Official meeting point is Kushiro Airport, Hokkaido. Participants who join the tour directly from their countries should get a flight from their cities to Kushiro Airport via Haneda Airport (Tokyo) to arrive at Kushiro Airport anytime in the afternoon. Each participant will be met and picked up at the airport of Kushiro by tour leaders. In the afternoon, participants will take a rest at a hotel to recover from jet lag and prepare for the tour that will start next day in the morning.
We will start this tour with Japanese red-crowned cranes. We will visit a sanctuary of Japanese red-crowned cranes in Kushiro. There you can see and photograph how the Japanese cranes dance, cry, and fly. Capturing them at great moments requires a lot of time and patience. In the afternoon we will move to another sanctuary of Japanese red-crowned cranes to photograph them more in different scenes.
We will wake up before dawn, very very 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 will check out from our hotel and will start looking for owls in the winter forest. If we are lucky, we will be able photograph owls on the trees. Then we will move to Lake Kusssharo. In the frozen lake, we will be greeted by whooper swans on the shore where hot springs are coming out. It is an amazing place where you can get very close to swans and photograph them with winter snow landscape.
In the morning, we will go back to Lake Kussharo to photograph whooper swans with the morning light. When we are happy with the pictures of whooper swans, 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 Lake Mashu, one of the most beautiful lakes in Japan. Tonight, we will sleep at one of our most favorites hotels in Japan with great outdoor bath long the river and great food. In this hotel, we will be able to photograph owl at night.
Today, we will dedicate the whole day to look for and photograph wildlife such as fox, deer, and eagles. We will drive back and forth the small peninsula and jump off our van to photograph wildlife when we find them. It is a great fun to find and photograph them. In the late afternoon we will move to Shiretoko Peninsula.
In the morning, we will catch a boat to photograph white-tailed eagles and Steller’s sea eagles. On the way, if we were very lucky, we will come across with orca. After the two-hour cruise, we will go back to our hotel for breakfast, then we will go back to Notsuke Peninsula to make better pictures of wildlife than yesterday.
Today we will wake up very early before dawn, and we will go back to photograph white-tailed eagles and Steller’s sea eagles from a boat with different light. When we arrive to the drift ice where eagles are, the sun will rise up, shedding glorious lights on them. We try to photograph what we could not do yesterday. After the two-hour cruise, we will have a lunch nearby and proceed to Nkashibetsu Airport to catch a flight to Tokyo.
After breakfast, we will take a bullet train to Nagano to meet with snow monkey. We will photograph snow monkeys in the afternoon, then stay in a ryokan in a charming and very traditional hot spring town.
The last day of the tour, we will have a whole day to photograph snow monkey. In the late afternoon, we will retreat to our Ryokan to warm up our bodies in hot springs and have a last dinner.
After breakfast, we will visit a beautiful Japanese temple before we get on a bullet train to head back to Tokyo. In the afternoon we will arrive at Tokyo Station and our tour ends here.
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. If you wish to stay in a single room for the whole trip, you must pay a supplement. But single room might not be available in some of the accommodations, and you have to share a twin room with another participant.
In this tour, all breakfasts and dinners are included. Any lunch is 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 (about 15€ or $18).
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.
*The tour price is fixed in Japanese yen (￥). When you make a payment, depending on the exchange rate with your currency, tour price in your currency will change. The approximate price in Euro and US Dollars above are calculated at the exchange rate of 1 euro = 130 yen, 1 US dollar = 110 yen.
For the trip to be carried out, there must be at least 4 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
Documentary photo project on Japan by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué
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