The Japanese archipelago lies at the eastern edge of Eurasia and includes a diverse range of habitats. Japan is a surprisingly mountainous and wooded land, with beautifully varied coastlines and heavily populated lowlands, where tiny rice fields dot the landscape amidst the rural dwellings.

Winter birding here is one of Earth's great birding spectacles, and three areas in particular are essential: the Hooded and White-naped crane sanctuaries of Kyushu in the far south, the Red-crowned Crane reserve in southern Hokkaido, and the wintering grounds of magnificent Steller's Sea-Eagles on the ice fields around Lake Furen in the far north. Wintering wildfowl, thrushes, finches, and alcids, the challenge of the large Asian gull complex, the world's largest owl - Blakiston's Fish-Owl -and a useful sprinkling of endemics on the main islands add to a truly memorable visit.

Text from Fieldguides, leading bird tour operators with more than 100 destinations woldwide, including Japan

Red-crowned Crane

Red-crowned Crane © Michael Southcott

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Tropical Birding

Showing the 26 Most Recent Trip Reports Posted

Ryuku Islands, 27th April - 2nd May 2001, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 19, 2004)

Japan, Tokyo, March 2000, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 18, 2004)

Japan, February - March 2002, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 18, 2004)

Tobishima, Japan, May 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 18, 2004)

Winter wonders of Japan, January 28th - February 9th 2002, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 18, 2004)

The cranes of Arasaki, Japan, February 2004, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 18, 2004)

Okinawa, Japan, 27th June - 4th July 2004, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 18, 2004)

Japan – January 2009, author Nick Brickle (link created September 1, 2012)
(Highlights of the trip were many: Copper Pheasant, six species of crane, including Siberian, Steller’s Sea Eagle, Short-tailed Albatross, Saunder’s Gull, Blakiston’s Fish Owl, Ural Owl, Izu Thrush, Pine Grosbeak....)

Okinawa & Amami Islands, Japan – June 2010, author Nick Brickle (link created September 1, 2012)
(Within 24 hours of arriving on each island I’d seen all of the target birds I was after, including Okinawa Rail, Amami Woodcock, Ryukyu Green-Pigeon, Japanese Woodpigeon, Elegant Scops-Owl, Pryer’s [Japanese] Scops-Owl, Ryukyu [Northern] Hawk-Owl...)

Japan 2007: Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido - 18th February to 4th March 2007, author Ian Merrill (added May 9, 2007)
(Japan in winter is a ‘must-do birding trip’ with Steller’s and White-tailed Eagles, Red-crowned Cranes and Blakiston’s Fish-Owls)

Miyakejima, Japan April 28-29, 2012, author Jim Holmes (added May 19, 2012)
(Izu Leaf-Warbler, Pleske’s Grasshopper-Warbler and Izu Thrush)

Winter birding in Japan - 14th February 2018 - 7th March 2018, author Colin Reid (added March 21, 2018)
(Steller's Sea Eagle, Blakiston's Fish Owl, Ural Owl)

Japan and Korea - February 2005, author Richard Klim (added March 17, 2005)

Japan - 18th February - 4th March 2018, author Julian Thomas (added March 15, 2018)
(Hokkaido, Kyushu, Honshu)

Honshu Japan - 23 May to 8 June 2012, author Rob Dougherty (link created June 25, 2013)

Eastern Hokkaido, Japan - February 2014, author Oscar Campbell (link created June 20, 2014)
(Having arguably the most sensational winter birding on the planet and now fully armed with decent camera gear, now was the time to go.)

Japan, West Coast, Sea of Japan, Tobishima Island - 1st to 4th May 2010, author Graham Ekins (added June 14, 2010)
(Tobishima Island, Asian migrants, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Grey Bunting)

Japan - Dancing Cranes & Winter Birding I Feb-Mar 17, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created June 13, 2017)
(Japan, Blakiston's Fishing Owl, Steller's Sea Eagle, Red-crowned Crane, Hooded Crane, White-naped Crane, Japanese Murrelet, Japanese Accentor, Japanese Green Woodpecker, Chinese Penduline Tit, Brown-cheeked Rail)

Japan - Ryukyu Islands Extension Feb 17, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created June 13, 2017)
(Ryukyu Island, Okinawa Rail, Amami Woodcock, Lidth's Jay, Ryukyu Robin, Ryukyu Scops Owl)

Hokkaido, Japan - 15th - 23rd February 2015, author Brian Clasper (added July 10, 2015)
(Steller's Sea Eagle, Japanese Crane, Blakiston`s Fish Owl)

Japan, January 30th to February 17th 2005, author Martin Tribe (added January 8, 2006)

Japan: 24th February - 8th March 2008, author Mark Lopez (added January 6, 2010)
(Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Okinawa)

Izu Islands, Japan - January 6th - 8th 2014, author Phil Gregory (added February 8, 2014)

Japan in winter, 9 – 21 December 2015, author David Milton (added February 15, 2016)
(Kyushu, Hokkaido, Honshu)

Western Pacific Cruise - New Zealand to Japan, author Gail Mackiernan (link created April 12, 2012)
(Auckland, Tauranga, Bay Of Isles [all New Zealand], Noumea [ New Caledonia], Honiara [Guadalcanal], Rabaul [New Britain], Yap, Guam, Saipan, Okinawa, Nagasaki, Kobe.)

Japan: Hokkaido - 26th February - 7th March 2019, author McKenzie Mudge (added April 10, 2020)
(Hokkaido, Nemuro, Sapporo, Asahikawa, Nopporo Forrest Park, Abashiri, Tofutsukomizutori, Kitahama, Yoroushi Onsen, Notsuke Peninsula, Cape Nosappu, Tsurui, Green Park Hotel, Tsurui Ito Tancho Crane Sanctuary)

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