Official meeting point is Akashikawa Airport in Hokkaido at 8pm. Particpants who join the tour from Tokyo, can meet with tour leaders at Haneda Airport (Tokyo) in the evening to fly together to Asahikawa, Hokkaido. If you want us book your flight (Haneda – Akashikawa), we will book it for you. Participants who join the tour directly from their countries should get a flight from their cities to Asahikawa via Haneda (Tokyo) with a connection flight that arrives at Asahikawa before 8pm. We stay in a hotel in Asahikawa.
In the morning, we will drive through the amazing snow-covered hills of Biei and photograph very beautiful and artistic minimalist winter landscapes. In the late afternoon, we will check in hotel to take a rest or bathe in hot spring bath to prepare for freezing night shooting. Before sunset, we will leave our hotel to photograph an illuminated frozen lake. After we are happy with our photos, we go back to our hotel to have dinner and bathe in hot springs to warm up our frozen bodies and relax for the next day.
After breakfast, we will visit a stunning frozen blue waterfall, and return to the hills in Biei to make sure we have good pictures of the beautiful minimal landscapes of Biei and Furano area. Driving through endless winter landscapes, we will arrive a town where we will stay tonight.
Today we will dedicate to photograph the dance of the Japanese red-crowned cranes in the wildness, one of the greatest attractions of Hokkaido for wild life lovers. In the evening, we will move to another village where we sleep tonight.
We wake up early to photograph red-crowned cranes in the river covered with the reddish mist just before sunrise. It all depends on the weather condition, but we will try to capture this amazing romantic moments. After this rising sun hour shots, we will go back to our hotel to have breakfast and have a hot spring bath to warm up our bodies. Then, we check out our hotel and start looking for owls in the winter forest. If we were lucky, we could photograph owls on the trees. Then, we will head to a lake village known for having the largest number of the population of Ainu people, the native people of Hokkaido. For those who wish, there is an option to go to see and photograph a traditional Ainu dance at night.
If you wish, you can wake up before sunrise to photograph from your room how Japanese people fish on the frozen lake with their tents lighten up with their lanterns. After breakfast, we leave to another lake to photograph whooper swans on the shore where hot springs are coming out. If you want, you will be able to bathe in an outdoor hot spring bath just in front of the shore with the swans! Then, we will visit the most sulfurous mountain in Japan. Columns of smoke rise from the rocky ground despite the snow, and the smell of sulfur permeates everything. It is a surreal and mystical place. Then, we will approach to one of the most beautiful lakes in Japan. And from there we’ll head to one of our most favorite ryokan in Japan, a hidden gem in Hokkaido. At night, if we are lucky we will be able to photograph owls catching fish.
Today we will look for wildlife as well as a lonely landscape in a small peninsula. If we are lucky, we will see fox, deer, and eagles. Sometimes it is easy, and other times it takes time to spot them. So, we dedicate the whole day in this area to look for them and capture the images. In the late afternoon we will move to Shiretoko Peninsula where we will sleep two nights.
In the morning we will catch a boat that will take us to the sea filled with drift ice and photograph white-tailed eagles or Steller’s sea eagles on top of the ice and intact landscapes of the Shiretoko Peninsula. After the two-hour cruise, we will have a lunch, then go back to the yesterday’s small peninsula to photograph the wildlife just in case we could not find or we are not happy with what we could photograph yesterday.
Before sunrise, there is an optional opportunity for participants who want to repeat the boat trip to photograph sea eagles. The boat leaves at dawn to photograph the sea eagles on drift ice with gorgeous morning lights. After breakfast, we will proceed to another side of Shiretoko Peninsula. We will photograph a fishing port filled with drift ice and dramatic icy waterfalls. After check in our hotel, we will go out to photograph sunset over the frozen ocean.
In the morning, we will take a walk in the snow forest. There is a possibility of encountering with deer in the snow forest. In the end of the walk, we will find a huge waterfall to photograph. After a walk, we will drive to the dead end of the road in the Shiretoko Peninsula to look for more animals, and we leave slowly Shiretoko Peninsula toward Abashiri, photographing beautiful snow landscapes. We will stop in a retro local train station where we can see the wide open ocean or have a coffee. We will sleep in the city of Abashiri.
We will look for drift ice reached to the seashore of the Okhotsk in Abashiri from Russia. Then, we will take a boat that go through drift ice in the ocean to see and photograph it. After the excursion by boat we will eat there and we will go to the Memanbetsu airport in Abashiri to catch a flight back to Tokyo. For participants who go back to their country without stopover in Tokyo should get a retun flight ticket from Memanbetsu Airport to your airport in your country via Haneda (Tokyo).
During our photo tour to Japan we will combine nights in ryokan and western hotels. Whether they are traditional Japanese inns or western hotels, all of them are mid class with good reputation or selected by tour leaders from their experiences.
The rooms will be twin room (with two beds) or tatami room, so participants who come with his or her partner will share the room. Participants who join the tour alone will share a room with another single participant although in half of the hotels, the single participant will have a single room for himself or herself. Single participant has to pay a supplement of “Half single room”. If you wish to stay in a single room for the whole trip, you must pay a supplement, “Whole single room”.
In this tour, all luches and some of the dinners are not included. Since we normally go to a restaurant together for lunch, you just choose what you would like to eat and you pay for it. Normally each lunch costs less than 2,000 yen. For some dinners that are not included, each person can choose a restaurant to dine. There are restaurants nearby our hotels.
If anybody has allergy or food intolerance problems, or is a vegetarian, we will try to make the necessary changes in the menus when it is possible.
For the trip to be carried out, there must be at least 6 participants (maximum of 6 participants). For this reason it is recommended to consult the occupancy of the trip before buying the international flight if the flight ticket requires cancellation fees.
It is mandatory to have comprehensive insurance cover for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, dismemberment, and accidental death. You have to give us a copy of travel insurance before the trip.
If the cancellation is made more than 61 days before the start of the tour, deposit will be refunded in full only if the place(s) is/are filled with another/other participant(s). Deposit will not be refunded if the cancellation is made within 60 days before the start of the tour. For more details of cancellation and conditions of refund of the balance due after 60 days, please read our terms & conditions.
The drifting ice and wildlife can not be guaranteed in any case. Drift ice comes and goes each year depending on the currents, the temperature, and many other factors that cause this natural spectacle. Sometimes we find wild animals very easily, but other times it is difficult to find them. It is important to keep it in mind that the organizers will not have any responsibility if there is no drifting ice or wildlife during the specific dates of the tour.
If you have more doubts about any topic related to the photo tour to Japan, send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
from April 24 to May 2, 2019
from November 24 to December 1, 2019
From October 20 to 29, 2019
Documentary photo project on Japan by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué
Photo agency that deals with exclusively works of Toru Morimoto & Tina Bagué
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