Irago Misaki (Cape Irago)
This cape, southwest of Toyohashi city in Aichi Prefecture, is well-known for hawk migration during late September and early October. The best time for watching the Grey-faced Buzzard migration is during the first 7-10 days of October, but movements are dependent on wind direction and weather patterns.
On a good day hundreds of Grey-faced Buzzards can pass over, and mixed in with these are smaller numbers of Oriental Honey Buzzards and a variety of other raptors, including Japanese Lesser, Chinese (scarce) and Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Northern Goshawk, Hobby, Peregrine Falcon and the occasional Osprey or Eastern Buzzard.
Things often do not get going until mid-morning, but it depends on the weather and wind direction/speed. On a clear day, birds passing overhead at the car park are often very high up, sometimes mere dots in the blue sky. But on other days, when cloud cover is extensive, they may be much lower. By lunchtime, most of the action is over, but birds can pass through during the afternoon as well if the weather is conducive to migration.
The best place to observe the migration is from the car park at Kojigahama. Birds can also often be seen passing high over the sea to the southeast of the car park. Another good place is from the roof of the Irako View Hotel, perched in a prominent position on the hill overlooking Cape Irago and Kojigahama beach.
During the peak of the migration season there are usually a number of local birdwatchers there on a semi-permanent basis carrying out detailed counts of the birds as they fly overhead.
Offshore, there are usually large numbers of Streaked Shearwaters milling around in the busy shipping lane, and Japanese Cormorants can be seen perched on the rocks just offshore.
Small birds also use Irago as a migration point, and large numbers of Brown-eared Bulbuls, Japanese White-eyes and White (Black-backed) Wagtails pass through in good weather, as well as Ashy Minivets, warblers and flycatchers. Wryneck has been recorded near the car park.
There is a pleasant walk around the tip of the peninsula, and more recently, a promenade at sea level has been constructed and which allows you to walk from the car park right around the tip, past the lighthouse and on to the ferry port area before returning via the higher pathway or following the road back to the car park.
Accommodation & Food
Irago View Hotel 〒441-3623 愛知県田原市日出町骨山1460-36
Tel: 0531-35-6111 FAX: 0531-35-1267
Five-star accommodation! Fantastic views over the surrounding sea and farmland, and on Sat/Sun/holidays a buffet lunch for ¥2,100.
Ryugo Hotel (a five-minute walk about 1 km north of the car park)
Price for a single is ¥5,250 (food not included), or ¥10,500 for twin room
Dinner and breakfast are available at the restaurant. As is a reasonably priced buffet lunch.
For a single room plus dinner/breakfast, the price starts at ¥8,400.
There are other places nearby, including Minshuku Maruei (0531-35-1390).
By bus from Toyohashi Station bus terminal Stand #2 - Irago-misaki
By bus from Irago-misaki ferry port/Michi no eki to Toyohashi Station bus terminal:
There is an overnight bus from Tokyo Shinjuku Station West Exit Stand #27 at 23:40, arriving in Toyohashi at about 05:30. The return from Toyohashi is from Stand #2 at 23:25, arriving in Shibuya at 05:30 and Shinjuku at 05:50 the following morning. The price of a return ticket is ¥8,000.
There is one 24-hour car rental company in Toyohashi: Japan Rent-a-Car at Ogisato (Omura-cho), www.j-rentacar.com Tel: 0532-56-0030
Tourist information for Toyohashi City can be found at: 0532-54-1484.
© 2015 Mark Brazil & Chris Cook
Last updated: 20150929