Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary
Located in the popular mountain resort town of Karuizawa, the Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary is an open forested sanctuary covering around 100 hectares. Walking trails criss-cross the forest, an area known to be home to at least eighty species of birds and forty species of mammals. Visitors are free to stroll the trails and enjoy the chance to spot some rare birds, animals and butterflies however we recommend first stopping at the Picchio Visitors Center, to get your bearings and learn a little about the area and purpose of the sanctuary.
The Visitors Center includes the Picchio Wildlife Research Center and operates guided tours including a two-hour ‘Nature Watching Tour’ from April to November, a ‘Giant Flying Squirrels Tour’ in the evening from March to November and a ‘Mountain Bike Tour’ from spring to mid-summer (fees apply). Tours are delivered in Japanese with English-interpreters available at an additional fee meaning that for international visitors, the sanctuary will be most appealing as a destination to wander and explore for yourself. Birdlife includes native pheasants, woodpeckers, wagtails, owls and more while the forests are known for their population of large ‘flying squirrels’ and other animals including deer and ‘kamoshika’ (Japanese serow).
Accessible on foot from nearby Harunire Terrace, Hoshino Onsen Tombo-no-Yu, and the popular Hoshinoya Resort, the sanctuary marks the southern boundary of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park.