Level Up Your Trip To Japan With These Unusual Animal Attractions | CoolJapan

Planning for a trip usually begins with research for must-see landmarks, local watering holes, and trendy hotspots. And if you're bound for Japan, it's likely that you'll see recommendations for popular cultural sights such as temples, historical castles and shopping districts. However, aside from the iconic Nara Park, there's another side to Japan that's not usually discovered, and that's animal sanctuaries. Read on to find out about these unusual animal attractions in the country.

Zao Fox Village

Zao Fox Village

This place is exactly what you think it is: an adorable sanctuary that's home to over 200 wild foxes who live and play to their hearts' content. Visitors can cuddle and feed these furry rascals and take photos with them. Make your way here by car from Tokyo or via bullet train to Shiroishi-Zao station to catch a shuttle bus run by the Fox Village.


If you're spending winter in Nagano, the hot springs are a natural choice to keep warm and enhance your skin's health in the mineral-rich waters. Make this experience much more interesting by hanging out at Jigokudani Monkey Park where you can witness scores of Japanese macaques enjoying the hot springs just as humans do.

Machida Risu-en Squirrel Garden

Get up close and personal with some of Tokyo's cutest locals at this squirrel garden that's located 30 minutes from Shinjuku by train. With a population of about 200 squirrels, you'll be sure to have some face time with these furry critters while you stroll through the enclosures. The garden is also home to a variety of animals available for interactions — just ask the attendants!

Nasu Alpaca Farm

Take refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city and sink your hands into some unbelievably soft fleece at the largest alpaca farm in Japan. Starting off with 200 alpacas in 1999, the farm has grown to house more than 400 of these well-loved, adorable creatures. Wander around or ask a guide to take you on a tour for a great day out.

Noboribetsu Bear Park

Noboribetsu Bear Park

(Photo from: Noboribetsu Bear Park website)

Children often grow up with teddy bears and assume that they are domesticated and readily available for playtime, but as adults, we know that's not the case. Live out your childhood dreams of interacting with a real live bear at the Noboribetsu Bear Park, home to about 140 free-range brown bears and Asian black bears. Visit them in winter to snap some truly amazing photos as they frolic in their compounds, and take advantage of the park’s spectacular view from their observation deck.

Izu Shaboten Zoo

Recognised as the largest rodents in the world, the star attraction of this zoo is the family of free-range capybara who's more than happy to roll over for a belly rub and a quick photo. From the months of November to April, visitors will get to enjoy delightful scenes of capybaras enjoying their open-air hot spring bath, so be sure to book your trip before it's too late.

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