Hokkaido Tancho Photo Tour – Japan

from $5,800



It is time to capture magical images of the Whooper Swans at the volcanic Lake Kussharo. We travel to the city of Rausu on the Shiretoko Peninsula (a UNESCO World Heritage site) to capture the majestic Steller’s Sea-Eagles and White-Tailed Eagles in action, and the beautiful Red-Crowned Cranes caught up in their graceful mating dances as they announce the early arrival of spring. It also allows you a great opportunity to capture awesome landscapes and surreal mountain views. Come and explore Hokkaido with us.

UNUSUAL EXPEDITION’s trips are well known for accomplishing a lot in just a few days. We basically pack a lot of content with different themes in a single trip. This workshop will be no different. Locations shoots each day are dependant on daily weather and lighting conditions.

  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided Tours, Wildlife
  • Activity Level Challenging
  • Group Size Small Group
All about the Hokkaido Tancho Photo Tour – Japan.



Day 1 & 2
We arrive at Kushiro, a city in the Kushiro Subprefecture in Hokkaido. It the capital city of Kushiro Subprefecture and the most populous city in eastern Hokkaido. Known as ‘the town of mist’, the city faces the Pacific Ocean and has a prosperous marine product industry.

We will first head to the Tancho Nature Park, where you will be able to spot the famous red crowned cranes, also known as the tancho cranes. There are currently about 20 residing in the park, and can be seen all year round, although they are especially spectacular against a snowy backdrop.

We will stay in the area of Tsurui, a tiny village located close to the breeding grounds of the red-crowned cranes. Our lovely hotel looks like a barn from the outside, but is a spectacular onsen hotel on the inside! The owner of this spot is also a professional wildlife photographer.
Meals: (B,D)


Day 3 – 4
Today, we make our way to Rausu, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sitting on the eastern coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula, it boasts mountain rages formed by past volcanic activity and primeval forests. In a move to preserve this precious natural environment, 50% of the region has been designated a special preservation district. The town of Rausu has a population of just 6,000, her primary industry fishing.

Along the way, we will stop for delicious meals and photography opportunities, and from 6pm until midnight, we will hunt for the endangered Blakiston’s Fish Owl, the largest species of owl. The onsen hotel we are staying in tonight uses much of Hokkaido’s local produce for its meals, so get ready for some delicious meals!
Meals: (B,D)


Day 5
We will take an early morning boat ride out at sunrise to shoot the Stellar Sea Eagles (the largest eagle in the world) and White-tailed Sea Eagles. In winter, a layer of drift ice on the sea allows us the chance to an ice-breaking cruise – a truly wonderful experience. After a 3-hour ride out at sea, we will head back to land and explore the area for the Japanese Kitsune (red foxes) and Ezo-Jika (Sika deers), against a beautiful snowy landscape.
Wildlife photography does require a bit of luck, and hopefully with our instructors’ experience, we will be able to see everything!
Meals: (B,D)

Day 6
Today, we head back out to sea at sunrise to ensure everyone has managed to capture the shots they want! We will also be traveling to Lake Maru and Lake Kussharo for some scenic landscape photography. Your hotel for the night will also be an onsen hotel, so soak up and relax for the next day.
Meals: (B,D)

Day 7
There is no better place to shoot sunrise than the land of the rising sun! We will rise at dawn to capture the sun rising across the lake near our hotel, home to a thousand swans. We will then head to the surrounding mountain area to look for ice-fields, home to the whooper swans.
Meals: (B,D)

Day 8
We will spend one last morning capturing nice landscapes before we head to the airport. We will take a relaxing walk through the snow-covered forest in snow shoes, followed by a break of chocolates and coffee by a stream while enjoying the charming snow-scape.
This is the end of our expedition.

(Exact photography locations will depend on weather conditions.)

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

Hotel accommodation

Tour guide

Entrance fees

Land transportation in destination

Group transfer to airport

All meals as stated in itinerary

What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.

Return International Air Ticket

Return Domestic Air Ticket (If Any)

Guide Tips – YEN1000 per day

Driver Tips

Any Private Expenses

Room Service Expenses

Porter Services

Visa Fees (If Applicable)

Beverages / Alcohol Drinks during Meals

Personal Travel Insurance (Compulsory – Self Purchased)

Photography Setup Fee (If applicable)