Important Note: We look forward to birding with you! To see the most recent update of our pre-tour and on-tour protocols and our requirements for travel, please visit our tour protocols page.
The Japanese archipelago lies at the eastern edge of Eurasia and includes a very diverse range of habitats. Japan is a surprisingly mountainous and wooded land, with beautifully varied coastlines and heavily populated lowlands, where tiny rice fields dot the landscape amidst the rural dwellings.
Winter birding here is one of Earth's great avian spectacles, and three areas in particular are essential for our tour: the Hooded and White-naped crane sanctuaries of Kyushu in the far south, the Red-crowned Crane reserve in southern Hokkaido, and the wintering grounds of magnificent Steller's Sea-Eagles on the ice fields around Lake Furen in the far north. Wintering wildfowl (including Falcated and Mandarin ducks, Smew, and Baikal Teal), thrushes (Dusky, Brown-headed, Scaly, and Pale), finches (Asian Rosy-Finch, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Hawfinch), and alcids (including Spectacled Guillemot), the challenge of the large white-headed Asian gull complex, the world's largest owl--Blakiston's Fish-Owl--and a useful sprinkling of endemics (Ryukyu Minivet, Japanese Green Woodpecker, Green and perhaps Copper pheasants) on the main islands add to a truly memorable visit.
Japanese culture is also a feature of the trip, as some of our lodgings are in traditional Japanese guesthouses, or minshuku, with tatami rush matting, futon bedding, and wonderful deep hot springs (onsen). The food is also distinctive, with a fantastic selection of sauces for the fish, rice, and vegetable dishes that make up the traditional cuisine. This tour also has strong appeal to photographers as several of our birding sites offer good opportunities for photography and video, with beautiful scenery and large, spectacular species at close range. And we should have a chance to see the famous Snow Monkeys (aka Japanese Macaques--the most northerly non-human primates) bathing in the hot springs surrounded by deep snow as well, an amazing spectacle.
Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.
Other Tours in JAPANJAPAN IN SPRING
ITINERARIES • TOUR STATUS • DETAILS • SPACE REQUESTSITINERARIES • We issue a separate itinerary for each year, typically at least 9 months before that year's first departure. Most itineraries don't vary much year to year, but there may be small or rarely more substantive changes. A sample previous-year itinerary is usually available even if the one for your chosen departure is not. We do not require any deposit for provisional bookings until the itinerary for the departure is ready.
- 2021 sample (PDF)
- 2023 (PDF expected May 2022)
DEPARTURES • We have 2 departures currently scheduled through 2024, with details including limits, guides, fees, and space available listed below.
Jan 13-28, 2023
Guided by: Phil Gregory & local guide
Tour Manager: Karen Turner
Tour Limit: 7
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available - The itinerary has not been finalized for this tour. The trip has provisionally filled but, if you are interested, we can waitlist you for the trip. As we do not require deposits until the itinerary and price are finalized, we often have folks drop off a tour when the deposit is required, and so space opens up! Click below to be waitlisted for this tour with no obligation; if you are waitlisted, we will also notify you in case of an added departure of this tour.
Tour Fee: Fee TBD
REQUEST WAITLIST OR MORE INFO
Jan 12-27, 2024
Tour Manager: TBA
Tour Limit: 7
Status: Open - Space is still available on this tour, and we are accepting provisional bookings. No deposit is required until you receive the itinerary. Click below to book space.
Tour Fee: Fee TBD
REQUEST SPACE OR MORE INFO
Enjoy looking through the 7 most recent Field Guides triplists for this tour linked below!