Japanese Islands Tokyo Birdwatching

Japanese Islands Tokyo Birdwatching

10 days Tour


USD4.860 p.p


Wed 25th March to Friday 3rd April 2020–SOLD OUT
Wednesday 24th March to Friday 2nd April 2021

This springtime birding tour of Japan will see you explore the remote Ryukyu islands where some of the world’s most amazing and desirable birds can be found. Enjoy this subtropical archipelago including Amami and Okinawa islands observing the Okinawa Rail, Okinawa Woodpecker and Okinawa Robin. Target more endemics on Miyake-jima Island in the Izu Islands group as well as seabirds, especially albatrosses. Birding in Tokyo’s parkland and marshes will be rewarding and you enjoy the sights and cuisine of one the world’s largest cities. This tour will be guided by Otani Chikara, an expert Japanese birding guide, who has an in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna of the entire Japanese archipelago. Enjoy it all whilst photographing Japan’s cherry blossom season.

Okinawa Woodpecker.jpg
*This tour includes 3 domestics flights within Japan, ferry services, 9 nights accommodation, all meals, renowned English speaking Japanese Birding guide and Australian Tour leader, site fees and taxes. It doesn't include the return international flight toTokyo.

Day By Day Presentation:

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

Fly from your home country to Japan’s capital city Tokyo ready for the next day’s birding activities to commence. Marvel at the splendour of the Cherry Blossom season! There are many “Wow” factor attractions to experience. Tokyo is the world’s wealthiest city and it’s all on show!

Day 2: Ruykyu Island
Amami Thrush.jpg

This chain of subtropical islands has lush vegetation, paradise beaches and superb coral reefs and sees few foreign tourists. It’s home to the much-vaunted Ryukyu culture and contains one of Japan’s largest areas of unspoiled natural environment and its greatest biodiversity. After arriving on Amami Island we start birding.

Day 3: Amami Island
Amami Woodpecker.jpg

On the second day on Amami Island we will continue to target many species including the Amami Woodpecker. At night, we go out for the Amami Woodcock and Ryukyu Scops Owl and also the endemic Amami Black Rabbit on this night excursion. You also may encounter several species of snakes and frogs.

Day 4: Ryukyu Endemics
Ryukyu Green Pigeon.jpg

After birding on Amami Island for targets including the Ryukyu Green Pigeon, Ryukyu Minivet and Ryukyu Flycatcher, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker and the Pale and Dusky Thrush we fly to Okinawa Island. First, we visit a small marsh near the airport to see Black-faced Spoonbills before driving north and to start birding.

Day 5: Okinawa
Okinawa Rail.jpg

Okinawa Island is the largest of over one hundred islands stretching over 700km of ocean. Main targets to be sought here include the Okinawa Rail, Okinawa Woodpecker and the Okinawa Robin amongst others. On the night excursion, you will look for Japanese Scops Owl and Northern Boobook. We should encounter several species of snakes and frogs.

Day 6: Izu Islands

After a final day birding on the sub-tropical Okinawa Island we fly back to Tokyo in the late afternoon. We catch the overnight ferry out of Tokyo to Miyake-Jima Island in the group of volcanic islands known as the Izu Islands which lie southeast of mainland Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean.

Izu Robin.jpg
Day 7: Miyake-Jima
Izu Thrush.jpg

Arriving on Miyake-Jima Island early in the morning and start birding. Our main targets are Japanese Woodpigeon, Izu Thrush, Izu Robin, Izu Tit, Ijima’s Leaf Warbler and Grey Bunting. Other targets include Temminck’s Cormorant, Black-tailed Gull, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Brown-eared Bulbul, Bull-headed Shrike, Japanese Tit, Japanese White-eye and Blue Rock Thrush.

Day 8: Izu Endemics

Today on Miyake-Jima Island we will look for anything we missed the day before. This is the migrating season and we always have the chance to find something unexpected. If conditions allow, we will charter a small boat to go out to sea to find Short-tailed Albatross and Japanese Murrelet.

Day 9: Izu Pelagics
Short-tailed Albatross.jpg

After the final morning of birding on Miyake-Jima Island, we take a ferry back to Tokyo. From the boat, you have chance to encounter Short-tailed Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses, Streaked and Short-tailed Shearwaters, Tristram’s Storm Petrel and Japanese Murrelet. Often a few species of whales are seen, too. We arrive in Tokyo at night.

Day 10: Tokyo Parkland

We visit a park in Tokyo early today. The park has surprisingly many birds like Greater Scaup, Eurasian Teal, Eastern Spotbilled Duck and Azure-winged Magpie amongst others. Some of the wintering species like Japanese Buzzard, Eastern Water Rail, Saunders’s Gull, Daurian Redstart could still be seen. Shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers on park’s mud flat. Enjoy the highlights of Tokyo before departing.

Azure-winged Magpie.jpg
Otani Chikara.jpg
Otani Chikara

Your Birding Guide, Otani Chikara lives in Tokyo.


Birding since his early years, Otani spent some time at school in England before setting off on travels which have taken him throughout the world in pursuit of birds (he even rediscovered Roborovski’s Rosefinch on the Tibetan plateau!).


He currently works as a freelance environmental consultant, specialising in raptors, in particular the Mountain Hawk-Eagle.

He also has an in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna of the entire Japanese archipelago. When not working or birding overseas, Otani indulges a keen interest in the vocalizations and taxonomy of Japanese birds and has recently published a paper in the OBC bulletin where he suggests that several more Japanese taxa merit elevation to endemic species status.

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