JAL Flights to Hokkaido Warn Travelers About Brown Bears

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A brown bear is seen along a national highway on April 22 in Shari, Hokkaido.

Japan Airlines is warning travelers to Hokkaido to be careful of brown bears, making the announcements on flights landing at six of the prefecture’s airports, including New Chitose and Memanbetsu.

Bears have been sighted one after another in urban areas such as Sapporo, prompting Hokkaido and the airline’s Hokkaido branch to join forces to caution travelers. Announcements were first made last year on some flights to Obihiro, and have now been added to more.

Flight attendants give passengers such advice as “if you encounter a bear in Shiretoko, do not get out of your car to approach it or give it food,” and “do not go into nature alone, and use a bell or whistle to make noise.”

The initiative is scheduled to run through the end of August, coinciding with the tourist season.

“We want all visitors to be very aware of the presence of bears,” said a member of the prefecture’s brown bear response office.