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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Birding Tokyo – Imperial Palace East Gardens


I just lately took a enterprise journey to Tokyo and needed to attempt to see a number of the widespread city birds within the world’s largest metropolitan space (pop. 36,000,000+). There are valuable few parks and gardens that seem massive sufficient to assist many species, and I needed to see a number of the sights as nicely (this was solely my second journey to Japan), so I made a decision among the best combos of sightseeing and birding was the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. So that’s the place I went for the primary birding of my journey.

In response to the Wikipedia entry for the East Gardens:

The constructing of the fashionable gardens started in 1961. The backyard is over 210,000 sq. metres. The backyard was accomplished in 1968, and was opened on October 1 that 12 months. It’s been open to the general public except wanted for court docket functions or public holidays.

A lot of the grounds of the Imperial Palace are closed as a result of it’s the residence of the Emperor of Japan, however the East Gardens are open and free to the general public. Since I solely had one eBird guidelines from my earlier journey and haven’t in any other case birded anyplace in Asia, even most of the most typical birds would nonetheless be new to me.

The Imperial Palace and its East Backyard are close to Tokyo Station and are proper within the middle of town. The eBird hotspot is “Chiyoda Ward–Imperial Palace–East Gardens” (eBird bar chart) and there have been almost 300 checklists submitted and 91 species have been noticed. That looks as if a remarkably low variety of checklists for such an unlimited metropolis with so many guests. (The traditionally weak yen has made Japan a magnet for international vacationers. Proper now $1 = roughly ¥160.)

Though widespread birds, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Brown-Eared Bulbul, White-Cheeked Starling, and Grey Heron (technically not within the backyard, because it was simply outdoors the palace partitions) have been all lifers for me. Giant-Billed Crow was not a lifer, however it’s well-named. (Though the eBird bar charts urged it was widespread, I didn’t see an Jap Spot-Billed Duck in any respect throughout my go to.)

The gardens are beautiful, and there’s a splendid space referred to as Ninomaru Woods that was planted within the Eighties to imitate a then-rural space west of Tokyo that was being misplaced to suburbs.

The Imperial Palace is surrounded by a moat, and a number of the buildings come proper as much as the moat. The varied gates to the Imperial Palace grounds are spectacular.

When you get the grasp of it (use Google Maps), the Tokyo subway system is remarkably environment friendly (and, for People, stunningly clear). Thus, journeys across the space are comparatively fast and straightforward, even when it’s sizzling and humid and/or raining, because it was for my journey in late June. The eBird monitor exhibits how the Imperial Palace grounds are a uncommon spot of inexperienced within the middle of Tokyo. The Fukiage Backyard is to the left of the monitor and it comprises Fukiage Palace, the principle residence of the Emperor. As indicated above, that part is mostly closed to the general public.

Throughout my journey, I managed a number of different fast birding excursions to a number of the different massive parks and gardens (e.g., Meiji Jingu Shrine and Shinjuku Gyoen Nationwide Backyard), although most have been in the course of the day and there have been crowds of individuals. A useful younger Japanese birder identified a Eurasian Goshawk at Shinjuku Gyoen Nationwide Backyard, which was a pleasant shock. An eBird Journey Report is right here (and see beneath). 9 lifers in 5 checklists within the middle of one of many largest metropolitical areas on Earth is fairly good in my ebook.

I’ll absolutely make extra enterprise journeys to Tokyo and there are a number of promising hotspots (e.g., Kasai Rinkai Park, which has almost 2,000 checklists and 215 species noticed) that have been too removed from the lodge I stayed at this journey. I stay up for returning.

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