Natural Hokkaido: Kushiro Marshland & the Japanese Crane Reserve
Local Sightseeing, All
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Approximately 5 Hours
Explore natural Hokkaido, beginning with a visit to the Kushiro Marshland observatory, from where you can look out over the largest wetland in Japan. The marsh extends across the Kushiro Plain and is fed by the waters of the Kushirogawa River. Reeds grow in the wettest areas, which are surrounded by grasslands, encircled in turn by dense stands of alder. Approximately 600 plant species have been identified in the park. It also offers habitats for many birds, including the endangered Japanese crane and migratory birds that stop here to rest.
Next, you'll head to the Japanese Crane Reserve -- home to Japan's iconic national bird -- to learn about the near demise and eventual assisted recovery of this noble species.
Proceed to Kushiro City Museum, where you can discover more about the history and nature of the town through numerous displays. On the exhibition floor, a model (georama) of Kushiro shows the historic areas and wildlife breeding grounds.
Finally, check out the Washo Fish Market -- commonly referred to as 'the kitchen of Kushiro'. Only the freshest local seafood is sold here, along with a seasonal bounty of fruits and vegetables. The delicious katte don (as-you-like-it bowl) is one of the most famous items offered here -- it entails simply going around the market, taking the seafood of your choice, and putting it on top of a bowl of rice to create your very own specialty seafood dish.
Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore at the mall on their own are welcome to do so, but must return to the ship on their own (about three minutes by taxi at your own expense).