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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Japan in May 2019 (1 Viewer)

HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
Staff member
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Hi Stu

Can I ask why it's your favourite month if the winter specials have left and the summer migrants not yet arrived ? :).

Well a lot of stuff is passing through, everything is in summer plumage, the days are getting longer, rarities pop up etc etc. May is one of the best months in the UK too, no?

If time is tight and you want to stay in central Japan the forests at the foot of Fujui are supposed to be good (I've never been) or you could go to one of the Izu Islands by ferry from Tokyo (island endemics, good seawatching and scenic enough for the wife). Again, never been but it is a very popular trip for birders.

I've seen Rubythroats in early May in south Hokkaido (where I live). But they are only passing through..........

Don't know if you use facebook but the kantori group on there is a group for English speaking birders in Japan. You may get some good tips from those folk.
 

Tony Knight

Well-known member
Well a lot of stuff is passing through, everything is in summer plumage, the days are getting longer, rarities pop up etc etc. May is one of the best months in the UK too, no?

If time is tight and you want to stay in central Japan the forests at the foot of Fujui are supposed to be good (I've never been) or you could go to one of the Izu Islands by ferry from Tokyo (island endemics, good seawatching and scenic enough for the wife). Again, never been but it is a very popular trip for birders.

I've seen Rubythroats in early May in south Hokkaido (where I live). But they are only passing through..........

Don't know if you use facebook but the kantori group on there is a group for English speaking birders in Japan. You may get some good tips from those folk.

Hi Stu

For 4-5 days in total on Hokkaido would it be best to base ourselves near Hakodate and do 3-4 day trips by car out from there. I accept we wouldn't see the fishing owls or probably the rubythroats but would the cranes be in range from there ? I guess these are your suggestions on this website but would they be the best in May ? http://www.japannatureguides.com/southwest-hokkaido/

Or better to spend those days somewhere south of Kyoto after our 3-4 days there ?

thanks
Tony
 
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HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hi Tony.

The Cranes are a long way from Hakodate. If you want to see them (and the Owl) you need to base yourself in east Hokkaido.

SW Hokkaido has its charms though but for a visiting birder lokking for some Japanese specialties there are probably better places. If you look on my blog (which I've been doing for a long time now) you can check the archives in early May over the last 12 years or so to get an idea of what is around in SW Hokkaido at that time. If you do end up coming to Hakodate of course I can give me plenty of tips.

If I were you I'd either go to east Hokkaido (the usual well-known places) or to one of the smaller islands (like the Izu Islands, which I suggested above, or Okinawa). With the right planning you could see a lot in 4 or 5 days plus those places are interesting enough for a non birding spouse.
 

Tony Knight

Well-known member
So....the plan now is to visit
Tokyo 2 nights
Mt Fuji area 3 nights
Kyoto 4 nights
Hokkaido 4 nights (Flying Tokyo - Kushiro - Tokyo)

Biggest question now is where to stay in Hokkoido. The company we will probably use had suggested 4 nights at Akan Lake but that won't work for coastal birds and the Owls, so I'm tempted to split the stay between Akan and the coast. The Minshuku Lodge lodge looks and sounds very basic (and shared toilets which isn't great fun in the night !) but like others I'm attracted by the idea of a local guide who speaks english and can help with the owl trip. Are there any other hotels in the area which can help on the birding front or a combination of a decent hotel and a local guide ?

Other posts had mentioned a wooded local reserve very lose to the property - would that be the same "Shunkunitai boardwalk through the 'taiga forest'" mentioned above and on another thread and if so does anyone know if it has been rebuilt ?

As an alternative to Rausu, "..I think there is an inn somewhere else which is more comfortable and with better food where the owls are also certain, but I've never stayed there..." - does anyone have any idea where this is ? Yoroushi Onsen ??

thanks
Tony
 
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HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
Staff member
Supporter
So....the plan now is to visit
Tokyo 2 nights
Mt Fuji area 3 nights
Kyoto 4 nights
Hokkaido 4 nights (Flying Tokyo - Kushiro - Tokyo)

As an alternative to Rausu, "..I think there is an inn somewhere else which is more comfortable and with better food where the owls are also certain, but I've never stayed there..." - does anyone have any idea where this is ? Yoroushi Onsen ??

thanks
Tony

Sounds like Youroshi Onsen to me...................

There are business hotels in Nemuro if you don't fancy Furen-ko but honestly Furen-ko isn't that bad to stay, it depends on your standards I guess. If you have a non birding spouse it may be a bit basic I guess.

Akan-ko (Lake Akan, not Akan village) has some nice hotels but it is too far away from the main spots. Akan Village isn't so far but the main draw there is the winter Cranes which will of course be gone when you come.
 

Tony Knight

Well-known member
Sounds like Youroshi Onsen to me...................

There are business hotels in Nemuro if you don't fancy Furen-ko but honestly Furen-ko isn't that bad to stay, it depends on your standards I guess. If you have a non birding spouse it may be a bit basic I guess.

Akan-ko (Lake Akan, not Akan village) has some nice hotels but it is too far away from the main spots. Akan Village isn't so far but the main draw there is the winter Cranes which will of course be gone when you come.

Thanks Stu. Is there as much to see at the Rausu peninsula as there is at Furen-ko which would mean we could base ourselves there instead ....or even Notsuke which is closer?
Thanks
Tony.
 

HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thanks Stu. Is there as much to see at the Rausu peninsula as there is at Furen-ko which would mean we could base ourselves there instead ....or even Notsuke which is closer?
Thanks
Tony.

I'd say the Furen-ko/Nemuro area is better than Rausu in May. But Rausu is of course the easiest place to see the BF Owls. Some of the woodland/high altitude species may not have arrived in Rausu yet (indeed the higher roads may still be closed due to snow even in late May).

If you want nice hotels you could try Utoro on the other side of Shiretoko peninsula and do some birding on the Ohotsk coast: but you would be too far off Furen-ko/Nemuro.

Notsuke is easy to get to from both Rausu and Furen-ko as a day trip.

If I were you I'd do 2 nights at Furen-ko, 1 night at Youroushi Onsen and 1 night in Rausu
 

Tony Knight

Well-known member
I'd say the Furen-ko/Nemuro area is better than Rausu in May. But Rausu is of course the easiest place to see the BF Owls. Some of the woodland/high altitude species may not have arrived in Rausu yet (indeed the higher roads may still be closed due to snow even in late May).

If you want nice hotels you could try Utoro on the other side of Shiretoko peninsula and do some birding on the Ohotsk coast: but you would be too far off Furen-ko/Nemuro.

Notsuke is easy to get to from both Rausu and Furen-ko as a day trip.

If I were you I'd do 2 nights at Furen-ko, 1 night at Youroushi Onsen and 1 night in Rausu

Thanks Stu. If I was me I would do the same ! Unfortunately as my wife is not as dedicated to birding as me, to avoid being too selfish, one of those nights and days needs to be spent near lake Akan to view the scenery and the sulfur mountain ! So it may be only one of the owl sites. Rausu for the better photos and backdrop or Youroushi for the comfort and close up view (albeit through glass !) will be the decision. Plus I want to see Kushiro wetlands on the way back to the airport on the last day.

Tony
 
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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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