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Journey to the East, featuring the Sapporo Snow Festival

Prices from 3,250

Journey to the East is a 7-day discovery to the truly remote, undiscovered, hidden parts of Eastern Hokkaido.

“A week-long discovery to the truly unknown and hidden parts of Eastern Hokkaido,
featuring Sapporo Snow Festival, Red Crowned Crane Sanctuary, & Asahikawa Winter Festival”

Hokkaido’s unspoiled natural beauty makes it a haven for outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts. Among its vast national parks and lakes, you will come across an abundance of wildlife. Its most famous include the symbolic and endangered Red-Crowned Crane, wild bear, red fox, and giant eagles. Enjoy some coastal explorations in search of dolphins, whales and sea lions. Visit lakes set in volcano calderas. Learn about the indigenous Ainu people. Relax in open-air hot spring baths. Savour on Japan’s freshest and tastiest seafood and culinary treats. These are just some of the encounters you can expect on this incredible journey through Eastern Hokkaido.

SKU: N/ACategory:
Duration: 7 Nights / 8 Days Fully Escorted Winter Tour
Route: Tokyo - Sapporo (2) ➞ Kushiro (1) ➞ Lake Akan (2) ➞ Shiretoko (1) ➞ Abashiri (1) ➞ Tokyo or Osaka

Prices and Inclusions

AccommodationSelection of Western 4* (4 nights) and Superior Japanese-style ryokans (3 nights with hot springs and traditional Japanese evening meals)
English Speaking Tour LeaderEnglish/Japanese speaking assistant throughout your journey
Transfers Return internal flights to/from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Hokkaido; Chartered vehicles & express train journeys in Eastern Hokkaido
Local Tour GuidesLocal English speaking tour guides in places
Entrance Fees
Included for all sights listed on the itinerary
Cultural ExperiencesSapporo Snow Festival & sightseeing, the endangered Red-Crowned Crane sanctuary and viewing spot, overnight stays in traditional ryokans, open-air hot spring baths, sightseeing at Lake Akan / Lake Kussharo / Lake Mashu, an Ainu culture show, Abashiri Drift-Ice cruise (subject to drift-ice conditions), Abashiri prison museum, amazing scenic drives, and more.
Meals Breakfast daily, 2 lunches & 2 evening meals
Other Inclusions:
  • Comprehensive Travel Pack
  • Local Emergency Contact
  • All Taxes & Accommodation Surcharges
  • Fixed Price Policy
  • Minimum 6 / Maximum 16 people
  • No hidden Costs!!
This package does not include:
  • International Flights [Arrange own flights into and out of Tokyo’s Haneda or Narita Airports – Always check the arrival date on your flight e.g. if flying from Europe/US, you will arrive into Tokyo the following day (depending on airline you use)]
  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary. Generally, you can expect to pay 1,000yen for lunches and anything from 2,500yen for your evening meals.
  • Beverages consumed at any meal (Water served freely)
  • Baggage Handling (You are requested to carry your own bags so be careful when packing! Your tour leader will help you arrange luggage forwarding on some journeys by the reliable ‘Takkyubin Service’)
  • Tour Leader Or Driver Gratuity – can be arranged among your group (Optional)


Dates: Tour Dates (limited to one tour a year due to festival times)
2019 Tour: February 04th – 11th
Duration: 7 Nights / 8 Days Fully Escorted Winter Tour
Starts: Tokyo or Sapporo
Ends: Tokyo or Osaka
Route: Tokyo - Sapporo (2) ➞ Kushiro (1) ➞ Lake Akan (2) ➞ Shiretoko (1) ➞ Abashiri (1) ➞ Tokyo or Osaka
Tour Type: Fully escorted tour with domestic flight, private vehicle and train transfers
Prices from: EUR3,250 / GBP2,750 / USD3,865 / AUD5,000 (Per Person Sharing Twin/Triple Rooms)
Single room EUR3,650 / GBP3,100 / USD4,365 / AUD5,750 (1 Person with own Single Room throughout)
Accommodation Category: Superior Western & Japanese Style Hotels throughout

Tour Highlights

Journey to the East - Highlights Video

Sapporo Snow Festival

After one day and night in exciting Tokyo, we will hop on a short flight up to Hokkaido’s capital city Sapporo. Experience one of the largest snow festivals in the world where giant snow sculptures, visited by some two millions people every year, line the streets of Sapporo day and night, waiting to wow you with their enormous impact and street festival-feeling!

Sunrise at the Red-Crowned Crane Sanctuary

Kushiro, also known as “the town of the mist”, is situated in the south-eastern part of Hokkaido, facing the Pacific Ocean. Akan Tancho is known as the site of the first successful artificial breeding of Tancho cranes (Japanese cranes), which are designated as special natural monuments.

The red-crowned crane, or Tancho in Japanese, is an iconic creature and a symbol of good fortune, long life and loyalty. It is one of the largest East-Asian cranes and one of the rarest cranes in the world. You can enjoy watching the symbolic birds from the best observation spots on the island.

Traditional Evening Performance by Ainu (indigenous people of Hokkaido) nearby Lake Akan

Abashiri Drift-Ice Festival & Ice-Breaker Cruise

Asahikawa Snow Festival


Journey to the East

Day 1 - Fly from Tokyo to Sapporo (2)

Meet your group and tour leader in the hotel lobby. and travel to Haneda airport to take an afternoon flight to Sapporo (duration 1 hour approx.).

Check into your Sapporo Hotel.

HIGHLIGHT: Free time to enjoy Sapporo Snow Festival (giant snow and ice sculptures) for the evening and the next day. Your tour leader will be ready to take you out!!

Accommodation: Tokyu Hotel Sapporo (or similar 4*)

Day 2 - Experience Sapporo Snow Festival

Breakfast at your hotel

Enjoy a full day exploration in Sapporo during the much-anticipated snow festival. Over 60 international teams compete with Japanese teams to build the most impressive snow and ice sculptures, some of which reach over 15m in height. The city atmosphere is festive with hot food stalls and pop-up ice-bars lining the streets catering to the 2 million visitors (doubling of the city population) that flock to see this spectacular winter festival.

With lots of options to keep you entertained in Sapporo city (and some of the best seafood & beer in the world), you will spend one more night at the same hotel before leaving the next morning to visit the winter wilderness of Hokkaido.

Accommodation: Tokyu Hotel Sapporo (or similar 4*)

Day 3 - Scenic train journey east to Kushiro (1)

Breakfast at your hotel

Train to Kushiro in Eastern Side of Hokkaido (4 hours)

Visit Kushiro City “Red-crowned Crane Natural Park” for your first experience of the wonderful red-crowned cranes. This sanctuary has large fenced in areas with pairs of birds to encourage breeding and provides a perfect chance to photograph the birds up close.

Accommodation:  Kushiro Crown Plaza hotel (or similar0

Day 4 - Lake Akan (1): Sunrise to Sunset, stunning winter scenery

Depart the hotel 4.45am and drive with guide and driver to the Seturi River to witness a magical sunrise with hundreds of red-crowned cranes gathered together in the river.

From there, you will eat some breakfast at another viewing point for red-crowned cranes and then you will proceed with your driver and guide to the International Red-Crowned Crane centre for your final change to take photos and videos of these fabulous birds.

On the way to lake Akan, you will stop off at an elevated viewing spot on lake Mashu (tea break, pay locally) and lake Mashu to witness the whopper swans in the natural onsen alongside a frozen lake.

Upon check-in to the luxurious Tsuruga Wings hotel, you will enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner with every kind of Japanese and western dish imaginable (meal included, drinks separate) before experiencing one of the best onsens (hot springs baths) in all of Japan.

After the onsen, you will enjoy a fireworks display over the frozen lake before making your way to a traditional Ainu performance in a local concert hall (admission included).

Accommodation: Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings (Japanese Style)

Day 5 - Abashiri (2)

Breakfast at your hotel before transferring with private driver and guide to Abashiri on the Eastern coast of Hokkaido.

This drive is a stunningly scenic mountain drive (much like the day before) and there will be stop-offs at Lake Kussharo to visit the whooper swans again and at certain scenic points along the drive to take photos in front of expansive winter landscapes vistas.

Upon reaching Abashiri, you will


Day 7 - Travel to Rasu for Shiretoko Winter Boat Cruise

Breakfast at your hotel (Possibility of box b’fast)

Transfer to Rausu (Early departure***)

HIGHLIGHT: Shiretoko Winter Boat Cruise

Abashiri Area Sightseeing

  • Lunch at Local Restaurant (pay locally)
  • Lake Tofutsu
  • Abashiri Prison Museum

Enjoy Dinner & Hot Spring at Hotel (included)

Accommodation: Hokuten No Oka Lake Abashirir Tsuruga Resort (Japanese Style)

Day 8 - Flight back to Tokyo

Breakfast at your hotel
Transfer to Memanbetsu Airport
Flight from Memanbetsu to Tokyo Haneda or any other domestic airport in Japan (consult with us before you plan your post tour journey)

Tour ends at Tokyo Haneda Airport. We can arrange your post-tour itinerary also. Enquire with our consultants.

How to Book

1. Choose your favourite Small Group Tour

If you know which small group tour you want to join, then move to Step 2 below.

If you like a tour but need more information and/or have some “Got a question?” form below. Either way, one of our Japan Travel Consultants will be in touch with you right away.


2. Pay deposit now* or…

By paying your deposit today, we secure your place on this chosen small group tour. *Terms and conditions apply .


3. Manage your Booking

Once your deposit is paid, you will be sent your own personal travel portal, giving you the freedom to check your documents and send us as much information as you can, to ensure we give you the best service possible (dietary, passport info, flight details, etc.). You may also pay the final balance securely online (or by bank transfer if preferred) at once, or in installments if this suits you better.


4. Receive your Essential Travel Pack

All UJT Clients receive an Essential Travel Pack which is sent to your home address (worldwide) 2-3 weeks before your departure date.
If your starting date is less than 2 weeks, you will receive it on arrival in Japan.


5. See you in Japan!

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Total price of this tour

Prices from 3,250 per person

Pay a deposit of 250 per item
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