Despite its long history and prominent position on the global stage Japan remains a tantalizing mystery to most of the world. Boasting a truly unique cultural heritage and rich in scenic wonders Japan offers all the ingredients for a memorable and invigorating holiday in the Far East. With world-class hotels, intimate guesthouses, bustling cities and convenient transportation this exciting island nation offers
hassle-freea and comfortable travel
Day 1 Sapporo – HidakaAccommodation at Eclipse Hotel Shizunai
You will fly from Tokyo to Sapporo, please note if we cannot find a appropriate connecting flight we may recommend you stay one night in a airport hotel and catch the flight to Hokkaido the following morning. We do believe however that the route as listed below can be followed currently. *
Today, after making the short flight from Tokyo we welcome you to Hokkaido where you will be met at Sapporo international airport by your private guide who will be with you for the duration of your time in Hokkaido. After a quick introduction to Sapporo’s famed Ramen Alley, we will transfer to Hidaka and go for an exciting white-water rafting tour on one of the most adventurous rivers in Japan. Hidaka is located at the base of Hidaka Mountains, which is a mountain range in southeastern Hokkaido. It runs 150 km from Mount Sahoro or Karikachi and runs into the sea at Cape Erimo.
In the evening after a physical day we will transfer you to your hotel for an onsen and a rest.
* Please note for the ENTIRETY of your time in Hokkaido you will be with ONE guide and your transportation will be based on PRIVATE CAR as there are no reliable Shinkansen networks within the Island for the truly wild routing we have proposed.
Overnight in Hidaka
DAY 2 Hikada –Kushiro-Lake AkanAccommodation at Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga
In the morning after breakfast, you will arrive at the stunning Lake Akan via Kushiro Marsh. Kushiro Marsh stretches out to the north of Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido. This is a huge swampland with an overall area of 183 square kilometers, and is a prime viewing spot for some of the rare flora and fauna (especially birds) which populate Hokkaido. You will travel through slowly, to give you the best chance of spotting wildlife. Our main goal here will be to introduce you to the Tancho: Japan’s mythic Red Crane
Then arrive at your next destination, Lake Akan is a beautiful crater lake in Akan National Park. It is home to Marimo, a rare algae species that forms itself into beautiful green balls. Take a moment here to appreciate the lake’s stunning waters before fishing with your guide for trout. If you catch any, we can fry them up, tempura-style in the local village.
The Ainu people are the traditional inhabitants of Hokkaido before the Japanese. Ainu Kotan is a small Ainu village you will visit to interact with this culture. Here, you will find handicrafts as well as a small museum displaying traditional Ainu crafts, clothes and daily life utensils. Traditional Ainu performances are held in a hall next door. We will be sure to introduce you to local Ainu vendors, as well as the dance performance which is a ‘must see’ for understanding and appreciating Ainu culture.
Overnight in Lake Akan
Day 3 Lake Mashu – Kiyosato – UtoroAccommodation at Shiretoko Grand Hotel
After breakfast, you will see several of Hokkaido’s most famous sights.
We will stop at the observatory where we can see Lake Mashu which is a caldera lake in Akan National Park. The lake has been called the clearest lake in the world, and is considered by many to be Japan’s most beautiful lake. Lake Mashu is also one of the country’s deepest lakes and although it is usually appreciated for its clear blue water, it is also famously and frequently blanketed in heavy fog.
The next stop will be Kawayu Onsen, which is a small hot spring town inside Akan National Park’s eastern section. Take a moment to relax in the hot baths; after, walk around Iozan (Sulfur Mountain) an active volcano with several geothermic areas to explore.
The last stop before Utoro is Kiyosato where, if you’re lucky, you can see salmons leaping from the river into the famous blue pond of Kaminokoike. Afterwards we will continue driving to the famed park system of Shiretoko through beautiful costal roads buttressed by the Pacific. There will be ample opportunities to stop and see waterfalls, mountains and idyllic pastoral scenery.
In the evening we will arrive in Shiretoko’s main town of Utoro (roughly a 3 hour drive). Upon Arrival you will check into your Hotel and rest for tomorrow’s adventure.
Overnight in Utoro
Day 4 Shiretoko
In the morning we will take a cruise along Utoro’s incredible seafront, exploring Hokkaido’s dramatic coastline by boat. As you drift past the tall cliffs and waterfalls, viewing geography inaccessible to the regular tourist.
Another highlight of the cruise is the variety of wildlife that can be seen from the boats, especially brown bears which are often spotted on the rocky beaches with their cubs. Deer and foxes may also be seen along the shore, while sea animals such as dolphins, whales, sea lions and different types of sea birds (Including the ferocious Steller’s Sea Eagle) may make an appearance.
In the afternoon, we can explore Shiretoko National Park on a cycling tour. This stunning landscape is a UNESCO world heritage site for its pristine and varied landscape. Enjoy the national park’s many routes with your private guide, which you will choose locally based on your interest and fitness level.
After cycling we will return to a local inn, owned by an Ainu Chief’s daughter. Here you can enjoy a traditional Ainu feast as well as the stories (and if you’re lucky a song) from one of the last remnants of Hokkaido’s indigenous people. After dinner we will return to your hotel.
Overnight in Shiretoko
Day 5 Shiretoko – SounkyoAccommodation at Sounkyo Pension Ginga
After rising early, you will enjoy a morning hike. The Shiretoko Five Lakes are a set of five small lakes formed long ago by the eruption of nearby Mount Io and fed by underground springs. The Ainu nickname for these bodies of water is ‘God’s Five Fingerprints’, as the five lakes offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and wilderness, and provide us an easy way to experience Shiretoko’s unspoiled nature.
After returning from the hike, we will bid farewell to Shiretoko and drive over a incredible mountain pass to the nearby (and only!) town of Rausu. Rausu is famous for its seafood and you will have an incredible opportunity to eat food freshly caught from the Pacific. If you would like we can also schedule Whale Watching, as Rausu has a large local population of Minke, Fin, Killer and Sperm Whales.
After your time in Shiretoko we will transfer by private car to Sounkyo for the last night (roughly 3 hours). Sounkyo is a range of gorges situated in the Daisetsuzan National Park. Here you will have opportunities for gorgeous hikes, magnificent cliff-side scenery, playing in waterfalls and viewing Hokkaido’s tallest mountain: Mt.Asahi-dake. The route you take will depend on how rigorous of a hike you would enjoy as well as which scenery you wish to explore.
You will be staying in one of the local inns which will offer you stunning views of the park (they are often located inside the park) as well as offering Onsen’s for you to relax in.
Overnight in Sounkyo
Day 6 Sounkyo – Sapporo – Departure
You will return to Sapporo by private car. Once in Sapporo to have a final bowl of the famed Ramen (a very rich noodle soup), then visit your final Japanese icon: the Sapporo Brewery. Here, you will be able to examine the fundamentally different approach to beer that Japanese embrace.
Afterwards, we will transfer you to Chitose Airport for your return flight to mainland Japan, filled with many memories of Hokkaido’s stunning natural beauty.
What is included in the itinerary (JAPAN):
All hotels as listed
All train service as listed
All guided service as listed.
Dinner Daily in Hokkaido
Private transport for your entire time in Hokkaido
Guided Service Daily in Hokkaido
Flight from Tokyo to Sapporo (round trip)
What is NOT included in the itinerary:
International air (To/from The US)
Transportation on guided days
Meals except for Ryokan dining and breakfast at your accommodations
Entrance fees on guided days (to be paid locally)
Activities on guided days (to be paid locally)
Anything not specifically included
Private Transfers to and from ANY airports
Private transfers to/from ANY train stations