In Rokkosan there are many wild animals. During the day they are hardly ever seen, but in the twilight or early morning hours one can often see them. There are wild rabbits, foxes, tanuki (raccoon) as well as pheasants and other birds. Rokkosan is also well know for having lots of wild boar, which in Japanese are called “inoshishi.”
Kobe City home page has information in English about inoshishi, what measures can be taken to be careful, an interview with a local resident as well as the results of a questionnaire they had previously done.
Typically inoshishi eat acorns, tubers and also dig for earthworms and baby snakes. Actually in years where there are many inoshishi there are few snakes, when there are few inoshishi, one sees more larger snakes that year.
Inoshishi have come to understand that instead of foraging for food, being omnivores, they can also find nice things eat if they go after gardens (they love tulip bulbs and other flower bulbs), trash that has been left out, or even people walking with shopping bags. Some people even thinking that inoshishi are “cute” had taken to feeding them left overs.
Kobe city has enacted a ban on feeding inoshishi to try to curb this.
So if one encounters an inoshishi on Rokkosan, or even while visiting in downtown Kobe, what should one do?
The first thing is to remain calm and slowly walk away. Generally inoshishi do not bother people and if you slowly back away they will generally go in the other direction. If one is coming toward you, again stay calm and slowly back away. Quick movements or running from them can cause the inoshishi to be frightened and start at act erratically. If you see an inoshishi with a family of young, make sure to not get in between the mother and the children, that can aggravate them. Also do not try to frighten the inoshishi with a stick or other device, this could cause them to attack you in defense, or even run off and attack someone else.
Another animal that is distance to Rokkosan is the Smith Nezumi or in English, the Smith Mouse. This is a distinct type of mouse that was found and named by Gordon Smith in 1904 around the time that Rokkosan was first opening up to holiday visitors.
Currently the Mt. Rokko Nature Conservation Center is undergoing a renewal, and while it does that we are happy to have the inoshishi, Smith Nezumi and other objects here visiting with us at the Guide House. When visiting Rokkosan, please make sure to stop by and say hi and learn more about the many animals of Rokkosan!