Plants & Animals

Nikko National Park

As you rise in altitude in the Nasu and Shiobara areas of Nikko National Park, the landscape changes from broadleaf deciduous forests of Japanese beech and oak to coniferous forests of fir and thuja trees. Large mammals like the Japanese serow, Japanese deer and Asiatic black bear inhabit this region, as well as a variety of fish and amphibians.

Above 1,600 meters in the Nikko and Kinugawa areas, you'll find coniferous forests and Erman's birches. The ridgelines and summits above 2,400 meters feature shrubby alpine-belt vegetation, giving you unobstructed views of your surroundings. Fields of cottongrass cover wetlands such as Kinunuma Swamp and Senjogahara. Many Japanese macaques inhabit these areas.


Shirane Aoi

The word "shirane" in the name of this Japan-endemic species comes from Mount Nikko-Shirane, once home to a large colony of the flowers. Now greatly reduced due to predation by deer and illegal digging, Shirane aoi (Glaucidium palmatum), also known as Japanese wood poppies, are protected by ongoing conservation initiatives.

Shirane aoi


Japanese Macaque

Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) are found throughout the non-mountainous parts of the Nikko area. Nikko City enacted Japan's first ordinance prohibiting the feeding of these monkeys and raised awareness of their habit of stealing bags from tourists, considerably decreasing the problem.

Japanese macaque

Japanese Deer

Male Japanese deer (Cervus nippon) have magnificent antlers. Their population has expanded greatly, however, and they are a primary cause of severe damage to forest vegetation. These deer can often be spotted in Oku-nikko.

Japanese deer

Asiatic Black Bear

The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus), called tsukinowaguma or "moon-ring bear," is distinguished by the crescent-shaped white marking on its chest. Found in the park's forests, this bear is the largest mammal on Honshu, Japan's main island.

Asiatic black bear

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