Lake Kutcharo

Lake Kutcharo, which consists of Lake Onuma and Lake Konuma, is the largest inland sea and brackish water lake in the Dohoku area (Northern Hokkaido). Not only is it a nationally-designated sanctuary for flocks of migratory birds, but it is also the third place in Japan to be registered under the Ramsar Convention. Lake Kutcharo is the northern gateway to Japan for migratory birds, and serves as a waypoint for most of the tundra swans that winter in Japan.

In spring and winter, many birds use it as a stopover, including tundra swans, whooper swans, wild geese, and ducks, while the white-tailed eagle and common kingfisher raise their young here in summer, and Steller's sea eagles and sea ducks pass through during winter. To date, over 300 species of birds have been identified at Lake Kutcharo. The Lake Kutcharo Waterfowl Observatory on the nearby shore where visitors view stuffed birds which can be seen in Hamatonbetsu and play games where they can learn about swans, is fun for visitors of all ages. During the migration season you can even feed the swans.

The most swans can be seen during spring, and if you're lucky, you might even see a pair making a heart shape while looking at each other. This phenomenon, known as a "happy ring" is said to bring happiness to all who see it, so keep an eye out!