Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Kayanuma train station near Kushiro with wild cranes. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

This is a friendly Hokkaido travel tip!

If you will be on a train that will be passing by Kayanuma train station, make sure to be alert when it does pass through!

 

Kayanuma train station near Kushiro - the train station where tancho cranes come. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

Kayanuma train station near Kushiro - the train station where tancho cranes come. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

 

This is known as the “station that tancho cranes come to.”

 

 

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Side note! The JR pass makes it time efficient to travel around Japan by train and is a popular option among travelers! See the cost of a JR pass and how to figure out if it will be worth it for you! Also be sure to see more quick Japan travel tips if it's your first trip to Japan, as well as ideas for how to spend winter in Japan - 10 day winter itinerary with the Japan Alps and 7 day winter itinerary in Hokkaido!


 

 

See rare red-crowned cranes

It’s said that these Japanese tancho cranes (aka Manchurian cranes) are among the rarest cranes in the world.

At one point it was thought that these cranes were extinct, but then some were discovered in Hokkaido around Kushiro.

Since then, it’s said that due to conservation efforts, the numbers of these cranes have grown, although they are still considered an endangered species.

 

Of course, this is nature so there aren’t guaranteed sightings, but you might as well look out for it!

Look for the cranes on the open field that’s across from the platform at Kayanuma station.

 

Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Kayanuma train station near Kushiro with wild cranes. Backpacking Japan

Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Kayanuma train station near Kushiro with wild cranes. Backpacking Japan

Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Kayanuma train station near Kushiro with wild cranes. Backpacking Japan

Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Kayanuma train station near Kushiro with wild cranes. Backpacking Japan

 

I know, you can’t see the cranes that well in these pictures!

But you could see them decently well from the train and it was pretty exciting!

To better see the type of birds you can see at this train station, see pictures here. (Learn more about the cranes there too!)

 

 

Where is Kayanuma station?!

Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

 

This train station is located in a more rural area of Hokkaido.

Expand out the map below (partner website) to see where Kayanuma is located compared to Sapporo.

 



Booking.com

 

 

So…

Why might you be passing by Kayanuma station?!

 

Kushiro to Abashiri route

The Kayanuma train station is located on the JR railway line that runs between Kushiro and Abashiri.

You might consider making your way up to Abashiri from Sapporo to catch a drift ice cruise.

 

Abashiri to Kushiro train after Abashiri drift ice cruise - scenic winter train ride in rural Hokkaido to Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

 

Then if you travel from Kushiro to Abashiri or Abashiri to Kushiro by taking the indirect route from or back to Sapporo, you might spot some Japanese cranes!

This is a scenic train route in rural Hokkaido, especially in winter.

 

Abashiri to Kushiro train - scenic winter train ride in rural Hokkaido to Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

Kushiro to Abashiri train route - scenic winter train ride in rural Hokkaido to Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

Kushiro to Abashiri train route - scenic winter train ride in rural Hokkaido to Kayanuma train station near Kushiro. Where to see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido Japan - aka red-crowned cranes, tancho. Backpacking Japan

 

Or if you’re doing other forms of sightseeing in this eastern region of Hokkaido, you may also end up on this train route.

Kawayu onsen and Mashu are train stations along the Kushiro to Abashiri route that have a bit more “offbeat” tourist spots located near them.

If you’re traveling with a JR pass or JR Hokkaido pass, you may consider visiting these places as a day trip from Kushiro or Abashiri (where you might find slightly more accommodation options), or staying a night of 2 in the area of Kawayu onsen or Lake Mashu.

 

 

A loop route around Hokkaido you may consider for travel in winter with a JR Hokkaido pass:

  • Sapporo
  • Asahikawa (penguin walk)
  • Abashiri (drift ice cruise)
  • Kushiro (to break up the journey)
  • Obihiro/Lake Shikaribetsu or Tomamu (ice village)
  • Sapporo

 

 

Where else can you see Japanese cranes in Hokkaido?

Or, if you want a better chance of spotting cranes, then there’s the Kushiro Shitsugen Marshland National Park.

There is also the Asahiyama Zoo that has a couple of cranes, but of course these are not wild cranes.

With the zoo, you can see the penguin walk too if you’ll be visiting in Hokkaido in winter!

 

HAPPY JAPANESE CRANE SPOTTING IN HOKKAIDO NEAR KUSHIRO!

 



How to spend winter in Japan

Backpacking Japan travel blog: Japan winter itinerary. Japan itinerary travel planning tips. Backpacking Japan travel blog: Hokkaido winter itinerary. Japan itinerary travel planning tips.

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My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!

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