Japan // Hokkaido //

Kushiro Shitsugen National Park

Japan’s largest protected wetland, at 45,200 acres, is the Kushiro Shitsugen National Park (釧路湿原国立公園). Birdwatchers flock here in winter to see tancho cranes, but the wetlands are home to many other birds and animals, including deer, grey herons, whooper swans and eagles.

One of the best places to observe the cranes is actually just north of the park, in the fields near the village of TSURUI (鶴居), an hour’s drive north of Kushiro, at the Tsurui Itō Japanese Crane Sanctuary (鶴居•伊藤タンチョウサンクチュアリ). Half an hour further north of here towards Akan, the Akan International Crane Centre GRUS has breeding facilities and an interesting exhibition hall.

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