Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This cat literally looks like Hitler. Hitler cat! Where are you going? Japan has an amazingly low crime rate - by all accounts one of the lowest in the world. The trouble is, this means you often let your guard down while you’re out and about. And so you can find yourself becoming the subject of some truly ruthless criminals. For example, one afternoon I was strolling through this beautiful forest and suddenly I was surrounded by this thuggish group of foxes. One of them actually tried to steal my camera. But fortunately, I was with this American girl, so I just pointed at her and they ate her instead. Another time I was relaxing on this stunning remote island, just lying down trying to get a tan… Before I knew it, I found myself being harassed and assaulted by literally, dozens of rabbits. Up until then, when I thought rabbits I thought cute and cuddly, but now when I think rabbits, I just think relentless and sadistic. And then of course there was the time my friend Natsuki and I were sitting in this restaurant, I think…I think it was a Tuesday. And we just ordered this delicious reasonably priced fried chicken and to our horror this f—- monkey just casually strolled over and just took it all, he just took our fried chicken. And then swaggered off like some kind of arrogant monkey gangster. I mean at one point they even hijacked this man and turned him into some kind of monkey transportation device. It was mental. So whilst the people of Japan may be kind, generous and law abiding, the animals they…. they don’t play by the rules But there are many places in Japan where animals have really made their mark and I think the coolest thing about each of these hotspots is just how unique they are. Each one has its own story and sense of adventure, across remote islands, mountain ranges and even city streets. So here’s the rundown on 5 of the best animal hotspots in Japan; what they are, where they are, and why… they are…does that work? Look how fun it is. Look how fun it is. Look how fun it is! Alright fine. Japan is the country that popularised the cat cafe, a place where you can sit and enjoy dozens of cats and overpriced coffee. But what if it isn’t enough? What if you want even more cats? Hidden away off the pacific coastline of north Japan is the island of Tashirojima, the cat equivalent, of Jurassic Park. To reach the island all you need is a 2,000 yen round trip boat ride ticket, and a pirate themed soundtrack to heighten the sense of adventure. Soon after stepping off the boat, you’ll find yourself receiving a warm welcome from more cats than you’ve probably ever seen. A warm welcome that definitely has nothing to do with all the food the cats are expecting. As well as having a silly amount of cats, the island even has its own dedicated cat shrine, celebrating the cats genuine and essential relationship with the islanders. Up until the 20th century the islands economy relied on textiles produced by silkworms. And to stop silkworms being viciously assassinated by mice, cats were brought in to dispose of the mice, as they saw fit. Over the years, the islands un-neutered cat population has reached the point where cats vastly outnumber the islands human inhabitants. It makes the island all the more impressive, knowing that the cats had a key role in the islands economy. In stark contrast to most domestic cats who sit around all day, eating your salary. Having visited the island twice, once in the winter and once in the summer, I can safely say, make sure you go, when its not winter. On a scale of 1 to 10? 13 13. Fantastic. Cat island receives the most adventurous award on account of its location and the fact the island has a mysterious forgotten feel to it. Heightened again, by that pirate soundtrack This cat literally looks like Hitler. Hitler cat! Where are you going? It’s difficult not to feel a sense of envy the first time you see the snow monkeys of Nagano relaxing in a hot spring. Nestled away in the mountains of central Japan the Jigokudani Valley is perhaps Japan’s most internationally famous animal hot spot. Quite literally a hot spot given that Jigokudani means “hells valley”, a name given on account of all the hot springs and steam rising up from the valley. Whilst the Japanese Macaque can be be found throughout the mountains of Japan, the Jigokudani valley is certainly an impressive backdrop to view the animals. The monkeys look absolutely hypnotic as they wander about, with their bright red faces in stark contrast to the white snowy backdrop. I visited the valley during my first winter in Japan, and whilst I still fondly remember almost breaking my leg on the 2km trek through the treacherous snow covered forest to get there, it was definitely worth it. If not to see the monkeys relaxing in the steam on a cold winters morning, then at the very least, to get this pretentious photo. The good news is the park is open all year around, although I’d highly recommend visiting during snow season. Also known as winter. More details can be found below, but the Nagano snow monkeys win the most captivating award as its difficult to get bored whilst watching the monkeys, wander around amongst their geothermal wonderland. And if you want to get even more up close and personal with the monkeys, so much so that they’re literally on your face, one honourable mention is the Kayabukiya Tavern in the city of Utsunomiya, about an hour north of Tokyo. The tavern has received quite a lot of attention over the years, as the monkeys are trained to bring customers napkins and beer, and perform some impressive stunts. When my friend Natsuki and I visited it last year, we were both pretty confused by it all, although we nonetheless enjoy our visit. You can find the link to our trip below, but its certainly worth a visit to anyone who really really likes monkeys. Two hours from the city of Hiroshima, in Japan’s inland sea lies the island of Okunoshima, a place that answers the eternal question; What is it that rabbits actually do? Cats like to chase mice, dogs are just seeking friendship and monkeys just want to sit in hot tubs all day. But rabbits motives still remain shrouded secrecy. Okunoshima offers a key to solving that mystery as there are probably more wild rabbits on the island , than anywhere in the milky way. Last summer I decided to visit the island and see if all the press the island had been receiving was accurate. And when I got there I did genuinely find a staggering amount of rabbits. Given that the rabbits are wild and desperate for dinner, their unsurprisingly confident in approaching visitors. Whilst playing with the rabbits, paradoxically, you’ll notice nearby signs for chemical weapons factories. It turns out during the second world war the island of Okunoshima was at the very heart of Japan’s chemical weapons programme. In fact, some believe the islands rabbits are descendants from test rabbits that escaped the test facilities. But regardless of how the rabbits got there, they’ve certainly thrived in the absence of natural predators. At first I did feel a bit cynical, in the same way I would if a nuclear test site was turned into a donkey theme park. But it nonetheless gives the island a nice sense of redemption. Up until my visit in August, I’d never spared much thought towards cute things, like rabbits, but I was pleased to discover I actually quite liked rabbits and perhaps, there is good in me after all. Incredible Oh my god... Okay, fun’s over. Go…go.. In the heart of the Ancient city of Nara, once briefly Japan’s capital city, is a huge sprawling park full of temples and shrines and over 1,000 deer. Traditionally a symbol of luck, today the deer can wander freely around the park and even on the nearby city streets. But perhaps the most impressive thing about the deer is that they will actually bow before you give them a delicious deer cracker. It’s said the deer should bow three times; First by holding the cracker in front of the deer, then behind your back and finally over their head. However, after you’ve been swarmed by half a dozen deer, completing this ritual quickly loses its appeal. There’s something quite enchanting about walking the streets of this ancient city, with these huge animals walking around of their own accord. Along with the temples and shrines. It makes Nara a really rewarding place to visit. And of course, you can take some more pretentious photos for your Facebook profile. It’s also worth giving an honourable mention to the deer on Miyajima island as well -the island home to the iconic UNESCO Torii gate in the sea. Word of warning though, the deer on Miyajima are somewhat bolder than the deer of Nara; a friend and I once went camping on the island and woke up halfway through the night to find a deer eating it’s way through our tent. So if you do find yourself going camping on Miyajima island, just be sure to take out tent insurance first. The first time someone mentioned Fox Village to me, I think I laughed at them in disbelief. So you can probably imagine my guilt several months later, when I was standing in Fox Village watching my friend Rachel holding a baby fox. Whilst technically not a hot spot, but a huge enclosure hidden away in a forest in the mountains of north Japan, to refer to it as a village seems entirely appropriate given the little huts dotted throughout the village and even an enigmatic leader who’ll meet you at the gates. What did you seek in the fox village? There are over 100 foxes throughout the village and to see them all, all you need to do is to reveal you hold some kind of food in your hand. As much as it pains me to say, the foxes are quite cute, and amusingly playful. Of all the places on this list, I’d say Fox Village will be the place that blows your mind the most and if you can make the trip it’s definitely worth it. You can check out our trip below, but Fox Village gets the most surreal award. Also, if you plan to visit Cat Island and Fox Village, both are relatively close to Sendai, so I highly recommend doing both over a two period, with a night spent in Sendai. So there you have it 5 of Japan’s most unique animal hot spots if you’ve visited somewhere in Japan with an abundance of animals - that wasn’t a zoo - please share your stories with us in the comments section below. And if you enjoyed the video, please don’t forget to show your support by hitting the like button. Thanks a lot guys, I’ll see you next time. You bastard. The effort I put in here. Why does he only stop when you beat box? You only stop when I beatbox! That was going to be a hit record. You let me down. You let me down big time.