Meeting wild cats, piranhas, vipers and lizards on Iriomote island!

Beautiful wild animals inhabit the jungle and rivers of Iriomote island. Some are cute and friendly… some are scary and dangerous… as I could witness during holidays in Okinawa in 2008.

Ecotour photo 1: Friendly lizard accepting my invitation to come on my sweaty arm. Admire its right eye, scales, yellow and dark tail, claws… What a good surprise! What an experience!
Lizard on Sébastien Duval's arm on 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October 2008.

Ecotour photo 2: Colourful lizard featuring black, yellow and blue stripes. Open your eyes in the jungle, look on the ground, on trunks, between leaves…
Colourful lizard in the jungle of 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October 2008.

Ecotour photo 3: Venomous Habu viper. Be careful with such snakes and listen to your guide’s instructions!
Venomous Habu viper in the jungle of 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October 2008.

Ecotour example 4 (no photo due to fast movement and reflections): Ferocious Minami-kurodai piranhas in Nakama river.

Ecotour example 5 (no photo due to fast movement at night): Iriomote-yamaneko wild cat (endangered species).

Meeting wild animals while trekking or canoeing in a jungle really changes one’s vision of life, nature and humanity. I can only recommend it, with a good guide on Iriomote island or elsewhere in the world!



  • Iriomote island = 西表島 (Iriomote-jima), Okinawa prefecture = 沖縄県 (Okinawa-ken).
  • Nakama river = 仲間川 (Nakama-gawa).
  • Habu = 波布, Minami-kurodai = 南黒鯛, Iriomote-yamaneko = 西表山猫.

Mangrove & Sakishima-suo trees in Iriomote island’s jungle

Exceptional trees live in the jungle of Iriomote island. Some look thirsty… some look prehistoric… as shown on these photos of my trip to Okinawa in October/November 2008 :)

First example reached by canoe, a mangrove with long roots plunging into a river:
Mangrove on 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October 2008.

Second example reached on foot after canoeing, a Sakishima-suo tree with impressively tall but thin roots. Just grab one like a plank!
Sébastien Duval with François between the roots of a Sakishima-suo tree on 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October 2008.

These exciting sights of Japanese nature were only two of the many good surprises of Iriomote island! Ready for some ecotourism in Japan?



  • Iriomote island = 西表島 (Iriomote-jima), Okinawa prefecture = 沖縄県 (Okinawa-ken).
  • Sakishima-suo tree = 先島蘇芳木 (Sakishima-suo-no-ki).

Any famous hot spring in Okinawa prefecture?

Okinawa prefecture has no famous hot spring. Still, Okinawa lets you relax in the water: you can swim in the sea at beautiful beaches or e.g. in the fresh pool at the bottom of Pinaisara waterfalls on Iriomote island! This is inner Japan :)

ピナイサーラの滝 (Pinaisara waterfalls) above the jungle of 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October 2008.



  • Hot spring = 温泉 (Onsen).
  • Okinawa prefecture = 沖縄県 (Okinawa-ken), Iriomote island = 西表島 (Iriomote-jima).
  • Pinaisara waterfalls = ピナイサーラの滝 (Pinaisara-no-taki).

Japan’s 47 administrative areas: list and map in English

Japan is administratively divided in 47 complementary areas listed in English below by big region from North-East to South-West:

  1. Hokkaido
  2. Aomori
  3. Iwate
  4. Akita
  5. Miyagi
  6. Yamagata
  7. Fukushima
  8. Ibaraki
  9. Tochigi
  10. Gunma
  11. Chiba
  12. Saitama
  13. Tokyo
  14. Kanagawa
  15. Niigata
  16. Toyama
  17. Ishikawa
  18. Nagano
  19. Gifu
  20. Fukui
  21. Yamanashi
  22. Shizuoka
  23. Aichi
  24. Shiga
  25. Kyoto
  26. Hyogo
  27. Mie
  28. Nara
  29. Osaka
  30. Wakayama
  31. Tottori
  32. Shimane
  33. Okayama
  34. Hiroshima
  35. Yamaguchi
  36. Kagawa
  37. Tokushima
  38. Ehime
  39. Kochi
  40. Fukuoka
  41. Saga
  42. Nagasaki
  43. Oita
  44. Miyazaki
  45. Kumamoto
  46. Kagoshima
  47. Okinawa

Any specialist of Japan should know this basic list and should be able to place the 47 names on an administrative map of Japan. Do not wait if you plan to be an English-speaking tour conductor, tour guide or travel agent in Japan like Sébastien Duval :)

Map of Japan with the names of the prefectures in English. (Public domain via Wikimedia thanks to Tokyoship)

Learn more about Japan – Nihon – Nippon on Inner Japan

Spinach quiche and strawberry crepe roll at Muusa (Tokyo)

I lunched at Muusa (Tokyo) today, savouring a French quiche prepared with spinach, bacon and potatoes by TSUGAWA Sachiko and her assistant. Afterwards, I enjoyed 3 slices of strawberry crepe roll offered by Sachiko to celebrate the first business anniversary of Muusa :) Wonderful surprise and great taste!

Quiche prepared with spinach, bacon and potatoes at ムーサ (Muusa, Tokyo, Japan) on 16 April 2014.

Strawberry crepe roll at ムーサ (Muusa, Tokyo, Japan) on 16 April 2014.

Why not enjoy a delicious quiche or sweet during your next lunch in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward?



  • Muusa = ムーサ, Chiyoda ward = 千代田区 (Chiyoda-ku), Tokyo = 東京.
  • TSUGAWA Sachiko = 津川・幸子.