Five Snow & Ice Festivals in Hokkaido +
Winter Bird Watching & Snow Monkeys Tour 2018

In 15 days we will take you to see more winter attractions of Honshu and Hokkaido than any other company. Visit national parks in their winter splendour, see Steller's sea eagles, ice carving festivals, dancing Japanese Red-crowned Cranes, cruise on an ice breaker, try ice fishing, ride a snowmobile, take a steam train across the frozen marshland, enjoy a wide selection of Japanese dinners and traditional ryokan accommodation.

15 years ago we were the first company to create and operate winter festivals tours to Hokkaido. Our itinerary is ideal for photographers, nature enthusiasts, bird watchers and people who are seeking a true Japanese cultural experience. We take you beyond Sapporo Snow Festival to show you more of Hokkaido in the comfort of our private charter coach, fully escorted by an Australian Tour Manager and Japanese Guide.

Accommodation is in a mixture of traditional Japanese Ryokan, Spa Resorts and Western Hotels and includes all breakfasts and a mouth watering variety of Japanese cuisine dinners from banquets to barbeques.

Tour Starts in Tokyo : Monday 29 January 2018 ( date subject to change )
Price AUD$ 10,480 per person twin share Tokyo to Tokyo ( price subject to change )


All tour transportation within Japan, including designated domestic flights, are included in this price.

For flight prices ex Australia to Tokyo please contact our office.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.


The following video of Japanese Red-crowned Cranes was taken by Anna Osetroff during our Toursgallery Winter Festivals Tour. Click on the arrow in the centre of the frame to start the movie.


Winter Festivals and Ice Castles

Five Winter Festivals will be visited on this tour in Japan`s northern most island of Hokkaido .

  • Asahikawa International Ice Sculpture Festival
  • Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival 
  • Abashiri Drift Ice Festival 
  • Sapporo  Snow Festival
  • Utoro Winter Festival

Each destination has been chosen so that you will see the biggest variety of winter scenes including an international ice sculpture competition , small houses and castles made of ice, illuminated from inside at night, beautiful scenes of nature, forests, mountains and marshlands covered in snow and frozen lakes .

Look into our Photo Gallery for more photos.

Steller's Sea Eagle Hokkaido

 

Bird watching and Drift Ice

February is the best month for bird observing of the Japanese Red crowned Crane as well as Steller`s Sea Eagle, Whooper Swan and Bewick Swan. We will be visiting Kushiro Marsh where local members of the Japan Wild Bird Society will show us the best locations for birdwatching that day.

Northern Pintail, Great Spotted and Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers, White-tailed Eagle, Goldeneye and Harlequin Ducks could also be found as we look around each location.

This is a vacation package for those people who enjoy nature and want to do something completely different .


Cruise on an Ice Breaker

Take an Icebreaker cruise through the drift ice along the Shiretoko peninsula . Here resting on the floating bergs of pack ice in the Sea of Okhotsk , drifting down from the Arctic, we usually see Northern Fur Seals and numerous eagles on the lookout for a feed.
For any of our warm climate friends , this is a perfect opportunity for some great photos that nobody else back home will have .



Ainu wood carving & Steam Train across the snow fields

Another unusual and just for fun event will be a Steam Locomotive ride across the snow covered fields around Kushiro Marsh . We will also stop in at Lake Akan to visit the wood carving craft shops of the Ainu people. Here too you can try your hand at ice fishing. At yet another festival you might like to ride on a snowmobile across the frozen surface of a lake.


Snow Monkeys & Snow Monsters

Included in this all encompassing tour are visits to the Snow Monkeys of Central Honshu and the Snow Monsters of Mt Zao.

Your Japanese English speaking guide will be with you every day to ensure that you have no trouble finding your way, to where you can mingle with the monkeys and not miss your transportation connections.

Mount Zao consists of several volcanoes on the border between Yamagata Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture and is considered to be still active. The central volcano of the group includes several lava domes and a tuff cone, Goshiki-dake, which contains Okama crater lake, formed by a volcanic eruption in the 1720s.

Photographers come to Zao to capture images of the snow monsters that appear in mid-winter. Strong wind over the nearby lake lift water droplets which freeze against the trees and their branches, until near-horizontal icicles begin to form. Falling snow settles on the ice formations and the end result is a grotesque figure covering a tree. The effect of a forest full of such trees gives visitors a ghostly impression.


Jigokudani National Park

Enjoy snow covered forests, winter scenery and some real off the beaten track photo opportunities rarely seen by foreign visitors to Japan. Here you will see the Japanese Snow Monkey or Japanese Macaque. About 250 wild monkeys live here and freely wander around .

Most people have only seen these photogenic little characters on TV, bathing in the steamy rock pools formed by the hot spring waters that naturally bubble to the surface of the ground in many geothermal areas. On this Japan tour you will have the opportunity to get within a few feet of them either sitting in the spa pools or bounding around in the snow.

Here your accommodation is located at a small Spa Village in a genuine ryokan, which also has another thermal bath for you to relax in. If you wish to, you can also bathe in an outdoor pool ( rotenburo ) surrounded by snow where you are not going to be joined by the snow monkeys. No, this is not the basic Inn that you saw on the TV show, but a far better quality traditional Japanese style ryokan including fine Japanese banquet dinners and breakfasts.


Snow Monkeys Japan Snow Monkey Winter
Zao Zao


For Detailed Itinerary & Price Click Here

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