Top 8 of the most famous animals of Japan




Discovering the four-legged stars of the Japanese archipelago

Whether it's the deer of Nara or the rabbits of Okunoshima Island, animals have always been part of the Japanese tourist landscape. They attract crowds with their cuteness or their remarkable actions, and are sometimes even elevated to the rank of true local stars! In particular, some very particular animals, whose names are now known to a large part of the archipelago.

1 . Hachiko, the faithful dog


With several statues bearing his likeness in Japan and two films that moved the world, Hachiko is certainly the most famous animal in Japan. Died in 1935 in Shibuya after having waited every day for his master (deceased a few years earlier at work) in front of the station, Hachiko is still today the very personification of the faithful dog.  

His story has touched generations of Tokyoites, and his popularity has never dried up to the point that the Hachiko is now the mascot of the neighborhood he grew up in!


Photo du chien Hachikô, dans la gare de Shibuya.

Photo of the dog Hachikô, in Shibuya station.


Tama: le chef de gare derrière la vitre de son bureau à la gare de Kishi

Tama: the station master behind the glass of his office at Kishi Station

as365n2, Flickr

3. Xiang Xiang, Ueno's baby panda

In Tokyo, Xiang Xiang is a pretty panda who has been attracting crowds to Ueno Zoo since he was born in June 2017. Stuffed animals bearing his likeness rain down the paths of the park, and the qualifiers cute do not fail to fuse around his enclosure. when she climbs trees or delights in a piece of bamboo.

A true mascot of the Ueno district, Xiang Xiang is very popular with the Japanese who saw him grow up. And his return to China scheduled for 2020 will surely leave a big void in the hearts of zoo regulars.

Xiang Xiang, le bébé panda de Ueno

Xiang Xiang, Ueno's baby panda

Mainichi Shimbun

4. Hanako, the oldest elephant in Japan

Born in 1947 in Thailand, Hanako arrived in Japan in 1949, making her the first elephant imported to the archipelago since the end of the Second World War!

Initially domiciled at the Ueno Zoo, the elephant resided for several years at the zoo in Inokashira Park near Kichijoji station (Tokyo). She remained Japan's oldest elephant until she died in 2016, and her status as the oldest gave her a special place in the hearts of the Japanese.

Hanako, le plus vieil éléphant du Japon

Hanako, the oldest elephant in Japan


7. Haru Urara, The Racetrack Underdog


With more than 113 races where she finished last, Haru Urara ("Glorious Spring") holds the world record for defeats on a racetrack. This now-retired mare started racing in 1998 in Kochi Prefecture without ever giving up on her dream of one day winning a medal. Although this dream was never achieved, the mare always came first in the hearts of the Japanese who see her as a true symbol of the Japanese fighting spirit (the ganbaru ). Aged 29, Haru Urara is now living happy days in Chiba Prefecture.


Haru Urara

Haru Urara

ABC news

8. Ken-chan and Go-chan, the Onomichi Museum Cats


" Reckless" is surely the qualifier that best characterizes Ken-chan and Go-chan.

A regular at the Onomichi Art Museum since 2016, Ken-chan, whose owners run a restaurant close to the museum, has only one obsession: to enter it! Which the guards of the museum refuse him...

Accompanied for a few years now by his friend Go-chan, a big red tom whose circumstances of their meeting remain obscure, Ken-chan nevertheless continues to come regularly to the museum. A habit that amuses the guards, who have even created a Twitter account in honor of these two four-legged art lovers!


Ken-chan et Go-chan, les amateurs d'art pris en flagrant délit

Ken-chan and Go-chan, art lovers caught in the act


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