The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Asia (and its islands)

JAPAN: WINTER BIRD & WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – Cranes, Eagles, Swans & Snow Monkeys

Wednesday 5th February – Monday 17th February 2025

Leaders: Chikara Otani and Virginia Wilde

13 Days Group Size Limit 8
Arasaki Cranes Extension

Sunday 2nd February – Wednesday 5th February 2025

4 Days Group Size Limit 8


Spectacular is an over-used word, but the winter wonderland of Japan, including the northern island of Hokkaido, is a destination where the word really has meaning, a place where you will see extraordinary sights and surely take home many extraordinary wildlife images.

It is during the winter months that Japan really comes into its own, for then it plays host to some of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth and this special wildlife photography tour provides the opportunity to experience the very best photography opportunities that Japan has to offer, including the beautiful Japanese Cranes dancing in the snows of Hokkaido, the huge Blakiston’s Fish Owl, hordes of gigantic Steller’s Sea Eagles, the wonderful Whooper Swans of Lake Kussharo and the famous ‘Snow Monkeys’ of Honshu.

Lying at the opposite end of the vast continent of Eurasia from the British Isles is the archipelago of islands that forms Japan. Westernized and yet profoundly Oriental, Japan remains an enigmatic land to westerners, few of whom know much about it beyond its shiny consumer exports. Stretching from the sub-tropics in the Ryukyus to the cool temperate latitudes in Hokkaido, these beautiful islands with their jagged and broken coastlines possess some of the most attractive scenery in eastern Asia.

A visit to upcountry Japan (the ‘real’ Japan) is an experience in itself and one that requires of the traveller a spirit of adventure and a willingness to adapt to new ways of doing things. Simple things like eating Japanese meals, sleeping on futons placed on tatami mats and bathing in an ‘ofuro’ (Japanese Bath) are very different from back home, but will be great fun if you are tolerant of cultural differences. The perceived difficulty of travelling around in a country where few people speak a foreign language of any kind is the main reason why relatively few non-Japanese wildlife photographers have explored the islands. The reality is that a superb travel infrastructure, spotlessly clean accommodations, interesting and beautifully-presented food and friendly, helpful people make a wildlife photography tour of Japan a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Our Japan photography tour extension to the southern island of Kyushu adds something extra to our tour that is absent from virtually all other wildlife photography itineraries in Japan, the chance to experience and photograph the White-naped and Hooded Cranes spectacle at Arasaki. Far less well-known and famous than the Japanese (or Red-crowned) Cranes of Hokkaido, this is just as impressive a sight, with well over 10,000 ultra-tame and approachable wild cranes present in just one small area!

These days there are plenty of Japan winter wildlife photography tours being offered. All we can say is that we have an unsurpassed knowledge of wildlife photography in Japan, from Kyushu in the south to Hokkaido in the north, which is based on visits stretching back to 1991, long, long before most photo tour companies ever set foot in the islands. Take a look at our detailed itinerary and tour notes: we think our experience in Japan speaks for itself. If you come to Japan with us, you are going to be travelling with people who really know how to get the most out of this destination for you, whatever the conditions.

If you are interested in full details about this tour please click here.