The wildlife of Japan includes its flora, fauna and natural habitats. The islands of Japan stretch a long distance from north to south and cover a wide range of climatic zones.
This results in a high diversity of wildlife despite Japan’s isolation from the mainland of Asia. In the north of the country, north of Blakiston’s Line, there are many subarctic species which have colonized Japan from the north.
In the south there are south-east Asian species, typical of tropical regions. Between these areas lies the temperate zone which shares many species with China and Korea.
Japan also has many endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world About 130 species of land mammal occur in Japan. The largest of these are the two bears.
The Ussuri brown bear (Ursus arctos) is found in Hokkaidō where it plays an important role in the culture of the Ainu people. The Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus) inhabits mountainous areas in Honshū, Kyūshū and Shikoku. Smaller carnivores include the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) and Japanese marten (Martes melampus).
There are two wild cats in Japan: the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) of mainland Asia occurs on Tsushima Island while the Iriomote cat (Prionailurus iriomotensis) is unique to the island of Iriomote.
The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the six original and distinct spitz breeds of dog native to Japan.