“This is Japan” is a weekly blog post where I talk a little about my life here.

It’s a place where I can share some of the strange, funny, or thought-provoking stories from my week. You can learn a little about what it is like to live in Japan and some of the weird and wonderful things here.

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You know how Facebook asks if you would like to share your memories? Sometime this week, Facebook was kind enough to remind me of something from four years ago.

The post it wanted to remind me was the time I saw a wolf in Japan. A pet wolf.

In 2013, around this time of the year, my husband and I went to a beach. We didn’t swim or anything, just walk around and see something new.

As we were walking along the sand I saw *dog* being walked a bit up the hill. As soon as I looked at it, I knew that it was not a regular dog. I thought it must be part wolf. I was absolutely convinced.

The whole time, I couldn’t stop staring at it, and I couldn’t get my mind off it. It was important for my life to know what it was. I convinced my husband we had to go and ask the guy about his dog.

So we went over to the man, and my husband did the conversing in Japanese.  They talked for a few minutes, and turns out it was not half wolf. It was full wolf. A timber wolf.

Amazing. I don’t know how he managed to have a wolf for a pet in Japan.

He probably explained it, but I don’t remember his story anymore. Maybe he trained movie animals or something. I do seem to remember that it wasn’t easy to have a pet wolf, both legally and practically.

Even just talking his wolf for a walk in the park, it was on a heavy chains. And the man was wearing thick leather gloves and had the chain wrapped around his hand several times. I wonder if his pet wolf has every misbehaved.

It seemed to be well-behaved enough. I don’t know how he trained it and kept it so docile. It was very interested in sniffing around on the ground and bushes, not so interested in me.

Of course, I had to go in for a pet because how many times in your life can you say you get to pet a wolf?

Also, isn’t it so pretty?

pet wolf

And that was the day I petted a wolf.

I have a few other photos of exotic pets in Japan that I have seen, but I think I will save that for another post.

Did you see a weird pet somewhere? What was it and where?

Read: More Exotic Pets


Jennifer has lived in Japan for a total of seven years. She has travelled, taught English, studied Japanese, completed a Master's Degree, and travelled some more. She currently calls Nagoya her home, where she lives with her Japanese husband.


  1. Always a Foreigner Reply

    Amazing! I have no idea how he kept a pet wolf either. We’ve met a couple 80% wolves here, but neve 100%. Very cool that you were able to meet this awesome animal!

    • It was cool. I think I had only seen a 50% wolf once before. Besides that, the only place I’ve seen a wolf was in a zoo.

  2. I think it’s wrong :/ sorry. in bali people keep monkeys, here in Mauritius i have seen enormous geckos. They are wild animals and should remain as such. It is a beautiful animal though.

    • I agree, there are some ethical issues when keeping wild animals as pets. I’m not about to become a wild animal activist though, so let’s just hope at least they are being taken care of. He must have had the wolf as a pup, otherwise I don’t know if it would be possible to train it.

  3. What a gorgeous animal! Not quite so exotic, but we saw a ferret dressed in a hoodie the other day in Yoyogi and a man pushing a giant tortoise in a pram thing.

  4. I don’t really agree on having a wolf as a pet but it’s still pretty cool to be able to get this close to the animal, it is such a pretty wolf as well 🙂

    • I don’t really agree either. He must know what he is doing though. And selfish little me is glad I got to touch it that day.

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