If you go to Hakuba for skiing it is possible to see wildlife from the lifts at the ski resorts. If you keep your eyes open you almost certainly see some. Here are some of the animals you might see:•Japanese snow monkey or macaque which is seems to be getting easier to see in Hakuba. You can add on a tour to your skiing holiday if you want to see them bathing themselves in the hot springs. Lately they have been seen on the Happo ski slopes, with the ski patrol having to shoo them away. •Japanese serow (an antelope-goat type animal of large size with a weight to130 kg). They feed on acorns, the buds of new leaves and any whole leafs still hanging on the trees. •Red Fox which is native to Japan and can be seen occasionally in Hakuba. The author saw it cross a very steep slope high above Happo ski resort (and therefore way above the tree-line) with great ease in the middle of winter.•Japanese hare which is only found in Japan. It changes colour from brown to white in winter and you can identify it by the black tips on it's ears.•Japanese Racoon dog which is actually distantly related to the dog, and is not in actual fact a racoon at all. It eats leaves, bulbs, fruit, insects and rodents. Pretty much anything actually. •Asiatic black bear has been seen very often lately in Hakuba village in the summer seasons. So often actually that they have loudspeakers village wide to warn people in BOTH Japanese and English when they are seen. As it hibernates throughout from November to March you are unlikely to see it unless you are in Hakuba for spring skiing (April and early May) and even then you would have to be very lucky to see one, but if you do you should keep well away.Tracks in the snowWhen you are on that lift keep your eyes open for animal footprints. They are especially prevalent anywhere there are a lot of trees, but sometimes you will see them directly under the lift. If you follow them with your eyes and see what’s at the end you might be surprised. The pictures below will help you identify which animal they belong to.
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Fox footprint Monkey footprint Japanese serow Japanese hare