In the northwest side of Kushiro Shitsugen, Tsurui (鶴居) is home of tancho (Japanese crane), also called sar-or-un-kamuy (god of marshland) by Ainu. During the winter, they nest in a group in local sanctuaries and rivers.
Tsurui-Ito Tancho Sanctuary
鶴居 · 伊藤タンチョウサンクチュアリ
10min walk from Tsurui-yakuba-mae bus stop
At the eastern edge of Central Tsurui, this sanctuary is run by the Wild Bird Society of Japan and about 400 tancho come here from October to March.
24min walk from Shimo-Setsuri bus stop
This bridge, across Setsuri-gawa, is Tsurui’s most photographed spot for tancho, especially at dawn in winter. Visitors release the shutter towards tancho on the river. Otowa-bashi is so popular and cold from December to March. The closest bus stop is Shimo-Setsuri (1.7km west of the bridge) on the prefectural route, one stop south of Tsurumidai.
1min walk from Tsurumidai bus stop
One of Tsurui’s main places to observe about 200 tancho, this feeding ground is just a short walk from Tsurumidai bus stop. Follow the keeper around at feeding time (morning and 2.30pm from November to March).
Hotel Green Park Tsurui ♨︎
1min walk from Green Park Tsurui bus stop
This good-value hotel adjoining the athletic park has a mix of Japanese- and Western-style rooms with a communal onsen (day bathing is possible). Akan Bus runs directly to the hotel from Kushiro. Pick-up from JR Kushiro Station or Kushiro Airport is also possible for two or more people, if you request in advance.
Tsurui Northern Village Hotel Taito ♨︎
鶴居ノーザンビレッジ HOTEL TAITO
1min walk from Tsurui-chugakko bus stop
Spruce compact hotel in Central Tsurui, Hotel Taito is the best location for both wildlife and onsen lovers. It offers Japanese- and Western-style rooms. The relaxed onsen with open-air baths are open to nonguests. The owner is professional photographer and offers a guided tour in the wetlands’s special protection area.
Akan Bus (阿寒バス) has daily runs from Kushiro Station bus terminal stop 15 to the Green Park Tsurui (グリーンパークつるい: 65min), stopping at Shimo-Setsuri (下雪裡), Tsurumidai (鶴見台), Tsurui-yakuba-mae (鶴居役場前), Tsurui-chugakko (鶴居中学校) and Tsurui (鶴居) on Prefectural Road 53.
Tsurui Tourist Association
The official website has PDF English, Chinese and Korean brochures.
Tsurui-yakuba-mae bus stop
鶴居役場前 | 쓰루이무라 사무실
Address：1 Tsurui-nishi, Tsurui-mura, Hokkaido
Distance：32km from Kushiro