From Tokyo: 2-3 hr
From Sapporo: 2-6 hr

How to Get There

Kushiroshitsugen National Park in eastern Hokkaido preserves Japan’s largest wetland ecosystem and is home to over 1,700 endangered red-crowned cranes. Much of the land is off-limits to tourists, but there are scenic viewpoints scattered throughout the park, as well as boardwalk paths. The best way to see the cranes is to visit observation centers during the birds' feeding times. Although buses and trains operate within the park, a car makes it easier to see get around.

From Tokyo

Regular flights operate between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Kushiro Airport in southeastern Hokkaido (1 hr 30 min). Once there, renting a car from a company near the airport is convenient. Alternatively, use the Akan Bus service that travels both to Kushiro Station (40 min) and the Tancho Observation Center (65 min), where you can observe the cranes. The city of Kushiro, directly south of the park, is an ideal base for your explorations.

From Sapporo

Domestic airlines frequently fly between Sapporo’s Shin-Chitose and Okadama airports and Kushiro Airport (40 min). If you prefer the train, take the JR Super Ozora express train that links Sapporo and Kushiro stations (4 hr 30 min). Driving from Sapporo to Kushiro takes about four hours via toll roads.

Getting Around

Though a car is the best way to get around the park, limited bus and train services run to many attractions in the park. If you opt for public transportation, consider staying in Kushiro, as many buses and the JR Senmo Line pass through the city. The Akan Bus company has a good English-language website with routes, timetables and travel ideas. Attractions accessible by bus include the Kushiro Wetlands Observatory, with a small museum, walking paths and observation deck on the top floor, and the Onnenai Visitor Center, which has boardwalk paths through the marshland. The JR Senmo Line stops at Kushiro-Shitsugen Station, where you can access the scenic Hosooka Viewpoint. Fans of vintage trains will enjoy riding through the park aboard the retro Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko Train from April to September, and the Steam Locomotive Fuyu-no-Shitsugen Train from January to March.