Japan comprises a chain of islands that span 1,600 miles and encompass many different vegetation zones. Stretching from the sub-arctic of Hokkaido to the sub-tropics of Nansei Shoto, these beautiful islands with their jagged and broken coastlines possess some of the most striking scenery in eastern Asia.
This tour will offer a unique insight into the natural history and culture of this fascinating country.
We will see Hokkaido in the grip of winter, a magical land of snow and ice (the dry atmosphere is a pleasant surprise for those used to the damp of Britain's cold weather), with all the thrills of arctic birding but without the disadvantages of very short days, and with a gathering of birds to whet any appetite.
Imagine the flocks of graceful Red-crowned Cranes dancing in the snow. Think of sea-eagles soaring close overhead and not only the White-tailed Eagle, but also the commoner, larger and far more spectacular Steller's Sea-Eagle, perhaps the world's most impressive bird of prey. The thrill of watching a Blakiston's Fish-Owl dropping into icy water to catch its dinner is a sight never to be forgotten. At the opposite end of the country in Kyushu we will watch and listen to the gathering of the attractive White-naped and Hooded Cranes, and enjoy birding our way through flocks of thrushes and buntings. This is winter birding at its finest.
An added attraction will be a visit to see the Snow Monkeys (Japanese Macaques) as they bathe in the warm waters of thermal pools against a snow-covered mountain backdrop.
To visit Japan is to have a complete cultural experience. Birding aside, the country is a fascinating one, and for those with a spirit of adventure and a willingness to adapt to new ways of doing things, it is the holiday of a lifetime. Even day to day aspects, such as sleeping (on a futon), bathing (in an ofuro and even an outdoor hotspring in Hokkaido) and eating (Japanese-style) all take on a new significance and become fun events.
But don't worry, the Japanese-style living will be interspersed with western-style accommodation and food, and throughout the journey our local guide, Kaz Shinoda, will be there to point out and explain not only the birds and wildlife, but also cultural points of interest.
NOTE: there is the possibility to do an extension dedicated to wildlife photography (joining the JAPAN PHOTO tour - see the related webpage) to get the best out of this Japanese experience! Ask us info about these tours connection!
13 February to 27 February 2019 (land)
Leader: Nigel Jones & Kaz Shinoda
2018 Cost 6.500 euro - single room suppl. €550
(GBP around £5.900)
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