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Japan in september (1 Viewer)


Well-known member

Going to Japan in september and would really appreciate some help. We are probably going to fly to Osaka and work our way eastwards before we fly home from Tokyo about 2-3 weeks later. We have not made any specific plans yet.

Generally, I'm interested in tips on good sites that are possible to reach with public transport. Also if there are any nice areas for hiking/trekking.

Also, I would like to do some pelagics/ whale watching. Is it possible in that area at that time of year? Any recommendations? Are there companies or organized tours, or do you take a ferry (which one)?

Been reading about Karuizawa, but it seems to be a bit expensive. Is it possible to do that site on a budget(ish), or are there other sites that are cheaper? Can be further from Tokyo. Also, how is that site in September?

Is it possible to see Marsh Grassbird in the Narita area that time of year? And also, the same question about the target birds on Miyake (Izu Islands).

That's my questions so far, appreciate any help!



Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
I was in Karuzawa last November for a weekend. I really liked it. It was my first taste of small-town Japan, after numerous visits to the bigger cities many years ago. It can be very touristy (crowded), especially when the leaves are changing. I rented a car because I wanted to get a bit further afield, but I've been told it can be done with trains and taxis.

I stayed in a place called Edohara Pension. They have both Japanese and Western style rooms. It was reasonably priced as Karuzawa goes. There are cheaper places, too, but I wanted to be closer to the reserves. And I was actually on expense account ;)

As to the birds, it was good, but not great, but some of that was the weather. I've been told by a guide from Wings/Sunbird that the birding there isn't as good as it used to be. She recommended the area around Mt. Fuji as better.

I put a report on Cloudbirders if you're interested in more details.


Well-known member
Hi Adam,

Good resource for trains is http://www.hyperdia.com/ which I use to work out cost and then buy ticket at station. For Karuizawa, you will need to buy a ticket in the green ticket office. Ask for a non-reserved seat as there is normally plenty space on the shinkansen (bullet train) as the unreserved seats are in a different carriage to the reserved seats (so no one should ask you to move). One think to note is that there is ticket price + seat price, so Tokyo to Karuizawa is 2590 + 2800 (unreserved), so 5390 not 2590 (YEN).

I did Karuizawa by train, going to Karuizawa Yacho-no-mori. I did the Shinkansen to Karuizawa then one stop on the local train for naka-karuizawa. It was about a 40 minute walk. I am not a hiker but it is probably a medium in ability. I did this in a day trip and did not find myself rushed.

Check out my post in the Japan forum for Terugasaki for Aobato (white-bellied Green Pigeon) which is a must and sankocho (Japanese paradise Flycatcher) which is also done in a day and I gave the train costs. The good thing about Japanese trains is that if you are unsure how much to pay, just buy a minimum ticket and then visit the fair adjustment machine before exit. Included in that is about visiting the akigawa river in akishima. I can supply coordinates for a nice little view point. Another one is Tokyo Wild-bird park, again straight forward to get to. If you would like details on them, let me know.

I am there every June for Business and try to fit in a weekend of birding when I can. If I can be of any more help, then let me know.


Well-known member

My understanding is that many of the Miyake Island specialities are still there in September, + migrants/vagrants. Moreover, this probably is the best and least expensive way to do some pelagic birding.

Locating some of the target birds is going to be a challenge, though, because they will not be singing anymore. Better bring some tapes (mp3) with you.



Well-known member
Sorry for delay as was travelling for work (no birding though :(). http://www.japannatureguides.com/ This is Mark Brazil's Website. Look at his "Birdwatchers guide to Japan online" on the tab on the left. http://www.japannatureguides.com/kanagawa-prefecture/ gives you directions for the White Bellied Green Pigeon. The directions are very good and got a chance to thank him at the British Birdfair this weekend.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place...m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d35.695833!4d139.356111 is the nice spot at Akigawa river. From Ogami Park, walk along ridge next to houses until you get to pedestrian area. Follow pathway until you get to the first set of steps on your left. There should be some pictures of birds and fish at bottom of path. Go left and follow path, and you can wander most of the paths there and see what you can see. You should have meadow bunting, Zitting Cisticola (Brunniceps variety), Japanese Robin, and look out at the river overflow as there may be wading birds.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
Hi Adam,
- Karuizawa has some cheaper accommodation, business hotel style, near the station or along the main roads. In September prices should be down to 5-6000 JPY/night. But it's gonna be at least 3km walk to the Yacho no Mori area.
- September is "moving month" in Japan. By the end of sep all migratory passerines will have left their breeding grounds. Not sure how it will be birding wise in Karuizawa. In good weather conditions you might have a nice flow of birds going through, flycatchers, robins, early thrushes... Some target birds are there all year long, like Copper Pheasant or Ural owl but both are hard work.
- Another popular forest birding site near Tokyo is Takao san. Copper pheasants are also present there around the higher reaches. It could be also an interesting place in good migration conditions.
- Japan is not big on Ebird, but still quite a few entries. Browsing through will do no harm anyway.
- Marsh Grassbird is present all year round, and so is Japanese Reed Bunting. Playing a bit of mp3 might lure a bird to think it's April again. Sasagawa is a very good place for both (see ebird for exact location).
- In Miyake, resident birds will still be around of course. The thrush, wood pigeon and robin should be no drama around Tairo no ike if you manage to get there early (that means take the bus to there as soon as you get off the ferry). If you want the phyllosc and the locustella better go as early as possible in september. The ferry back is good for pelagics, but it will be a bit too early for albatrosses (you might get lucky tho). Besides the 1000s of Streaked shearwater there should be a good number of "brown" shearwaters heading south. Skuas also likely. Jap. murrelet are all year round near Miyake, but you'll need to watch carefully the first 10-20 mins after the ferry leaves the harbor. After that most likely alcid will be Rhino Auklet.
Hope that helped


Well-known member
Thanx all for the input! We visited Japan at the end of a 9 month backpacking trip around Asia so was quite tired at the time and not in the mode for a lot of planing or hassle - so didn't do a lot of birding. However I visited some parks and the river in Kyoto and had a few birds. Also visited Karuzawa and stayed at http://bellscabin.com/ -a really cosy stay within walking distance from Yacho-no-mori. It was a beautiful and (inside the forest) tranquil place - however birding was very slow... (a lot of rain didn't help..). In Tokyo area I opted to go one day with Kaz Shinoda [email protected] - pricey but really good value and was a great guide and company. Japan was a great countryand I realy hope I can go back again!

/ Adam

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