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Akan International Crane Center

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Akan International Crane Center

The red-crowned crane, or tanchou, is such an important and rare a bird that it has its own recognized international center located in the city of Kushiro, Hokkaido. This bird is even said to be a harbinger of good luck in general Japanese beliefs, even the indigenous people of Hokkaido said that they were marsh gods of the land. At Akan International Crane Center, there is a museum displaying information about the ecosystem and the crane’s life, a crane sanctuary, a breeding center, and also a feeding ground.

At the beginning of 20th century, only about 40 cranes survived in the depths of the wetland. Extinction was only a matter of time. Then, in January of 1950, several cranes came to the cultivated field of Mr. Sadajiro Yamazaki in Kami-Akan. Mr. Yamazaki tried to feed them on his corn for cattle. The cranes ate the corn and began to visit his field in successive years. In 1952 when severe snow storms hit eastern Hokkaido, artificial feeding succeeded also at Hororo Elementary School in Tsurui. Many people have participated in feeding thereafter. Kami-Akan, where Mr. Yamazaaki lived and succeeded in feeding the cranes first, is now called "the home of artificial feeding." The farm fields near the town of akan are known as birthplace of the artificial feeding program for cranes and the area is well-known as a major wintering area for large flocks of cranes. Although the citizens of Akan have been involved in crane conservation for many decades, the Akan International Crane Center (AICC) is a new institution.

In the main building at AICC, through the use of audio- visuals and exhibits, the visitor learns about the biology of the tanchou. Captive cranes are maintained in semi- natural wetlands and visitors are able to observe cranes without disturbing wild cranes. The information is essential in developing sound conservation programs. The information and the results are shared with visitors through special lectures and workshops convened at AICC. Just north of the AICC is the Tancho Observation Center established in 1977. This annex is open from November through March and about 300 wild cranes can be observed. It is here that a farmer, Mr. Sadajiro Yamazaki, started feeding cranes in 1950.



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Hokkaido & Beyond: Autumn Leaves & Salmon Run

Group Tour | Luxury        

Hokkaido & Beyond: Autumn Leaves & Salmon Run

13 Days 12 Nights | from US $4998.00

Chitose / Shiraoi / Sapporo / Otaru / Asahikawa / Sounkyo / Kitami / Abashiri / Shiretoko / Lake Mashu / Lake Akan / Kushiro / Nikko / Takasaki / Karuizawa / Yudanaka / Matsumoto
Explore the culture, history, and natural splendor of Hokkaido and Beyond on AJT's Autumn Leaves and Salmon Run Tour, which features the salmon run of Chitose and spectacular autumn colors on Hokkaido and Beyond Tokyo.
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Compare Status
Sun. Oct 19, 2025 Fri. Oct 31, 2025 US $4998.00 Sapporo Tokyo Luxury Save this tour Book Now  
Sun. Oct 18, 2026 Fri. Oct 30, 2026 US $4998.00 Sapporo Tokyo Luxury Save this tour Book Now  
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