Watching Red-crowned cranes from The Bridge Otowabashi

The most famous creature in the east Hokkaido is red-crowned crane a.k.a Japanese crane.

It has 240cm wing span and 150cm tall.

Where do they live?

These red-crowned cranes are living largely in the doto, the east of Hokkaido, but you can watch some in other area like around the lake Utonaiko in Tomakomai, Ishikari area near Sapporo or other western Hokkaido recently.

Turuimura town is famous for watching red-crowned crane. Turui means “a place where crane live”, so this is home for watching wild red-crowned cranes.

Most of cranes habitat here through the year, they are not migratory bird. You can see them through the year in Turuimura and around, but you can not see a beautiful flock of red-crowned cranes except winter season.

Best View Point for shots

In the winter, they home to roost in the river Settsuri (雪裡川). It is crucial for their sleeping in mid-river to prevent natural enemies such as foxes.

For those fans the bridge Otowabashi is the best view point for cranes leaving and fling in the very early morning. 

Many photographers regardless of professional or amateur are coming and waiting for their flight before sunrise. 

Sometime they fly right after sunrise, others are 2 hours late. As long as waiting for the best shot you need perfect wears and goods for cold and frozen weather. It is minus 15-20 or under. Otherwise you would be deadly frozen body within 10 minutes.

When you have a luck and good patience, it is true you must have the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen.

It is more than 200 meters far from the bridge Otowabashi. You might need 200mm telephoto lens at least.

Some are very near the bridge. They are family. It’s so cute!

How to get to Otowabashi

It’s easy to get to the bridge Otowabashi. Just drive root 243 and you will see as crossing the river Setturigawa that is the bridge Otowabashi. 

30 minutes from Kushiro city, just 10 minutes from Tsuruimura main street where you may stay in the hotel.

Two large parking is available both sides of the bridge. You will see many people on the viewing bridge in which they are shouting with a long telephoto lens. That is the place to go and a portable toilet is there.

Photos by Nene