Kushiro Marsh (Crane Spotting) 釧路湿原 タンチョウ観察

Cranes in the Kushiro Marshlands
Cranes in the Kushiro Marshlands

An encounter with Japan's rare and enchanting red-crowned cranes

Birdwatchers flock from around the world to the Kushiro Marshlands to see the magnificent tancho, or Japanese red-crowned crane. The Kushiro Marshlands is your best chance to see these wondrous birds; it is the only place in the world where they are resident all year round.

Don't Miss

  • The spectacular sight of hundreds of birds gathering for winter feeding
  • The beautiful drive through Kushiro Marshlands

How to Get There

The area is accessible by train, bus, or airplane.

The Kushiro Marshlands covers a large area between Kushiro City and the inland town of Shibecha 50 kilometers to the north, so a car is recommended. You can travel to Kushiro directly from Sapporo by train, bus, or airplane.

Quick Facts

Adult cranes grow up to 160cm tall and 10.5kg in weight

Their wingspans can measure an incredible 250cm

Considered a symbol of fidelity, red-crowned cranes mate for life

Finding the cranes

Despite their endangered status, the number of cranes in the Kushiro Marshland has steadily risen from just ten pairs in the 1920s to over 1,000 now. With a keen eye, you can usually spot these magnificent birds casually feeding in roadside fields all around the wetlands.

Visit in the winter

The cranes tend to flock more in winter, which increases your chances of seeing them. There are several feeding sites during winter which the birds visit in large numbers, the most famous being the Tsurui-Ito sanctuary.

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