Bear Watching Tours in the Japan Alps

bear watching in the Japan Alps

During the summer, why not combine your trip to Japan with a chance to spend a couple of days hiking in the beautiful Japan Alps and joining an amazing bear watching tour?

Japan is more famous for cities and temples than for wilderness, but in reality much of the country is made up of villages tucked between forest-clad peaks. Interior Japan teems with wildlife: the most famous being the snow monkeys, as well as wild boar, deer, foxes, and tanuki. More rarely seen are the Asiatic black bears which inhabit the deep mountains.

Into Japan Specialist Tours is delighted to be able to offer two day safaris into the Japan Alps with an Asiatic black bear specialist. The mountains are remote alpine areas, and the night will be spent in a basic though comfortable mountain lodge, but the views are breathtaking and the near guarantee of seeing Asiatic black bears in the wild make the hike in worthwhile. A bear tour remains one of the most unique additions available to visitors to Japan.

The tours work in conjunction with a Not-For-Profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of Asiatic black bears in Japan. The NPO, the Shinshu Tsukinowaguma Kenkiyu Kai (the Shinshu Asiatic Black Bear Study Group) is based in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture and, with hundreds of bears caught, studied, or saved from nuisance control since 1995, it is one of the most active bear conservation groups in the country. They guide two-day bear-viewing hiking tours in the Northern Japanese Alps in order to reach out to the general public, to raise awareness on bear issues and to raise much needed funds to donate to the NPO. As long as one knows where to search, the chances of viewing bears in the mountains during the summer are close to 100% and are very safe. The tours are conducted by Oscar Huygens, who obtained his Doctorate while studying Asiatic black bears in Japan, and who is one of the three founding members of the NPO. He is energetic, enthusiastic and fun and he sure knows a lot about bears!

If you are interested in joining one of these tours, please contact us for more details.

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