Hokkaido Island (03:23)
Winters are harsh and summers fleeting on Japan's northernmost island. An Ussuri brown bear hunts Pacific salmon on the Shiretoko Peninsula to feed her cubs before the winter.
Shiretoko Peninsula Inhabitants (02:34)
Only 4% of Japan's population lives on Hokkaido, due to its harsh environment. Ussuri bears and humans coexist during the salmon season. Bears migrated from Siberia 12,000 years ago.
Fall in Hokkaido (01:54)
Trees begin turning at the end of September, triggered by warm days and cold nights. Tourists flock to the colorful display for two weeks.
Preparing for Winter (03:02)
Siberian chipmunks migrated to Hokkaido from Russia. They insulate their burrows with leaves and compete to collect nuts; one individual protects his stash from a red squirrel.
Marimo Algae (02:10)
Mossy balls in Lake Akan seem to dance in the waves; they can grow to basketball size.
October in Hokkaido (04:04)
On the Notsuke coastline, prawn trawlers pack up before winter arrives. A sika stag defends his harem from another male; the newcomer wins. Does are pregnant.
Hokkaido Fishing (03:30)
A mother Ussuri bear feeds her cubs salmon in preparation for a five month hibernation. Fishermen also take advantage of the salmon run.
Winter in Hokkaido (05:14)
Eastern Russian fronts drop snow on the island in December. By February, sea ice forms. Steller's sea eagles arrive to share the ice fishing catch; fishermen leave food for them.
Red Crowned Cranes (05:40)
Indigenous Ainu people lived on Hokkaido for millennia before Japanese traders arrived. They revered the species as a longevity symbol. Their marshland habitat has disappeared to agriculture; farmers feed them during the winter; see a courtship dance.
Sika Deer Resilience (02:07)
The Ainu considered the Shiretoko Peninsula the Earth's end. In winter, deer root for bamboo under the snow and eat tree bark.
Hokkaido Hot Spots (02:49)
Active volcanoes melt snow during the winter. Thermal springs in Lake Kussharo provide habitat for migrating whooper swans; some stay until returning to Russia in the spring.
Spring in Hokkaido (03:21)
The Shiretoko Peninsula begins thawing in April. Farmers plant wheat and sika deer eat grass crops.
Raising a Red Crowned Crane (02:47)
In early summer, parents provide their chick with food; it is dependent on them until it learns to fly. The parents protect the chick from approaching sika deer.
Brief Hokkaido Summer (04:46)
Mr. Sayo brings his European honey bees to the island. A Mediterranean climate is suitable for flower farming; tourists visit colored fields. By September, autumn has begun and year-round inhabitants prepare for winter.
Credits: Wild Japan: Hokkaido (00:30)
Credits: Wild Japan: Hokkaido
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