This is the page topSite menu starts
To main body
Main body starts

Wildlife of Okutama

Copper Pheasant

The copper pheasant is the official town bird of Okutama Town. Copper pheasants can be found near the Yozawa River, and near the river that runs to the south of Imakuma Shrine. These birds are a part of the Phasianidae, or pheasant, family, and are endemic to Japan. They range in length from about 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) to 125 centimeters (49.2 inches), with females falling on the shorter end of that scale, and males on the longer. The males can be easily identified by their beautiful tail feathers. Copper pheasants live in thick forests in hilly and mountainous areas. They spend most of their time on the ground, and eat tree nuts, grass seeds, worms, and insects. The topography of Okutama Town makes it an ideal habitat for these pheasants, and they have been loved by the local residents for many generations.

Copper pheasant

Asiatic Black Bear

The Asiatic black bear, also known as the moon bear, is a mammal belonging to the suborder Caniformia, the family Ursidae, and the genus Ursus. These bears live in the forest zone within the natural park. Each bear has a unique moon-shaped pattern, which can be used to tell different bears apart. Although the Asiatic black bear is smaller than the brown bear, its arms are stronger, and a chance encounter with one of these bears could lead to serious injury. In the Okutama area, bear sightings are reported even in the harsh winter months of January and February. Before setting out on a hike, check with the Okutama Visitor Center as to whether any bears have been sighted. In addition, you should carry a whistle or other items that can be used to make noise, and avoid hiking alone. These preparatory measures can help you to avoid conflict with bears.

Asiatic black bear

Japanese Serow

The Japanese serow is designated as one of Japan’s special natural treasures. This species, which is endemic to Japan, can be found in the city of Ome and the town of Okutama, along the forest roads in the Tamagawa and Nippara river valleys. Serows resemble deer, but are actually related to cows. They live in the mountainous areas of the park, where they mark their territory on trees with a mucus secreted from their suborbital glands. There is a large picture of a Japanese serow on the front of the Okutama Visitor Center, which serves as a landmark for visitors.

Japanese serow

Sika Deer

A diverse variety of plants grow in the water conservation forests of the Okutama area, and many large mammals such as the sika deer, the Japanese macaque, the Japanese serow, and the Asiatic black bear also live here. Sika deer are herbivores that eat grasses, leaves, tree nuts, and fruit. In recent years, the number of sika deer has been increasing, and the damage that they cause to the forests has also become more serious. As a result, people have begun installing fences and taking other measures to protect the forests from the deer. The meat of the sika deer, which is a type of game meat, is also a popular specialty of Okutama.

Sika deer

Mitsuba Azalea and Azuma Rhododendron

Azaleas blooming between the mountains are a sign of spring. The mitsuba azalea (Rhododendron dilatatum) is the official flower of Okutama Town, and blooms between the end of March and the beginning of May. The plants grow in the steep, V-shaped valleys that extend from the foot of the mountains to the peaks, and fuchsia flowers start to bloom in the valleys in early spring. The azuma rhododendron is an evergreen tree in the family Ericaceae. The wild rhododendrons in Okutama are one variety of azuma rhododendron that grows in subalpine zones. People call these rhododendrons “takamine no hana,” which means “a prize beyond reach,” and they are well known for the fact that they will not take root if you attempt to transplant them.

Azuma rhododendrons

Mongolian Oak

The town of Okutama is home to many giant trees, including the Mongolian oak on Mt. Kintai. This Mongolian oak is approximately 800 years old and 25 meters (82 feet) tall, and measures approximately 6.5 meters (21 feet) around the trunk. It is one of the most impressive giant trees in all of Japan. The Mongolian oak is one of the more common trees in Japan’s temperate forests, and its leaves are beautiful both when young and green in spring, and when colored a brilliant yellow in the fall. The entrance to the hiking trail that leads to Mt. Kintai’s Mongolian oak is opposite the road between the Nippara Limestone Caves. This hiking trail is dangerous in some places, so please make sure you are thoroughly prepared before you set out.

Mongolian oak

Veitch’s Fir Forest

The virgin forest on Mt. Kumotori contains Veitch’s fir, an evergreen conifer in the family Pinaceae and the genus Abies that is endemic to Japan. The trees that grow in this conifer forest vary according to the altitude. Japanese firs grow up to an altitude of about 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), Nikko firs grow at altitudes of about 1,700-1,800 meters (5,580-5,900 feet), and Veitch’s firs grow at even higher altitudes. Veitch’s fir is representative of subalpine zones, and Mt. Kumotori is the only subalpine zone in Tokyo.

A virgin forest of Veitch’s fir and Japanese hemlock

Viola biflora

Viola biflora is a wildflower that is sure to catch your eye as you hike in the mountains of Okutama. Its Japanese name is kihana no koma no tsume, which means “yellow flower of the horse’s hoof.” It is a perennial in the genus Viola, and blooms from May to June. Yellow violas such as this are rare in Japan. The name kihana no koma no tsume comes from the fact that the plant’s round leaves look like the hooves of a horse. This flower grows in damp places around Mt. Kumotori, the only subalpine zone in Japan, as well as along the banks of rivers and streams.

Viola biflora


このページの担当は自然環境部 緑環境課 自然公園計画担当です。

Main body ends
Footer starts