There will be Pumas and Wallabies, Springboks and Bears and Eagles… it’s the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Bears are the Russians but you’d probably work that out with my help.
And the Eagles the Americans. Again, that’s self-evident.
But what of the host nation, the Japanese?
Well, no, they don’t take their name from their indigenous animals but their flower, the Cherry Blossom.
But if you get the chance then you’ll want to see some wildlife when you’re there.
And like these monkeys they do come up pretty close.
Craic with a macaque
Yes, to give them their Sunday names they are macaques.
But we know them better as snow monkeys.
Travel to Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture and you’ll see the hot spring bathing wild monkeys in their natural habitat.
You’ll need to be around in December to see them surrounded by snow… who knows you may decide to stay, or even come back?
But you’ll not miss out in the Autumn either.
There will be plenty of whoops in the rugby but these guys are whooping all the time.
Or why else would they get their names?
These fellas live further north in Hokkaido and are one of the heaviest flying birds weighing an average of eight to eleven kilogrammes.
They migrate to Japan in the winter settling in the Hokkaido Prefecture.
Where they spend most of their time in the water as their legs can’t support their weight.
Steller’s Sea Eagles
The Americans won’t like it because we all know that everything is bigger and better in the Oo Es of A.
But these fellas are the largest eagles in the world with a 2.5m wing span.
If they swoop down by you you’ll get a closer look at their white and chocolate brown livery and yellow beaks.
Or you might have turned tail by then.
Each winter they gather on the north coast travelling to the Nemuro Peninsula in Hokkaido to hunt for Pacific cod.
We’re advised to take an ice drift cruise from Nemuro or the fishing village of Rausa.
Again it’s probably the wrong time with you being there for the World Cup.
January and February is better so put it in your calendar.
Over half of the world’s red-crowed cranes call Hokkaido home with just 3,300 wild cranes across the planet.
The Japanese believe they are lucky and bring happiness, longevity and peace.
Though from the looks of them they appear to be making a lot of noise.
They can be found in Japanese folk tales, paintings, prints and decorated sliding doors called fusuma.
Kushiro City, Tsurui village and Akan village are three major feeding sites.
Again the best sightings are between November and March.
So maybe it’s best just to book your return trip to Japan to see its natural wild life.
And in the meantime celebrate the menagerie of rugby players grunting and running around the field.
And I’ve been keeping you up to date with other aspects of Japan and deals out there… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/19/bug-in-japan/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/10/this-sporting-weekend-rugbys-big-in-japan/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/24/turning-japanese-2/.
MEET YOU IN THE BARS