Points of caution

The following is a list of things to consider when visiting Ramsar sites:

1. When possible, use a local guide.

When visiting Ramsar sites, you will often be entering areas that have very delicate ecosystems, or are within small, rural or suburban communities that have traditionally not had much contact with non-Japanese persons. It is important to avoid damaging the local natural environment or disturbing the community residents. The best person to help you avoid these potential pitfalls is a local guide! A local expert can also explain the history and  background of the Ramsar designation  of the wetland and give you detailed information about the local ecosystem. This will make your visit much more enjoyable and instructive.

2. Be careful not to accidentally enter private or restricted property.

Take care not to enter private property such as rice paddies, farmhouse grounds, lawns of houses, or restricted forests or fishing areas, etc. without permission from the owners. Your local guide can also help you here, as you may not be able to read warning or ‘keep out’ signs, etc.

3. Avoid feeding wildlife.

You should assume that feeding the local wildlife is prohibited .In addition to being harmful to the wildlife, you may also risk encouraging potentially dangerous encounters with wild animals (such as bears) looking for food.

4. Avoid frightening birds and other wildlife

Be careful not to take actions that may frighten wildlife such as approaching them too closely, making loud noises or using camera flashes at nighttime.

5. Make sure to follow Japanese laws.

While the laws of Japan are similar to those of other advanced countries, there are important differences. You will usually be fine if you follow ‘common sense’ rules. However, when in doubt, ask your guide, or the staff of the local tourist information center, etc., if something is legal or not.

6. Always leave the sites as you found them!

Please do not leave any trash or any other items behind. It will be very rare to find any trash containers at the sites, so you will probably have to take all of your empty bottles, lunchboxes, hand wipes, etc. with you when you leave.

7. Show sensitivity to Japanese customs.

While the Japanese tend to be quite lenient toward foreign visitors, you want to be a responsible Ecotourist. Japan is still a relatively conservative country, so avoiding talking loudly (especially in groups), heavy public drinking, and actions like going shirtless or shoeless during the summer, for example, is advised.