Tag Archives: Animal

Panda Café in Tokyo: recommended by Sébastien Duval

Our favourite travel agent in Asia, Sébastien Duval, just discovered the Panda Café in Tokyo’s Taito ward while exploring Asakusa area on foot. He strongly recommended us this great coffee shop (and restaurant) near Tawaramachi subway station notably for its small terrace, delicious desserts shaped like animals, and exciting room for children upstairs!

Interested? Learn about Panda Café on Inner Japan‘s new page: “ぱんだカフェ (Panda Café)“.

Iriomote to Yubu island: Cross the sea with a water buffalo!

During your stay on Iriomote island, a water buffalo with large circular horns can quickly take you across the sea to visit the botanical garden of Yubu island! It is great fun the first time and there is no way to get sea sick :)

Travel photo 1: Water buffalos ready to go to Yubu island.
Water buffalos on 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) ready to go to 由布島 (Yubu island) on 01 November 2008.

Travel photo 2: Tourists crossing the sea in a cart pulled by a water buffalo :)
Tourists in a cart pulled by a water buffalo crossing the sea between 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) and 由布島 (Yubu island) on 01 November 2008.

Travel photo 3: Iriomote island seen from behind a water buffalo!
西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) seen from behind a water buffalo on 01 November 2008.

During my autumnal trip in Okinawa, the driver even played an Okinawan musical instrument “sanshin” during the crossing :) Will you be that lucky too?



  • Water buffalo = 水牛 (Suigyu).
  • Iriomote island = 西表島 (Iriomote-jima), Yubu island = 由布島 (Yubu-jima).
  • Okinawa prefecture = 沖縄県 (Okinawa-ken).

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.