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A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles

Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles – more aspects of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The fourth & last instalment of Nicola’s images are dedicated to the magnificent Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles. Our winter wildlife in Japan tour includes 6 boat trips to photograph these fantastic raptors. Each day, the group faced different weather conditions which presented them with different photographic opportunities. Sometimes, the eagles came so close that the group were almost over-lensed with intermediate zoom lenses!

A visit to one of several frozen lake in the area is always included in our tour, & this year yielded some great images of the eagles ‘striding’ across the ice.

A Stellers Sea Eagle sweeps it's wings forward on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's Steller Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

One of the White Tailed Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA White Tailed Sea Eagle lands on the Rausu pack ice photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA White Tailed Sea Eagle soars through the air above one of the feeding sites photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Nothing can prepare you for that incredible moment when you are amongst the ice floes with eagles all around. It is pretty common for our guests to finish each of the sessions feeling as though they have been in the gym, with arms that ache from non-stop shooting.

Many of our group came on the trip to fulfil a long awaited plan to see the Snow Monkeys; however, they left saying that the highlight of the trip was actually the boat trips to photograph the eagles. In Nicola’s own words “this was an amazing trip – lots of wildlife on hand, with lots of opportunities to take stunning images.”

A Stellers Sea Eagle strides across the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A juvenile White Tailed Sea Eagle having just landed on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A juvenile Stellers Sea Eagle eats fish whilst being pestered by a pair of crows photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

With the 2018 trip full, we have opened up bookings for the 2019 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5749, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 16th November 2018 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 9 – 22, 2018.

 

 

A solitary whooper swan swims in a thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Whooper Swans & Foxes

Whooper Swans – the graceful aspect of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The Whooper Swans of Lake Kussharo are always a revelation to our guests. When one thinks of winter wildlife in Japan, the first thought is inevitably, Snow Monkeys, followed closely by Stellers’ Sea Eagles & Red Crowned Cranes. But people rarely think “I want to go there to photograph whooper swans” & who would blame them?

Take a look at Nicola’s images below. Such beautiful, elegant birds with plenty of opportunities to photograph them in flight, walking in the snow & sat on the lake with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. The possibilities are endless.

A Whooper Swan comes in to land on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A bevy of whooper swans wander across the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA pair of whooper swans wander across the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA solitary whooper swan isolated within the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA bevy of whooper swans swimming in one of the thermal lakes found on Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A solitary whooper swan walks on the edge of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A duo of whooper swans clean themselves in the thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A solitary whooper swan swims in a thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A solitary whooper swan on the edge of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Red Fox – a frequently seen predator on Hokkaido

The stunning Red Fox is another highlight of our Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour. Looking magnificent in their winter coats, foxes are very common in Japan. They are not persecuted & therefore less nervous of humans which allows for some great encounters & photographic opportunities. They are also the subject of many Japanese folklore, the most common being that they are very intelligent, have long lives & magical powers.

One of the red foxes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

We have a couple of spaces remaining on our 2018 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5499, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book these two places for £5199 each instead of £5499! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 17th November 2017 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 10 – 23, 2018.

A pair of huddled snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys – the always amusing aspect of Winter Wildlife in Japan

Whenever we mention our Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour, the first thing most people say to us is “Do you visit the Snow Monkeys? I would love to see them!”  No trip to Japan would be complete without a visit to these charismatic primates, watching them play in the snow & relaxing in their onsen. These wonderful images were sent to us by Nicola (Billows) who was one of the participants of our 2017 trip to Japan.

One of the adult snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the very young snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A portrait of one of the adult snow monkeys photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the adult snow monkeys bathing in the thermal spas photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayAn adult snow monkey of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of the young snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The Snow Monkeys, also known as the Japanese Macaques are probably best known as the three wise monkeys that embody the proverbial principle “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. The Japanese Macaque is better known as the Snow Monkey as it lives farther north than any other non-human primate. Except for the face & posterior, which are pink, they are covered with brown, greyish or yellowish hair. This thick coat helps the Snow Monkey to survive in temperatures as low as -20 degrees C (-4 deg. F).

A pair of huddled snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of the very young snow monkeys cuddled into it's mother photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday  A pair of snow monkeys groom each other whilst sat in the thermal pools photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

We have a couple of spaces remaining on our 2018 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5499, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book these two places for £5199 each instead of £5499! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 17th November 2017 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 10 – 23, 2018.

High in the air, a duo of red crowned cranes perform their dance on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Red Crowned Cranes

Red Crowned Cranes – the most regal aspect of Winter Wildlife in Japan

In the first of our series of blog posts on Winter Wildlife in Japan, Nicola (Billows), one of our guests on our recent Japanese Winter Wildlife tour has very kindly sent us some of her favourite images to share with you.  This first blog post showcases the regal Red Crowned Cranes.  These beautiful birds are among the largest of the crane family. They are so named because of a patch of bare, red skin on the crown, which gets brighter during the mating season.

The early morning sight at one of the red crowned crane roosting sites photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A pair of Red Crowned Cranes in the snowy Hokkaido landscape photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A red crowned crane having just landed on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

In Japan the Red Crowned Crane is said to live for a thousand years & a pair of them are featured in the design for the 1000 yen note. Cranes are also said to grant favors in return for acts of sacrifice. They are also known for their fairly elaborate mating dance that helps them in forming & maintaining the pair bond. This dance begins with the two cranes moving rhythmically closer until they are close enough to touch each other. They will then tilt their heads back & sound off with a fluting call together. This call will frequently trigger other such calls to start this dance, which has been beautifully captured by Nicola.

A pair of red crowned cranes perform their dance on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA dancing pair of red crowned cranes perform their courtship on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA solitary red crowned crane isolated within the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA trio of red crowned cranes perform their dance on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA duo of red crowned cranes perform their dance on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayHigh in the air, a duo of red crowned cranes perform their dance on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

We have a couple of spaces remaining on our 2018 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5499, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book these two places for £5199 each instead of £5499! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 17th November 2017 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 10 – 23, 2018.

One of the young snow monkeys found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A special pricing offer for Japan in Winter 2018

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple, we have an offer that might entice you to join our Japan in Winter Photography Holiday in February 2018, for a room that is shared, can you book a pair of places for £5199 each instead of £5499!

You & a companion can join us & spend time with the gorgeous snow monkeys as shown in this post, also several days with the red-crowned cranes & the whooper swans, then four days focussed on stellers sea eagles & white-tailed sea eagles on our six boat trips & also at a couple of other locations.

A young snow monkey of the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japan in Winter Photography Holiday

For travelling companions happy to share a room or a couple, you can book a pair of places for £10,398 – details of the whole trip are available here, quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – you can book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only!

One of the juvenile snow monkeys of the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japan in Winter Photography Holiday

We had a couple of non-photographer spouses on the recent tour – & it would be fair to say that they got as much from the tour as anyone else, more in some areas in fact, as their face was not pressed against the back of the camera, focussed on only what they could see through the viewfinder!

One of the young snow monkeys of the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japan in Winter Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE WILDLIFE OF JAPAN IN WINTER FOR YOURSELF?

We have an opportunity in 2018 for you to undertake photography of the blakiston’s fish owl, red-crowned cranes, snow monkeys, steller’s sea eagles, ural owl, white-tailed sea eagles, whooper swans & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself, the photography holiday costs £5199 each for a sharing couple or sharing travelling companions exc. air travel to & within Japan itself – all ground transportation within Japan, accommodation & guidance/tuition from myself is included, the dates for the Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour is February 10 February 23, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

No bird typifies time on Hokkaido more than the Red Crowned Crane photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Another successful Japanese Winter Wildlife tour to Hokkaido & Honshu

I’ve just returned from spending two weeks, in good company of some great NaturesLens clients, where we were on a trip to attempt photograph the fantastic Japanese Winter Wildlife, including the Blakiston’s fish owl, the red crowned crane, the adorable snow monkeys in their spa & in the snow, the fantastic Steller’s Sea Eagle, & their close relations the White-Tailed Sea Eagle, dreamy Whooper Swans & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan.

One of the young snow monkeys found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

This year, for potentially the last time, we started our Japanese Winter Wildlife trip with the snow monkeys; for next year, we will be starting on Hokkaido & finishing with the snow monkeys, this is mainly so that we can get into a truly wonderful hotel, that no-one should miss out upon. This year, as every year, the snow monkeys did not disappoint, all our clients captured some fantastic images of these primates in their hot spa & in the surrounding snow-clad valley.

A young snow monkey, as can be found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The first photographic target species on Hokkaido are always the red-crowned cranes, every year, we try for sunset, sunrise & daytime images of these graceful birds – this year, we only had a decent sunset on the first day of two in the area, but the cranes obliged & flew over the tree-line & in-front of the setting sun.

No bird typifies time on Hokkaido more than the Red Crowned Crane photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Moving on from the cranes, we spent several days photographing the beautiful whooper swans on their caldera lake, these are a subject people always fall in love with. Our hotel for the swans was one that boasts wildlife literally outside the windows, & we had a Blakiston’s fish owl & fox come up from the river. The next morning, sable & Hokkaido squirrel were spotted, along with another fox.

After a couple of days in the area, we moved on, northwards, three days of bitter cold, early morning starts & a plethora of eagle action was promised, & delivered upon. Each of the days was very different in conditions, with pack ice forcing us back into the harbour on the second day. Each day, the eagles kept us entertained & the memory cards just kept being filled with superb images of the birds diving, posing, performing flypasts & more.

One of the Sea Eagles soars over the ice laden seas of Hokkaido photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A quick sojourn down the peninsulas on our way towards the south of Hokkaido, saw us photographing fox & deer in large quantities, & heading to a large frozen lake to photograph the morning squabble for fish amongst Black-eared Kites, White-tailed Sea Eagles & Steller’s Sea Eagles. This location produces some of the cleanest background images of the eagles that I believe are achievable, the action is frantic, like a kite-feeding station, the interactions often harsh, but the photographic opportunities are plentiful.

A steller's sea eagle flies over one of the frozen lakes of Hokkaido in the Winter photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A Steller's Sea Eagles lands on the ice of one of Hokkaido's lakes photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

One of the Steller's Sea Eagles soars over the ice of one of Hokkaido's lakes photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

February 2018 is yet another return visit to Japan to photograph the various species on offer, including the blakiston’s fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more; so if you fancy photographing the wonderful winter wildlife & the amazing bleak landscapes, whilst absorbing the culture & everything else Japan in Winter has to offer, then join me for this spectacular Winter Wildlife experience, all the details of the Japanese Winter Wildlife photography holiday may be viewed here.

One place left to join me in a Winter Wonderland

A blanket of white as far as the eye can see. Fat flakes lazily tumble down to create the illusion that you are actually sitting inside a snow globe. Across a land that lies heavy with tradition, an abundance of wildlife thrives. Snow monkeys bathing in the onsen, beautiful red crowned cranes seem to dance in the air, while Steller’s Sea Eagles & White Tailed Sea Eagles drift on pack ice. See it all with the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Holiday.

One of the Steller's Sea Eagles photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The headline features of the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Holiday, are as follows:

  • To be conducted between the dates of February 11, 2017 – February 24, 2017.
  • Lead by David Miles.
  • Capture images of the Red Crowned Cranes, Snow Monkeys, Stellers Sea Eagles, White Tailed Sea Eagles & Whooper Swans! 
  • Three days of photographing the impressive Stellers & White-Tailed sea eagles, with a 5am & 9am cruises each day whilst on Hokkaido.
  • Photography at a sea eagle feeding site on a frozen lake, this provides some amazing opportunities for shots of interaction between the sea eagles of both types, plus black-eared kites
  • Like most of our tours – No single supplement!
  • Easy flights into & out of Tokyo.
  • All airport transfers, accommodation, meals on a half-board basis & activities whilst in Japan are included.
  • Tuition on an as-needed basis from David.

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Events

steller's sea eagle in flight by .

Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour

This photography holiday is priced at $6999 (USD) for US guests wishing to join us.

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 16th November 2018.
Imagine travelling through a winter landscape in a country heavy with tradition, where you can encounter & photograph entrancing snow monkeys, beautiful dancing red-crowned cranes, dreamlike swans on a snow covered frozen lake plus both Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles on drifting pack ice, this is exactly what the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour offers. Our trip also accommodates chance encounters with Ural OwlsRed Foxes & more native wildlife. Commencing in Tokyo & meeting at Haneda Airport, the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour first travels to the Jigokudani Valley, to photograph the monkeys of “Hell’s Valley”, where steam & boiling water bubbles from small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs & formidably cold & hostile forests. Whilst we stay in the town of Yudanaka, our target is to photograph the Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata), more commonly referred to as Snow Monkeys, that descend from the steep cliffs & forest to sit in the warm waters of the onsen or hot springs. The monkeys return to the security of the forests in the evenings. We will spend two full days in the valley. You will have the opportunity to photograph the monkeys in the onsen, or at play in the valley below the main area where intimate mother & baby shots are easily achieved. It is without a doubt a harsh environment in the winter months with snow on the ground for a third of the year, but the hot springs make it a paradise for the several of hundred monkeys that live in the valley & the surrounding forests. Whilst at the onsen or the valley, the monkeys simply ignore the photographers & simply get on with whatever it is they want to be doing. Young Snow Monkey in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour From Yudanaka, our Japanese winter wildlife tour returns briefly to Tokyo, then travels onwards to the island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost & least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall, below zero temperatures & frozen seas. Snow Monkey in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Our first main location is Akan National Park which is located in eastern Hokkaido. The park is well known for its three beautiful lakes: Lake Akan, Lake Mashu & Lake Kussharo. Akan National Park is composed of two separate parts. The smaller, western portion contains Lake Akan with the lakeside hot spring resort of Akankohan Onsen. The larger, eastern part contains Lake Mashu, Lake Kussharo, Iozan (Sulfur Mountain) & centrally located Kawayu Onsen. Japanese Cranes in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour We stay in Akan for at least two full days of photography, at this location the  focus is on photography of the red-crowned cranes; Red-crowned Cranes are the only crane species that have white primary feathers. Adult forehead & crown are covered with bare red skin, & a large white band extends from behind the eyes & meets sharply with the black lower neck. The majority of the body is pure white with the exception of black secondary & tertiary feathers. Eyes are black & legs are slatey to grayish black. Males & females are virtually indistinguishable, although males tend to be slightly larger in size. Red-crowned cranes form flocks in winter but otherwise live in pairs. Once mated the pair will stay together for life. The crane has one of the most beautiful dances in the bird world; these dances help to strengthen the bond between the mated pair. Japanese Red Crowned Crane in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour We will visit a number of crane sites at varying times of the day from sunrise through to sunset, with the intention of watching & photographing the cranes perform their intricate courtship dances; the birds bow to one another, then throw their heads over their backs, then bow again. The pair leaps into the air, at the same time raising their wings. The Red-crowned Cranes’ unison dance is a ritual the pair will perform together many times over the years, to strengthen their lifelong bond. Lake Kussharo is a caldera lake in Akan National Park, eastern Hokkaidō, Japan. As with many geographic names in Hokkaidō, the name derives from the Ainu language. It is the largest caldera lake in Japan in terms of surface area, & sixth largest lake in Japan. It is also the largest lake in Japan to freeze over completely in winter. The lake’s central island, Nakajima, is a composite volcano. Volcanic gases render the lake water acidic, & it supports few fish except in areas where inflowing streams dilute the water. The lake is on the migratory path of the whooper swan. Swan spreads its wings on Lake Kussharo photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Swan in snow on Lake Kussharo photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour We spend two days at the various swan locations, undertaking photography of these beautiful birds at the various calderas around which they gather. In addition some amazing opportunities are presented for in flight, taking off & resting on ice shots, all within a dreamlike landscape. The area is rich with other wildlife, much of which we will spend time at leisure attempting to locate & photograph – this includes red squirrels, red fox & a particular favourite in the form of the roosting Ural Owls. Lake Kussharo Swan in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Swan on Lake Kussahro photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour From Lake Kussharo, the Japanese winter wildlife tour moves onto Rausu; Rausu is a small coastal fishing town, with a small population of approximately 6,500. Located on the Shiretoko Peninsula , it is the most northeasterly town in Japan. During the winter months the population of Steller’s Sea Eagles & White-tailed Sea Eagles hunt for fish on the pack ice, which drifts down from the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia. We will stay in Rausu for several nights, during which we will take advantage of the tour boats that operate from Rausu harbour. These boats are without a doubt the best manner in which to see these stunning birds. White Tailed Sea Eagle sitting on drifting pack ice on Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour White Tailed Sea Eagle prparing to land on drifting pack ice photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Steller's Sea Eagles on drifting pack ice in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour The Steller’s Sea Eagle is the heaviest eagle in the world. It breeds in northeastern Russia & winters further south, reaching Hokkaido where it spends its days hunting for fish around the pack ice. Packs or clusters of these immense birds gather in Rausu harbour & out on the pack ice waiting for the fish that the tour boats provide. The White-tailed Sea Eagle is another large eagle, closely related to the North American Bald Eagle. It is more widespread than Steller’s & breeds across northern Europe & Asia, & is a year-round resident of Hokkaido. White Tailed Sea Eagle landing on drifting pack ice in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Steller's Sea Eagle preparing to land on drifting pack ice in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour The NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour includes three days of photographing the impressive sea eagles, with a 5am & 9am cruises each day. The afternoon of each day is free for rest or photo advice & critique; however, one evening at least will be devoted to photographing the Blakiston’s Fish Owl from a local hide. The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the largest living species of owl, it is in fact a large eagle owl, with a wingspan that can reach up to two metres long. Blakiston’s fish owl is found in Siberia, northeast China & the island of Hokkaido in Japan which is why the photographic opportunity afforded here is to be grasped, that said, the evening photography is harsh & adequate preparation is required. Additionally on the tour, we will include visits to a sea eagle feeding site on a frozen lake, this provides some amazing opportunities for shots of interaction between the sea eagles of both types, plus black-eared kites. The photographic opportunities afforded for bird in flights shots are equally excellent. White Tailed Sea Eagle soars in the sky above a frozen lake in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Upon leaving Hokkaido, our tour to photograph Japan Snow Monkeys And Hokkaido’s wildlife will return to Tokyo airport, have a brief overnight stop in a local hotel near to the airport & from there depart homeward bound.

NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour Outline Itinerary

Available upon booking the tour & placing a deposit.

Single Supplement

No single supplement payable

Workshop Availability

4 places available.

Recommended Equipment

Available upon booking the tour & placing a deposit.

Additional Notes

NaturesLens photography holidays include only the travel stated on the event page, flights of any nature are not included. Flight details, where applicable, are made available to clients in plenty of time to allow for booking at the best prices available.

The photography holiday itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional.

NaturesLens photography holidays require a minimum number of participants, if sufficient photography holiday places are not sold the photography holiday may not be run, this photography holiday has a minimum participant level of 3 plus NaturesLens guide(s).

Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available.

Unless stated otherwise, all NaturesLens wildlife photography holidays are suitable for single travellers, we design our holidays so that each participant gets their own room, there is no sharing & no single supplement. This Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour cost includes accommodation, breakfastentrance fees to parks, feeding stations & nature tour boat trips at Rausu, all transport to & from Japanese airports & within Japan – excluding flights. The NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour cost specifically excludes all flights, both international & domestic, alcohol & other items of a personal nature. A non-refundable deposit of £1000 is required to secure a place on this trip with the balance being due 12 weeks prior to departure (mid-November 2017).

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steller's sea eagle in flight by .

Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour

This photography holiday is priced at $6999 (USD) for US guests wishing to join us.


To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 17th November 2017.
Imagine travelling through a winter landscape in a country heavy with tradition, where you can encounter & photograph entrancing snow monkeys, beautiful dancing red-crowned cranes, dreamlike swans on a snow covered frozen lake plus both Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles on drifting pack ice, this is exactly what the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour offers. Our trip also accommodates chance encounters with Ural OwlsRed Foxes & more native wildlife. Commencing in Tokyo & meeting at Haneda Airport, the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour first travels to the Jigokudani Valley, to photograph the monkeys of “Hell’s Valley”, where steam & boiling water bubbles from small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs & formidably cold & hostile forests. Whilst we stay in the town of Yudanaka, our target is to photograph the Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata), more commonly referred to as Snow Monkeys, that descend from the steep cliffs & forest to sit in the warm waters of the onsen or hot springs. The monkeys return to the security of the forests in the evenings. We will spend two full days in the valley. You will have the opportunity to photograph the monkeys in the onsen, or at play in the valley below the main area where intimate mother & baby shots are easily achieved. It is without a doubt a harsh environment in the winter months with snow on the ground for a third of the year, but the hot springs make it a paradise for the several of hundred monkeys that live in the valley & the surrounding forests. Whilst at the onsen or the valley, the monkeys simply ignore the photographers & simply get on with whatever it is they want to be doing. Young Snow Monkey in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour From Yudanaka, our Japanese winter wildlife tour returns briefly to Tokyo, then travels onwards to the island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost & least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall, below zero temperatures & frozen seas. Snow Monkey in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Our first main location is Akan National Park which is located in eastern Hokkaido. The park is well known for its three beautiful lakes: Lake Akan, Lake Mashu & Lake Kussharo. Akan National Park is composed of two separate parts. The smaller, western portion contains Lake Akan with the lakeside hot spring resort of Akankohan Onsen. The larger, eastern part contains Lake Mashu, Lake Kussharo, Iozan (Sulfur Mountain) & centrally located Kawayu Onsen. Japanese Cranes in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour We stay in Akan for at least two full days of photography, at this location the  focus is on photography of the red-crowned cranes; Red-crowned Cranes are the only crane species that have white primary feathers. Adult forehead & crown are covered with bare red skin, & a large white band extends from behind the eyes & meets sharply with the black lower neck. The majority of the body is pure white with the exception of black secondary & tertiary feathers. Eyes are black & legs are slatey to grayish black. Males & females are virtually indistinguishable, although males tend to be slightly larger in size. Red-crowned cranes form flocks in winter but otherwise live in pairs. Once mated the pair will stay together for life. The crane has one of the most beautiful dances in the bird world; these dances help to strengthen the bond between the mated pair. Japanese Red Crowned Crane in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour We will visit a number of crane sites at varying times of the day from sunrise through to sunset, with the intention of watching & photographing the cranes perform their intricate courtship dances; the birds bow to one another, then throw their heads over their backs, then bow again. The pair leaps into the air, at the same time raising their wings. The Red-crowned Cranes’ unison dance is a ritual the pair will perform together many times over the years, to strengthen their lifelong bond. Lake Kussharo is a caldera lake in Akan National Park, eastern Hokkaidō, Japan. As with many geographic names in Hokkaidō, the name derives from the Ainu language. It is the largest caldera lake in Japan in terms of surface area, & sixth largest lake in Japan. It is also the largest lake in Japan to freeze over completely in winter. The lake’s central island, Nakajima, is a composite volcano. Volcanic gases render the lake water acidic, & it supports few fish except in areas where inflowing streams dilute the water. The lake is on the migratory path of the whooper swan. Swan spreads its wings on Lake Kussharo photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Swan in snow on Lake Kussharo photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour We spend two days at the various swan locations, undertaking photography of these beautiful birds at the various calderas around which they gather. In addition some amazing opportunities are presented for in flight, taking off & resting on ice shots, all within a dreamlike landscape. The area is rich with other wildlife, much of which we will spend time at leisure attempting to locate & photograph – this includes red squirrels, red fox & a particular favourite in the form of the roosting Ural Owls. Lake Kussharo Swan in snow photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Swan on Lake Kussahro photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour From Lake Kussharo, the Japanese winter wildlife tour moves onto Rausu; Rausu is a small coastal fishing town, with a small population of approximately 6,500. Located on the Shiretoko Peninsula , it is the most northeasterly town in Japan. During the winter months the population of Steller’s Sea Eagles & White-tailed Sea Eagles hunt for fish on the pack ice, which drifts down from the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia. We will stay in Rausu for several nights, during which we will take advantage of the tour boats that operate from Rausu harbour. These boats are without a doubt the best manner in which to see these stunning birds. White Tailed Sea Eagle sitting on drifting pack ice on Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour White Tailed Sea Eagle prparing to land on drifting pack ice photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Steller's Sea Eagles on drifting pack ice in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour The Steller’s Sea Eagle is the heaviest eagle in the world. It breeds in northeastern Russia & winters further south, reaching Hokkaido where it spends its days hunting for fish around the pack ice. Packs or clusters of these immense birds gather in Rausu harbour & out on the pack ice waiting for the fish that the tour boats provide. The White-tailed Sea Eagle is another large eagle, closely related to the North American Bald Eagle. It is more widespread than Steller’s & breeds across northern Europe & Asia, & is a year-round resident of Hokkaido. White Tailed Sea Eagle landing on drifting pack ice in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Steller's Sea Eagle preparing to land on drifting pack ice in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour The NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour includes three days of photographing the impressive sea eagles, with a 5am & 9am cruises each day. The afternoon of each day is free for rest or photo advice & critique; however, one evening at least will be devoted to photographing the Blakiston’s Fish Owl from a local hide. The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the largest living species of owl, it is in fact a large eagle owl, with a wingspan that can reach up to two metres long. Blakiston’s fish owl is found in Siberia, northeast China & the island of Hokkaido in Japan which is why the photographic opportunity afforded here is to be grasped, that said, the evening photography is harsh & adequate preparation is required. Additionally on the tour, we will include visits to a sea eagle feeding site on a frozen lake, this provides some amazing opportunities for shots of interaction between the sea eagles of both types, plus black-eared kites. The photographic opportunities afforded for bird in flights shots are equally excellent. White Tailed Sea Eagle soars in the sky above a frozen lake in Japan photographed on a Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Upon leaving Hokkaido, our tour to photograph Japan Snow Monkeys And Hokkaido’s wildlife will return to Tokyo airport, have a brief overnight stop in a local hotel near to the airport & from there depart homeward bound.

NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour Outline Itinerary

Available upon booking the tour & placing a deposit.

Single Supplement

No single supplement payable

Workshop Availability

SPACES AVAILABLE!

Recommended Equipment

Available upon booking the tour & placing a deposit.

Additional Notes

NaturesLens photography holidays include only the travel stated on the event page, flights of any nature are not included. Flight details, where applicable, are made available to clients in plenty of time to allow for booking at the best prices available.

The photography holiday itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional.

NaturesLens photography holidays require a minimum number of participants, if sufficient photography holiday places are not sold the photography holiday may not be run, this photography holiday has a minimum participant level of 3 plus NaturesLens guide(s).

Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available.

Unless stated otherwise, all NaturesLens wildlife photography holidays are suitable for single travellers, we design our holidays so that each participant gets their own room, there is no sharing & no single supplement. This Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour cost includes accommodation, breakfastentrance fees to parks, feeding stations & nature tour boat trips at Rausu, all transport to & from Japanese airports & within Japan – excluding flights. The NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour cost specifically excludes all flights, both international & domestic, alcohol & other items of a personal nature. A non-refundable deposit of £1000 is required to secure a place on this trip with the balance being due 12 weeks prior to departure (mid-November 2016).

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