Many visitors are already being swept up in the frenzy of action, booking their Japan Photo Tours to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. And although we at Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) agree that the 2020 Olympics are an important landmark occasion for Japan and the world, we at JDS would rather be out in the field documenting some of the beautiful nature that Hokkaido has to offer during a Winter Birding Tour.
Tokachi River is situated on the South-Eastern coast of Hokkaido and is uncommon for birding photographers looking for photo ops. Only recently has the area garnered some popularity for its Swan Festival.
The Tokachi River is a pastoral paradise. The wetlands that make up a large part of its square footage are surrounded by farms, pastures, and grasslands. This mixture of greenery and the slowly winding river make this a landscape photography paradise. And once you have taken your fill of landscape photos, it is time for the many varieties of birds that are either native to the area or migrate through during the winter season.
The river is home to White-tailed Eagles and the Steller’s Sea Eagles during the winter season, and during the autumn migration season, approximately 5,000 geese, both White-fronted and Bean varieties roost along the river’s abundant wetlands. Red-necked Grebes and Japanese Cranes are also known to nest in the wetlands around the riverbed at various times of the year.
If you are hoping to add a little Japanese cultural exploration and understanding to your Hokkaido Winter Photography Workshop, then JDS also recommends attending the Tokachigawa Swan Festival. The swans in this case are pyramid-shaped art pieces that are inspired by the noble poses the swans make while roosting in the nearby river. The festival is a spectacle to behold and there is honestly nothing else like it. You are encouraged to stand atop the viewing platform and take in the entire field of artistically created swans with your eyes and your camera.