Self Guided Adventure


Winter Bird Watching

10 Nights: from US$3712 per person (twin share) Trip Code: BIRD01

Steller's Sea Eagles, Red-Crowned Cranes and Blakiston's Fish Owls are just some of the many rare species to be spotted in Hokkaido during Japan's winter season. Our flexible independent travel itinerary includes two full days with birding guides and the very best lodging locations. Read more >

Japan is a wonderful winter destination and, for birdwatchers in particular, it offers a unique chance to see a number of rare species. As well as giving you some time to explore the capital, this itinerary will take you north to the little-visited island of Hokkaido - a veritable twitchers' paradise.

You will be accompanied for two days by a specialist guide, and each of your accommodations and destinations has been carefully chosen to help you make the most of the bird-watching opportunities and scenery on this spectacular island.

Staying in Tokyo for the first two nights you'll have numerous birding options including Ueno Park, where the Shinobazu-no-ike Lotus Pond is home to thousands of wild waterfowl between October and March, and the Yatsu Higata mud flats in Tokyo Bay, an important stop-off point for migratory birds.

During your stay in the capital a local expert guide will accompany you for a day trip to Ukishima Marsh and Choshi Port in Chiba prefecture - famous for reed bed birds. You will also have plenty of opportunity to get to know the city itself, from the traditional Asakusa district at the start of the trip to the flashing pachinko parlours and cacophonic karaoke establishments of Shinjuku at the end.

The bulk of this trip will be spent exploring Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, the second-largest and least-developed of Japan's four main islands. Rarely visited by overseas tourists, Hokkaido harbours a plethora of rare wildlife. To give you the flexibility to explore this great expanse of rural Japan you'll be travelling by hire car with built-in sat-nav.

The first stop on your Hokkaido adventure is Tsurui, home to Japan's very best crane sanctuaries. Here you can catch the Red-crowned cranes performing their mating dance in winter - a magical sight in the silent snow fields around your lodgings.

A local birding expert will take you to the best viewing places for the cranes, as well as for the Meadow Bunting and Pallas's Rosefinch, also native to the area.

Wild Shiretoko Peninsula then offers an icebreaker cruise (a chance to see the magnificent Steller's Sea Eagles up close) and is a great destination for searching out Blackiston's Fish Owls.

This ten-night itinerary offers brilliant bird-watching opportunities combined with the very best of Tokyo's history and culture.

Recommended Dates
We recommend taking this itinerary in January, February or March for the best bird-watching opportunities. It is however possible to take this itinerary at any time of year - please discuss with us subtle itinerary changes to ensure the optimum trip outside of winter.

At a glance

What's Included

What's included

  • Ten nights' accommodation (three nights Japanese style)
  • Breakfast each morning and five evening meals
  • Airport transfers
  • Transport between destinations (including domestic flights)
  • Manaca transport card with 2,500 yen credit for use on local transport in Tokyo
  • Birding guides in Tokyo and Tsurui
  • Icebreaker cruise in Rausu
  • Hire car on Hokkaido Island (six days)
  • Your personalised InsideJapan Info-Pack

What's NOT included:

  • International flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) at any destination unless otherwise specified
  • Any entrance fees including those for shrines, temples and museums
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip
  • Fuel and tolls while using the hire car

What, where, when and how...

Winter Bird Watching - 11 Days - Accommodation

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