Mid morning we drove to Tsurui for the famous Tancho - Red Crowned Cranes. Apparently they are a symbol of good fortune so you can imagine what reaction that causes in Asian people.
After lunch we went to a feeding station and I could not believe the crowd - all bristling with massive lenses. 2 people deep in places, reputedly it gets a lot worse than that.
There was a bit of a ruckus when we arrived at this hotel, the size of some of the rooms is very small (although I have to say slightly larger than our rooms in our Tokyo hotel). I lucked in for once, because William very kindly offered to carry my bag upstairs I went ahead and chose the room at the end of the corridor thinking it would be quieter. By the time one of the women came up the only room left was a small one and she pitched a giant fit over it. So I have a larger room with a sleeping loft and will sleep on a futon tonight. The sofas were made up as beds for us westerners but my back wouldn't put up with that so I've moved the bedding up to the loft, which is the usual sleeping place.
This is a very small boutique hotel with only 12 rooms and we have taken the whole lot. It's very homely and has a lovely feel to it with a fireplace and personal touches all over the place. The food is fantastic and a Japanese / French fusion. We do not have ensuite rooms here (only a wash basin) but there are 2 bathrooms (loos are separate) each containing a private onsen, although you cannot afford to soak as others want to use them too.
Tomorrow we hit the jackpot - the bus leaves at 3.30am. Yes, you did read that right. There is a particular place that the cranes sleep overnight in the river that is warmed by a hot spring and the vantage spot is on a bridge. A small amount of space with a large amount of people wanting it. Result… a 3.30am start for a 6am shoot. I know… it's mad. But as I've paid the money I may as well make the most of it.
It’s been a total rush since we got here & I thought we might have a quieter day with such an early start but no, it's another full day tomorrow. It's the last 3 days of the tour so it's all ramping up a bit.
Ok gotta go - need to be in bed by 9ish.