Japanese Animals Vocabulary

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For English language learners fascinated by unique fauna, Japan offers an array of distinctive creatures. This article will explore the vocabulary related to Japanese animals, providing visual descriptions and classifications that will both expand your lexicon and illuminate the rich wildlife in Japan. 
Explore the Japanese Animals Vocabulary Guide in English.

List of Japanese Mammals

As a language learner, understanding the fauna of a region can help you connect more deeply with its culture and environment. Here is the list of endemic Japanese mammals and the terms that describe them:

  • Japanese Macaque (Snow Monkey): A medium-sized monkey native to Japan, known for its red face and grayish-brown fur. A monkey with a distinctive red face, long whiskers, and a thick, brownish-gray fur coat. This monkey is the list of rare Japanese animals.
  • Yakushima Macaque: A subspecies of Japanese macaque found on Yakushima Island, known for its unique behavior and adaptations. Similar to the Japanese macaque, but may have slight differences in appearance due to regional variation.
  • Japanese Hare: A species of hare found in various regions of Japan, known for its long ears and swift running abilities. A slender hare with long, erect ears and a brownish-gray coat, blending well with its natural habitat.
  • Amami Rabbit: A rare and endangered species of rabbit found on Amami Island, characterized by its small size and distinct appearance. A small rabbit with a round face, short limbs, and a brownish-gray coat.
  • Hokkaido Flying Squirrel: A type of flying squirrel native to Hokkaido, Japan, known for its gliding abilities. A small, fluffy squirrel with a furry membrane between its limbs, allowing it to glide from tree to tree.
  • Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel: One of the smallest flying squirrels in Japan, with remarkable gliding skills. A tiny, adorable squirrel with large, dark eyes and a light-colored, fluffy coat.
  • Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel: The largest flying squirrel species in Japan, found in mountainous areas. A sizable flying squirrel with a thick, fluffy tail and a brownish-black fur coat.
  • Japanese Dormouse: A small, arboreal rodent with a long, bushy tail, found in forested regions. A cute, mouse-like creature with large, dark eyes and a furry, multi-colored coat.
  • Ryukyu Long-tailed Giant Rat: A large rat species native to the Ryukyu Islands, with a long tail and a distinctive appearance. A big rat with a long, scaly tail and a brownish-gray coat, living in forested areas.
  • Small Japanese Field Mouse: A tiny mouse species found in various habitats across Japan. A small mouse with a pointed snout, round ears, and a brownish-gray fur coat.
  • Japanese Marten: A carnivorous mammal with a slender body and a sleek appearance. A slender creature with a long body, short legs, and dark brown fur.
  • Hokkaido Red Fox: A subspecies of red fox found in Hokkaido, Japan, known for its thick winter fur. A fox with a red-orange coat, bushy tail, and a white-tipped tail, often seen during the winter months.
  • Hokkaido Marten: A subspecies of the marten native to Hokkaido, Japan. A marten with a slender body, short legs, and dark brown fur, living in the forested regions of Hokkaido.
  • Japanese Weasel: A small, carnivorous mammal with a slim body and a distinctive white underbelly. A sleek creature with short legs, a long body, and a coat ranging from brown to light orange.
  • Iriomote Cat: An endangered wildcat species found only on Iriomote Island, Japan. A wildcat with a small, muscular body, short legs, and a dark brownish coat with faint spots.
  • Tsushima Cat: A small wildcat species found on Tsushima Island, Japan, with unique adaptations. A small wildcat with a yellowish-brown coat, slender body, and prominent ear tufts.
  • Japanese Mountain Mole: A mole species found in mountainous regions of Japan, adapted for burrowing. A small mole with tiny eyes, a cylindrical body, and velvety black fur.
  • Japanese Deer: A group of deer species found in various parts of Japan, often seen in forests and mountains. A deer with slender legs, a reddish-brown coat, and prominent antlers in males.
  • Hokkaido Deer: A subspecies of deer found on Hokkaido Island, Japan, with adaptations to the cold climate. Similar to other deer species, but may have adaptations like a thicker coat for the colder environment.
  • Japanese Serow: A goat-antelope species found in mountainous areas of Japan, known for its sure-footedness. A sturdy, goat-like animal with a coarse, grayish-brown coat and backward-curving horns.
  • Ryukyu-Fruit Bat: A species of fruit bat native to the Ryukyu Islands in Japan, known for its large size and ability to consume fruits. A sizable bat with a wingspan of about 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) and a dark-brown or black fur coat. It has large, round eyes and pointed ears.
  • Bonin-Fruit Bat: A species of fruit bat found in the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands, in Japan. Similar to the Ryukyu-Fruit Bat, it has a large wingspan and a dark-colored fur coat.

From the snowy mountains to the dense forests, these Japanese wild animals capture the essence of the country's wildlife. By mastering these terms, you'll be able to describe a unique aspect of Japan's rich biodiversity.

Japanese Birds

Birds are not only fascinating creatures, but their names can also be a great addition to your vocabulary. Discover the names Japanese birds and learn their descriptions to identify various species.

  • Japanese Green Woodpecker: A woodpecker species found in various parts of Japan, characterized by its green plumage and wood-drilling habits. A medium-sized woodpecker with green feathers on its upperparts, a red crown, and a yellowish-white underbelly.
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker: A woodpecker species found in Japan, recognized for its striking black and white plumage. A medium-sized woodpecker with a black head and wings, a white face and underparts, and red markings on its belly.
  • Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker: A small woodpecker species native to Japan, known for its diminutive size. A tiny woodpecker with a red crown, black and white striped face, and a light brown or grayish body.
  • Japanese Long-tailed Chicken (Onagadori): A domestic chicken breed originating from Japan, renowned for its extremely long tail feathers. A unique-looking chicken with an elongated tail that can reach lengths of over 20 feet (6 meters). It has various color patterns on its body and feathers.
  • Japanese Accentor: A small passerine bird found in Japan, known for its distinctive song. A small bird with a brownish-gray plumage, a white eye-ring, and streaks on its chest.
  • Japanese Wood Pigeon: A species of pigeon native to Japan, typically found in forests and woodlands. A medium-sized pigeon with a grayish-brown body, a white neck patch, and dark markings on its wings.
  • Copper Pheasant (Japanese Copper Pheasant): A subspecies of pheasant found in Japan, known for its vibrant copper-colored plumage. A large bird with a coppery-red body, iridescent green and blue feathers on its wings, and a long, sweeping tail.
  • Amami Jay: A bird species endemic to the Amami Islands in Japan, recognized for its striking appearance and vocalizations. A medium-sized bird with a blue crown, black face, and white throat. Its wings and tail are also blue, while the rest of the body is brownish.
  • Japanese Tit: A small passerine bird found throughout Japan, often seen in gardens and wooded areas. A tiny bird with a black cap on its head, a white face, and a yellowish-green body with a prominent black stripe down its belly.
  • Japanese Robin: A small bird species found in various habitats across Japan, known for its red breast. A small bird with a grayish-brown back, a distinctive red or orange breast, and a white belly.
  • Okinawa Rail: A flightless bird species found only on the island of Okinawa, Japan, and considered critically endangered. A medium-sized bird with dark brown plumage, a red beak, and a distinctive white patch on its wings.

Now that you are familiar with these Japanese birds, you've added another feather to your language-learning cap. Continue to use these words in your study and conversations, as each one holds a piece of Japanese culture and history.


Names of Japanese Amphibians and Reptiles

For language learners, understanding a region's diverse fauna is an excellent way to enhance vocabulary. Learn some Japanese amphibians and reptiles to enrich your Japanese vocabulary.

  • Japanese Pond Turtle: A species of freshwater turtle native to Japan, often found in ponds and slow-moving streams. A small turtle with a flattened shell, dark brown or black coloration, and yellowish markings on its head and limbs.
  • Japanese Ground Gecko: A ground-dwelling gecko species found in Japan, known for its distinctive appearance. A small gecko with a slender body, large eyes, and light brown or grayish coloration.
  • Tawa Gecko: A type of gecko native to Japan, often found in forests and rocky areas. A small, nocturnal gecko with a slender body, a yellowish-brown color, and dark markings on its back.
  • Ryukyu Tree Lizard: A species of tree lizard found in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, known for its arboreal lifestyle. A slender lizard with a long tail, a green or brown coloration, and the ability to climb trees.
  • Scincella Boettgeri: A species of skink found in Japan, known for its small size and secretive behavior. A tiny skink with smooth, shiny scales, a slender body, and a brownish-gray coloration.
  • Plestiodon Stimpsonii: A species of skink native to Japan, commonly found in forested areas. A small skink with a cylindrical body, short legs, and a brown or gray coloration with darker markings.
  • Plestiodon Marginatus: A species of skink found in Japan, recognized for its distinctive appearance and habitat preferences. A skink with a slender body, a brown or reddish coloration, and a series of dark stripes or spots on its back.
  • Kishinoue's Giant Skink: A large skink species native to Japan, characterized by its size and unique features. A sizeable skink with a cylindrical body, a reddish-brown color, and a series of dark bands on its back.
  • Takydromus Smaragdinus: A species of lizard found in Japan, known for its swift movements and green coloration. A small, agile lizard with a bright green color and a slender body, often seen in grassy areas.
  • Ryukyu Green Snake: A species of non-venomous snake found in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. A slender snake with a green coloration and a yellow or white underside, living in various habitats.
  • Japanese Forest Ratsnake: A non-venomous snake species found in forested areas of Japan. A medium to large-sized snake with a patterned body, typically brown or black with lighter markings.
  • Japanese Striped Snake: A snake species found in Japan, characterized by its striped pattern. A slender snake with dark brown or black coloration and yellowish stripes running along its body.
  • Amami Coral Snake: A venomous snake species found on Amami Island, Japan. A small snake with a striking color pattern, featuring bright red or orange bands separated by narrower black bands along its body.
  • Okinawa Habu: A venomous pit viper species found on the islands of Okinawa and surrounding areas in Japan. A stout-bodied snake with a diamond-shaped head, a brown or gray coloration, and distinctive markings, including dark bands and speckles.
  • Japanese Giant Salamander: One of the largest salamander species in the world, native to Japan's freshwater streams and rivers. A large, robust amphibian with a wrinkled appearance, a large, robust amphibian with a wrinkled appearance, a dark brown or black color, and a flattened head.
  • Abe's Salamander: A species of salamander found in Japan, known for its unique reproductive behavior. A medium-sized salamander with a dark brown or black coloration, and its skin may have rough texture.
  • Japanese Fire Belly Newt: A species of newt found in Japan, recognized for its vibrant red or orange underside. A small newt with a slender body, a dark brown or black upper surface, and a bright red or orange underbelly.
  • Japanese Stream Toad: A species of toad found in the freshwater streams and rivers of Japan. A medium-sized toad with a plump body, warty skin, and a brown or olive coloration with dark markings.

These amphibians and reptiles are a testament to the biodiversity found within Japan. By mastering these terms, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the vibrant Japanese ecosystem and will be better equipped to converse about its unique wildlife.

Types of Japanese Fish

When studying a new language, exploring diverse and dynamic topics like the aquatic life of a region can be an exciting way to broaden your vocabulary. Here's a list of Japanese fish species to bolster your lexicon.

  • Koi (Carp): Ornamental fish known for their vibrant colors and patterns.
  • Maguro (Tuna): A large, fast-swimming pelagic fish, prized in sushi cuisine.
  • Unagi (Eel): Long, snake-like fish, often served grilled in Japanese cuisine.
  • Kajika (Bullhead): A small bottom-dwelling fish with wide, flattened head.
  • Fugu (Pufferfish):  A relatively small fish with a shape resembling a football. It has a dull, often grayish, skin covered with spiky scales It might be considered as the most dangerous animal in Japan.
  • Ika (Squid): Cephalopods known for their elongated bodies, large eyes, and tentacles.
  • Tako (Octopus): Known for its rounded body, bulging eyes, and eight long arms.
  • Karei (Flounder): A flat fish with both eyes located on one side of the head.
  • Sake or Shake (Salmon): Fish known for their migration pattern, where they return to their birthplace to spawn.
  • Nishin (Herring): Silver-colored fish used extensively in Japanese cuisine.
  • Shima-aji (Striped horse mackerel): A coastal fish with distinctive black stripes running down its body.
  • Hamachi (Japanese amberjack): A popular fish in sushi, it's a predatory species found in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Tai (Red snapper): A fish with a light pink to red skin and a firm texture.

As you've seen, Japan's marine life is both diverse and unique, reflected in this collection of Japanese fish. Keep practicing these terms to enrich your knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.


Gaining an understanding of the diverse vocabulary associated with Japanese animals provides an enriching perspective into Japan's rich biodiversity. From rare species to the numerous types of mammals, birds, and fish, the world of wildlife in Japan is a treasure trove of unique fauna that adds depth to your linguistic skills. 

By learning these terms, you're not just expanding your vocabulary but also gaining a glimpse into the animals native to Japan. May this knowledge guide your future explorations and conversations, enhancing your connection with the beautiful tapestry of life that is unique to Japan.

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PromovaNov 28th, 2023
The Yakushima macaque, a subspecies of the Japanese macaque, plays a vital role in the island's ecosystem. Due to its isolation, this species might display slight variations in behavior or appearance. These variations could include adaptations to specific diets or environmental conditions, making them an essential part of the island's biodiversity and an indicator of its unique ecosystem health.
Maisy BerryNov 28th, 2023
Could you discuss the significance of the Yakushima macaque and its role in the unique ecosystem of Yakushima Island?