For non-Japanese people, it is always surprising to see the large geographical expansion of Japan from the tropical habitats of the southern Yaeyama Islands, through the subtropical evergreen laurel forest of Okinawa, to the cold, northern Eurasian habitats of Hokkaido in the north of the country.
Depending on the geographic location and habitat formation, tropical animal species have migrated from the Philippines and Taiwan to the southern islands, and Eurasian species to the northern island Hokkaido. In the course of evolution, endemic species have evolved on the different islands because of isolation. Therefore Japan has a great diversity in fauna and flora.
Character endemic species on the Yaeyama Islands are: Iriomote wild cat, Crested serpent eagle and Yellow-margined Box Turtle.
For the Yambaru Forest on Okinawa the Ryukyu Long-tailed tree-rat, Okinawa Rail, Ryukyu Green Pigeon and the Amami as well as the Yambaru Woodpecker are characteristic.
Character endemic species on Hokkaido are the Brown bear, Ezo sika deer, Ezo red fox, Blakiston’s fish owl and the Japanese crane.
If possible, Japanese cranes and their different behaviour should be observed at different seasons: Mating in large groups in winter, breeding in early spring and living in small groups in summer.
But many other interesting, rare and very often endemic species can be observed all over Japan like the Japan macaque, Black bear and Mountain hare.