Small Group Tour IJT Classic

Winter Highlights

14 Nights: from US$4800 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, 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.

Important Practical Information

Maximum Group Size:

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

Transport: Please note that all 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. 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. Clothes washing machines are available in Rausu and Tsurui.

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 Airports.

Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available up to 2 days in advance of the tour and if you are staying extra nights pre-tour it is only available if those nights are booked through InsideJapan Tours.

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).


What's Included >

What's included

  • Full-time services of your InsideJapan tour leader
  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast every day and seven evening meals
  • Your InsideJapan Info-Pack
  • All transport between destinations in Japan, including airport transfers and domestic flights and an IC transport card with 3,500 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
  • Audience with a trainee geisha in Kyoto
  • Entrance to the Jigokudani monkey park in Yudanaka
  • Luggage forwarding Kyoto to Tokyo

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$4800
  • Single Supplement: US$400

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$80 Single pp US$96
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$128 Single pp US$176


  • Tour Price: From US$4800
  • Single Supplement: US$400

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$80 Single pp US$96
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$128 Single pp US$176

What, where, when and how...

Winter Highlights - 15 Days - Accommodation

Winter Highlights - 15 Days - Booking

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