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Hokkaido Wildlife Photography Tour!
When it comes to Japan, you can only think about words like spectacular and breathtaking. The northern island of Hokkaido is a heaven for photography enthusiasts because of its remarkable wildlife that is on display. The winter months of Japan become a big attraction as people from all over the world come for the Hokkaido wildlife photography for capturing the stunning Japanese Cranes that dance in Hokkaido’s snow, the large Blakiston’s Fish Owl, the legendary ‘Snow Monkeys’ of Honshu (not in Hokkaido though), the incredible Whooper Swans of Lake Kussharo, and swarms of enormous Steller’s Sea Eagles. Take a tour to Hokkaido for capturing some of the world’s most gorgeous species and experiencing the true essence of Wild Japan!
Arrive in Tokyo
After having a pleasant journey, you will arrive at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
To begin your Hokkaido wildlife photography tour, you will take a bullet train to Nagano. After arriving at Nagano, you will drive to Yudanaka, which is situated in the stunning Japanese Alps and just a 10 minutes drive from the Jigokudani trail, for a stay of three nights. After your arrival, you will get to enjoy an afternoon session with the popular ‘Snow Monkeys’.
|Days 2 - 3||
Explore the Jigokudani Yaen-Koen Wild Monkey Park
The second and third day of your Hokkaido wildlife photography tour will be spent in exploring the stunning Jigokudani Yaen-Koen Wild Monkey Park. Since the land will be covered in a large amount of snow, you will experience a dramatic backdrop for photographing the enchanting ‘Snow Monkeys’. The snow monkeys have become used to people, and therefore, they will allow you to photograph them from very close. You might also get the opportunity to spot and photograph the Japanese Serow, which is a kind of goat-antelope. If you get exhausted and want to experience something relaxing, then you can go to a small spa located downstream from Monkey Park.
On day four of your Hokkaido Wildlife Photography tour, you will return to Tokyo's Haneda airport and fly to Kushiro airport, located on Hokkaido's northern island. You will be transferred to your hotel after your arrival. If you reach on time, you might get to have an encounter with Hokkaido's striking Red-crowned Cranes in the afternoon.
|Days 5 - 6||
Explore the feeding stations of Tsurui and Akan
During the fifth and sixth day of your Hokkaido wildlife photography tour, you will spend time capturing the majestic Red-crowned Cranes. Most of your time will be spent at the feeding stations at Tsurui and Akan.
In the Tsurui feeding station, you will spot the Red-crowned Cranes as they dance frequently in the area. You will have the most wonderful wildlife photography experience here.
In the Akan feeding station, you will get marvelous crane photography opportunities that will be different than those in Tsurui. You will get the opportunities to capture the cranes while taking a flight against the sky, or when they are on the ground.
If the weather is sunny, then you will spend time one early morning at a river bridge to capture the cranes' roost.
You might also get the opportunity to capture a roosting Ural Owl in the general area.
Visit Lake Kussharo
On day seven of your Hokkaido wildlife photography tour, you will spend a night at the stunning Lake Kussharo.
You will experience the magic of this mesmerizing frozen lake that is surrounded by snow-covered mountains, and where you will spot numerous Whooper Swans that migrate to Hokkaido.
You will also get to capture the steam rising from the water in the morning, as well as a combination of ice and snow. Apart from that, you will get to capture Northern Pintails, Tits, Hawfinches, Raccoon Dogs, Nuthatches Great Spotted, White-backed, and Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers.
Explore the small port town of Rausu
On the eighth day, you will proceed towards the small port town of Rausu, located at the Shiretoko peninsula on the northeast coast. After checking in at your hotel, you will get to spot the Blakiston’s Fish Owl. You will also make a stop along the way to see an active volcano, combined with snow-capped mountains, creating stunning scenery.
|Days 9 - 11||
Capture the Steller's Sea Eagles and White-tailed Eagles
In Rausu, you will photograph the astonishing Steller’s Sea Eagles and White-tailed Eagles, and also the remarkable Blakiston’s Fish Owl.
If the weather conditions permit, you will take three or four boat trips from the Rausu harbor for the most marvelous adventures that you can ever participate in!
You will set off while it is still almost dark on a boat trip. Soon, you will be accompanied by hordes of gulls while searching for your avian friends. Later, you will be surrounded by the big White-tailed Eagles and enormous Steller’s Sea-Eagles! You will get sunrise shots, flight shots, close-ups, and action shots of the eagles! The whole experience will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Apart from the eagles, you may get to spot some Largha Seals, Orcas, Glaucous-winged and Slaty-backed Gulls, Large-billed Crows, and various ducks like the beautiful Harlequin and Long-tailed Ducks, Black Scoters, Greater Scaups, Common Mergansers, and Common Goldeneyes.
For one night, you will stay at a small minshuku adjacent to a small river, where you will see that the Blakiston’s Fish Owl comes to fish.
The river also houses Brown Dippers, which acts as an amazing photographic opportunity.
The Netsuke Peninsula is a great place for photographing Red Foxes, Sika Deer, and the Short-eared Owl.
You will set off one early morning for visiting an eagle feeding station at Lake Furen, where you will get the opportunities for photographing Steller’s Sea Eagles, White-tailed Eagles, and Black Kites.
Explore the Nakashibetsu area
You will head towards the Nakashibetsu area and spend some time at a comfortable hotel and eat an impressive Japanese dinner.
You will get another chance to photograph Blakiston’s Fish Owl here.
You will also find sandy-colored Sables (martins) of your interest as they run around the area, jumping onto walls and trees, and being cheeky and charming at the same time.
Other interesting photographic subjects for you include the Eurasian Red Squirrels, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Eurasian Jays, Brown-eared Bulbuls, Marsh, Willow, Japanese Tits, and Eurasian Nuthatches and Coal. The local river houses the Crested Kingfishers and Solitary Snipe, which sometimes comes to visit the river.
Fly Back Home
On the thirteenth day, you will return to Kushiro airport and catch an evening flight to Tokyo's Haneda airport, where your Hokkaido wildlife photography tour will come to an end. You will catch your flight back home with beautiful pictures and memories of the trip.