I found the Photographic Guide compact and pretty good for the basic
identification requirements you'd have on a short trip like this - see
http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300135565. I didnt
see any field guides for sale anywhere over there so get whatever you
are using in advance.
Last November I mainly saw stuff in temple grounds in Kyoto but 2 other
sites had interesting birds and were easily accessible:
- Arashiyama - last suburb before the hills on a beautiful river in the
northwest of Kyoto, easily accessible by suburban train about 45 mins
from centre of city. Had good numbers of waterfowl at close range and
apparently there is a riverside trail into hill forest near the bridge
which is good for birding. I did find details of this online but don't
have the link saved so you may have to do some Googling.
- Ohara - this is a beautiful village in the hills just north of Kyoto.
There were lots of birds in the fields and riverside groves along the
Takano River here, including various finches, thrushes, grosbeaks,
dipper etc, and lots of potential (I only had a morning here). Excellent
traditional inns to stay in and great food around the temples. A bus
runs here from central Kyoto and takes about 45 mins or so.
Both areas are crowded on weekends - Arashiyama was crazy on Sunday when
I was there so if going on a weekend get there very early.
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