GROUP / pre-organized
  • April 12th, 2024
    Japan Birds & Wildlife photography tour in Spring
    with Gaku Tozuka
  • Amami Oshima Island, Nagano, Japan Alps
  • Endemic species of Amami Oshima and Rock Ptarmigan in Japan Alps


  • Since the focus of the tour is photography, the number of participants is limited to a small number between 3 to 5 people.
  • Accompanied by Gaku Tozuka, Wildlife & Bird Photographer (From Day2-Day9).
  • English/Japanese speaking tour leader as translator through out the tour.
  • 3nights in Amami Oshima Island for endemic and sub-endemic species photography.
  • 3nights in Tateyama, Murodo for Rock Ptarmigan photography.

Photography Guide: Gaku Tozuka

Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1966. Became interested in photography when he was in high school. He has been taking photographs mainly of natural scenery and wildlife, which he has loved since his childhood. Currently, rather than taking "beautiful, cute, and cool" photos, he focuses on taking photos of scenes that have a human touch and environmental scenes that show the relationship with human life. Now he works as professional bird & wildlife photographer and his work has been published in photo collections and exhibitions, and used in magazines, illustrated books, and calendars. His publications include the photo-picture book "Oyama no Raicho" (Kaiseisha), “Raicho korokoro” etc.

Amami Oshima, Island of endemic species

Amami Oshima is an island with a unique vegetation and environment. That is why this island is home to endemic species and sub-species only found hear and islands around including Amami jay, Amami Thrush, White-backed Woodpecker(Amami) , Amami Woodcock and Ryukyu robin. April is the breeding season of these endemic birds and there are relatively more chances to photograph them.
If you hear the sound of drumming while you are waiting for the Amami jay to come to the waterhole in the forest, it will be White-backed Woodpecker(Amami) . We try to find and photograph them by relying on the sound of their drumming. If you are lucky, you may encounter a pair of them. Depending on how well Amami jay can be photographed, we try to look for Ryukyu robin, the master of the beautiful chirping sound. You may also be able to target Ryukyu flycatcher that appears unexpectedly, Black wood pigeon and Whistling Green-Pigeon. We are also hoping to see the Amami Woodcock and Ryukyu robin.
At night, we will go out for a open jeep photography safari and targets here are endemic Amami rabbit, Ryukyu scops owl, and Amami Woodcock. If you are lucky, you may even encounter Ryukyu Long tailed Giant Rat.

Rock Ptarmigan in Japan Alps, Tateyama, Murodo

In Japan, Rock Ptarmigan inhabit a limited high mountains and is the only bird in Japan that changes its plumage color three times a year: pure white in winter, two-tone black-and-white in summer, and dark brown in autumn. In April, they are changing to their summer plumage, but there are still some in pure white, so we look for them and photograph. If you are lucky, Pairs of them may be able to be photographed.
You will be impressed by how cool it is to see a male guarding his territory on a rock or prominent remaining snow. You will also be able to photograph males fighting with each other and escorting females, and if you are lucky, expect to see mating scenes.


  City Summary
1 Tokyo

Each participant will check in on your own at Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu located in Haneda airport Terminal 2. Check in time is after 15:00. Dinner is not included.

Overnight at Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu | Meals included : None

Amami Oshima Island

06:15 am Meet with our tour leader at Hotel reception. Then we will check in to our domestic flight and fly to Amami Oshima Island via Kagoshima. On arrival, meet with photography guide Gaku Tozuka and start  bird photography. You will have chance to photograph endemic species and sub-species including Amami jay, White-backed Woodpecker(Amami) , Amami Woodcock and Ryukyu robin etc.
You will be transferred to hotel in Nase town, center of Amami Oshima island in the late afternoon.

Overnight at West Court Amami | Meals included :  Breakfast and Dinner
3 Amami Oshima Island

From early morning, we will go out for bird photography. You will have chance to photograph Amami Thrush, which is rare protected species of Japan. Around noon, we will return to the hotel and take a rest in the afternoon. After dinner, enjoy night safari to photography nocturnal animals and birds by open safari vehicle (about 2 hours). Main Target here will be Amami rabbit, which is an endemic mammal only found in Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima island. You will also have chance to photograph Amami Thrush, Amami Woodcock and Ryukyu scops owl. Ryukyu long-furred rat may also appear.
**Night safari will be around from 22:00 to 24:00.

Overnight at West Court Amami | Meals included : Breakfast and Dinner
4 Amami Oshima Island

After breakfast, we will have full day bird photography in Amami Oshima Island till late afternoon.

Overnight at West Court Amami | Meals included : Breakfast and Dinner
5 Amami Oshima Island

After breakfast, we will go out for bird photography and look for mainly endemic and sub-endemic bird species. Enjoy your last bird photography in this unique island. In the afternoon, we fly back to Tokyo and transfer to hotel near Ueno station.

Overnight at Mitsui Garden Hotel Ueno | Meals included : Breakfast
6 Tokyo

After breakfast, we will take Shinkansen (Bullet train) to Nagano station. In the afternoon, we visit Jigoku-dani Monkey park and photograph Japanese Macaque, which is also one of the endemic species of Japan.

Overnight at Metropolitan Hotel Nagano | Meals included : Breakfast
7 Nagano

We will take buses, ropeway and cableway to Murodo (Alt 2,450m) through the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. We also hike some part. This route is known as the “Roof of Japan” and you enjoy the dynamic scenery of Mt. Tateyama in the Japan Alps.
**You need to leave your suit-case at hotel in Nagano and bring only your hand luggage and back pack which you can carry by your self.
We arrive in Murodo around noon. In the afternoon, we will hike around to photograph Rock Ptarmigan.
In this season, you can expect to find Rock Ptarmigans still have white winter plumage. In addition, you can expect to find Japanese accentor here.
You will stay in Mountain Hut (shared dormitory room) in Murodo where you can enjoy common hot spring bath. We will stay overnight in shared dormitory room and no single room is available here.

Overnight at Mountain Hut | Meals included : Breakfast and dinner
8-9 Murodo

On Day8 and 9, we will have Rock Ptarmigan photography in Murodo. All the photography here is on foot. We will have 2days here as reserve days in case of bad weather in the mountain.

Overnight at Mountain Hut | Meals included : Breakfast and dinner
10 Murodo

After breakfast, we will go back to Nagano station and collect your suite-case. Then continue to Tokyo station by Shinkansen. Tour ends at Tokyo station in the afternoon around 15:00.

Meals included : Breakfast


  Price per person
From April 12th till April 21th, 2024
9nights 10days
JPY 600,000
*For 3 to 5 participants
Single room supplement JPY 48,000
(Except Murodo, Single room is not available in Murodo)

**Tour price listed is per person, based on sharing twin rooms. Single room can be arranged with single room supplement.
**This tour requires a minimum number of 3 participants. Please do NOT purchase your airline tickets until you receive confirmation that the minimum number of tour participants has been reached.
**All the lunch during the tour is not included. You will have a chance to eat at local restaurant or buy food from the local convenience stores. Each person should prepare to pay for these individually. Also some dinners are not included in Tokyo and Nagano. There are several restaurants around your hotel.
**The purpose of this tour is birds and wildlife photography. According to weather reports and local information, tour schedule may be adjusted by our photography guide on spot.
**There is no guarantee of being able to observe or photograph wild birds, animals listed in the itinerary.
**The detailed itinerary will be sent to all participants at the same time three weeks before the tour starts.


Japanese-speaking photography guide(Gaku Tozuka) | English/Japanese speaking tour leader as translator | Accommodation as per above | Domestic flight tickets between Tokyo and Amami Oshima (Economy class) | Private vehicle with driver in Amami Oshima and Nagano | Train fee between Tokyo and Nagano, transportation fee in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route | Meals as per above | All activities participation fees as per above

Exclusive of:

Transportation to/from Japan | Travel & Medical Insurance | Daily lunches & dinners not included in the itinerary, additional Snacks | Personal expenses (Souvenirs and Beverages, etc.)


Amami Oshima island: Daytime maximum temperatures range from 20-25°C (68-86°F), and summer clothing is appropriate when weather permits. The minimum temperature is 12-15℃(53-59 °F). Please bring fleece or jackets for early morning and evening photography. A folding umbrella and rain jackets, pants are essential in case of rain. Waterproof light hiking shoes or hiking boots are recommended.
Murodo: Murodo is about 2,400 meters above sea level, and the temperature varies greatly depending on the weather and wind. Some days may be warm and sunny with no wind, while others may be snowy. Please be prepared for cold weather. Please bring sufficient warm clothing, including a warm jackets and pants, a warm hat, gloves, neck warmer, scarf, warm underwear and socks. Sunglasses are essential for the protection from sunlight reflecting off the snow. Please wear snow boots or water proof trekking boots. If you wear trekking boots, please also wear gaiter. No rental boots is available at the lodge.

About Accommodation

Hotels in Amami Oshima island, Tokyo, Nagano have western style room with beds and private bathroom. In Murodo, you will stay in mountain hut with shared dormitory style room and no single room is available. Common toilet and hot spring bath facility is available.


When you go to Murodo from Nagoya on Day7, Large luggage like suit-case must be left at hotel reception in Nagano. You can take only your hand luggage which you can carry by yourself. On Day9, you will be able to pick up your suite case at Nagano before heading to Tokyo.

Private Vehicle

We use 10 seater private van in Amami Oshima and Nagano when we visit Jigokudani Monkey park.

Dietary Restriction

Hotels in remote area such as Eastern Hokkaido only accept requests for special meals to medical (such as allergy) and religious needs.
  Contact us about this tour
Travel planning and implementation:SAIYU TRAVEL CO.,LTD.
3rd floor, Kyodo Bldg. jimbocho, 2-2, Kanda, jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0051, Japan |Travel Agency Registration No. 607


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