japan‘s largest marshland, Kushiro Marsh, is a breathtaking natural wonder that serves as a sanctuary for a diverse range of plant and animal species. Spanning an impressive area of 288 square kilometers, this marshland is a haven for wildlife and a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.
Located near Kushiro Airport, Kushiro Marsh is home to the iconic red-crowned crane, also known as the tancho, which is considered a national Special Natural Monument in Japan. These magnificent cranes, with their striking red crowns, are a sight to behold and draw visitors from all over the world. The marshland provides the perfect habitat for these beautiful birds, with miles of lush green marshes, lakes, and meandering rivers.
One of the notable features of Kushiro Marsh is its rich biodiversity. It is home to over 700 species of plants, making it a botanical paradise. The marshland was also the first in Japan to be registered under the Ramsar Convention, a global treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
For birdwatchers, Kushiro Marsh is a dream come true. The marshland and its surrounding areas offer ample opportunities to observe a wide variety of bird species. Apart from the red-crowned cranes, visitors can spot other fascinating birds such as Steller’s sea eagles in the winter and Latham’s snipes in the summer. The Tsurui-Ito sanctuary and Otowa Bridge are popular sites for birdwatching, where visitors can witness the cranes in their natural habitat.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Kushiro Marsh, there are several viewpoints and observatories that provide stunning panoramic views. The Hosooka Observatory offers impressive vistas of the marsh and the winding Kushiro River. Birdwatchers can explore the boardwalk at Onnenai for a closer look at the cranes and other bird species. The Kushiro Marshland Observatory and Kottaro Marshland Observatory offer majestic views of the marshland and its surrounding nature.
Besides birdwatching and enjoying the scenic views, there are other unique experiences to be had at Kushiro Marsh. One such experience is taking a nostalgic Winter Shitsugen steam train ride through the marshland, offering a glimpse of East Hokkaido’s wintry wilderness. Another exciting activity is canoeing on Lake Toro, where visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility of the marshland while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
After a day of exploration, visitors can indulge in some heartwarming food at the various eateries surrounding Kushiro Marsh. There are secluded cafes nestled in the hills and valleys that offer a cozy dining experience. Aurora Farm Village near Shibecha is a popular choice, offering delicious meals and a unique onsen experience in the forest. Heart’n Tree Restaurant is another option known for its original homemade dishes. For seafood lovers, Kushiro City is the place to go, with its Fishermen’s Wharf and Washou Ichiba Fish Market serving some of the freshest fish in Eastern Hokkaido.
For those who wish to continue their journey, there are nearby attractions worth exploring. Heading north from the Akan Town side of the marshes, visitors can visit the picturesque Lake Akan. Alternatively, heading north from Shibecha leads to the majestic Lake Mashu. Both of these destinations are part of the Akan-Mashu National Park, known for their scenic beauty and natural wonders.
To reach Kushiro Marsh, it is recommended to rent a car for convenient exploration. Kushiro Airport offers direct flights from Haneda or New Chitose Airport in Sapporo. The marshland spans four municipalities: Kushiro City, Kushiro Town, Shibecha Town, and Tsurui Village. If traveling by public transportation, it takes approximately four and a half hours by train or five and a half hours by bus from Sapporo to Kushiro City.
In conclusion, Kushiro Marsh is a remarkable natural treasure in Japan, offering an unparalleled opportunity to witness the beauty of wetlands and the incredible wildlife that calls it home. From the iconic red-crowned cranes to the diverse plant species and breathtaking landscapes, this marshland is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Whether it’s birdwatching, enjoying the scenic views, or indulging in delicious local cuisine, Kushiro Marsh offers a memorable experience that will leave visitors in awe of Japan’s natural wonders.
Address And Maps Location:
6-11 Hokuto, Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido