Stretching for over 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles), ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ is host to a variety of habitats, and we will begin our tour by venturing inland from Tokyo to the forests around Karuizawa. Here we will try and locate the beautiful, endemic Copper Pheasant and Japanese Green Woodpecker, before heading further west to Nagano and its famous ‘Snow Monkeys’.
On the northerly island of Hokkaido, with its fields of snow, frozen lakes and rugged seacoasts, we will look for the impressive Blakiston’s Fish Owl, magnificent Steller’s Sea Eagle and elegant Red-naped (Japanese) Crane. In addition, the coasts here are home to numerous species of sea ducks, loons and alcids, and we will also keep an eye out for some wintering passerines, including the beautiful Asian Rosy Finch.
The island of Kyushu will be our next destination, since it plays host to one of the greatest avian spectacles on earth, with thousands of White-naped and Hooded Cranes spending the winter here, occasionally joined by small numbers of Sandhill and Common Cranes. On the eastern side of the island we will also attempt to locate Grey Bunting, Baikal Teal and the endangered Japanese Murrelet.
We invite you to join us for what should be a fantastic exploration of this Asian winter wonderland!
DETAILS Tour Dates Japan – Dancing Cranes & Winter Birding 1st to 18th December (18 days) Southern Islands Extension 25th November to 1st December (7 days) Tour Price Japan – Dancing Cranes & Winter Birding JPY675,000 per person sharing (see below) JPY82,500 approximate cost of domestic flights (Tour price fixed in JPY, other rates subject to exchange rate fluctuations) Southern Islands Extension JPY250,000 per person sharing (see below) JPY1,990 approximate cost of domestic flights (Tour price fixed in JPY, other rates subject to exchange rate fluctuations) Tour Size Limited to 12 participants with 1 RBT leader & 1 local leader
1st December - Arrival in Tokyo and drive to Karuizawa (Honshu)
2nd & 3rd December - Karuizawa 4th December Karuizawa to Nagano 5th December - Nagano to Kaga
6th December Kaga 7th December Kaga fly to Kushiro (Hokkaido), via Fukuoka
8th December - Kushiro to Rausu
9th December- Rausu and surrounds
10th December - Rausu to Lake Furen
11th December- Lake Furen and surrounds
12th December - Furen to Kushiro 13th December Kushiro fly to Arasaki (Kyushu)
14th & 15th December - Arasaki and surrounds
16th December - Arasaki to Lake Mi-ike
17th December- Lake Mi-ike to Hyuga
18th December - Hyuga to Miyazaki, then fly to Tokyo and depart
SOUTHERN ISLANDS EXTENSION: 25th November Arrival in Tokyo and overnight
26th November Tokyo flight to Amami-Oshima (Amami)
27th November Amami-Oshima
28th November Amami-Oshima fly to Naha and drive to Yambaru (Okinawa)
29th & 30th November Yambaru
1st December Yambaru to Naha, fly to Tokyo and begin the main Japan tour
The fee for the Japan – Dancing Cranes and Winter Birding tour JPY675,000 per person sharing and for the Southern Islands Extension is JPY250,000 per person sharing. (Please note: The price for the respective tours does not include any domestic flights. As a general guideline, we suggest you budget +/- JPY82,500 per person for the main tour and +/- JPY1,990 per person for the extension. RBT can book these flights on your behalf at no extra charge.)
The single supplement costs for the Japan – Dancing Cranes and Winter Birding tour and the Southern Islands Extension are JPY109,000 and JPY21,450 respectively and will be charged if you wish to have single accommodation. If RBT cannot provide you with a rooming partner although you choose to share, the single supplement will become applicable. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.
Should you wish to pay for this tour in Great British Pound (£), Euros (€), or South African Rand (ZAR), please refer to our website for the current exchange rate.
All meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 18 for those on the main tour, and all meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 7 for those on the extension;
All lodgings and ground transportation during the tour;
All national park and other reserve entrance fees; and
All guiding services (including local guides and tour leaders).
The tour fee does not include:
ANY flights (see above)
Any drinks; and
Special gratuities, telephone calls, laundry and other items of a personal nature.
a) Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we now quote our tours in 4 currencies. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold (Japanese Yen), and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 3 months before the tour.) The same applies to approximate domestic flight ((where applicable) and single supplement rates, which are also quoted in the respective fixed currency.
b) Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration (a minimum of 8 paying participants for the main tour, and 6 paying participants for the extension), a small party supplement will have to be charged.
c) Furthermore, these costs are subject to unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result.
d) Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary and / or leader/s at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.
Tipping is NOT customary in Japan. However, if you feel that your leaders have given you excellent service, it is entirely appropriate to tip them.
Much of our time is spent in vehicles, as we do have to cover long distances in order to get to the best birding areas. The more luggage you pack the less room there is in the vehicle, so it is important for the comfort of your fellow travellers that you do not over-pack. Kindly stick to 20kg (44lb) for check in luggage and 8kg (+-18lb) for hand luggage.
In some areas it can get very cold, especially on Hokkaido. Days are fairly short at this time of the year and some of the birds also occur in low densities. You should therefore expect some full day’s birding without mid-day breaks in order to maximize our chances of finding all of the countries’ special species.
Accommodations vary somewhat in Japan, from excellent in the main centres such as Tokyo to fairly basic on Hokkaido. We will do our utmost to make your stay as comfortable as possible,but at times we may experience maintenance problems that are beyond our control. In the remote areas we generally opt for the best available accommodation; however, this is sometimes below the standard of what you may have come to expect. Please note that some accommodations during the tour have shared and/or basic washroom facilities.
This tour does not require a high level of fitness, but participants should be in good general health as much of the birding will be done on foot and may require walking for several hours at a time. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of departure.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DETAILS:
This tour does not include ANY airfares. The main tour will depart from the Haneda Airport (Tokyo) on day 1 no later than 2pm. Further meeting details in this regard will be forwarded to you in due course. The tour will conclude by 12 noon at Haneda Airport (Tokyo) on day 18. For those doing the Ryukyu Islands Extension, the tour will depart from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on day 1 and conclude by 2pm on day 7 at Haneda Airport (Tokyo). If arriving or departing from Tokyo’s Narita Airport there is a shuttle bus that can be used to transfer between airports, the cost of this is around $30. Further meeting details in this regard will also be forwarded to you in due course. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance in this regard, kindly contact the office.
Tokyo is the main port of entry for international flights to Japan and is well serviced by most of the world’s major airlines. We have the capacity to advise you on the best route according to your preferences, but your local travel agent will best be able to book these flights for you. We can, however, book your domestic flight from Naha to Tokyo at the end of the Ryukyu Islands Extension. IMPORTANT: please DO NOT book your international flights until you have consulted the office for confirmation on the status of the tour.
Prices exclude flights
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Japan Nature & Wildlife Birdwatching Wildlife Viewing