Yachou no mori (Wild Bird Forest in English) is a wide sanctuary located within Hoshinoya Resort in Karuizawa. Its name comes from the fact that it is home to over a hundred bird species that can be observed throughout the whole year. Picchio is an organization that promotes ecotourism by developing different types of activities and tours. Among them is the popular Nature Watching tour aimed towards helping people become more aware of the nature around them while walking through the Wild Bird Forest.
During the two-hour tour, visitors aren't simply following a guide whose role is to give them one piece of information after another. They are highly encouraged to pay close attention to their surroundings to see or hear something the guide may not have noticed. This makes every tour unique because one group may be more interested in identifying to which bird belongs the sound they are hearing when another group will be amazed by the different types of animals or insects they will encounter. Picchio's Nature Watching tour is a very lively tour where you won't notice how quickly time flies.
The Wild Bird Forest isn't only home to birds. It has a luxuriant fauna and flora changing with the seasons, so visitors can be sure they will always have a pleasant walk. And even at times when it becomes harder to see birds, like during summer when the leaves are dense and make it hard to follow them through the tree branches, the guide is there to help visitors use their five senses and make them discover new smells, sounds, sensations, and tastes, as well as beautiful new scenery.
Themed tours, accessible only to families or to adults for example, are organized at some periods of the year with a course that best fits each group's interests. Even if you are not a sporty person, the pace is deliberately slow as the main objective is to enjoy what nature has to offer, not to burn calories. Also, paths are landscaped and are quite easy to walk, so don't hesitate to come and discover the many secrets the Wild Bird Forest hides!
It is possible for non-Japanese speaking persons to call Picchio center beforehand and ask for an interpreter to accompany them during the tour.
A free shuttle bus run by Hoshinoya Resort can be taken from Karuizawa station. Picchio's Visitor Center is located a minute walk away from Tombo no Yu bus stop.