In Japan, springtime usually means hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. However, flowers aren’t the only awesome spring sight. Lots of animals come out of their winter homes and are easy to spot during the spring when many baby animals are born. If you want to see adorable baby deer, rabbits, or birds, spring is the best season for doing so. You can also spot stranger creatures, like certain varieties of salamanders. Want to learn more about the amazing creatures you can see in Japan during spring? Keep reading!
Nara prefecture is well known for the deer that roam Nara Park and the surrounding area. No matter what time of year you visit them, the deer are absolutely adorable. However, you’ll be in for an even cuter treat if you visit during spring and early summer.
From May to June, baby deer are born in the park. During baby deer season, there’s a portion of the park that is fenced off and devoted to mother deer and their offspring, so you won’t have to go searching through the park for them. If you’re in the Kansai area, spring is a great time to visit Nara park. You won’t get to see the babies any other time of year!
While we have yet to encounter a rabbit that isn’t cute, there’s a special species that you should try to catch a glimpse of this spring. The Amami Rabbit is an endangered species that can only be found on two islands: Amami and Tokuno. These islands can be found in between Kyushu and Okinawa. They are often referred to as a “living fossil” since they are the descendants of an ancient species of rabbit that lived on the main island until they went extinct. They are nocturnal (which is strange for a rabbit), so it’s difficult to spot one during the day. They reproduce twice a year, in the spring and fall, so if you visit this season, you might get to see some Amami babies. Even if you can’t take a trip to Amami and Tokuno islands, we recommend spending some time with local rabbits. Bunnies are adorable and symbolize spring, so they’re sure to get you into a good mood.
The Kandachime horses in Aomori are an adorable breed that can’t be found anywhere else. They are known for short legs and chubby bodies. Kandachime can survive the harsh winters in Aomori. They live on Cape Shiriyazaki (part of Shimokita Hanto Quasi-National Park), where there are many pastures for them to graze. During the winter, Cape Shiriyazaki becomes inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, and the horses go to a grazing land known as Ataka. Cape Shiriyazaki opens back up in spring, which is the perfect time to visit Shimokita Hanto Quasi-National Park and see the cute horses.
Like rabbits, birds are a symbol of springtime. While it’s nice just to hear the birds outside your window chirp, you can see some pretty special feathered creatures if you’re in Hokkaido. One of these birds is the iconic red-crowned crane, which is known as “Japan’s bird of happiness”.
They can be spotted in early spring and are an endangered species. Another special bird you might be able to see in Hokkaido is the whooper swan. These birds spend the winter near the volcanic hot springs at Lake Kussharo. The whooper swans start to take off during April, creating plenty of opportunities for you to catch a stunning photo of them mid-flight.
Japanese Giant Salamanders
Cute creatures like rabbits or baby deer aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people prefer stranger-looking animals. If that sounds like you, you might want to try to spot a Japanese giant salamander this spring. They are the world’s second-largest salamander and measure up to 1.5 meters long. The Japanese giant salamander can be found in cold, fast-flowing rivers across the main island and Kyushu. They are nocturnal, so to spot one, you might have to go searching for them at night. Japanese giant salamanders are known for being difficult to spot, but amazing enough to be worth the effort. The best time to find Japanese giant salamanders is during May and June.