We all meet at a hotel near Haneda airport in Tokyo the day before the departure of this tour to make sure that everyone has arrived at Tokyo. The next day, we will catch a flight to Hokkaido in the morning.
In the morning, we will fly from Tokyo to Hokkaido. We will drive through the amazing snow-capped hills of Biei and photograph very beautiful and artistic minimalist landscapes. After sunset, we will photograph an illuminated frozen lake. We will stay in a Ryokan, Japanese style inn, to bathe in outdoor hot spring bath covered with snow and relax in a traditional Japanese room with tatamis.
Illuminated frozen lake ©Akashi Photos
After breakfast, we will visit a stunning frozen blue waterfall, and return to the hills in Biei to make sure we have good pictures of the beautiful minimal landscapes of Biei. In the afternoon, we will go to an unusual resort hotel complex in a town whose average lowest temperaturei in Februrary is about -19℃ (-0.4°F). We will visit and photograph its “ice village” and indoor “beach” with room temperature of 30℃ (86°F). It is an ideal place to relax, enjoy, and take photos at once. We will spend the night here.
We will photograph a photogenic long icy road with rows of white birch trees. Then we will proceed to a crane center where we will be able to observe and photograph the dance of the Japanese red-crowned cranes in the wildness, one of the greatest attractions of Hokkaido for wild life lovers.
We wake up early to photograph red-crowned cranes in the river covered with the reddish mist just before sunrise. It all depends on the weather condition, but we will try to capture this amazing romantic moments. After this rising sun hour shots, we will visit another spot where all red-crowned cranes fly in. When we are all satisfied with the red-crowned cranes, we will head to a lake known for having the largest number of the population of Ainu people, the native people of Hokkaido. We will have a lunch in one of the Ainu restaurants and will walk around on the frozen lake where people enjoy fishing on ice. Since we woke up and started very early today, we will go to a hotel early and relax. We will stay in a resort hotel with a lake-view outdoor hot springs bath. For those who wish, there is an option to go to see a traditional Ainu dance.
We will move to antoher lake where we will find a large number of whooper swans on the shore where hot springs are coming out. If you want, you will be able to bathe in an outdoor hot spring bath just in front of the shore with the swans! Then, we will visit he most sulfurous mountain in Japan. Columns of smoke rise from the rocky ground despite the snow, and the smell of sulfur permeates everything. It is a surreal and mystical place. Then, we will approach to one of the most beautiful lakes in Japan. And from there we’ll head to one of our favorite ryokans from all over Japan, a hidden gem in Hokkaido. At night, if we are lucky we will be able to photograph the local owls.
Today we will look for wildlife as well as a lonely landscape. If we are lucky, we will see fox, deer, and eagles. If we find enough of them in the morning, we will move to another place, but if we did not find enough of them, we will come back here after lunch.
In the morning we will leave to Shiretoko Peninsula and catch a boat that will take us to the sea filled with drift ice and photograph white-tailed eagles or Steller’s sea eagles on top of the ice and intact landscapes of the Shiretoko Peninsula. After the one-hour cruise, we will move to the other side of the peninsula. On the way, we will take advantage of the beautiful wild landscape to photograph the sunset.
In the morning, we will take a walk in the snow forest. There is a possibility of encountering with deer in the snow forest. After a walk, we will drive to the dead end of the road in the Shiretoko Peninsula, and we leave slowly Shiretoko Peninsula toward Abashiri, photographing the frozen ocean with drift ice here and there. We will also stop to visit a frozen waterfall. On our way to Abashiri, we will stop in a retro local train station where we can see the ocean and have a coffee. For the last night, we will stay in another resort hotel in Abashiri with hot springs bath and Kaiseki dinner.
We will look for drift ice reached to the seashore of the Ojotsk in Abashiri from Russia. Then, we will take a boat that go through drift ice in the ocean to see and photograph it. After the excursion by boat we will eat there and we will go to Abashiri airport to catch a flight back to Tokyo.
For more information and book your place for the tour, please visit AKASHI TRAVEL.