Category Archives: Enjoy Japan’s nature & 4 seasons

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).

Merry Spring from Tokyo!

Merry Spring from Tokyo! This first day of Spring is a national holiday in Japan; I definitely appreciate it :) I could even see Mount Fuji from my building in Adachi ward this morning!

富士山 (Mount Fuji) seen from 足立区 (Adachi ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 21 March 2014.

Spring is gorgeous in Japan thanks to rows, skies and seas of white and pink perfumed cherry trees in streets, parks, riversides, mountains… Incomparable to the plum and peach blossoms seen since February! You can even enjoy cherry blossoms in Tokyo during walking tours with guides from March to April e.g. “2014 Best Cherry Blossoms” and “2014 Sweet Sakura Evening” by Travel Stand Japan.

Statue of a woman below cherry blossoms at 千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo, Japan) on 15 March 2014.

Why is Spring a great season in Japan? (1) You can enjoy beautiful nature through walks, hikes, rides on bicycles or horses… (2) You can eat sushi in a bento box with friends among cherry petals. (3) You can savour traditional Japanese sweets made from cherry flowers/leaves. (4) You can admire flying carps for Children’s Day on 05 May. (5) You can celebrate Buddha’s birthday at a Buddhist temple on 08 April…

Statue of Buddha at birth at 飛鳥寺 (Asuka-dera, Asuka, Japan) on 08 April 2013.

My travels in Japan and life in Tokyo formed dear “Spring memories”: a sea of cherry blossoms at Mount Yoshino in 2013, a Buddhist celebration for Buddha’s birthday at Asuka temple in 2013, sumo fights at Yasukuni shrine in 2004…

Sumo fight at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni shrine, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 April 2004.

This Spring, I plan to enjoy the 5 colours cherry blossoms festival in Tokyo, celebrate the Birth of Buddha at a Japanese temple, relax at outdoor hot springs, and visit the Fukushima prefecture. Contact me if you wish to join and enjoy inner Japan :)

  • Spring on Inner Japan.
  • Japanese calendar on Inner Japan.
  • Mount Fuji on Inner Japan.


  • Adachi ward = 足立区 (Adachi-ku), Tokyo = 東京.
  • Mount Fuji = 富士山 (Fuji-san), Mount Yoshino = 吉野山 (Yoshino-yama).
  • Fukushima prefecture = 福島県 (Fukushima-ken).
  • Asuka temple = 飛鳥寺 (Asuka-dera), Yasukuni shrine = 靖国神社 (Yasukuni-jinja).
  • Buddha’s birthday = 花会式 (Hanaeshiki), Children’s Day = こどもの日 (Kodomo-no-hi).
  • 5 colours cherry blossoms festival = 五色桜まつり (Go-shiki-zakura-matsuri).
  • Travel Stand Japan = トラベルスタンドジャパン (Torabelu-Sutando-Japan).