Sapporo Snow Festival - 15 Days
FROM USD $8,299
Escorted Group Tour: While Japan is famous for its pink hue of springtime, winter offers something slightly different, but just as special. Take in the highlights of Japan, explore the snowy wilds of Hokkaido, Japanâ€™s northern island, and join in the revelry of the Sapporo Snow Festival.
Upon arrival in Tokyo you will be met at Narita International Airport by your tour guide. Here you will be given a Tokyo Transport PASMO Card allowing you to move freely around the city on the subways and train systems. Transfer to hotel in the old-town Asakusa area, and later enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight - Tokyo
We start the day with a morning tour of the city, taking in some of its many highlights. First we will visit the famous Buddhist Sensoji temple in Asakusa, before continuing to the Hamarikyu gardens â€“ one of the most tranquil and stunning gardens in the city, via water bus. Later we will explore the Harajuku area â€“ a shopping and entertainment haven, and pay a visit to the Meiji shrine. In the afternoon you can enjoy free time exploring the city at your own pace. Overnight - Tokyo
Sapporo Snow Festival - 15 Days Go Guide
: :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Day 3: Tsurui
Tokyo â€“ Tsurui. We make our way to Tokyo Haneda Airport first thing this morning for our flight to Hokkaido, Japanâ€™s northern island. Here we will take a private minibus to Tsurui, where we will be spending the night. Well off the beaten track, this small village is home to one of the best red-crowned crane sanctuaries in Japan and at sunset we will get to witness the famous winter dance of the cranes. Overnight - Tsurui (B, D)
Day 4: Rausu
Tsurui â€“ Rausu. The morning starts with a guided bird watching tour with a local expert, where we will learn about some of the other feathered creatures that live in the area, followed by a tasty afternoon lunch. Later we will transfer to Rausu, a large town on the eastern coast of the remote Shiretoko Peninsula, home to one of Japanâ€™s most beautiful national parks. Our accommodation for the night will be at a traditional Japanese inn, with a fantastic onsen (hot spring baths) and delicious home cooked meals! Overnight - Rausu (B, D)
Day 5: Abashiri
Rausu â€“ Abashiri. Today begins with a cruise onboard an icebreaker boat through the icy cold waters of the Shiretoko Peninsula, taking in spectacular views and spotting birdlife en route. Later we will drive by minibus to Abashiri, a fishing city located on the eastern coast of Hokkaido, which is famous in winter for its drifting sea ice.
Here may be the chance to visit the Northern Peopleâ€™s Museum â€“ with exhibits depicting the culture and traditions of the inhabitants of the northern reaches of the globe, the Prison Museum â€“ a retired prison that has been turned into an open air museum, or the Ice Float Museum - which explains the science behind the formation of the sea ice and the marine life that lives beneath it. Overnight - Abashiri (B)
Days 6 - 7: Sapporo Snow Festival
Abashiri â€“ Sapporo. Next stop is the capital city of this northern island, Sapporo, which we will reach via a train journey through snow-covered wilderness on day 6. Upon arrival we will be greeted by the excitement of the Sapporo Snow Festival held within the Odori Koen Park in the heart of the city. Later an evening tour of a Sapporo brewery will be followed by a tasty in-house meal.
On day 7 we will join in the revelry of the Snow Festival, one of Japanâ€™s largest winter events attracting two million people every year from at home and abroad . During the seven day festival Odori Koen Park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with larger-than-life snow sculptures and ice statues dotting in the park grounds. We will spend the morning exploring all that the festival has to offer, and in the afternoon may head out of town to try our hand at some winter sports, from tobogganing and sled rides, to finding out way out of an ice maze. Overnight - Sapporo (B:2, D:1)
Day 8: Day trip from Sapporo
Following the excitement of the Sapporo Snow Festival yesterday, today you can discover more of what this fascinating city has to offer at your own pace. You can choose to visit the Botanical Gardens, Nijo Fish Market and Ainu Museum, or why not head up the TV Tower for wonderful views of the city. Sapporo is also a great location for day trips, with the charming town of Otaru â€“ known for its scenic canals, historic buildings and winter lantern festival, and the ski resort of Kiroro just a short distance away. Your tour leader can help you arrange your day to suit your interests, whatever they may be! Overnight - Sapporo (B)
Days 9 - 10: Kyoto
Sapporo â€“ Kyoto. On the morning of day 9 we will fly back to Japanâ€™s southern island and transfer directly to Kyoto, the countryâ€™s ancient and cultural capital. As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines.
Enjoy a full day of exploration in Kyoto on day 10 and do be sure let your tour leader know if there are any particularly sites of interest that youâ€™d like to see. Brimming with arts and handmade crafts, Kyoto is a great place to do some shopping for friends and family back home. In the afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the Geisha district, led by a local expert, providing intriguing insight into this mysterious world. Overnight - Kyoto (B:2, D:1)
Day 11: Day trip from Kyoto
You are free to spend today doing whatever takes your fancy. There are plenty of walking tours available in the city, taking in various sites of interest along the way â€“ just ask your tour leader for details. Or alternatively why not make a day trip to Hiroshima, Nara or perhaps Osaka â€“ Japanâ€™s second city. Overnight - Kyoto (B)
Days 12 - 13: Yudanaka snow monkeys
Kyoto â€“ Yudanaka. On day 12 we will take a scenic bullet train ride up into the mountains to the Nagano prefecture where we will enjoy a two night stay in Yudanaka Onsen, a pretty hot spring town. On day 13 we will enjoy a full day in the town, where we will have the chance to see the famous Snow Monkeys as they enjoy the hot spring baths. Here there will also be the chance to indulge in some hot spring relaxation ourselves, and we can visit a sake brewery in the afternoon. (B:2, D:2)
Yudanaka - Tokyo. Heading back to Tokyo by bullet train, rather than staying in the old-world Akakusa as we did previously, this time we will be staying in Shinjuku, one of the most modern districts in the city. Today is a great opportunity to do any last minute shopping or sightseeing before our tour comes to an end tomorrow. Overnight - Tokyo
Day 15: Goodbye Japan!
Today our tour comes to an end! Transfer to Narita International Airport by shared shuttle bus for onward travel. (B)