The Akan International Crane Center「阿寒国際ツルセンター」 is a museum, breeding centre and sanctuary where Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes (Grus japonensis) can be seen all year round.
In the main building, there is a gift shop, as well as an exhibit about crane history and ecology with English explanations.
Ink stamp collectors can find some stamps here to add to their collection.
When you get out of the building, there are paths leading to the left and to the right. Unfortunately the walking trails leading to the ponds were closed during my visit.
If you head left, this will take you to the Tancho Observation Center and this is my favourite spot out of all the Japanese Crane viewing sites that I’ve visited to-date!
Although it was a rainy day during my visit, I still managed to see quite a number of Japanese Cranes and to my surprise Whooper Swans as well!
Many avid photographers station here for hours with their tripods. There is a cafe here that is a good place to take shelter from the cold! The area isn’t very big and there were many people here, so I didn’t take pictures of the cafe area.
There was a small exhibit at one corner.
I went back to brave the cold and rainy weather to see the cranes doing a courtship dance! This was the highlight of my visit!!
The scene below cracked me up! Erm…was the swan trying to imitate the crane’s courtship dance??…
Here’s a look at what you can expect to see there:
Remember the other path I mentioned on the right of the main building? Well, this leads to a smaller field with fewer cranes…
…and also an aviary.
I guess in the non-winter months when the Japanese cranes retreat deeper into the marshlands, visitors can still visit the aviary to see the cranes.
If you are an avid birder, you simply have to visit this place at least once in your lifetime!!
Entrance fees to both Akan International Crane Center and Tancho Observation Center:
(15 persons & above)
(13 years and above)
|Children（12 years and below）||￥240||￥170||￥1,770|
Akan International Crane Center【GRUS】
Open 365 days.
Tancho Observation Center
Nov 1 to Mar 31
Nov 1 to Jan 31 8:30～16:00
Feb 1 to Mar 31 8:30～16:30
■ 20min from Kushiro Airport「釧路空港」 by car
■ 1 hour from JR Kushiro station「釧路駅」 by bus – alight at the “Tancho no sato”「丹頂の里」 bus stop
■ 40min from Lake Akan「阿寒湖畔」 by car