Kushiro

People come from around the world come to see Kushiro’s red-crested cranes, a majestic bird with a 6 foot wingspan. The feathers are thought to bring good luck, and as a result they were ruthlessly hunted at the beginning of the 20th century. It was even thought they were extinct until a handful of survivors were discovered in 1924. They have slowly regenerated and now number about 650. The crane with its long legs, long bill, white body trimmed in black and a scarlet cap on its head is a symbol of long life and happiness in Japanese culture. Legends hold that the birds live as long as 1,000 years. They pair for life, making them the symbol of an ideal couple, and they are frequently cited in Japanese wedding speeches and often found on Japanese wedding kimonos.