BAT FESTIVALS

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.

コウモリフェスティバル開催地

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 for eco-tourism.

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 2 and 3, 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 was 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.