Japan: Advice needed

To: Jenny Stiles <>, "" <>
Subject: Japan: Advice needed
From: "Blythman, Mark" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:38:31 +0800
Hi Jenny,
I was banding birds in Japan a few months ago and loved it. If you cant get out 
of the cities there are at least some places to see birds amongst the tall 
Tokyo- There is a lake at Ueno Park,  (where all the museums are) that is not 
too bad for waterfowl considering it's the middle of Tokyo. Keep an eye out for 
banded birds I saw 4 there...

Nagano to see the snow monkeys- You need to walk a couple of kms from the bus 
stop to get to the hot springs and there is reasonable birding along the way. 
Dippers in the creek, woodpeckers in the forest.

Osaka- You could take the family to the Umeda Sky building as an excuse to get 
down to the edge of the Yodo River. There is a nature reserve down there with 
buntings, tits, thrush etc and waterfowl in the river.

Watazen in Kyoto was some of the best accommodation I had in Japan. Great 
location, big rooms and near the main markets and temples, it is traditional 
style though so you will be sleeping on the floor.

The trains are sweet once you get used to them, and if you are unsure about 
anything you can pretty much ask the nearest person and they will go out of 
their way to help you. JR rail pass is the go for limitless rail travel on JR 


Mark Blythman
Animal Science Program | Science and Conservation Division | Department of 
Parks and Wildlife
ph (08) 9405 5110 

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of 
Jenny Stiles
Sent: Monday, 14 July 2014 8:30 AM
Subject: Japan: Advice needed

Hi All,
I would very much appreciate some advice on travelling to Japan at the end of 
October this year after my youngest son finishes the HSC. Normally I pick the 
holidays and have very definite goal in mind, but this time my "men" 
have chosen but their goals are vague [weird vending machines, cool castles, 
weird people, snow monkeys, Mt Fuji, Hiroshima, Kyoto] This will be a family 
holiday, so the only birding will be incidental or to a place that everyone 
will enjoy! Of course I do hope to sneak some [lots?] in and would also like to 
see some of the native mammals!! My sons are 23,
21 [has autism] & 18 and are pretty tolerant of birding stops.
So far the rough itinerary is as follows: Tokyo [2 or 3 nights], Nikko [1 
night], Nagano (to see the snow monkeys*) [1 night], Hakone [1 night], Kyoto
[3 nights or maybe 2 & 1 night at Nara], Hiroshima [2 nights], Osaka [1 night] 
& fly home from there. There is still scope to add in a few more stops or 
extend the ones I have selected.

I have found it all a bit overwhelming actually, especially thinking about 
travelling by train and bus rather than a car [used to just stashing suitcases 
in the hire car, not having them with us!] and I have no idea how to choose 
hotels, so any recommendations would be extremely welcome. I gather there are 
not going to be rooms that sleep 5, so I assume we will need 2 rooms? One for 
my husband and myself & my son with autism & another for my other 2 sons. I 
hope there are rooms that fit 3 people?

Has anyone been out to see the Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen-koen? We are 
really keen to see some Japanese Macaques and it sounds like the scenery is 
pretty & I hoped to see some birds too, but there is another monkey park in 
easy reach of Kyoto, so wondered if the Jigokudani Yaen-koen park is worth the 
extra effort. Lonely Planet gives it a terrible review but visitors posting on 
Trip Advisor seems to be very happy on the whole.

Any advice of where in the various Tokyo parks would have the best chance of 
birds would be good too. I have looked on Eremaea to get the names of likely 
spots, but since I will be dragging non birders about it would be great to have 
some specific instructions! For instance, the moat around the Imperial Palace 
looks pretty big so it would be great to know if there is a section that is 
more likely to have ducks.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email.

>From Jenny Stiles, Sydney

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