unique and diverse wildlife, especially in the vast national parks of Hokkaido. It’s possible to focus your entire holiday around this northern region – to see bears, whales, seabirds and even the Japanese red-crowned crane – but not everyone has the time or money to do so. Luckily, encounters with the local fauna will happen as part of most travellers’ usual itineraries, especially popular with families as the animals are almost tame.
In Nara and Miyajima, the local sika deer wander freely and will come up to you expecting a treat. The island of Okunoshima, near to Hiroshima, is home to hundreds of friendly rabbits who took over the place when the people moved out. North of Tokyo, Karuizawa is home to the reclusive momonga – the Japanese dwarf flying squirrel… a treat to see for children and adults alike.