African and other wildlife in the Japanese provinces.

It’s already the school holidays in Russia, which means my kids were kicking about the apartment and starting to get a little bored already. So when I saw that Japan was on my business-trip schedule for June, I figured I could take them with me for some pre-business tourism – taking in both Tokyo and Mount Fuji. When I suggested this they jumped at the chance; but of course they did, for look what awaited them:

However, when planning the trip, I forgot to consider the seasonal climatic conditions for June in Japan. And it wasn’t as if it was the first time I was heading to the land of the rising sun in June either – and those times were always murky and damp. Btw – the first pic above was taken in November (of 2013) – one of the best times of the year to see Mount Fuji; unlike June, grrr ->

Still, the kids didn’t seem to mind; and I’d seen Fuji quite a few times already – including from up above it ->

That was in May 2016. What a difference a month makes!

And this was taken two years earlier – also in May – when we climbed all the way to its peak ->

And here’s the pic from the very top. That post there marks the peak, and there’s the volcano’s crater behind it ->

Handily, there’s a safari park next to Mount Fuji ->

These are the views the internet may have you expecting to see:

(photo from the official site of the safari park)

…But you sure don’t get to see them in June. Reminiscent of Kamchatkan mirages, the backdrop of mountains and volcanoes simply disappears!

Still, everything in the foreground was clearly visible – including all the animals. Upon entry into the park you’ve two options – take the tourist bus, or drive around the park in your own vehicle. If you go for the latter you’re warned to never open any windows – and certainly not to leave your vehicle. The animals may be Japanese, but they’re still all wild!

First up: bears ->

It seemed to me that these Japanese bears, though close relatives to Siberian brown bears, are less brown, and more… ginger! Also, their faces seem… cuter, less fierce.

// Alas, I didn’t get the chance to snap the bears myself – I was too long changing my lens and we couldn’t stay in one spot long enough. Accordingly, these are from the internet:


To compare, here are their Kamchatkan relatives ->

Safari – Japanese style: drive just 90 minutes from the metropolis, and in your own car take a cruise round a safari park! ->

I mentioned the buses you can take round the park. But not just any old buses! ->

Actually, taking the bus may be the better option: you can feed the animals through the latticed side panels!

Next up: lions ->

I wonder – is that a friendly look at the passers-by, or an angry one? Or is it indifference? I couldn’t tell ->

Actually, we were told how most of the animals aren’t truly wild, but were born here inside the safari park ->

Tigers, much like the lions, showed little interest in the passing tourists ->

Bone – chained up! ->

Cheetah! What a beaut. Alas, holed up in the safari park, cheetahs don’t reproduce…

Asian elephants ->

Rhinos! ->

Antelope? ->

Molting camels ->


Feeding time – through the sunroof! ->

I wonder what the zebra thinks of that there pattern? ->

Onward, to the smaller hooved beasts ->

We’d feed her, but we’ve nothing to give her. And we can’t even open the windows ->

There are even bison! ->

The Australian quarter ) ->

Capybara ->

A strange kind of hare ->

A wallaby. One just like it once darted out in front of me while I was drivining down in Oz. I only just managed to swerve in time…

This little cutey was real popular with passing tourists. The park needs to be careful though: if they keep pampering him like this he’ll grow up an uncontrollable spoilt brat ->

Over there – apparently – Mount Fuji! ->

So, now you know there’s more to Mount Fuji and environs than you once thought. Actually, there are a lot more interesting places around the volcano: lakes, parks, ryokan and onsen (traditional Japanese hotels and hot springs, respectively). I think you could spend a good week here with so much to do and see…

I’ve been here plenty of times (including in 2008, 2017 and 2018) and seen all kinds of super scenery, (and sailed upon lakes, and explored ice caves, and climbed to the top of Fuji, as mentioned), but I still keep wanting to return – again and again…

There’s also Shiraito Falls near Mount Fuji, here ->

Falls + Fuji ->

But that’s not my pic – and it wasn’t the season of our visit this time! ->

These are my pics:

And that was that. And it was time to be heading back to the city. Plenty more tourisms coming up, followed by work. But more on all that later…

The rest of the photos from Japan are here.

Leave a note