Adventure Hokkaido

We are delighted to announce our affiliation and collaboration with a great local travel company — Adventure Hokkaido. Their small-group hiking, cycling and adventure tours, including wildlife watching, are a great way to experience the very best of Japan's northermost main island. This 100% Japanese-owned-and-operated travel company is staffed by a team of outdoor enthusiasts passionate about their homeland about the landscape, culture, community and wildlife they encounter on their journeys.

Their trips range from one and two day snowshoeing adventures to seven day Wild Winter tours of Japan's Far East; they offer many more cycling, hiking and sea kayaking trips too. You can be safe and secure in knowing that you are in the hands of skilled, competent outdoor guides and nature guides, and by booking with them you will be contributing to the local economy. 


Wild Hokkaidō A Guidebook to the National Parks and Other Wild Places of eastern Hokkaidō is now available for pre-order from major bookshops and  June 2021

This first-of-its-kind nature handbook, guides and educates visitors to this fascinating island. It helps travelling naturalists find and experience wonderfully dramatic scenery, spectacular wildlife gatherings and numerous outdoor activities throughout the year.

Comprehensive and definitive, this is the first ever travel guide devoted to Eastern Hokkaidō.

The guide offers easy driving routes around the eastern part of the island and provides information on important scenic viewpoints, wildlife watching locations, and also includes separate sections on key species.

Birds of Japan is also available as an eBook

Birds of Japan launched at British Birdfair  August 2018

Birds of Japan, in the acclaimed Helm Field Guide series, was published on 14 June 2018. The digital edition was released on 13 July, and the book went on global release via Amazon and other book sellers from 14 August 2018.

Referencing the taxonomies of the International Ornithological Congress, Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive and the Ornithological Society of Japan, and covering more than 730 species recorded from Japan, this is the latest and most up-to-date field guide to the avifauna of Japan.

Birds of Japan was shortlisted as one of the Best Birdbooks of 2018 in the UK.

If you are visiting the British Birdfair come along and hear my talk on the the Birds of Japan, and have the opportunity to have your copy signed.

Paperback and digital copies are available from the publisher: Bloomsbury 

Birds of Japan Review

Birds of Japan: More than a guide, a labor of love

by Chris Cook of The Japan Times

25 August 2018

Birds of Japan, by Mark Brazil.
416 pages

The birdwatching community here in Japan — and further afield, too — is all a-twitter about one of the latest books to fly out and land on their bookshelves.

Just in time for the autumn migration season, former longtime Japan Times “Wild Watch” columnist Mark Brazil’s latest book, Birds of Japan, is finally out this month.

His previous book, Birds of East Asia, which broadly covered birds around the East Asia region, quickly became the go-to reference for the area and this new release is again a one-stop field guide, but one that deals solely with the diverse avifauna of Japan. The “official” list of species recorded across the archipelago stands at well over 600 species.

Birds of Japan follows the usual field guide format: distribution maps for most species, the English and Latin names — though strangely not a Japanese bird name in sight — then a concise write-up on salient identification marks and tips on how to separate one species from another in the case of birds of similar color and appearance.

Up to half a dozen species are described on each page, and the book contains 187 quality color plates depicting all manner of plumages: males and females, juveniles, different races/subspecies, and often an additional drawing of the birds in flight.

Brazil’s labor of love will be a birders’ Bible for the foreseeable future and will fill the niche for anyone who plans to search out the wealth of birds that this country has to offer.

Uganda with ornithologist Dr Mark Brazil August 2022

I am delighted to have been asked to co-lead this marvellous wildlife watching tour to Uganda in search of gorillas, chimps and shoebill storks.

If you would like details of the tour please contact: Expedition Easy at

Kamuy Mintara, our successful summer tour of  Hokkaido returns in summer 2022

Mark and Mayumi Brazil will once again lead this popular tour of Hokkaido focussing on the wildlife and culture of Japan's fascinating northern island. For further information visit our dedicated Kamui Mintara: Hokkaido, Garden of the Gods tour page. 

If you would like details of the tour please contact: Expedition Easy at

Common and Iconic Birds of Japan (2015)

Ideal for the travelling naturalist, or for travelers with a side interest in birds and for those who do not want to carry around heavy field guides. 

This is a handy, bilingual, laminated, fold out, pocket-sized guide. It covers 122 of Japan's common and iconic bird species - the species most likely to be encountered while travelling in Japan.

The new Pocket Guide: Common and Iconic Birds of Japan is beautifully illustrated in colour by the late Masayuki Yabuuchi.

The images are of a draft of the cover and the front.

Common and Iconic Mammals of Japan (2015)

Ideal for the travelling naturalist, or for travelers with a side interest in mammals and for those who do not want to carry around heavy field guides. 

This is a handy, bilingual, laminated, fold out, pocket-sized guide. It covers 56 of Japan's common and iconic mammal species - the species most likely to be encountered while travelling in Japan.

The new Pocket Guide: Common and Iconic Mammals of Japan is beautifully illustrated in colour by the late Masayuki Yabuuchi.

The images are of a draft of the cover and the front.

Wild Watch, Mark's nature column moved to Japan Nature Guides (April 2015)

For 33 years, from April 1982 to March 2015, Wild Watch appeared in The Japan Times newspaper. Reputedly the longest running nature column in any newspaper, this popular column has now moved to the Japan Nature Guides website, complete with an archive of articles dating back to 1999.

Field Guide to the Birds of East Asia eBook available

Containing all illustrations, the full text, the maps AND with songs and calls of almost all species embedded, the eBook of Birds of East Asia is the ideal travel companion for birders visiting Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the east China coast and northeast Russia.

The ground-breaking field guide to all the birds of Japan and all surrounding countries in the East Asia region is now even better. It is now available in an easy to carry digital format.

The must-have book for all birders visiting Japan, Korea, Taiwan, eastern China and the Russian Far East, is heavy in the pocket or backpack. With that in mind a new version of the first edition has been prepared.

An e-Book edition is available!

The e-Book edition includes all of the text, all of the illustrations, the maps AND sound files of vocalisations of most species in the book making it a must-have version for anyone birding with an iPhone or an iPad. It looks stunning on the latest iPads, with rapid page turning, swift access to illustrations and sounds and is in every way as user-friendly as the print field guide itself, with the added benefit of all of the embedded sounds. The eBook can be downloaded via iTunes and via iBooks (search for Birds of East Asia).

It will also become available for Android tablets and smartphones, and e-readers (including Kobo, Sony and Nooks). For details and downloads visit Bloomsbury Publishing.

The Nature of Japan: From Dancing Cranes to Flying Fish

It has been a long time coming; 30 years in the writing and two in the editing and preparation for publication, but Mark's collection of essays The Nature of Japan: From Dancing Cranes to Flying Fish is now complete.

Newly published, and initially supported by special subscription, it is now on general sale. 

This selection of my nature writings about Japan and its marvelous biodiversity is arranged seasonally and focusses on iconic species found in many parts of the Japanese archipelgo. 

The attractive line-drawings are all by Hokkaido-based artist Hisashi Masuda, who has done a masterful job of illustrating each and every chapter. 

Copies signed by the author and the artist are available at a special premium price. If you would like a signed and dedicated copy just let us know.

The picture here is of a near final draft cover, not the final version. 

For those interested in knowing the scope of the book the Contents page is given below. 

If you would like to purchase please write to:

Reviews of The Nature of Japan

"A superb production from every critical point of view. Bravo, Mark!!" .... Peter, Arizona

"I am absolutely thrilled with your book! Everything about it is superb: the delightful foreword by Ian Redmond, the whole general design, Masuda-san's inspired drawings, the many quotations from literature, the font. EVERYTHING!  When I start reading it I just can't put it down. Your writing is so vivid it holds one spellbound, as I have said before. And this is truly a masterpiece." .... Dorothy, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

"What a wonderful volume this is: informative, interesting and stunningly illustrated. It is a please to read and browse through and I am genuinely delighted to have this on my shelves! The writing style is engaging for all levels of reader interest." .... Colleen, Scotland

"Your book is so beautiful and shows so much care and love of subject. It is a real work of art." .... Jane, Texas

"We were thrilled to receive Mark Brazil's beautiful book! Thank you so very much for sending it. I started reading the introduction and the next thing I knew it was a couple of hours later and I was about a third way through it - I just couldn't put it down! It's a really lovely book, so well written yet so easy to read, and he has such a love of nature.".... Marilyn, Australia

"Hisashi Masuda’s artwork is truly beautiful" .... Barbara, Australia

The Nature of Japan


japan times STAFF WRITER FEB 8, 2014

"The title of longtime Japan Times columnist Mark Brazil’s collection of essays sells itself a little short, for “The Nature of Japan” is less about identifying the web of life that inhabits this archipelago as it is about offering an insightful peek into the Japanese relationship with the great outdoors.

Brazil has interacted with all manner of creatures during copious expeditions across the country over the past 30 years, and he uses all 380 pages of this book to deliver a fascinating account of some of his more memorable experiences. He also discusses certain changes in environmental impact and biodiversity that he has observed, inspiring us to remember that the wildlife around us should not be taken for granted."




Prologue: A brief walk on the wild side

Part 1: In Winter’s Grip

1: Sea Eagle Sunrise

2: Lords of Hokkaido

3: Messengers of the Gods and Mountain Monarchs

Part 2: The Rush of Spring

4: The Shape Shifters

5: Moon, Sun, and Stars!

6: Kimun Kamuy Lord of the Mountains

Part 3: In the Heat of Summer

7: Toki – the Japanese Phoenix

8: Slippers of the Gods

9: Gross Grails and Folk Tails

Part 4: Autumn into Winter

10: Golden Days and Silver Nights

11: Shimobashira, Shika and Shaké 

12: Angels of Winter

Part 5: Endings and Origins

Of Cherry Blossoms and Concrete

© 2022 Mark Brazil & Chris Cook

Last updated: 20220114