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Sapporo Snow Festival

15 Days  |  Starts/Ends: Tokyo  |  from USD $8,299  |   Guaranteed Departure 

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, Japan’s northern island, and join in the revelry of the Sapporo Snow Festival.

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Day 1

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  |  Dinner

Day 2

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 – one of the most tranquil and stunning gardens in the city, via water bus. Later we will explore the Harajuku area – 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  |  Breakfast

Day 3

Tokyo – Tsurui. We make our way to Tokyo Haneda Airport first thing this morning for our flight to Hokkaido, Japan’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   |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4

Tsurui – 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 Japan’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  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5

Rausu – 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 People’s Museum – with exhibits depicting the culture and traditions of the inhabitants of the northern reaches of the globe, the Prison Museum – 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   |  Breakfast

Days 6-7
Sapporo Snow Festival

Abashiri – 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 Japan’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  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 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 – 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  |  Breakfast

Days 9-10

Sapporo – Kyoto. On the morning of day 9 we will fly back to Japan’s southern island and transfer directly to Kyoto, the country’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 you’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  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 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 – just ask your tour leader for details. Or alternatively why not make a day trip to Hiroshima, Nara or perhaps Osaka – Japan’s second city.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Days 12-13
Yudanaka snow monkeys

Kyoto – 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.
Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2

Day 14

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  |  Breakfast

Day 15
Goodbye Japan!

Today our tour comes to an end! Transfer to Narita International Airport by shared shuttle bus for onward travel.

Trip Highlights

Tokyo - Explore the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, cruise the Sumida River, stroll through the Hamarikyu gardens, go shopping in the Harajuku area, and pay a visit to the Meiji shrine
Rausu - Stay in a traditional Japanese inn with an onsen (hot spring bath), and enjoy a morning cruise onboard an icebreaker boat through the ice drifts of the Shiretoko Peninsula
Sapporo Snow Festival - Join the revelry of the Sapporo Snow Festival held in Odori Park, a winter wonderland of larger-than-life snow sculptures and ice statues, and try your hand at some winter sports on the outskirts of town
Kyoto - Explore the ancient and cultural capital of Japan, with a guided tour of Gion and the Geisha district, and plenty of free time to discover the city on your own
Tsurui - Witness the famous winter dance of the red-crowned cranes and go on a guided bird watching tour with a local expert
Abashiri - Here there is the chance to visit a few of this fishing city's many interesting museums, including the Northern People's Museum, the Prison Museum and Ice Float Museum
Sapporo - Enjoy a tour of a Sapporo brewery, explore the Botanical Gardens, visit the Nijo Fish Market and browse the Ainu Museum, plus why not head up the TV Tower and admire views of the city below
Yudanaka - See the famous Snow Monkeys as they enjoy hot spring baths, indulge in a hot spring bath for yourself and visit a Sake brewery


14 breakfasts and 7 dinners
Meet and greet airport arrival and departure transfers by shared shuttle bus
Tokyo Transport Pass
Ice breaker cruise in Rausu
Sumida River boat cruise in Tokyo
Guided walking tour of the Gion Geisha district in Kyoto
Maximum group size: 18 persons
14 nights 3 star accommodation (including 1 night in a traditional Japanese Ryokan)
Domestic economy flights: Tokyo - Kushiro and Sapporo - Osaka
All relevant transfers and transportation between destinations on public transport (including internal flights)
Sapporo brewery tour
Private minibus transport and local guide in Tsurui
Services of an English speaking local tour guide

Not Included

International flights and visas
Entrance Fees: USD $50 - $60
Laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, (if another solo traveller of the same sex is already booked upon the tour), thus avoiding the single person supplement.

Single Supp.
USD $8299
USD $759

Date still to be confirmed for our 2016 departure.

Tour Details
06 Feb 2016
Hotel Rating
3 star
Local Payment
Tour Guide
Yes -escorted by a tour guide
Breakfast: 14, Dinner: 7
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Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 4 travellers.