Japan Birding Tours & Custom Tours


Hire John as your Japan birdwatching guide! John offers his services as a guide to birdwatchers and photographers visiting Japan (or Thailand or Australia, if requested). Basic information is below and simply submit a comment to express your interest or email John at johnandrewwright@gmail.com! :)

John at Daijyugarami, Saga Prefecture

John at Daijyugarami, Saga Prefecture

What John Can Provide for Birders Visiting Japan:

John leads tours throughout Japan throughout the year to birding hotspots. In winter, Kyushu and Hokkaido are the main draw cards, while in the spring and autumn the tiny Japan Sea island of Hegurajima is the place to go. Summer is the best time for endemics, with tours to Kyushu, Amami, Okinawa and the Japan Alps, while early spring and autumn are good for pelagics. Custom birdwatching tours of Japan, mainly for small parties of up to 5 people, can be also be arranged. John will take you to the best birdwatching spots in the country for your visit dates, and put you in the right place at the right time to have to best chances of spotting endemic species and rarities. He can also help arrange domestic flights, accommodation reservations, airport transfers, etc. John speaks fluent Japanese, and is experienced in giving you the best possible Japanese travel experience.

Basic Bird Tour Guiding Pricing, Terms & Conditions



Pricing for each scheduled tour run through the year will depend upon the requirements for each tour. Please check the details of each tour for price, conditions and payment terms. Each scheduled tour requires a minimum of 3 persons to go ahead. We only allow a maximum of 5 people on any scheduled tour to ensure we can give you the best experience possible. The small number of members in the tour group means we charge more than larger tour groups, however we believe this extra cost to be well worth it in terms of quality of the birding experience, ability to quickly adapt the schedule if necessary to accommodate conditions, member’s desires (photography, more time working rarities, etc.) and latest birding reports, and overall personalized service.


Guide only (no vehicle): 30,000 yen per day (or part thereof), including any days taken to meet group and return home. In addition, all expenses must be paid (includes items such as accommodation, transportation costs, etc.)

Guide plus Vehicle: 40,000 yen per day (or part thereof), including any days taken to meet group and return home. In addition, all expenses must be paid (includes items such as gasoline, accommodation, transportation costs, road tolls, etc.). John’s current vehicle is a Mitsubishi Delica Chamonix Mont Blanc V6 4WD, which seats 8.

John's Delica

John’s Delica


The basic payment terms and conditions are as follows. Exceptions can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, and some custom tours may require different terms.

  • A 20% non-refundable deposit of the tour cost must be paid at the time of tour booking.
  • 90 days prior to tour start the remaining cost must be paid in full.
  • A refund of 80% of the tour cost will be paid if you cancel up to 60 days prior to tour start; 50% of the tour cost will be paid if you cancel from 60 days up to 15 days prior to tour start; 30% of the total fee will be refunded if you cancel from 14 days up to 8 days before tour start; a cancellation 7 or less days before tour start will receive no refund.
  • You are responsible for any and all incidental and associated costs such as hotel cancellation charges if tour is cancelled or modified. Additionally, each tour member must sign a standard liability waiver before tour commencement.


The preferred payment option is PayPal – this option also allows for easier refunding if a tour is cancelled. PayPal accepts major credit cards. The only other acceptable payment option is international wire transfer (fees paid by transferee) or cash in Japanese Yen. Payment of any outstanding expenses must be made in cash in Japanese Yen at the end of the tour.


“Hello John, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful “guiding” you provided for us Gunns. We enjoyed climbing the mountain, viewing birds from behind the blind, easting somen and enjoying the local marina, but most of all, John, we enjoyed YOU. It was an honor to meet you and to receive just a little of your extensive knowledge of nature, science, photography, geography, travel, and yes, even human nature. Thank you John!” – Pam Gunn, Washington, USA

“Dear John, it was a great trip. Getting up at 4 to 4.30 each morning and birding all day was really rewarding, not only because of the birds, but because of the hot springs at the end of the day as well! I hope to be back soon to see the cranes.” – Paul Wirtz, The Hague, the Netherlands

“Hi John, I want to thank you for the great birding trip and your fantastic hospitality. I have enjoyed it very much and can’t wait to tell the stories to my wife. I believe it is a great way to see many birds in different habitats in a short time in a country that I am a stranger in. It also is a great way to experience Japan away from the city. I’m very impressed in the amount of energy you have put into showing me around and can see you are very passionate about this. Prior to the trip I had questioned myself if I should spend such an amount of money on the trip, but I must say it was absolutely worth it and I would do it again if I have the chance.” - Roland Bullens, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

“Thanks so much for all you did, and all the extra effort you put in to making it a great tour.  It was one of our most pleasant birding tours in many years. We look forward to a February in Kyushu in our future. Terrific photos too, thanks John!”  - Dan & Decie Coleman, Texas, USA

“Thank you very much for such an interesting trip through so many good birding places in Kyushu during only 2 days! The results of this trip were much more productive as I could want. Thank you also for so friendly atmosphere at this trip!” – Peep Lassmann, Tallinn, Estonia

“Hi John. We’re back in Shanghai now.  Thanks for the trip!  We had fun with you – thanks for zipping us around to all the hot spots. We had a wonderful time and your efforts in getting us to all the great places in the area (and early for the tides!) were extraordinary.  Also much appreciated were the pics you sent and your follow-up with the confusing bird pictures we had.  Thanks so much!  All the best and hope to see you again soon.” - the Synders, Shanghai, China (www.moonbeampublishing.com)

“Hi John – the list of 41 species you sent tallies with my list, along with the moorhen and the common reed buntings – they may be common, but they added to my Japan list! I also saw some sooty shearwaters on the ferry trip back, just as the light was failing. I was just checking, and this afternoon’s trip added 13 species to my life list – that is very pleasing, but the opportunity to explore all those wonderful habitats was just as pleasing. The undoubted high point for me was seeing the Amur falcon perched on the wire so clearly, then watching as it took off and circled back right over our heads. Thanks once again for such a great afternoon of birding.” - Lynne Webster & Kevin Gaston, Cheshire, UK

“Hi John – thanks for sending the species list so quickly and also, for the photos. My trip total was 88 species. Of those, 23 were lifers (approximately 1 in 4) – not bad at all. Once again, thank you very much for the trip. It was not only great to get the chance to do some more birding, but as well, to spend time with you. If I ever get the chance to come back to Japan I will contact you and see if we can do some more birding together.” - Ken Morgan, Victoria, BC, Canada

“John, thanks once again for a fantastic birding tour of the winter hotspots of Kyushu and Hokkaido. We saw all of our Target Birds along with plenty of surprises. And you handled all the logistics, top to bottom, well done! You have our complete endorsement. Cheers!” – Dan & Decie Coleman, Texas, USA

“Hi John – Thank you for emailing the bird list and the tour report. The detail you provided will certainly simplify the identification of the birds in our pictures. We have quite a few pictures that turned out surprisingly good with a little editing. I ended up with a good shot of the black-faced spoonbill flying by, which was an unexpected bonus. Once again thank you for guiding us around your part of the country. We saw a lot of species for the first time and it was great to see that part of Japan through your eyes. This is a part of birding that I really appreciate and something most visitors miss out on. Cheers.” – Brian Fowler, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

  2 Responses to “Japan Birding Tours & Custom Tours”

  1. Hi John,

    I got your name from Pam Gunn. And she told me that I should email you regarding my son, who recently graduated from UW with an engineering degree. Joshua is his name and he has a love for Japan, traveled there alone when he was 18 for 3 weeks, and has a passion to return to Japan to work, not necessarily as an engineer at first, he is thinking of working as teacher, teaching English to sustain himself or any other opportunity. He is 23 years old. A very thoughtful, reflective, shy sort who has a hard time putting himself out there… but who is strong on integrity and loyalty. Pam thought you would be just the sort that might have some suggestions. Please email me at my email address. I look forward to connecting with you. Your website is beautiful! Very inspiring!
    Laura Pavlou

  2. Hi Laura:

    Thank you for your post on my blog and the kind comments. Regarding your son, I think the best first step would be to apply for the JET program and for him to become an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) at an elementary, junior or high school. If accepted, this would give Joshua a good support network and initial assistance that is pretty much vital for anyone arriving in the country for a long-term stay. The JET program website has lots of information – http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/JET/

    Good luck and please don’t hesitate to contact me again if you want additional information.


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