The present study aimed to investigate the nutritional aspects of the bear diet quantitatively, in order to understand plant food selection in spring. Bears were observed directly from April to July in 2013 and 2014, to visually recognize plant species consumed by bears, and to describe the foraging period in the Ashio-Nikko Mountains, central Japan. Leaves were collected from eight dominant tree species, regardless of whether bears fed on them in spring, and their key nutritional components analyzed: crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and total energy. Bears tended to consume fresh leaves of specific species in May, and nutritional analysis revealed that these leaves had higher CP and lower NDF than other non-food leaves. However, CP in consumed leaves gradually decreased, and NDF increased from May to July, when the bears’ food item preference changed from plant materials to ants. Bears may consume tree leaves with high CP and low NDF after hibernation to rebuild muscle mass.