Small Group Tour IJT Classic

Winter Highlights

14 Nights: from US$5810 Trip Code: WH

From incredible snow sculptures and rare birds in Hokkaido to snow monkeys and cultural treasures on Honshu; this tour demonstrates the myriad attractions of the winter season on Japan's two largest islands. Read more >

Hokkaido, Japan's remote, northern outpost, is off the beaten track even for most Japanese. Here you'll wander vast, windswept plains and wild peninsulas where still-smoking volcanoes provide the backdrop, with a litany of rare birds to be spotted.

In Tsurui you'll receive an introduction to Hokkaido's avian residents accompanied by an expert birding guide, and whilst in Rausu you'll take an icebreaker cruise amongst the creaking floes of the Okhotsk Sea. With a bit of luck on your side, the cruise will bring you within range of magnificent Steller's sea eagles, a fantastic opportunity for keen wildlife photographers.

Before returning to the mainland you'll stop for three nights in Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital and home to the famous snow festival, during which approximately 400 giant snow sculptures occupy the city's spaces. Sapporo is famous for beer as well as snow, so in addition to enjoying the festival you'll take a tour of one of the city's breweries.

Honshu is Japan's main island and offers a very different experience from Hokkaido. In Tokyo you'll take a cruise on the Sumida River and warm your hands around a bowl of green tea at Hamarikyu Gardens, whilst in Kyoto you might be lucky enough to enjoy the enchanting sight of the Golden Pavilion wreathed in snow. You will also have a private audience with a maiko (trainee geisha), which is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

Finally, one of the highlights of your tour comes in Yudanaka - where you'll witness the Japanese macaques as they stave off the cold in the mountain hot springs.

If this sounds good and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your tour in Japan!

The tour leader will be staying at the first hotel for two nights before the tour starts so they will be available for advice if you choose to book pre tour nights. We recommend booking at least one extra night to check in and relax before the tour begins. 

Important Practical Information

05 Feb 2019 & 07 Feb 2019 departures: Please note that due to operational reasons, the itinerary route in the Hokkaido portion of these departures will differ from what's listed on our website. However, all tours will still include the same experiences, destinations and inclusions. For further details please speak to your travel consultant.

Group Size: 4 - 14

Single Supplement: This tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour.

Fitness: Even when not using public transport, sightseeing in Japan often involves walking between sights, climbing up steps in temples and being 'on the go' for much of the day. To enjoy any of our Small Group Tours you should be of moderate fitness, able to walk and climb stairs without difficulty and able to maintain a pace that is comfortable for the majority of the group.

Transport: We will have use of a private bus for our first 3 days on Hokkaido. Please note that many transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. All the hotels and ryokan have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station. However, you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators.

Luggage: We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A small case or bag with wheels or a rucksack are most appropriate for this tour as you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators or elevators/lifts. You will also need a small overnight back-pack (for up to two nights) for use when we forward our main bags to the next location.

Weather and clothing: We will be spending 6 days in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido and you should be aware that it will be extremely cold here. Night-time temperatures can get below minus 20 degrees centigrade. There are many days on which the temperature drops below 0 degrees centigrade all day long. You will need heavy overcoats, caps, gloves, scarves, etc. in addition to sweaters and jackets. Our accommodation will of course be heated but for the outdoors you will also need shoes that are suitable for walking on snow or ice, and rubber crampons.

Accommodation: All of the accommodation except for in Tsurui are equipped with full en-suite facilities (attached bath / shower and toilet). The hotel in Tsurui has shared facilities (single sex).

International Flights:
This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo's Narita or Haneda Airport.

Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 3pm. (You can, however, securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).


At a glance

What's Included >

What's included

  • Full-time services of your InsideJapan tour leader
  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast every day and eight evening meals
  • Your InsideJapan Info-Pack
  • All transport between destinations in Japan, including airport transfers and domestic flights and an IC transport card with 2,500 yen credit
  • Sumida river bus ride and entrance to Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo
  • Bird-watching guide in Tsurui
  • Entrance to the Blakiston's fish owl reserve
  • Icebreaker cruise on the Okhotsk Sea
  • Brewery tour in Sapporo
  • Afternoon tea with a maiko in Kyoto
  • Included visit to see the onsen-bathing Snow Monkeys in Yudanaka
  • Luggage forwarding from Tsurui to Sapporo & from Kyoto to Tokyo
  • Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip

What's NOT included:

  • International flights
  • Any entrance fees (including those for temples, shrines and museums) unless otherwise specified
  • Any local transport in each destination unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage handling & luggage forwarding unless otherwise specified

View full price information >

Tour Price Information

  • Tour Price: From US$5810
  • Single Supplement: From US$504

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share From US$100 pp Single From US$109 pp
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share From US$130 pp Single From US$158 pp


  • Tour Price: From US$6013
  • Single Supplement: From US$882

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share From US$99 pp Single From US$128 pp
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share From US$120 pp Single From US$147 pp
Disclaimer Message: Please note: Prices displayed above are all "From" prices as individual prices vary depending on time of year travelling. For full pricing information on specific departures please speak to your Travel Consultant.

Tour Highlights

  • Take an icebreaker cruise on the Okhotsk Sea and keep a lookout for Steller's sea eagles
  • Visit the famous onsen-bathing monkeys of Yudanaka
  • Meet an apprentice geisha in Kyoto
  • If all this sounds great and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your stay in Japan!
  • Visit the Sapporo Snow Festival and enjoy a tour of one of Sapporo's breweries
  • Take a cruise down the Sumida River in Tokyo and sip tea in Hamarikyu Gardens
  • Go red-crowned crane spotting with a nature expert and professional photographer on the Kushiro Marshes
  • A chance to spot the rare Blakiston's Fish Owl

For more information email us: [email protected] or call: 303 952 0379

What, where, when and how...

Winter Highlights - 15 Days - Accommodation

Winter Highlights - 15 Days - Booking

Single supplement from £360

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 8 reviews)

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 8 reviews)

5.0 out of 5 from 8 reviews Show all Winter Highlights Reviews

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