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JAPAN IN WINTER
February 7 – 17 2021

I am excited to announce another magical journey to Japan!  
It is a trip to seek the winter scenes with exquisite beauty.  The frigid winter in Japan is a time when you can photograph the fairytale look landscape, immerse yourself in the cozy and intimate snow festivals, encounter the unique wild life, and experience the homey traditional cuisine.  We will visit so called, “the inner Japan”, far from the big cities by connecting the smaller planes and local trains and driving deep into the mountains.  Wide variety of photo opportunity to capture the real tranquility of the country !


PROGRAM DATES:
February. 7th(Mon) – 17th(Thu). 2022

  • Tokyo….             2 nights (February. 7-8, 16-17.)

  • Sapporo….        3 nights (February. 8-11.)

  • Matsumoto….    1 night   (February. 11-12.)

  • Nagano…           2 nights (February. 12-14.)

  • Kakunodate…    2 nights (February. 14-16.)


RATES:
10 nights /11 days

  • double occupancy        TBA ( around $8,000)

  • single occupancy         TBA ( around $9,000)


Rates are per person, U.S. Dollars. Program rates include all accommodations, all ground transportation, some meals (see the itinerary), entrance fee.  

NOT INCLUDED:
International Airfare to/from Tokyo
Airport transfer to/from hotel in Tokyo
Insurance

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Hokkaido

DAY 1:
Arrive in Tokyo Narita Airport ( or Tokyo Haneda Airport ) at your convenient time.  Transfer from the airport to hotel and check in.
We will meet at the hotel in the evening for welcome dinner and first presentation.
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tokyo, (Dinner)


DAY 2:
Sapporo:
Take a mini-van from hotel to Haneda airport, then fly over to Sapporo (1.5h), the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan.  

Check in the hotel, then walk through the main section of the city, “Odori Park” where the famous annual snow festival is held.  Hundreds of spectacular snow statues and ice sculptures fill the area. It normally takes a month to build these enormous snow arts.

Sapporo Ramen:
What about a little break for a hot and tasty ramen! Sapporo is the mecca for the ramen noodle, particularly for “miso ramen (miso flavored)”.
Hotel: Nest Hotel Sapporo, (Breakfast)


DAY 3:
Fish Market:
We will head to the fish market early morning !  Sapporo is the “Kitchen of the North” and freshest seafood comes every morning to the central wholesale market.
You can’t miss the “Kaisen-don” (Seafood bowl) for breakfast as well !

Otaru:
Otaru is a small harbor city, about 30 minutes train ride from Sapporo.  Beautifully preserved canal area with old warehouses is so photogenic, particularly during the winter festival.  The street decorated with the candles and small lanterns looks so romantic and poetic.
Hotel: Nest Hotel Sapporo, (Breakfast)


DAY 4:
Kushiro:
Fly from the local airport in Sapporo to Kushiro (45 min), the gate city of country’s biggest wetland, where endangered Japanese cranes inhabit.  
Visit “Tancho (Japanese red-crowned cranes) Sanctuary” and photograph this magnificent beauty.

Lake Kussharo & Lake Mashu:
Visit the snow covered volcanic lakes, Kussharo & Mashu in Akan National Park.  Flock of Whooper Swans can be seen, floating on the hot spring gushing out from the lakeside beach.
Hotel: Nest Hotel Sapporo, (Breakfast)

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Mainland Japan

DAY 5:
Matsumoto:
Fly from Sapporo to Matsumoto (1h 45 min), the famous castle town in Nagano Prefecture.  Now you are back in Honshu, the mainland of Japan and the center of the hilly section of the country.

Hidden jewel:
You will stay in “Ryokan, Sugimoto”, the hidden jewel of traditional Inn.  After the long day of travel, you can unwind in the intimate Onsen (hot spring) as well as enjoy “Kaiseki Dinner” with hand-made soba and local sake.
Hotel: Ryokan Sugimoto & Spa, (Breakfast, Dinner)


DAY 6:
Matsumoto Castle:
It is the symbol of the city, built in late 16C, one of the country’s most beautiful and complete castles.

Take our mini-van to go deep into Jigokudani Monkey Park (2h).

Snow monkey:
This famous site of “Jigokudani (Hell valley) Monkey Park” sits in a deep valley of Yokoyu River (850m /2800ft), where 1/3 of the year is covered with deep snow.  This harsh environment however turns into the monkey’s paradise, thanks to the abundant hot springs. The unique scene of monkeys bathing in the hot springs is now the most popular winter scene in Japan.

Our hot spring time:
Our base for snow monkey shoot is only 30 min walk.  This tranquil hot spring inn has everything we need… indoor and open-air bath, exquisite cuisine and sophisticated traditional rooms.
Hotel: Kanbayashi Hotel, (Breakfast, Dinner)


DAY 7:
Bathing or shooting…:
Whole day we have time to go back and shoot the snow monkeys or unwind and relax at the luxurious inn.  Great opportunity to have photo critique session.
Hotel: Kanbayashi Hotel, (Breakfast, Dinner)


DAY 8:
Depart Jigokudani to Nagano by vehicle (1h ), then take Bullet Trains to Kakunodate (4.5h).

Kakunodate:
Now you are up in Tohoku area, the northern part of Japan.  Kakunodate is a former castle town and samurai stronghold, now in Akita prefecture.  The town remains unchanged since it’s founding in 1620, have two distinct areas of samurai district and merchant district.

“Machiya” stay:
Our hotel is former Machiya-building, traditional wooden townhouse.  It has been converted into the traditional inn and you will enjoy the simplicity of the modern and traditional design.

Fire and Snow Festival:
Famous for its wild bonfire and swinging fireballs over the heads, the locals get really ecstatic with this annual winter festival.  The town is small and the atmosphere is rather intimate but the vive and energy is really intense.  
Why don’t you participate and swing the fireballs yourself !
Hotel: Machiya Hotel Kakunodate, (Breakfast)


DAY 9:
Bukeyashiki - Samurai Houses:
It once housed 80 families, now is one of the best example of samurai architecture and housing in the country.

Yokote Kamakura Festival:
Yokote is a small town, 30 minutes train ride from Kakunodate, famous for its winter festival.  The festival has 450 years of history and features Kamakura, Igloo-like snow houses.  People put snow alter the water deity.  A charcoal brazier is set up to provide warmth inside and grill Mochi ( rice cake).  Visitors will be welcomed to taste Mochi with Amazake (rice wine).  
Hundreds of small Kamakuras are illuminated by candles along the river, the most stunning view of the festival…
Hotel: Machiya Hotel Kakunodate, (Breakfast)
 

DAY 10:
Depart Kakunodate at noon by Bullet Train back to Tokyo (3.5h).
Final Dinner in Tokyo.
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tokyo (Breakfast, Dinner)



DAY 11:
Transfer from hotel to Tokyo Narita Airport (or Tokyo Haneda Airport) by limousine bus for flight home.

“The itineraries are subject to modified and changed.  We will try all our effort to operate programs as planned, but alterations may still occur based on the weather and other conditions.”

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READY TO JOIN ME?

If you are interested in joining the program or have any questions, please contact me by clicking CONTACT below.

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