GIFU (Kyodo) A bear assaulted nine people, most of them tourists, Saturday afternoon at a bus terminal at the end of the Norikura Skyline road in the mountains of Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, seriously wounding four men, police said.
The rest of the group was slightly injured, the police and fire department headquarters in Takayama said.
A 66-year-old man from Yokohama was seriously injured, while a 51-year-old woman from a Nagano Prefecture tourism company sustained slight injuries. The rest include workers at a local lodging facility, the police said.
Other tourists at the scene during the attack at around 2:30 p.m. escaped danger.
The 1.3-meter-long bear entered the terminal building after attacking tourists at a nearby mountain and at the bus terminal, which is 2,702 meters above sea level, police and witnesses said.
Employees at the terminal eventually trapped the bear in a souvenir shop inside, where hunters later shot it dead.
An employee who tried to prevent the bear from storming into the building said, “I tried to close the entrance to the terminal building, but it was too late.”
Kazuhiko Maita, an expert on bears at the Institute for Asian Black Bear Research and Preservation in Hiroshima Prefecture, said it is unusual for a bear to attack that many people at a tourism site and suggested it may have panicked.