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I saw a crab walking home from work the other night. We're by a river, but I was probably 500 feet away from the river when I saw this one. I apologize for the image quality, all I had was my terrible Ipad camera and no flash. I have provided the original image and one with brightness and contrast modified to make the crab easier to see. It's about 2.1 inches from leg to leg, I threw a 500 yen coin by the crab as a reference, but cropped it from the image.

I am located directly across from Haneda airport, which is on Tokyo bay. The river is close enough to the ocean that we get tides. I'd say the river level varies by as much as a meter, and there are many many crabs on the exposed riverbed at low tide. But again, this crab was far away, and would have needed to climb a three foot tall vertical wall at the river's edge.

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The carapace shows the distinctive lines of Chiromantes dehaani (Kurobenkei-gani in Japanese). This species can be found quite far away from the ocean, commonly in brackish streams and rivers. The size fits your description, the width of the carapace is approximately 3-4 cm, giving the entire body roughly the same size as you observed. These crabs are also most active at night.

I have seen these crabs in sheltered areas slightly inland from the sea. Here is a photo of C. dehaani that I took in Tokyo: Chiromantes dehaani

While there is a slight possibility that this is Chiromantes haematocheir (Akategani in Japanese), your photo does not show the distinctive red claws and this species is less common in Tokyo Bay due to development and loss of its natural environment of mudflats. Therefore, I think it is save to identify this as C. dehanni.

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