Japan RFI and new Japan mammal book


I was wondering, does anyone have any good suggestions for place near Tokyo for mammal watching?  I have managed to gather some information, but any additional info would be helpful (honestly, just about everything you need is on Jon’s website, but I figured I would give this a shot).

In particular, I am interested in Marine Mammals and bat roosts.  I know Ogata has some whale watching for Omura’s Whale, but not sure on the logistics of arranging a trip.  Similarly info on marine mammal watching in Ogasawara or Okinawa would also be appreciated.

Any info on the following species would also be appreciated:

Finless Porpoise
Bonin Flying Fox
Asiatic Black Bear
Spotted Seal
Masked Palm Civet
Iriomote Cat
Japanese Dormouse
Northern Pika
Japanese Hare

Also, a new book is now available on the mammals of Japan;


I ordered this book a few months back and it is quite a useful resource, although not really a field guide per se.  Still it’s probably the best resource available to visitors, and it’s in English as well.  Downside is that it has to be ordered directly from Japan, from all appearances.


  • Tomer

    Hi Jon,

    I’m going to Japan with my parents in October…
    If you find out any info on these species please share 🙂
    Especially Asiatic Black Bear, Iriomote cat, and masked palm civet as I’ve never actually ventured into asia, and never seen a wild civet or old world cats.

    On a totally different note, it says on your website to leave questions on your forum if we have any, but I couldn’t find where to post them…
    So: I’m going to Tanzania next summer, and since you didn’t have any trip reports from there, I was wondering if there was any specific company that you or one of your readers knows of that really concentrates on finding the hard to find mammals (I really want to see a caracal, serval, aardvark, pangolin, leopard, cheetah, Galago, black/white Rhinos… etc.) As always, I’m going to also do my own research but your site is always a good place to start 🙂

    Finally, on yet another completely unrelated note:
    You asked me via email a long time ago to let you know how my kinkajou search around the cancun area turned out.. Well, I talked to 2 companies, but didn’t end up doing it because they didn’t offer what I was looking for. Oh well.. Next time.

    Thanks again Jon, love the website!

    • Jon Hall

      Hi Tomer – sorry no to reply but I am in Asia. Just come back from Java and saw a few interesting mammals. Anyway, I have only been to Tanzania briefly and Charles is definintely the expert. Africa can be quite frustrating because just about every lodge I have ever stayed in focuses on the megafauna and there is very little interest in finding the smaller – and equally interesting – stuff. Good luck with the Pangolin! Apparently the best way to see one is to drive around the electric fence that surrounds a park and try to spot one that is stuck on the wire and still alive. They are frequent victims.


      • tomeslice

        Hi Jon,
        That’s awesome, what animals have you seen in Java? Indonesia is definitely on my top 5 places to visit, but I’m still young.. (24)
        Wait, the Serengeti has an electric fence around it?! That’s a newsflash to me… The first thing I thought when I saw this was WTF?? Kind of defeats the point of seeing animals in their natural habitat. I mean, I realize they were there before the fence but I know some animals travel far to find mates and putting a fence there is kind of stupid.. Actually, it sounds like instead of conserving their nature it sounds like they are killing animals with the fence. What about the Ngorongoro, does it also have a fence around it?
        Anyway, thanks for the tip though. I will also see if Charles has any more info for me. I’ve been talking to at least one company that seems to be catering to my family and I’s desire to look for all the mammals, birds and reptiles instead of seeing lions and zebras over and over.

        Also, I did very little research on the Japanese mammals, just to realize that I will not be encountering the Iriomote Cat, because it’s only on that island, which I’m not going to visit.
        An Asiatic Black or Brown bear would be awesome though, and a palm civet or a raccoon dog would also be a nice bonus. I’ll do a little more research when I have time.

        Thanks again Jon!

  • tembo10

    Hi Tomer,

    You want to head to the Serengeti ecosystem (particularly the area around Seronera) for leopard, cheetah, serval and possibly caracal. Black rhino’s are easy in Ngorongoro crater. For the nocturnal species you may want to stay at one of the camps in Loliondo, which is to the east of the Serengeti, where you can do night drives. You can google them to see what’s on offer, though be warned that they do get pretty pricey. What species of galago are you after?

    Don’t hold your breath on pangolin – I haven’t seen one there in 20 years.


    • tomeslice


      Thank you for all the info..
      I saw an article on Jon’s website about “big mammal day” in Tanzania by Charles Fogley, is that you? If so, I have a few more questions (and this blog about Japan’s mammals may not be the most appropriate place for them, so we might have to exchange emails..

      Either way,
      as far as galagos go – any and all, really.. I just think it would be neat to see them, as I’ve never seen any species of primates that are not monkeys. But then again, pretty much all of my wildlife experiences thus far have been in North, Central and South America (besides very little in Israel and Europe).
      But how long do you think is good for a Safari in Tanzania in order to see as many mammals (and birds and reptiles) as possible?
      I am going with my parents and my sister, so we can’t go for an abnormally long time period. I was thinking 7-8 days..
      At least a day or 2 in Ngorongoro, I want to stop by Lake Manyara to see blue monkeys and some birds that are common there, I was advised central Serengeti for cats, Tarangire for a day or 2, and a night at Serengeti Buffalo Luxury Camp for a place where you can do night drives.. But see, that sounds like a place that’s especially expensive (“Luxury Camp”). Is that at Loliondo? Are there cheaper alternatives there?
      Since there’s 4 of us, it’s going to be really expensive anyway, so I’m trying to find something feasible..
      Do you know of any good safari companies that really specializes in hard to find animals and are reasonable? We don’t really mind which lodges or camps we stay at, as long as there are at least showers and bathrooms some of the nights..
      Also, after the Safari tour, I want to take my family to Mahale for the chimps.. What do you think about that? Are the chimps there too tame to where it’s not authentic? Is it worth it? Is there good chance of seeing other animals there too? Any other tips?

      Thanks again Charles!

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