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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings
  • Kushiro Marsh

Nature

Kushiro Marsh 釧路湿原

Japan's largest marshland is a haven for wildlife

Home to the tancho, Japan's iconic red-crowned crane, scenic Kushiro Marsh teems with a wide array of plant and animal life. With an overall area of 183 square kilometers, it is the largest marshland in Japan. Situated near Kushiro Airport and Kushiro City, the marsh has the most convenient access of all the National Parks in Hokkaido.

Don't Miss

  • The Japanese red-crowned cranes, a national treasure
  • Miles of lush green wetlands, lakes and meandering rivers

How to Get There

Though accessible by bus, renting a car is recommended for getting to Kushiro.

Fly to Kushiro Airport directly from Tokyo or Chitose (Sapporo). The Kushiro Marshlands cover a large area between Kushiro City and the inland town of Shibecha 50 kilometers to the north. The city of Kushiro is four and a half hours from Sapporo by train and five and a half hours by bus.

Quick Facts

Home to 600 species of plants, it was the first Japanese marshland registered under the Ramsar Convention

The Kushiro River originates from Lake Kussharo and slowly snakes south through the marshes for over 150 kilometers

Birdwatcher's paradise

A big draw for birdwatchers, Kushiro Marsh and its surroundings are the only places you can see the magnificent tancho, Japan's rare and enchanting red-crowned cranes. You can usually spot them casually feeding in roadside fields all around the wetlands, but there are several feeding sites during winter which the birds visit in large numbers. Try the Tsurui-Ito sanctuary or a view of the sleeping cranes shrouded in morning mist at Otowa Bridge, and keep an eye out for Steller's sea eagles in the winter, and Latham's snipes in the summer.

Take in the views

There are a variety of beautiful and contrasting spots from which to view the wetlands. Go to Hosooka Observatory for the most iconic views of the marsh and the snaking Kushiro River. Bird watchers can walk the boardwalk at Onnenai to see cranes, herons, and songbirds. Drive up to the Kushiro Marsh Observatory overlooking Kushiro City and the Pacific coast, or climb up the secluded Kottaro viewpoint to enjoy a quiet view of the marshes.

Alternative experiences

Take a nostalgic steam train ride from Kushiro or Shibecha Stations through the Kushiro Marsh to see some of Hokkaido's best winter scenery. The open-air Shitsugen Norokko Special car runs approximately late April to September.

Perhaps your best way to get close to nature is by taking a canoe ride on Lake Toro. Choose from a variety of tours at the TORO Nature Center.

Heartwarming food

If you are feeling hungry, look for a secluded cafe hiding in the hills and valleys surrounding the marshes. Try Aurora Farm Village near Shibecha for a cozy meal around the hearth and a truly wild onsen in the forest, or Heart'n Tree Restaurant for original homemade dishes. Alternatively, head for Kushiro City to savor some of the freshest fish in Hokkaido at Kushiro Fishermen's Wharf and Washou Ichiba Fish Market.

The onward journey

Head north from the Akan Town side of the marshes to visit the picturesque Lake Akan, or north from Shibecha towards the majestic Lake Mashu. Both parts of Akan National Park are within an hour's drive.

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