Have you ever seen a bear standing up and waving at you? Well, you can definitely see them here in Showa-shinzan Bear Ranch. It's a bit funny to see them this way, cause even in a zoo, you don't get to see them like that. I'm sure these are trained, which is somehow a bit sad, cause it's unnatural.
Anyway, when we visited, we bought a couple of bags of apples and cookies to feed them. They'll wave at you, begging you to throw them either an apple or a cookie.
According to them, there are about 100 bears being bred here. There is a section on the side where there are younger bears too.
At the bear ranch souvenir shop, we were able to buy bear oil, which is used for dry skin as well as treating small sores. Actually, the more popular one is horse oil cream. Our local guide told us the one sold at the bear ranch, orange box, is quite a good quality one, absorbs well and does not leave a greasy feeling. She also explained that the horse oil comes from the fatty acids found in the horse neck under the mane. Although it seems a bit gross at first, I quickly realized how our ancestors in the early days use animal fats for almost anything, including medicinal purposes, fueling and cooking.
Nearby, you'll get a good close look at Showa-shinzan, the new volcano, which is still active and spewing smoke. There is also a ropeway (cable car) to Mt. Usu, where you can get a good view from the top of Lake Toya area. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to go up.
Note: This highlight also appears in AFAR Website