Several of my colleagues ask me why I choose to focus on Hokkaido and Hokkaido Photo Tours in winter rather than on Japan’s main island, Honshu and Tokyo. Although Japan is latitudinally long at over 3,000 kilometers, there are some species that can only be found in Hokkaido. One of the most majestic of these Hokkaido only avian species and one of the rarest birds on our planet is the Red-crowned Crane. I have studied the Red-crowned Cranes during my 20+ years leading Japan Photo Tours across more than 300 of Japan’s 6,852 islands. The Red-Crown are an endangered species with less than 2000 of the cranes in the wild and over half the population of snow; ballerinas call Japan home year-round. And do not need to migrate long distances as they do from northern Russia and china to the southern parts of the region and some into Korea. In Japan, they only need to migrate about a hundred km from their winter home to their breeding grounds and spring to autumn feeding ground. In winter, they return to roost in Eastern Hokkaido, and I know exactly where they are, and annually I have included them in my Hokkaido Winter Photo Tour itinerary. The Red-Crowned Crane, Tancho as it is known in Japanese, stands at 150 to158 cm (4ft to 5 ft) tall, weighing 8 to 11 kg (17 to 25) pounds with a large wingspan measuring 200 to 260 cm (6.5 ft to 8.5 ft) and live more than 60 years, and they are romantics who mate for life. In appreciation of their love and devotion, I start my annual Hokkaido photo tour, including Mt. Fuji, a samurai castle, Shinto shrine power spot, where kofun mounds are rumored to lay hidden. Of course, we visit with snow the snow monkeys, and annually I meet participants on February 14th, Valentine's day, at Tokyo's Haneda Airport; instead of wasting any time in Tokyo as many others do, we start our adventure right away, driving in comfort to Mt. Fuji and golden hour photography with Japans most sacred Mountian which happens to be an active volcano. And in the evening, we toast to the start of another amazing Japanese wildlife landscape Hokkaido photography tour.