Karuizawa is surrounded by abundant nature and many wild animal species live nearby. However, most of them are mainly active at night and are difficult to see during the day. On this tour, guests have the opportunity to explore the nighttime forests and grasslands searching for wildlife with the spotlights we provide. Sika deer, hare and foxes are the most likely to appear, but on some nights, we might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a badger, raccoon dog or wild boar. The thrill as your eyes meet theirs in the dark is likely to be a memorable experience for all.
1. High probability of encountering wild animals
The biggest feature of this tour is the high chance of seeing the wild animals. The encounter rate in our 2018 and 2019 tours was 98.9%. The guides at Picchio are familiar with the ecology of all the wildlife species. They will be able to guide you through the unique aspects of living creatures from an expert perspective, not only from observing the animals themselves but also from observing the surrounding natural environment and ecosystem as a whole.
2. Finding wildlife with Light Census
Light census is a mammal research technique whereby a spotlight is used at night to find and count species such as deer which are more active during this time. On this tour, we will observe wildlife in the same way. Driving at low speeds in a car equipped with observation lights, we will illuminate the surroundings and expose many glowing eyes. The observation lights illuminate not only the front but also the left and right so you can search for animals with a wide field of view all from inside the car. In locations where it is safe to do so, we can disembark from the vehicle and get closer on foot, provided that this does not disturb the animals we are observing.
- From April 24 to October 31, 2022
- 7:30pm – 9:00pm （April - August）
6:30pm – 8:00pm（September – October）
- Adults (13 years old and above) – 6,500 yen per person
Children (4-12 years old) – 4,500 yen per child
- Must be 4 years or older
- Meeting Place
- Naturekids Forest House (View Directions)
*We are meeting at Naturekids Forest House, not at Picchio Visitor Center
- You can make a reservation online up until 4:30pm on the day of the tour.
＊Once capacity for the tour is reached, the reception will close so we recommend you book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
- Long sleeves
Warm jacket (April – May, October)
- Long pants
- Casual shoes (comfortable for walking in)
- Gloves, or neck warmer are recommended in early spring and late fall
- Free rental items
- Fleece jacket.
*These items are available on a first come, first serve basis. You can reserve items in advance if necessary.
- ・We are meeting at Naturekids Forest House, not at Picchio Visitor Center.
・Please note that encounters with wildlife are not 100% guaranteed.
・Depending on the conditions, the end time of the tour may vary slightly. Please join our tours with time to spare.
・There is no restroom available in the field. Please keep this in mind before starting the tour.
・You will be in the car mostly but it can be cold in spring and fall. Please prepare warm clothing beforehand.
・As the field conditions can change unexpectedly, please be aware that we cannot be responsible for or prevent any nature-related incidents. Please be aware of your own responsibility to protect yourself. Please also be responsible for your own body condition, if you do not feel well please consider cancelling the tour.
・Please come to the agreed place on time. If you are late on the day, we might give your spot on the tour to another guest.
・Cancellation is free up to 2 days before the tour. If you cancel 2 days before the tour, a cancellation fee of 20% of the tour cost will be charged. If you cancel the day before the tour, a 50% cancellation fee will be charged and if you cancel on the day of the tour then the full cost of the tour will be charged.
・In case we have to cancel the tour due to unexpected reasons (weather, road conditions, etc.), we will contact you at least 60 minutes before the tour is scheduled to start. Please check your email or phone frequently on the day of the tour.
・Children under 12 years of age should be accompanied by an adult.