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BIRD-WATCHING IN NAGANO

Karuizawa tour offers luscious nature

by Raju Thakrar

Remember the last time that you heard birds singing over the din of the city’s hustle and bustle? With most of us living in Japan’s densely built-up areas, perhaps the closest you’re likely to get to hear a chirping sound is upon entering a train station or department store where CDs meant to relax customers are played over the PA.

By contrast, the Wild Bird Society of Japan’s Tokyo Chapter is offering you an opportunity to hear some real birds singing in the town of Karuizawa, a gorgeous summer retreat in Nagano Prefecture in central Honshu.

The “Karuizawa Nakigoe Tanchokai” tour takes place June 6-8 and includes accommodation at the Kose Onsen Hotel. The hotel’s austere interior is in contrast to its luscious green surroundings, which are home to a huge variety of birds, including cuckoos, Siberian thrushes and nightjars. The Tokyo chapter has a membership of more than 4,000 men and women of all age groups, and they conduct 10 tours a year, two of which are to Karuizawa.

“Our tours are often full,” says Yoshiaki Maeda, who works in the Tokyo Chapter’s secretariat. “Karuizawa is a popular destination, as there are dozens of birds that can be seen.” The tour costs 34,000 yen, which includes the return bus fare from JR Shinjuku Station, taxi fare, one night’s stay, three meals and insurance. To apply, send a postcard to Wild Bird Society of Japan’s Tokyo Chapter, 3rd floor, Ito Biru, Shinjuku 5-18-16, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, stating “Karuizawa Nakigoe Tanchokai,” your name, address, age, gender and telephone number. Numbers are limited. For details, call (03) 5273-5141.