The Bird Watching Cafe and Tadashi Shimada Nature Photo Gallery (Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan)

Posted on Dec 30, 2015
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Posted on Dec 30, 2015

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Reading time: 3 min
Chitose City is seldom thought of as much more than a landing and transit point for travelers visiting Hokkaido, Japan's northern-most island. But with its abundance of nature and wooded areas, and awesome little cafes like The Bird Watching Cafe, it is a place worth spending a few days in.

Last updated Oct 13, 2018

We’ve been to The Bird Watching Cafe a couple of times before. It’s only 20 minutes bike ride from our place on a cycle path along the Chitose River. This time, armed with my camera and an old 1970’s 200mm zoom lens, I took a few photos of the birds we saw from the cafe’s windows and adjacent hide.

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

During our visit, and while chowing down on delicious toasted sandwiches, we saw a kakesu (Eurasian jay; Garrulus glandarius)…

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

A few of the ubiquitous hiyodori (Brown eared bulbul; Hypsipetes amaurotis)…

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

A tiny yamagara (Varied Tit; Poecile varius)…

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

A gojuugara (Nuthatch; Sitta europaea)…

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

And a grand old akagera woodpecker (Great spotted woodpecker; Dendrocopos major).

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

A rat was also spotted, hauling corn husks into a pile of rocks to make a nest for the winter.

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

The Bird Watching Cafe, Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan

As always, the food was great, Tadashi Shimada’s new kingfisher photo exhibition was awe inspiring, and the service warm and welcoming.

Check them out on their page on Facebook, and their website here.

Cafe location (map link):

Access by bus:

  • NOTE: The bus routes described below, leaving from JR Chitose Station, actually start from New Chitose Airport. So, you can actually go direct from the airport to the cafe.
  • Option 1 (no walking involved, but less bus times available): Catch the No. 3 bus heading for Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖) from JR Chitose Train Station (bus stop No. 3), and get off at Byouin-mae bus stop (病院前), across the road from a large hospital-looking facility. The bus ride will be about 25 minutes. The Bird Watching Cafe is on the same side of the road as the bus stop, just a few meters further in the direction the bus was traveling. The bus to Lake Shikotsu leaves from JR Chitose Station only four times a day (as of 30th Dec 2015: 8:51am, 11:51am, 14:51pm, 16:41pm). Return buses to JR Chitose Station are at approx. 10:00am, 13:00pm, 16:00pm and 18:00pm (check with cafe staff for exact times).
  • Option 2 (about 1.6km/20 minute walk involved, but more bus times available): Catch the No. 5 bus from JR Chitose Train Station (bus stop No. 3) heading towards Shinsei (新星), and get off at the last bus stop (Shinsei bus stop, 新星). Walk from here for 1.6km to The Bird Watching Cafe in the direction the bus was traveling (route map on Google Maps).

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