Top 5 Natural Kawaii Places in Japan

Top 5 Natural Kawaii Places in Japan

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Photo by Getty / The Asahi Shimbun

Japan, home of all that is kawaii, or as how English speakers say, “cute.” The embodiment of kawaii has imbedded itself deep into Japan’s culture and national identity. Not only can you witness kawaii fashion and merchandise, but Japan contains some of the most adorable places you’ll ever visit. Nothing screams kawaii more than places filled with loveable furry animals.

I invite you to witness Japan’s extreme levels of cuteness. Prepare yourself for the top 5 natural kawaii places to visit in Japan!

_DSC2863. Photo by AoiKitsune/ CC BY 2.0

Photo by AoiKitsune/ CC BY 2.0

Zao Fox Village

Have you ever caught a glimpse of a fox in the wild? The beauty and mystery of these creatures is something not to be forgotten. Imagine how wonderful seeing dozens of foxes would be. Well, good news, you don’t have to imagine if you visit the Zao Fox Village in the mountains near Shiroishi.

Take a stroll through the village and you’ll see different types of foxes and even be able to feed them! The main part of the village is a large open area where most foxes roam around or rest. Most of the foxes are pretty used to human interaction, but remember, foxes are still wild animals, so if you get bitten, don’t blame the fox!

Location

11-3 Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi 989-0733, Miyagi Prefecture

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Photo by Reuters/Thomas Peter.

Cat Island

Crazy cat ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to embark on a pilgrimage to a place filled with soft paws and sweet mews…a place where cats outnumber humans six to one. Japan’s Aoshima Island is real, and you guessed it, full of cats—more than a hundred of them. Aoshima Island, popularly known as Cat Island, originally housed cats as a means of exterminating mice that infested fishermen’s boats.

However, once the mice were under control, the cats had already claimed the island as their permanent residence. The cats were there to stay, multiply and feast on the fish for generations to come. Cat Island isn’t exactly the most tourist-friendly place, having no restaurants, cars or shops. However, cat lovers will find their own unique island paradise.

Location

Aoshima 2 Chome-13 Aoshima, Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki-ken 889-2162

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Photo by Ása Steinarsdótti

Rabbits in Okunoshima

Take out a carrot from your pocket and watch a herd of adorable bunnies attack you—with love. Rabbit Island provides the ideal spot for anyone wanting to pet, feed and be engulfed by masses of wild, yet friendly fluffy rabbits. Most of the rabbits are rumored to come from the island’s animal testing and mustard gas manufacturing factory, which closed down after World War II. However, don’t let this dark past deter you from experiencing the cutest time of your life.

Location

Okunoshima Island, Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture

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Nara Park

Walk around Nara Park and experience what it feels to be like Snow White. More than 1,200 wild sika deer inhabit the park; all of which will burden you for attention and maybe even bow for a cracker. The deer have inhabited the city of Nara for centuries, being symbols of luck to the residents.

The deer were glorified as symbols of deities, and highly protected. The animals’ sacred reputation became rebuked after WWII, but that didn’t stop people from continuing to conserve the deer. Today tourists flood Nara to see these famous spotted deer and experience their centuries-old characteristic bow.

Location

Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan

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Capybara Bathhouse

When people think of kawaii animals, they usually imagine kittens or puppies, not giant rodents. However, once you visit Nagasaki Bio Park’s capybara bathhouse, you’ll think otherwise. Capybaras hold the record for the largest rodents in the world and have a reputation for being quite timid in the wild. However, Bio Park’s capybaras are as friendly and relaxed as your average house pet. The park welcomes visitors to pet and give belly rubs to the capybara.

The large rodents’ chummy personalities aren’t the only perks they posses. These capybaras adore bathing in onsen. The zookeepers noticed the capybaras were starting to produce dandruff, so they built an onsen to solve the problem. Visit the bathhouse yourself and witness the adorableness of capybaras playing and relaxing in a hot spring.

Location

2291-1 Seihicho Nakayamago, Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture 851-3302

JAPAN