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Kushiro Shitsugen National Park

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Kushiro Shitsugen National Park


Pristine wetlands rich with plant and animal life

Kushiro City, Hokkaido Prefecture



Japan’s largest wetlands, Kushiro Shitsugen National Park is home to around 700 plant species and about 1,300 different animals, including the revered red-crowned cranes.
Located approximately 5 km north of the city of Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido, the huge 287 km sq area was originally a part of a sea before it was isolated from the ocean by a sand dune that developed along the coast. The accumulation of peat started 3,000 years ago and formed the marshland seen today. The Kushiro River and its tributaries run through the area. Three large freshwater lakes—-Toro, Shirarutoro and Takkobu—-are also in this wetland national park.
The park is a birdwatcher's paradise. Take some binoculars to observe Steller's sea eagles, Latham's snipes, herons, songbirds, and of course, the iconic cranes. Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, believe spirits inhabit all things. They called the red-crowned crane ”sarorun-kamuy,” which means the ”god of the wetland.” It is also the only habitat in Japan for the unique amphibian Siberian Salamander.
Spend a few days in the area to canoe down the Kushiro River through the park, engage in bird watching, appreciate wildflowers on a boardwalk stroll, and take a ride on a steam train that slowly follows the river through the marshlands. Head to one of the park’s many viewpoints and observatories for magnificent views of the marsh, the meandering Kushiro River, Kushiro City, and the Pacific Coast. It’s a slice of ecotourism you won’t forget.


How to get there


Fly from Haneda Airport to Kushiro Airport (1 hour 30 minutes), then drive from the airport (20 minutes) or from JR Kushiro Station (30 minutes).


2-2101 Hokuto, Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido


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