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Journey to the East featuring Sapporo Snow Festival


Journey to the East is a 7 day discovery to the truly remote, undiscovered, hidden parts of Eastern Hokkaido. Visit vast national parks and lakes are home to the symbolic and majestic red-crowned cranes, wild bears, red foxes and giant eagles.

Join over 2 million visitors at the world famous Sapporo snow festival. The next days, leave Hokkaido’s largest city and to begin an exploration of a peaceful winter wonderland. Witness magical sunrises over frozen lakes and take photos of hundreds of the endangered Red-Crowned Crane at a wildlife sanctuary.

Travel across a snowy landscape that offers many stunning landscape photography opportunities along the way. Hop aboard an Ice-breaker ship as it makes its way through the winter drift ice. Learn about the indigenous Ainu people and enjoy an evening performance of traditional Ainu music, clothing and dance. Enjoy fine Japanese dining throughout, including some of the world’s finest winter seafood.

When staying in traditional Ryokan accommodation, relax in open-air, therapeutic hot-spring baths. Finally, join the fun at the Asahikawa snow festival before leaving Hokkaido to fly back to either Tokyo or Osaka. These are just some of the encounters you can expect on this incredible journey through Eastern Hokkaido.

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Duration: 7 Nights/8 Days Fully Escorted Winter Tour
Route: Tokyo - Sapporo - Lake Akan - Shiretoko - Abashiri - Tokyo or Osaka


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Dates: Places still available on our 2018 tour.
2018 Tour: February 5th – 12th;
2019 Tour: February 04th – 11th
Duration: 7 Nights/8 Days Fully Escorted Winter Tour
Starts: Tokyo
Ends: Tokyo or Osaka
Route: Tokyo - Sapporo - Lake Akan - Shiretoko - Abashiri - Tokyo or Osaka
Tour Type: Fully escorted tour with private and train transfers
Prices from: 2 or 3 Person Sharing Twin/Triple Rooms: EUR3,200 / GBP2,950 / USD3,600 / AUD4,800 (Per Person)
If you are willing to share a room with same gender, there will be no single supplement unless we are unable to find a suitable room mate. In this case you will be asked to pay 50% of the following single supplement:
+€485 / +£400 / +US$525 / +AU$700
If you insist on having a single room, you will be required to pay this single supplement. We will do our best to match you up with a suitable room mate.
Accommodation Category: Superior Western & Japanese Style Hotels throughout


Day 1 - Welcome to Tokyo

Arrive today, or earlier, and make your own way to your hotel. Meet your group and tour leader in hotel lobby at 6pm and enjoy a welcome dinner (included).
Accommodation: Park Hotel (or similar 4*)

Day 2 - Tokyo (morning) & Sapporo city (evening)

Breakfast at your hotel.

Bring luggage to hotel lobby/coach by departure time. Check out of hotel.

09.00 am: Meet our local Tokyo guide who will take you on a half-day guided tour of Tokyo before you fly up to Sapporo.

Highlights include:

  • Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Arcade
  • Edo Tokyo Museum
  • Lunch at local restaurant (pay locally)

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 3 - Experience Sapporo Snow Festival 2018

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 4 - Scenic Train journey to Lake Akan (eastern Hokkaido)

Breakfast at your hotel

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

HIGHLIGHT: Visit Red-Crowned Cranes:

  • Akan Tancho Centre and/or
  • Tsurui Ito Tancho SanctuaryEnjoy dinner and relaxing volcanic hot spring spa (onsen) at your hotel

Enjoy dinner and hot springs at your hotel

Accommodation: Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings (Japanese Style including dinner)

Day 5 - Sunrise to Sunset, stunning winter scenery

HIGHLIGHT: Sunrise with Tancho Cranes at Setsuri River *** Early departure. Transfer back to hotel & Breakfast at Hotel


After break, Lake Kussharo & Mashu Area Sightseeing

  • Sunayu – Swans
  • Mt. Iou
  • Tea Break (pay locally)
  • Lake Mashu
    Transfer back to hotel
    Enjoy Dinner & Hot Spring at Hotel (included)

* Optional: Fireworks & Ainu Dance Show after Dinner

Accommodation: Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings (Japanese Style)

Day 6 - Travel to Shiretoko National Park

Breakfast at your hotel Transfer to Shiretoko Peninsula

HIGHLIGHT: Shiretoko National Park (Wild Animals)  Eagles

  • Winter
  • Red Fox
  • Deer

Lunch at Local Restaurant (pay locally)

Enjoy Dinner & Hot Spring at Hotel
* Optional: Shiretoko Aurora Show after Dinner

Accommodation: Shiretoko Daiichi Hotel (or similar 4*)

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.

Tour Highlights

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!

Lake Akan & The Red Crowned Crane

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.

Shiretoko Peninsula

Explore one of the most remote regions in all of Japan, eastern Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula. Shiretoko National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to huge variety of of wildlife, including brown bears, deer, winter red foxes and eagles. Sightseeing boat cruises are the best way to take in the rugged coastline of the Shiretoko Peninsula. Here you can watch out for dolphins, whales and sea lions.

Rausu & Abashiri

With a population of just 6,000 souls, Rausu is the largest town in the Shiretoko Peninsula. A trip to this small fishing port will give you a fantastic taste of small town life in Japan. Known worldwide as a bird-watchers paradise, famous for it’s eagles and owls, get ready to see the largest eagle in the world, the Stellar’s Sea Eagle, as it soars through the air before diving down to catch its natural prey, fish. Nearby Abashiri is a city of 40,000 people, famous for it’s drift ice, prison museum and Lake Tofutsu.

Inclusions and/or Prices

Date Service
Accommodation Superior Western Style and Japanese style hotels
English Speaking tour leader English/Japanese speaking assistant throughout your journey
Internal Flights Internal flights to and from Hokkaido and Honshu
Local Tour Guides Local tour guides meet you along the way
Entrance Fees
 Included for all sights listed on itinerary (Ainu dance show and fireworks extra, Shiretoko Aurora Show extra)
Cultural Experiences  Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Arcade, Edo Tokyo Museum, Sapporo Snow Festival, Japanese Red-Crowned Crane Sanctuary, Volcanic hot spring spa (onsen), sightseeing at Lake Akan, Lake Kussharo, Lake Mashu and Lake Tofutsu, Wildlife viewing including red-crowned crane, whooper swans, grey heron, erne, white-tailed sea eagles, Steller’s sea eagles, seals, sea lions and red foxes. Experience the 53rd annual Abashiri Okhotsk Drift-Ice Festival, Winter cruise on ice-breaker ship, Abashiri prison museum. Optional traditional Ainu dance and fireworks display and Aurora Laser light display.
Meals  Breakfast daily & 4 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)

How to Book

If you are ready to join Journey to the East tour, then go ahead and pay the non-refundable booking deposit of €250 per person here. Before making any payment, it is important you read our full Terms and conditions .

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Total price of this tour

3,200 per person

16 in stock

Pay a deposit of 250 per item
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