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Part 5: Keiichi's Genryu & Wild Animals

Genryu Fishing 5: Wild Animals

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Fox in Japanese mountain

When fishing or camping in the mountains, we often encounter wild animals that we cannot readily see in my normal life. For example, mammals such as foxes, raccoons, martens, monkeys, deer, antelopes, bears and birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls. As far as we keep a safe distance to some extent, encounters with them are really touching experiences.

Japanese Tonbi Bird of Prey

The most impressive animal I met in the mountains is a bear. The bears living in Honshu, where my genryu fishing fields are located, are black bears and people say they are calm bears.  Even so, when we meet a bear in the forest at a close distance, or a mother bear with youngsters in the early spring it is very dangerous because mother bears get very aggressive to protect children. I have met many bears many times, but fortunately it was not a dangerous situation. From my experiences and from the opinion of the veteran people of the mountains, it seems that the bears encountered in the mountain are not so dangerous if we keep the proper distance.

black bear in Japanese mountains

I met a bear in a tributary of one genryu stream also in June this year. We were 3 people including me, when we were fishing and wading upstream in a tributary, one of my friends found a bear 30 meters upstream. The bear seemed to be looking for food along the mountain stream without noticing us for a while, and we were looking at him so as not to disturb him. He eventually noticed us and stood up on his hind legs and climbed the slope and slowly disappeared into the forest on the cliff.

It was a very big bear. Although I was some distance away, I think he was 180 cm tall at the time when he stood up. It was the biggest black bear that I have ever seen in the mountains.

I felt my heart trembling a little with excitement...

Keiichi Okushi, Genryu Addict and owner of “Tenkara-ya”