Most Beautiful Rare Animals in Japan


A stoat in its ‘summer fur’ ©Peter G Trimming/Flickr

Japan, a country consisting of thousands of islands, has a very unique and interesting ecosystem. Most of these islands have specific climates. The animals inhabiting Japanese islands are believed to have their origins from the surrounding territories, like Korea, China or Siberia.

In these days, 370 species of endangered animals live in Japan. Unfortunately, 47 species had already become extinct. Japanese people are already trying to conserve these endangered animals by creating natural parks for them. These animals should be protected from the destruction caused by humans. Nowadays, very few animals live wild and free in their natural environment. This article will present some of Japan’s rarest endangered animals.

Japanese river otter

River otter

River otters ©nicknbecka/Flickr

Otters are members of the weasel family. In the past, they were to be found in almost every Japanese river, but since the 1980s it has become a critically endangered and rare animal. Scientists are still debating whether this animal still exists or has become extinct. Though some people had already claimed it an extinct animal, witnesses are still reporting Japanese river otters’ appearances.

Fully grown, a Japanese river otter can reach the length of 65-80 centimeter. It has a thick brown fur and usually eats fish, crab, beetles or even eels. This animals is the official symbol of Ehime Prefecture, on Shikoku island.


Blakiston’s fish owl

Blakiston's fish owl

Blakiston’s fish owl ©Robert tdc/Flickr

It is the largest owl in Japan, with a wingspan of 180-200 cm. This animal lives in the eastern and central parts of Hokkaido, but it can also be found in the eastern parts of Russia and China.  Usually it lives in large forests with tall old trees. Since there were drastic deforestations in Japan, a decrease in the owl’s number had appeared.

Blakiston’s fish owl is classified as a “Critically Endangered” animal. It has a pale brown, almost gray color, and it can be distinguished by its typical long ear tufts. It usually hunts fish or small mammals.


Hondo stoat


A stoat in its ‘summer fur’ ©Peter G Trimming/Flickr

This animal belongs to the weasel family. It lives in Chubu, the central part of the country on Honshu island. Sometimes it is also called ‘mountain fairy’. This cute creature is classified as a “Near Threatened” animal.

Hondo stoat usually eats birds’ eggs, insects, mice and rats. Due to its aggressive nature, it even attacks hares, which are almost twice as big as the stoats. An interesting fact about them is that starting from spring, when the snow melts, it has a brown fur, but as soon as summer ends, this fur becomes white. It is a small animal, generally 14-23 centimeter long.

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