GuideSelf Drive
DatesAny Time
Days from UKAny
Birding DaysAny
Ground Price£
Flight ex UK£
Many independent birders are a little put-off from visiting Japan, due to the perceived barriers of language, and other logistical difficulties of booking accommodation etc. Over the years, we have helped many couples and small groups on self-drive trips, arranging everything needed to make the trip as easy and hassle-free as possible, including the back-up of an English-speaker at the end of the phone should there be any real difficulties. With this assistance, and the helpful and polite nature of the Japanese, these trips have been great successes, and word-of-mouth has made these trips very popular, especially in winter.
In winter, we can begin on Kyushu, for the magical crane gathering, along with the secretive Copper Pheasant, Green Pheasant, Saunders’ and Great Black-headed Gulls, the gorgeous Baikal Teal, Japanese Murrelet, Long-billed Plover, Crested Kingfisher, and, with luck, Grey Bunting.
Heading to the frozen north, we visit the famous Akan Crane Sanctuary, where photographers will be able to take many shots of dancing, fighting and bugling Red-crowned Cranes. Moving from here, another highlight awaits, the enigmatic Blakiston’s Fish Owl, which we can usually see from the warmth of a local minshuku. After this, we will skirt the coastline, with Eagles in excellent numbers, and concentrate on the alcids, which often gather in the harbours.
These trips have included additions of trips to Ryukyu Islands, Karuizawa, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Tokyo, and visiting the famous Snow Monkeys. Everything is flexible dependent on time and budget. Spring is also a popular time, when several endemic species are easier to find, and returning summering species boost the numbers.