In August 1995, professor Maeda from Nara
University of Education organized the first bat festival in Norikura highland,
Nagano prefecture. The festival was held on August 5 and 6 and attracted bat lovers across
the nation and everybody enjoyed the evening bat observation. Back in 1989, professor Maeda discovered
the Japanese Northern Bat Eptesicus japonensis and identified Norikura as a breeding ground. In 1990 some researchers began a study of
this bat Eptesicus japonensis. Unfortunately, in 1991 the owner of the inn
where the bats were roosting announced their
intention to renovate, consequently an organization
dedicated to the preservation of the Japanese
Northern Bats was established in 1995 and
this organization and the Bat Study and Conservation
group of Japan have been cooperated to preserve
these bats. In 1996 the organization received the private
funding and were able to build a bat house
and relocate the Japanese Northern Bats. This is the second bat house in Japan. To commemorate this event, the second bat festival was held in Norikura
on August 3 and 4 that year.
Since then, bat festivals have been held
across Japan every summer with the collaboration
of local government, local conservation groups,
museums and zoological gardens. These bat festivals include exhibitions which
use photos, lectures, private collections
and games to illustrate the habits of bats
and the importance of their role in the ecosystem. There are also demonstrations of how to build
a bat box so people can encourage the preservation
of bats in their neighborhood.
The third bat festival was held in Temmabayasi in Aomori on August 9 and
10, 1997. Temmabayashi is the first place to set up a bat house and successfully
relocate a colony of the Asian Parti-colored Bat Vespertilio superans.
The fourth bat festival was held in Simokitayama in Nara prefecture on
April 29 and 30, 1998.
The fifth in Bihoro in Hokkaido on July 31 and August 1, 1999.
The sixth at Asa Zoological Park in Hiroshima on July 8 and 9, 2000 where a high school hosts a colony of the Asian Free-tailed Bat Tadarida insignis. The festival was held there to encourage
the conservation activity of the Asian Free-tailed
Bats. Until recently Asian Free-tailed Bats had
not been reported in Japan but in 1996 the
first colony of 33 individuals of the Asian
Free-tailed Bats was discovered in an uninhabited
island in Kyushu. The colony in the high school in Hiroshima
holds more than 400 individuals and it is
one of the largest colonies of the species
in Japan. The bats breed and hibernate there. When the school building had to be rebuilt,
the school agreed to ensure the places for
the bats in the new building. But unfortunately, most Asian free-tailed bats left the venue.
The seventh bat festival was held in Sun Park Land Miyama limestone cave
in Gifu prefecture on August 25 and 26, 2001, which hosts Greater Horseshoe
Bats. The cave is unique because it is a tourist
destination and anyone can access the bat
colony. They are planning to change the cave from
a sight-seeing destination into a centre
The eighth bat festival was held at the foot of Mt. Fuji on August 24 and
25, 2002 where there are a large number of natural
caves along with forests, ideal for bat habitation.
The ninth bat festival was held at Ueno Zoo on August 2 and 3, 2003. As the exhibition had been held for three month and the zoo is eminent and located in central
Tokyo, some 20,000 people visited the exhibition.
The tenth bat festival was held at Kashiwazaki Museum in Niigata prefecture
on July 31 and August 1, 2004.
The eleventh bat festival was held in Rakan highland in Yamaguchi Prefecture
which is next to one of the largest limestone cave and karst in Japan on
August 20 and 21, 2005. The Akiyosidai near there has one of the
largest cave in Asia and a home to more than
15,000 bats of six species.
The twelveth bat festival was held at Tadami in Fukushima on August 26
and 27, 2006.
The thirteenth bat festival was held in Norikura highland in Nagano Prefecture
again on July 21 and 22, 2007.
The forteenth bat festival was held in Okinawa Kids Discovery Kingdom on
August 3 and 4, 2008. Okinawa is a habitat for Ryukyu flying foxes. The zoo we had the bat festival
keep Ryukyu flying foxes inside of a cage and the funny thing is that a
wild bat was also hanging outside of the cage.
The fifteenth bat festival was held in Amihari Onsen in Iwate prefecture
on August 29 and 30, 2009.
The sixteenth bat festival was held in Tsuruoka city in Yamagata prefecture
on August 28 and 29, 2010.
The seventeenth bat festival was held in Kushigatayama in Yamanashi Prefecture
on July 17 and 18, 2011.
The eighteenth bat festival was held in Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture
on September 1st and 2nd, 2012
The nineteeth bat festival was held in Ozora-cho, Hokkaido on July 13th
and 14th, 2013
The twentieth bat festival was held in Forest Park Adatara in Fukushima
on August 23rd and 24th, 2014
The twenty first bat festival was held in Taiwan on June 27 and 28, 2015
with the collaboration of Bat Association of Taiwan and Formosan Golden Bat's Home. This is the first festival ever held outside of Japan.
The twenty second bat festival was held in Teng Highland stretching over
Ehime Prefecture and Kochi Prefecture September 10 and 11, 2016.
The twenty third bat festival is going to be held in Shichinohe Town (formerly
known as Tenmabayashi-mura) near the bat house at Tenmadate shrine which
house a large maternity roost of Vespertilio sinensis in Aomori Prefecture on August 5 and 6, 2017.