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The 5 Best Places to Interact With Animals in Japan

The 5 Best Places to Interact With Animals in Japan

If you’re like me, you love animals and you love traveling. Living during the pandemic has me itching to get back out into the great wide world and the country I’m wanting to visit most is Japan (which, if you’re a reader of this site, is the obvious choice).

Japan loves animals and the country seems to have really capitalized on having animal attractions as a major draw to business. Here are the five best places to meet the most adorable animals in Japan.

5. Cat Island

We start the list with Aoshima, also known as Cat Island, in Ehime Prefecture. As you can easily imagine, the island is known for its large population of cats that wander the streets of this tiny island, and these felines vastly outnumber the small population of people 6:1.

The story is Aoshima was once a prominent fishing village and the cats were brought over to hunt mice in wharves. Over time, the human population shrunk to its current status but the cats, fed by the local people, continued to prosper and enjoy the paradise life.

There are other cat islands to visit, namely Tashirojima and Manabeshima, but Aoshima is by far the largest in terms of island size and cat population.

4. Okunoshima Island

If you like cute and fluffy, then Okunoshima Island is the place for you, or as it’s also called– Rabbit Island. Rabbit Island is off the coast of Hiroshima and the island’s website says it’s home to over 1,000 wild rabbits.

While at the park, there are rules to follow. 1) you can’t hold or chase the rabbits, 2) pick up any leftover food, 3) look underneath your car before leaving, and 4) do not take them home.

3. Zao Fox Village

Nestled in Zao Mountains, in Miyagi Prefecture, lies the Zao Fox Village. People can come and observe friendly wild foxes, play with them, and have the opportunity to even hold a fox kit.

Credit to YouTuber channel, Exploring with Fighters

As seen in this video, the foxes live in a wide enclosure with plenty of food and seemingly love to interact with people. The kits in particular are rambunctious and love to play around.

And it’s not just the common red fox either; there are also silver foxes and cross foxes which have both red and black fur for an extraordinary look.

2. Akiba Fukurou

Three minutes from Akihabara station in Tokyo, you’ll find Akiba Fukurou, the Owl Cafe. As the name suggests, you pay ¥2000 (about $20) to hang out with some live owls. Akiba Fukurou happens to be the largest of the owl cafes in Tokyo (yes, there are others).

The cafe has owls of different shapes and sizes from tiny Screech Owls and Burrowing Owls to the larger Eagle Owls. I’m not sure how the cafe’s owner owns so many owls, but it’s surely a delightful experience.

1. Arashiyama Monkey Park

Monkeys are my favorite animal so this has to be my number one pick. Located on Mt. Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan, the monkey park is home to over 120 Japanese macaques which are some of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Now, monkeys being monkeys, here are some safety rules to abide by. 1) don’t touch them, 2) don’t look them in the eye, and 3) give them some space.

Follow these rules and you’ll have a good time watching monkeys, well, monkeying around.

Which animal attraction stands out to you the most? Tell us through our vibrant Discord or leave a comment!

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