Tsurumidai「鶴見台」 is a feeding ground for Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes (Grus japonensis) and the feeding only takes place during the winter months from November to March. This is done twice daily – once in the morning and the second time in the afternoon at 2:30pm.
Japanese Cranes started gathering in this feeding field around 1963 and this was in the vicinity of an elementary school. As winter can be quite harsh in this part of the country, the teachers and their students started the practice of feeding the cranes during the cold, bitter months. When the school eventually closed down in 1974, Tome Watanabe, who lives nearby, took over the current crane feeding practice.
Note that there is no guarantee on the number of cranes you can see during your visit as it depends on how many birds decide to visit this site.
If you somehow don’t manage to see any cranes, you can take a picture with these crane motifs! ^_^
I also spotted a Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) during my visit and I thought it looked rather comical!
There are no facilities at this feeding ground except for a parking lot which can accommodate a few tour buses. A restaurant and gift shop can be found across the street.
Shimosetsuri, Akangun, Tsuruimura, Hokkaido, Japan.
Observation Period: November to March
Feeding Times: Twice daily – once in the morning and next at 2:30pm.
By car: About a 55min drive from Kushiro Station, located directly beside Route 53.
By Bus: Akan Bus「阿寒バス」 鶴居Line or 幌呂Line from Kushiro Station and alight at Tsurumidai. The journey takes about 1 hour and the fare costs ¥1000.