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Charms of Hokkaido Tour     View Tours

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Visit the must see sites of japan with group sizes ranging from 12 to 35 people..

These tours are great for first time visitors to Japan looking for comfortable accommodation with all entrance fees and most meals included. Our Japan Deluxe Tours are accomodated with professional tour guides, fluent in both Japanese and English, to ensure an educational and valuable visit. Air-conditoned, private coaches are also included, so you can enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free time in Japan. Our tours range from 7 to 21 days, to various regions of Japan.

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Experience the culture of japan at a slower pace with groups of 10 to 18 people. (smaller group departure available).

These tours combine enrichment, enjoyment, and education with time to truly absorb and appreciate your surroundings. Our Deluxe-Plus small group tours are created to cater to those who are interested in having a deeper understanding of Japan's culture. You will have the opportunity to participate in culturally rich activities and visit destinations only locals may know. Experience luxurious hotels and travel at a leisurely pace when you book a Deluxe-Plus small group tour.

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Explore the must-see sights and enjoy the hassle-free trip to Japan at an affordable price. Our most cost-effective way to see the highlights of Japan while staying in budget-friendly accommodations. If you would like to have a quick stop to sample the must-see sights of Japan, or plan to explore Japan on your own but would like to take a short trip to learn about Japan before your self-guided journeys. These are the tours for you.

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Travel japan more flexibly in groups of 6 to 13 people using public transportation..

Explore Japan off the beaten path via Japanese public transportation, walking, hiking, cycling and more. Take more time to enjoy local experiences and picturesque landscape. Our Active Small Group Tours combine the best of cultural destinations with off-the-beaten-path via Japanese public transportation, Discover the country of Japan the way the locals do and see Japan from a different angle. A focus on getting away from the crowds and into the real Japan, see the diversity of Japan’s countryside unfold before your eyes.

Group Tour | Deluxe Style

Charms of hokkaido tour.

Central & Southern Hokkaido Tour (Shiraoi - Noboribetsu - Lake Toya - Hakodate - Otaru - Asahikawa - Biei - Furano - Sapporo) Central & Eastern Hokkaido Tour (Sapporo - Otaru - Furano - Biei - Asahikawa - Sounkyo - Abashiri - Shiretoko - Lake Akan - Kushiro)

Departure Months:

Hokkaido is one of Japan's most underrated tour destinations, next to exciting Tokyo or historic Kyoto. But Japan's northern island offers travelers a unique appeal all its own through its magnificent wonders of nature, indigenous history and culture, fantastic local festivals, and fresh seafood. Hokkaido boasts different beauties in each season, whether its bright lavender flowers in summer or a winter snow festival; whether you taste the delights of Sapporo's Autumn Fest or the last cherry... View More

Hokkaido is one of Japan's most underrated tour destinations, next to exciting Tokyo or historic Kyoto. But Japan's northern island offers travelers a unique appeal all its own through its magnificent wonders of nature, indigenous history and culture, fantastic local festivals, and fresh seafood. Hokkaido boasts different beauties in each season, whether its bright lavender flowers in summer or a winter snow festival; whether you taste the delights of Sapporo's Autumn Fest or the last cherry blossoms of springtime. We are confident you will find at least one itinerary among our selection with the charms of Hokkaido that appeal to you! Hokkaido is probably most synonymous with winter fun, and some of our itineraries are geared toward helping you make the most out of a winter vacation. All our tours start in Sapporo, and the Sapporo Snow Festival is arguably Japan's most famous winter festival, although the tour also includes the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, Ashikawa Winter Festival, and Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival. Hokkaido has many amusements that take advantage of the season, including picture-perfect places to photograph the rare birds of the island, such as the enchanting red-crowned crane in Kushiro, Steller's Sea Eagle at Lake Furen, and the Whooper Swan at Lake Kussharo. Our engaging winter itineraries also include engaging winter activities like Smelt Fishing at Lake Akan, and visiting a Kitakitsune Fox Farm at Kitami. As the weather gets warmer, Hokkaido shows of a vibrant array of floral beauties, including fields of lavender flowers in Furano and Biei, tall sunflowers in Hokuryu Town, and of course, Japan's last cherry blossoms of spring, finally reaching Hokkaido in early May. Hokkaido has plenty of attractions to enjoy at this time of the year. Take a nature cruise in Shiretoko where bears and foxes roam free, or pick fresh seasonal fruit on a farm by Lake Toya, and much, much more. When autumn finally arrives, travelers can enjoy the seasonal taste of Hokkaido at the Sapporo Autumn Fest - Hokkaido's largest food festival. The early autumn season is also a good time to experience natural beauties of places like Noboribetsu, Onuma Quasi- National Park, and the Utasai Beech Forest at Kuromatsunai. Travelers can enjoy the changing autumn colors and the Salmon Run of Shiraoi in mid October. We include experiences that allow our guests to explore the locations and culture unique to Hokkaido. Our Charms of Hokkaido tours travel all over the island, to popular destinations as well as off-the-beaten-path locations. Learn about the indigenous Ainu people at the Upopoy National Ainu Museum at Shiraoi. Stroll the canals in Otaru, then explore the port city's glass-blowing industry. Take an icebreaker cruise off the coast of Abashiri. Taste fresh crab and sample the local brew on a tour of the Asahi Beer Brewery in Hokkaido's capital city - Sapporo, a vibrant city full of entertaining amusements. We carefully plan our tours based on seasonal attractions with must see sites in every tour. Click on the tours below to learn more about our Charms of Hokkaido Series tours featuring Cherry Blossoms, Winter Birding and Photography, Lavenders and Summer Flowers, Summer Flowers and Nature, Sapporo Autumn Fest, Autumn Leaves, and Hokkaido Winter Festivals..

Charms of Hokkaido Tour

Tour Highlights

  • Attend four different incredible winter festivals, including the enchanting Sapporo Snow Festival.
  • Sample the local fall foods of Hokkaido at the Sapporo Autumn Fest
  • Walk beside fragrant fields of lavender in Furano and millions of bright sunflowers at Hokuryu Town.
  • Attend the Cherry Blossom Festival at Aobagaoka Park, home to around a thousand cherry trees.
  • Photograph the red-crowned crane at Kushiro, the whooper swan at Lake Kussharo, and Steller's Sea Eagle at Lake Furen.
  • View the incredible fireworks spectacle over beautiful Lake Toya.
  • Walk under the enchanting canopy of the Utasai Beech Forest, a forest of virgin beech trees in Kuromatsunai.
  • Explore the history of the Ainu at the Upopoy National Ainu Museum at Shiraoi, and watch the Shiraoi Salmon Run in Autumn!

Charms of Hokkaido

Spring (Mar - May)   (119)

Summer (Jun - Aug)   (48)

Autumn (Sep - Nov)   (95)

Winter (Dec - Feb)   (21)

May 2024   (1)

July 2024   (1)

August 2024   (1)

September 2024   (1)

October 2024   (1)

February 2025   (1)

May 2025   (1)

July 2025   (1)

August 2025   (1)

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October 2025   (1)

February 2026   (2)

May 2026   (1)

July 2026   (1)

August 2026   (1)

September 2026   (1)

October 2026   (1)

Deluxe   (222)

Deluxe-Plus   (21)

Ultra-Deluxe   (9)

Classic Tour   (31)

Cherry Blossoms   (73)

Autumn Leaves   (41)

Festival   (69)

Special Interest   (94)

less than 9 nights   (100)

9-14 nights   (158)

15 nights +   (25)

Hokkaido   (49)

Tohoku   (26)

Kanto   (238)

Chubu   (237)

Kansai   (238)

Chugoku   (110)

Shikoku   (96)

Kyushu   (32)

Okinawa   (0)

Kyoto Aoi Festival   (9)

Kawazu Cherry Blossoms   (4)

Lavenders   (11)

Snow Monkeys   (52)

Shirakawago   (85)

Gion Summer Festival   (4)

Awa Odori Dance Festival   (4)

Sapporo Snow Festival   (5)

Otaru Snow Light Path   (1)

Ice Breaker Cruise   (5)

Wakasagi Smelt Fishing   (5)

Shiretoko Nature Cruise   (8)

Blue Pond   (14)

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest   (197)

Miho Museum   (109)

Ise Grand Shrine   (4)

Kumano   (6)

Koyasan   (20)

Himeji Castle   (98)

Kurashiki Canal Area   (99)

Miyajima Island   (106)

Shimanami Kaido   (88)

Takeda Castle   (2)

Motonosumi-Inari Shrine   (2)

Adachi Museum of Art   (6)

Naoshima Island   (12)

Tottori Sand Dunes   (2)

Kyoto Cuisine with Maiko   (35)

Shikoku Pilgrimage Route   (4)

Takachiho   (28)

Baby Blue Eyes Flowers   (7)

Wisteria   (11)

Takayama Festivals   (16)

Shibazakura Festivals   (10)

Tohoku 3 Great Summer Festivals   (3)

Green Tea Ceremony with Maiko   (163)

Sushi-Making   (196)

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route   (6)

Charms of Hokkaido: Sapporo Autumn Fest

Group Tour | Deluxe           Book Now & Save $100

Group Tour | Deluxe     Book Now & Save $100

9 Days 8 Nights | from US $3698.00

Shiraoi / Noboribetsu / Lake Toya / Nanae / Hakodate / Lake Onuma / Kuromatsunai / Niseko / Yoichi / Otaru / Sapporo

Experience the vibrant sapporo autumn fest, paired with the breathtaking nature and enchanting culture on a 9-day tour around the northern island..

Charms of Hokkaido: Autumn Leaves & Salmon Run

Chitose / Shiraoi / Sapporo / Otaru / Asahikawa / Sounkyo / Kitami / Abashiri / Shiretoko / Lake Mashu / Lake Akan / Kushiro

Visit hokkaido during the vibrant autumn season in time to see the annual salmon run, and experience the island's natural beauties as well as the native culture of the ainu..

Charms of Hokkaido: Cherry Blossom Tour

9 Days 8 Nights | from US $3798.00

Shiraoi / Noboribetsu / Lake Toya / Hakodate / Matsumae / Mori / Kuromatsunai / Niseko / Otaru / Asahikawa / Biei / Furano / Sapporo

Explore southern & central hokkaido in springtime while cherry blossoms are in full bloom..

Charms of Hokkaido Tour: Hokkaido Winter Festivals

Shiraoi / Lake Shikotsu / Sapporo / Otaru / Asahikawa / Sounkyo / Kitami / Abashiri / Lake Tofutsu / Lake Akan / Kushiro

See the sapporo snow festival, as well as three other main winter festivals in hokkaido..

Charms of Hokkaido: Lavenders & Summer Flowers

Lake Toya / Nanae / Hakodate / Lake Onuma / Noboribetsu / Shiraoi / Furano / Biei / Yoichi / Otaru / Sapporo

This delightful summer itinerary offers our guests the charms of hokkaido, featuring idyllic furano and biei, where the landscape is covered in a wavy sea of lavenders and other aromatic flowers..

Charms of Hokkaido: Summer Flowers & Nature

Sapporo / Otaru / Furano / Biei / Asahikawa / Hokuryu / Sounkyo / Kitami / Abashiri / Shiretoko / Lake Mashu / Lake Akan / Kushiro

This delightful itinerary brings our guests through fields of cheerful summer flowers to explore the incredible nature of furano, biei, the shiretoko peninsula, and kushiro on this relaxing charms of hokkaido summer tour..

japan tour hokkaido

9 Days 8 Nights | from US $5898.00 (Limit to 10 guests)

Tsurui - Lake Kussharo - Mt. Iou - Notsuke Peninsula - Rausu - Aidomari - Nemuro - Lake Furen - Kiritappu Wetland

Discover the incredible nature and rare wildlife of hokkaido with a tour some of the island's most beautiful nature destinations, including kushiro, lake kussharo, and the shiretoko peninsula. capture memorable pictures of the red- crowned crane, blakiston's fish owl, steller's sea eagl.

Spring Tours (Mar - May)

Summer Tours (Jun - Aug)

Autumn Tours (Sep - Nov)

Winter Tours (Dec - Feb)

Travel Styles

Deluxe-Plus

Ultra-Deluxe

Walking Tour

Cherry Blossom Tours

Autumn Leaves Tours

Festival Tours

Special Interest Tours

Seasonal Attractions

Cherry Blossoms

Takayama Spring Festival

Kyoto Aoi Festival

Shibazakura Festivals

Baby Blue Eyes Flowers

Lavenders in Hokkaido

Gion Summer Festival

Tohoku 3 Great Summer Festivals

Awa Odori Dance Festival

Autumn Leaves

Takayama Autumn Festival

Snow Monkeys

Sapporo Snow Festival

Ice Breaker Cruise

Wakasagi Smelt Fishing

Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival

Things Not to Miss

Shirakawago

Miho Museum

Naoshima Island

Himeji Castle

Shiretoko Nature Cruise

Sushi-Making Experience

Kyoto Cuisine with Maiko

Green Tea Ceremony with Maiko

Ise Grand Shrine

Most Beautiful Places in Japan

Otaru Snow Light Path

Tottori Sand Dunes

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Miyajima Island

Motonosumi-Inari Shrine

Adachi Museum of Art

Shimanami Kaido

Takeda Castle Ruin

Kurashiki Canal Area

Takachiho Gorge

japan tour hokkaido

Hokkaido (�k�C��, Hokkaidō) is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan's four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall , below zero temperatures and frozen seas , while in summer it does not get as hot and humid as in the other parts of the country .

With its unspoiled nature , many national parks and rural landscapes, Hokkaido attracts many outdoor lovers, including skiers and snowboarders in the colder seasons and hikers , cyclists and campers from June to September.

Top destinations in Hokkaido

japan tour hokkaido

Niseko •

japan tour hokkaido

Furano •

japan tour hokkaido

Sapporo •

japan tour hokkaido

Noboribetsu •

japan tour hokkaido

Hakodate •

japan tour hokkaido

Otaru •

japan tour hokkaido

Jozankei Onsen

japan tour hokkaido

Kiroro Ski Resort

japan tour hokkaido

Shiretoko ••

japan tour hokkaido

Rishiri and Rebun ••

japan tour hokkaido

Daisetsuzan ••

japan tour hokkaido

Onuma Park •

japan tour hokkaido

Akan Mashu National Park •

japan tour hokkaido

Lake Toya •

japan tour hokkaido

Lake Shikotsu •

japan tour hokkaido

Kushiro Marshlands

Questions? Ask in our forum .

japan tour hokkaido

Links and Resources

Hokkaido government, northern road navi.

japan tour hokkaido

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8-Day Hokkaido Summer Vacation — Nature & Traditions

Looking for a worry-free, relaxing, and camera-friendly vacation? Look no further than our 8-day Hokkaido summer vacation! Get away from busy city life and immerse yourself in the serene natural beauty of North Japan. Our thoughtfully-planned itinerary would take you to some of the most mesmerizing spots in Hokkaido, where you can witness awe-inspiring landscapes and fully embrace the local customs like never before.

  • Best For: First-timers, Families, Nature lovers
  • Departure date: June to September
  • Sample Price: from US$ 4,499 each (based on family of 4 people, 2 per room)

Journey Route

This is an ideal tour for first-time visitors and families. Sign up for your favorite part of the tour or simply treat the whole tour as inspiration, designing each element specially for you.

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family 's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of Hokkaido by taking a walk into its fields of flowers.

Discover the fascinating history behind hokkaido's local delicacies, such as ramen, chocolate biscuits, and honey lavender ice-cream, while savoring their delicious flavors., experience hokkaido's wildlife up close by visiting its top zoo, a bear park, and even taking a horse ride if you are interested., delve into the intriguing history and culture of hokkaido by visiting museums and villages that provide a glimpse into the daily lives of the local people., be entertained by a skillful ninja performance in an authentic and scenic edo-period setting., take in the stunning views of lake toya's panorama with a leisurely boat ride., take in otherworldly smoking hell valley in noboribetsu and its natural wonders., learn about science in an interactive and engaging way at sapporo science center., have your own guide and private vehicle during the guided trip., itinerary in detail.

We arrange plenty of cultural activities to help create memorable experiences along the way. We also take time to admire the nature, and enjoy great foods. Of course, all of them are adjustable according to your ideas!

Welcome to Hokkaido, a land of natural wonders and cultural treasures. We would be honored to take you there and excited to show you around Sapporo.

Upon arrival, we will pick you up from the airport and take you to visit some of the city's most beloved landmarks, including Sapporo Clock Tower , a historic building that has become a symbol of the city, lively Tanukikoji Shopping Street , where you can immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine, and Nijo Market , a seafood market that offers a unique glimpse into the daily life of the locals and their love for fresh seafood.

On day 2, we would travel to Asahikawa and visit its highlights:

  • Asahiyama Zoo is Hokkaido's most popular zoo in Asahikawa, with unique and interactive exhibits. It's home to over 700 animals from 150 different species, including rare and endangered species.
  • Asahikawa Ramen Village is a food theme park with eight different ramen shops and a museum that explains the history and culture of ramen.
  • In the afternoon, go horse riding at Clark Horse Garden or visit Arashiyama Workshop for various activities. The area is known for attracting artists and has pottery, glass, and dyeing workshops, as well as charming cafes with shopping opportunities.

This day guarantees a colorful experience and a taste of Japan's rural culture:

  • Furano is a town in Hokkaido known for its beautiful flower fields , including lavender, sunflowers, and poppies. The flower fields are in full bloom during the summer months and offer stunning views.
  • Biei is a nearby town known for its Blue Pond , a natural pond with vivid blue water that is a popular photography spot. The pond gets its unique color from natural minerals in the water and is especially beautiful in the sunlight.
  • In the afternoon, visit Furano Farm to try various hands-on experiences, such as making cheese, butter, and candles. If lucky, visitors could also have the chance to taste authentic lavender ice cream made with locally-grown lavender. The farm is surrounded by beautiful scenery and offers a relaxing atmosphere.

Take a day trip to experience Hokkaido's spectacular geothermal activity, and meet the local bears:

  • Visit Noboribetsu Jigokudani (Hell Valley) for geysers, hot springs, and volcanic activity. You can walk along the boardwalks and see the steam rising from the ground. The area is also known for its unique smell, which comes from the sulfur in the hot springs.
  • Bear Park is a nearby attraction where visitors can see bears up close and learn about their behavior and habitat. The ranch has a large outdoor area where the bears can roam freely, and visitors can watch them from observation decks.

On Day 5, we plan to immerse yourselves in the history and culture of Noboribetsu and visit a beautiful lake:

  • Enter Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura for a ninja experience and traditional Edo-Period (1603–1867) Japanese culture performances, such as ninja shows and samurai sword fights. Hands-on experiences include dressing up in traditional costumes and trying your hand at archery.
  • In the afternoon, visit Lake Toya and take a cruise to enjoy panoramic views of the lake and Mount Usu . Lake Toya is a caldera lake in southwestern Hokkaido, known for its beautiful scenery and hot springs.

Heading to Otaru on day 6...

  • Immerse yourself in the romantic atmosphere of Otaru Canal , a beloved landmark that has been featured in many movies and TV dramas. Learn about the canal's rich history and significance to the region.
  • Then visit Music Box Museum , where you can see and hear a stunning collection of music boxes from around the world.
  • In the afternoon, head back to Sapporo and visit Shiroi Koibito Chocolate Factory , where you can have a hands-on experience making your own chocolate treats.

On the seventh day, we'll discover Sapporo's rich history and culture:

  • Visit Hokkaido Museum and Hokkaido Historical Village to learn about the history, culture, and natural environment of Hokkaido.
  • In the afternoon, visit Sapporo Science Center for fun and educational activities. The Center has various exhibits and interactive displays that allow visitors to learn about science and technology in a fun and engaging way. It has a planetarium and a 3D theater that offer immersive experiences for visitors of all ages.

As your Japan adventure draws to a close on day 8, take some time to relax or explore Sapporo on your own before your private driver takes you to the airport for your flight. Have a safe trip and we hope you enjoyed your Hokkaido summer vacation!

Hand-Picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

Tour Price:

  • The price is based on a private tour for 4 people.
  • The price varies based on program, travel date, number of people.
  • We could also price a tour including both 4-star and 5-star hotels for you.
  • We accept payments in multiple currencies (GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR...).

Price Includes:

  • Privately-driven air-conditioned vehicle with ample space (except where stated)
  • English-speaking local guide for the sightseeing
  • Attraction tickets and itinerary activities
  • Accommodation for all nights
  • Hotel breakfasts and itinerary lunches/dinners
  • 24/7 helpline while touring
  • Governmental taxes

Price Excludes:

  • International flights not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Visa fee, if applicable
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Personal expenses

Tour code: ah-jp-17

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Best of Hokkaido

The Best of Hokkaido tour focuses on the northernmost of the main islands, Japan’s last frontier. Hokkaido is a natural wonderland of mountain ranges, deep caldera lakes, active volcanoes, numerous thermally-heated mineral springs and virgin forests. The attitudes of the inhabitants are akin to those of the pioneers of the American West, but still unmistakably Japanese.

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Tour Details

Among the Japanese, Hokkaido has become synonymous with sensational food, stunning scenery and some of the best onsens in Japan.  Because of this, Hokkaido has become a popular vacation destination for the Japanese. We slow the pace down on this tour to allow you to relax and to really enjoy and appreciate Hokkaido to its fullest.

You’ll enjoy Sapporo, Hokkaido’s largest city and host to the 1972 Winter Olympics, with its many fine restaurants and the secluded beauty of the Shiretoko National Park. You will tour Sounkyo Gorge in the middle of the beautiful Daisetsuzan National Park with its soaring mountain ranges, visit Noboribetsu Onsen, one of Japan’s largest and most popular hot springs resorts and walk along the rim of an active volcano at Lake Toya. You will explore the morning market of Hakodate, where you can have the local specialties of crab, sea urchin or squid prepared for you for breakfast, and learn about Hokkaido’s original inhabitants, the Ainu, whose culture almost disappeared until recent efforts of restoration. You will visit the Akan International Crane Center where research is being done to bring the cranes back from the brink of extinction.

Tour Highlights

  • Sapporo, the Host of the 1972 Winter Olympics
  • Grilled Lamb Dinner at the Sapporo Beer Garden
  • Ramen Lunch at Sapporo's Ramen Alley
  • Shiretoko Goko Nature Walk
  • Upopoy National Ainu Museum
  • Akan Crane Center

Tour Inclusions

  • Travel Guard Gold Policy (for American tour members only)
  • Domestic Airfare from Tokyo to Sapporo
  • One Ride on a Shinkansen (bullet train)
  • Meeting service at the arrival airport
  • Sending service to the appropriate train station
  • Baggage transfer from city to city
  • Electronic version of Tour Handbook and Japanese History

Tour Exclusions

  • International airfare is NOT included.
  • A printed itinerary is not included
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and desserts are NOT included

HRD Map

Tour Destinations

  • Utoro Onsen
  • Shiretoko National Park
  • Akan National Park
  • Noboribetsu Onsen

Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo

After clearing customs and immigration, you will be met at Tokyo’s Narita Airport by a Samurai Tours meeting staff member. They will then purchase a limousine bus ticket for you and help you board the bus to the hotel. After checking in, the evening is free. No meals are included.

Travel: 1-1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 2 Fly to Sapporo; Sapporo - JR Sapporo Tower, Grilled Lamb Dinner at the Sapporo Beer Garden

After breakfast, we will travel to Tokyo’s Haneda airport and you will fly to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport. We will then travel into Sapporo, the largest city on Hokkaido and the host of the 1972 Winter Olympics. After checking in, we will visit the JR Sapporo Tower where you will be able to get a bird’s eye view of Sapporo while also getting your bearings. In the evening, we will have dinner at the Sapporo Beer Garden, located next to the original Sapporo Beer Brewery where you can try the local specialty of grilled lamb, cooked yourself at the table. Breakfast at the hotel and dinner at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 3 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 3 Sapporo - Nijo Fish Market, Odori Park, Tanuki Shopping Arcade, Sapporo Ramen Alley

Today we will visit Nijo Fish Market where locals visit to shop for fresh local produce and seafood such as crabs, salmon eggs, sea urchin and various fresh and prepared fish. On our way to the market, we will walk along Odori Park, the venue for the world famous Sapporo Snow Festival held annually in early February. We will also walk along the Tanuki Shopping Arcade. The unique aspect of this mall is that you will find traditional merchants selling kimonos, tea or incense side-by-side with modern stores specializing in computers, software or state-of-the-art electronics. Next we will visit Susukino. Susukino is Japan’s largest entertainment district north of Tokyo. It is packed with stores, bars, restaurants, karaoke shops and pachinko parlors. We will have lunch at Ramen Yokocho, a narrow lane lined with shops serving Sapporo’s famous miso ramen. From there we will tour the old government building and clock tower. The evening is free. Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 1/2 Hour;; Walking: Heavy

Day 4 Travel to Abashiri

We travel with overnight bags only to the city of Abashiri on the northeastern coast of Hokkaido. Upon arrival, we will check into the ryokan where will be staying in Abashiri. Breakfast at the ryokan and dinner at the hotel included.

Travel: 5 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 5 Abashiri - Hokkaido Northern Peoples Museum, Ice Flow Museum, Abashiri Prison Museum; Travel to Utoro Onsen (Shiretoko National Park)

We start the day by touring the the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples. Here, we will get our first exposure to the Ainu culture as well as other similar indigenous cultures of the northern hemisphere. Next, we will stop at Ice Flow Drift Museum. Every winter, and huge ice flow from a Russian river slams into the northeastern portion of Hokkaido. Here, at this museum, we will learn about this fascinating natural phenomenon.We will finish our visit to Abashiri at the Abashiri Prison Museum. Abashri Prison was initially constructed in the late 19th century, but the prison gained national fame through yakuza movies in the 1960s and became known as the Alkatraz of Japan. The museum illustrates the daily life of prisoners and has more than a dozen buildings and structures from the old prison. To finish the day we will travel to Utoro Onsen, the gateway to Shiretoko National Park, where we will be staying for the next two nights. Before leaving the hotel in Abashiri you will prepare your luggage to transfer to Lake Akan and will travel with an overnight bag only. You will prepare your overnight bag with enough items for 3 days and 2 nights. Breakfast at the ryokan and buffet dinner at the hotel included.

Travel: 2 Hours; Walking: Medium

Day 6 Shiretoko National Park - Oshinkoshin Waterfall, Shiretoko Peninsula Cruise; Shiretoko Goko Nature Walk

Today we will explore the remote and beautiful Shiretoko National Park. Shiretoko is an ancient Ainu word meaning ‘edge of the world’. Shiretoko National Park is famous in Japan for its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife including deer, bear and foxes. In the morning, we will start with a quick stop at Oshinkoshin Waterfalls, included in the list of 100 Best Waterfalls in Japan. Next we will take a sightseeing cruise along the Shiretoko peninsula where we can see the dramatic and spectacular coastline with its tall cliffs and waterfalls and the mountains in the background. In the afternoon, we will take an easy 3km (2 mile) hike around the Shiretoko-go-ko area. (PLEASE NOTE: Depending on weather conditions, the boat cruise may be cancelled. The walk around Shiretoko Goko is flat, but the trails are not paved.) Buffet breakfast and buffet dinner at the hotel included.

Travel: 1 Hour; Walking: Heavy

Day 7 Travel to Lake Akan

After breakfast, we will travel to Lake Akan (Akan-ko). After arriving at Akan-ko and checking-in, the evening is free. Buffet breakfast and buffet-style dinner at the ryokan included.

Travel: 4 1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 8 Free Day at Lake Akan

Today is a free day to enjoy scenic Akan-ko. Take a sightseeing boat cruise around Akan-ko where you will stop to see Marimo, the unique globe-shaped algae that only grows in Lake Akan. Visit the Ainu Village with its many souvenir shops and restaurant selling authentic Ainu cuisine, and attend an authentic Ainu Dance Demonstration at the Ainu Village. Go hiking in the medieval forests surrounding the lake, or climb one of the nearby dormant volcanoes. Buffet breakfast and dinner at the ryokan included.

Travel: N/A; Walking: TBD

Day 9 Travel to Iozan (Sulpher Mountain), Lake Masshu, Akan Crane Center and Kushiro

After breakfast, we will travel to Iozan (Sulpher Mountain). As soon as we arrive, you will discover how it got it’s name. Next we will travel to Lake Masshu, considered by many to be one of Japan’s most beautiful lakes because of its clear, deep blue water. But the lake is shy, and is often shrouded by fog. After Lake Masshu, we will travel to the Akan Crane Center. It was once thought the cranes were extinct. However, about 50 years ago, a few cranes were found, and extensive efforts were made to bring them back from the brink of extinction. While much work remains to be done, the crane population has stabilized and is even growing. Because of the location, Kushiro is considered one of the best ports in Japan for seafood. In the evening, we will enjoy dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants in Kushiro. You will prepare your overnight bag with enough items for 2 days and 1 night. Buffet breakfast and dinner at a local restaurant are included.

Day 10 Travel to Noboribetsu Onsen

Today we will travel to Noboribetsu Onsen. Buffet breakfast and buffet-style dinner at the ryokans included. (Note: there is a swimming pool at the hotel in Noboribetsu, something not found at many hotels in Japan. You may want to pack your swimsuit to swim on your free day.)

Travel: 5 Hours; Walking: Medium

Day 11 Free Morning at Noboribetsu Onsen, Upopoy National Ainu Museum in the afternoon

The morning is free to explore the Noboribetsu Onsen area. Enjoy the many hot springs or walk around the Jigokudani (Hell Valley) where you will find many steam vents and thermally heated pools and small geysers, including a natural thermally-heated mineral water footpath. Or just enjoy one of the 17 separate baths at the ryokan. In the afternoon we will visit the nearby Upopoy National Ainu Museum where we will learn more about and experience Ainu culture. Buffet-style breakfast and dinner at the ryokan included.

Day 12 Travel to Lake Toya; Lake Toya - Showa Shinzan, Usuzan, Toya Volcano Museum

Before leaving Noboribetsu you will prepare your luggage to transfer to Tokyo and will travel with an overnight bag only. You will prepare your overnight bag with enough items for 3 days and 2 nights. We travel to Lake Toya, one of the largest and deepest volcanic caldera lakes in Japan. After checking in to the ryokan, we will visit Usu-zan and Showa-shin-zan, both active volcanoes located at Lake Toya. We will take a cable car to the top of Usu-zan, which last erupted in 2000. Here you can walk to the rim of the volcano through the barren, moon-like landscape. Afterwards, we visit Showa-shin-zan. In 1944, a surprised wheat farmer found Showa-shin-zan growing out of his field instead of wheat, and it has been growing larger ever since then. We will also visit the nearby Lake Toya Volcanic Museum. Amazingly, when Usu-zan last erupted in 2000, no one was killed. But there was a lot of damage from the eruption, and much of it is preserved at the museum and illustrates the sheer power of geothermal activity and documents the volcano’s turbulent history. Buffet style breakfast and dinner at the ryokan included.

Day 13 Travel to Hakodate; Hakodate - Goryokaku Fort, Motomachi District, Mt. Hakodate Ropeway

After breakfast, we travel to Hakodate. Hakodate was one of the first cities in Japan open to foreigners after the Meiji Restoration. After arriving in Hakodate, we will visit the Goryo-Kaku, Japan’s first western-style fort. Built in 1864 by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the shape of a five-pointed star, it was designed to trap attackers in a deadly crossfire. We will go to top of the Goryo-kaku tower next door to the fort, providing a view of the fort and the surrounding city. We will also visit the Moto-machi historic area. Overlooking the western bay at the foot of Mount Hakodate, there are numerous sloping streets lined with 19th century churches, consulates, shops and homes of the foreigners who first opened this area of Japan to commerce. In the evening, we take a cable car to the top of Mt. Hakodate, where we will enjoy a panoramic view of Hakodate’s night lights. Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 3 Hours; Walking: Medium

Day 14 Hakodate - Hakodate Morning Market; Travel to Tokyo

In the morning, we visit the Hakodate Morning Market, where the sellers can prepare the specialties of Hakodate (crab, sea urchin and squid) fresh from their stalls for breakfast. In the afternoon, we will board the new Hokkaido Shinkansen to return to Tokyo. In the evening, we will have our Sayonara dinner. Breakfast at the ryokan and dinner at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 5 1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 15 Return Home

It is time to say Sayonara. You will meet the sending service in the lobby of the hotel, and they will help you board the appropriate transportation to the airport. Breakfast at the hotel included.

Travel: 1 1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Walking level descriptions: Light – 0 to 2 miles on level ground Medium – 2 to 4 miles on level ground or 0 to 2 miles on hilly ground Heavy – 4 to 6 miles on level ground or 2 to 4 miles on hilly ground

Dates & Pricing

japan tour hokkaido

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  • Local, licensed, English-speaking, Japanese guides
  • For residents of the following states please click here for your available plan. FL, KS, MN, MO, MT, NY, and WA
  • For all other states and the District of Columbia click here
  • Up to 69 – $0
  • 70-74 – $104
  • 75-79 – $180
  • 80-84 – $356
  • Travel Insurance Opt-Out:  If you would prefer to opt out of the travel insurance, please note this at the time of registration. You will receive a $100 credit per person, which will be reflected on your invoice. In the event that you would need to cancel your tour, cancellation penalties may apply. See the  Terms and Conditions  page for the Cancellation Fees Schedule.
  • The meeting service will meet you at the airport and provide you a transfer to the hotel near the airport
  • Meeting service can only be provided between 6am and 9pm. If you arrive at a time outside of these hours, we will need to provide alternative directions for you to get to the ryokan on your own.
  • The sending service will escort you to the train station and make sure you board the correct train. The sending service will not accompany you to the airport.
  • For those requiring meeting or sending services on other than the scheduled arrival/departure dates, there will be a $100 fee for the meeting service from the airport into Tokyo or the sending service to the Tokyo train station.
  • Lodging for 14 nights in Japanese-style ryokans or western-style hotels
  • Japanese-style or Western-style breakfast every morning (Please Note: Some ryokans offer Japanese breakfasts only.)
  • Two Japanese-style lunches
  • Eleven Japanese-style or Western-style Dinners
  • All transportation costs when traveling with the group. (Transportation costs during scheduled free times are the tour member’s responsibility)
  • Electronic version of itinerary
  • Admission fees to the destinations and activities listed in the Tour Highlights column on the right (Itinerary specifics subject to change.)
  • Sayonara dinner at the end of the tour
  • Baggage transfer from Toky0 to Abashiri
  • Baggage transfer from Abashiri to Lake Akan
  • Baggage transfer from Lake Akan to Noboribetsu
  • Baggage transfer from Noboribetsu to Tokyo

Each tour member receives a tour handbook. This handbook is full of tips and suggestions taken from our Japan experiences that allow you to better plan and prepare for your trip, and therefore enjoy your trip even more. The tips and suggestions included cover everything from how to save while exchanging money, what to pack, some basic Japanese-language tips, general etiquette do’s-and-don’ts, ryokan customs, etc.

  • Airfare is NOT included

The only change I suggest is the Tour Factors rating on the Best of Hokkaido web page. I think the Pace category merits three stars because we sometimes board multiple trains, buses and taxis on a tight schedule in one day to arrive at a hotel.

japan tour hokkaido

Robert Davidson

It was an excellent tour. Traveling in a small group is a good way to immerse yourself in the local culture. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

japan tour hokkaido

This was my third Samurai tour having done Best of Japan then Tohoku Rail and Drive. I’ll be back for more!

_________________________________________________________

Thank you so much for your kind words and high ratings of our tours! We were so glad to have you back touring with us, and so happy you had such a great time. We love to see returning clients and they get a 5% discount on future tours with us! We look forward to traveling with you again!

~ Samurai Tours Staff

We had a great time and wonderful experiences. Like most other trips we took, we learned a lot of the local cultures and the unique geography and beautiful nature of the places. We also got to experience the different types of transportation in this trip, including car, bus, and train rides. The pace was good too. I only wish that I could speak some Japanese to enjoy more!

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  • Begin your summer vacation in full bloom where lavenders and other summer flowers await you at the historic Farm Tomita.
  • Visit Shiretoko, one of the richest integrated ecosystems in the world, and learn about the local animal inhabitants at the Shiretoko World Heritage Conservation Center.
  • Experience the aquatic side of Shiretoko onboard a sightseeing boat.
  • Learn the history of the indigenous Ainu community at the Akan Ainu Village.
  • Soak in the sights of Lake Mashu - one of the clearest lakes in the world.
  • Browse through the kaleidoscope of Kushiro’s fresh local seafood and build your own Katte Don (“as you wish” seafood rice bowl unique to Kushiro).

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  • Introduction
  • Day 1 rrive in New Chitose Airport (CTS) (32 miles, 1 hr) Sapporo【Dinner】
  • Day 2 Sapporo smiley(102 miles, 3 hrs) Biei smiley(15 miles, 30 mins) Furano【3 meals】
  • Day 3 Furano smiley(75 miles, 2 hrs) Sounkyo Onsen【3 meals】
  • Day 4 Sounkyo Onsen smiley(101 miles, 3 hrs) Abashiri smiley(47 miles, 1.5 hrs) Shiretoko Onsen【3 meals】
  • Day 5 Shiretoko【3 meals】
  • Day 6 Shiretoko Onsen smiley(79 miles, 2 hrs) Teshikaga smiley(28 miles, 1 hr) Lake Akan Onsen3 meals
  • Day 7 Lake Akan Onsen smiley(74 miles, 2 hrs) Obihiro smiley(7 miles, 20 mins) Tokachigawa Onsen3 meals
  • Day 8 Tokachigawa Onsen smiley(104 miles, 3hrs) New Chitose Airport (CTS) sad Your Next Destination【Breakfast】

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  • Tour Operator Supera Tours 4.9
  • Torin · 23rd January 2024 This tour was fantastic. The tour owners are foodies so we were told and it showed. The tour itself was terrific and... Show more
  • Craig · 30th December 2023 I toured with my sons, aged 18 and 21. The whole tour was perfectly paced. Comfortable accommodations in great... Show more
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  • Saturday 20 Jul, 2024 Saturday 27 Jul, 2024 English Multiple Room Types €4,108 Confirm Dates
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How to Plan Your Perfect Hokkaido Itinerary In 2024

Richard Barnes

  • Last Updated: January 26, 2024

We visited some of the best parts of Japan in this 12-day Hokkaido itinerary , and want to inspire you to do the same!

Hokkaido Itinerary

Make no mistake about it, Hokkaido is big. Very big. Distances are vast, the landscape wild and untamed and the weather can change at the drop of a hat. That’s what makes planning your Hokkaido itinerary so difficult.

This is easily one of the most beautiful places we have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Full of dramatic natural scenery, hot springs, delicious food, national parks, ski resorts, and charming towns, there is so much to see and do here.

It is also very likely that you will share this stunning scenery with very few people.

So if you have time for a Hokkaido road trip, definitely fit it into your Japan trip.

Table of Contents

Getting Around Hokkaido

When to visit hokkaido, day 1 – sapporo, day 2 – sapporo to asahikawa, day 3 – asahikawa to utoro (gateway to the shiretoko national park), day 4 – shiretoko national park, day 5 – shiretoko national park, day 6 – shiretoko national park to akan national park, day 7 – mashu-ko and mashu-dake, day 8 – mount io, kussharo-ko and akan-ko, day 9 – akan national park to new chitose via kushiro wetlands, day 10 – shakotan peninsula, day 11 – noribetsu onsen and lake toya, save this pin for later, hokkaido travel tips.

If you’re trying to design your Hokkaido itinerary there are a few things you need to keep in mind first. These are some of our Hokkaido travel tips.

READ MORE: Check out our other guide on the absolute best  things to do in Japan !

The best way to get around Hokkaido for this 12 day itinerary is by renting a car. You can check out our post on how to rent a car here .

Hokkaido does offer a JR pass, but services to the major national parks are limited and even then you will still need to take a bus or taxi to get into the parks proper.

Some of the most stunning scenery we saw was when we were driving. Having your own set of wheels will make your experience infinitely more enjoyable and convenient.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars , which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

Hokkaido has 4 very distinct seasons and each of them have their merits.

Spring brings blossoming flower fields, summer brings bright sunny days, autumn gives us the changing of the leaves and winter dumps a few feet of snow all over the island.

We ended up doing our Hokkaido itinerary in autumn, which gave us beautiful colours and very few tourists. That being said it did bring some cold weather and occasional rain.

However depending on what your interests are you may prefer to travel in a different season. A Hokkaido 12 day itinerary can be beautiful at any time of year.

Autumn Hokkaido Itinerary

Our 12 Day Hokkaido Itinerary

This is the exact trip we did during our travels in Hokkaido, with a list of the places we visited, what we did and where we stayed. From the Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden, to the national parks and lakes, this Hokkaido 12 Day Itinerary is packed with cool attractions!

We picked up our wheels and headed for Sapporo City at the start of our 12 day itinerary. This is a great opportunity to pick up some cold weather clothes if you haven’t got that many with you.

Outside of summer, it can get really cold, especially in Shiretoko and Akan. We brought some extra warm clothes and it was definitely a worthwhile investment.

Sapporo is a lovely city to wander around. Checking out the Sapporo TV Tower Observation Deck, Sapporo Clock Tower, Odori Park, Sapporo Beer Museum, and the botanical gardens is a great way to spend an afternoon.

In the evening we headed to the top of Mount Moiwa for a beautiful nighttime view over the city. The Sapporo TV Tower also has an incredible view from the Observation Deck, if you didn’t get the chance to visit there earlier in the day.

The fresh seafood is amazing, Hokkaido has the best sashimi in Japan according to the Japanese.

  • Where To Eat: Ramen Yokocho and any izakaya serving sashimi.
  • Where We Stayed:  We stayed in an AirBnB in Sapporo . This place does have parking, it is important to check that the places you stay in Hokkaido, be it hotels, guesthouses or airbnb’s have parking as it is not always a guarantee. Click here to get $35 off your first AirBnB stay .

Check out our brand new and complete guide on the best  things to do in Sapporo !

Next on our 12 day itinerary, this is where our Hokkaido Expressway Pass came into use. You save a few hours taking the highway to Furano. After getting off the highway it’s stunning scenery all the way to Furano.

If you’re visiting in winter, Furano Ski Resort is one of the best places to go skiing and snowboarding.

But you’ll likely be doing a road trip outside of winter when the weather is more favorable.

Be sure to check out Farm Tomita for a mind blowing display of colour. They sell everything lavender, including a rather delicious lavender ice cream. It sounds awful, but like almost everything in Japan it was delicious.

From here you can take route 237 winding through the Japanese countryside to the quaint little town of Biei. From here you can head to the Blue Pond, a place that you will find on many Japanese postcards.

We elected not to do the above. Instead we attempted to get to the Asahidake cable car station for sunset. The weather had been really cloudy all day until around 3:00 so we decided to go for it.

Around 800m we were surprised with a snow storm. Within a few minutes the road was slippery and our windscreen wipers creaking under the weight of snow. Unsurprisingly we abandoned our plans and headed towards Asahikawa for the night.

Where To Eat: Farm Tomita is a good start for a lavender based snack. An advantage of the hotel is the amazing little izakaya over the road from the hotel serving great food for an even better price.

Where We Stayed: Trend Hotel Asahikawa – Nice hotel, but you can probably find something cheaper when you visit Hokkaido, we booked very late in the day.

Seafood Hokkaido Itinerary

We had originally planned to spend the day exploring the Daisetsuzan National Park and then drive onto Shiretoko the next day, but the rain put pay to our plans. One advantage of this was it gave us extra time for later in the trip.

We took route E39 from Asahikawa, but be warned the area circling the northern end of the Daisetsuzan National Park will make you forget about the previous day.

This is a long drive, it probably took us between 4 and 5 hours with rest stops included. This and the previous days drive were where Hokkaido Express was invaluable. It saved us so much time by being able to use the highway.

Utoro is a tiny village at the edge of the Shiretoko National Park. As a result most restaurants stay open till around 8pm.

As a side note, the next town down from Utoro is Shari. Accommodation is usually a little cheaper here, but you a now an hour from the park as opposed to 15 minutes in Utoro.

Where To Eat: Options are pretty limited in terms of choice, however there is a great ramen restaurant and a lovely izakaya about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. Staff inside recommended these places to us.

Where We Stayed: Iruka Hotel – Great little guesthouse with friendly staff and a good breakfast .

Shiretoko Hokkaido Itinerary

We checked out the Shiretoko Go-Ko (5 lakes). The long walk around is pretty amazing and you get to sit through a rather interesting safety video about how to avoid bears. The main thing to take away from the video is that if a bear attacks you there is nothing you can do, so best avoid them.

We then checked out the Fureppe Waterfalls, which offers some pretty incredible views. Later on in the day we enjoyed a free foot bath. The guesthouse staff can mark them on a map for you.

One thing to note about Shiretoko is that the weather can change very quickly. Most of our time there was cloudy, but no rain and a fair few blue skies.

Where We Stayed: Iruka Hotel – Great little guesthouse with friendly staff and a good breakfast.  This guesthouse has a number of WOOFERs working there who can also offer great advice on what to do when you visit Hokkaido.

Fureppe Falls Shiretoko Hokkaido Itinerary

We spent day 5 of our Hokkaido trip on the eastern side of the peninsula around the port town of Rausu.

To get there follow the road to the Shiretoko pass. The pass is absolutely stunning and is a must if you’re in the area. you get amazing views over the coast, and if you are lucky you will be able to see the summit of Mount Rausu.

When you arrive in Rausu take a left and follow route 87 and check out some of the beach foot spas that run along the coastline. It’s a surreal experience to dangle your feet into a foot spa whilst waves from the sea of Okohtsk crash onto the beach.

The Kamuiwakka Hot Falls back towards Utoro make a great place to stop off on your way back. Do be aware that this is an unsealed 10km road. As soon as dusk hits be on the lookout for deer.

Where To Eat: Sashimi in Rausu. A tiny little restaurant south of the centre right on the coast gave us an incredible meal.

Sashimi Hokkaido Itinerary

We drove via Abishiri along the Okhotsk road which offers some spectacular coastal views. Abishiri has a really interesting prison museum where you can learn about Hokkaido’s history.

From here we headed on to our onsen hotel close to Teshikaga in the Akan National Park. We entered the park along route 102 which takes you through a pass that gives you incredible views of Lake Kussharo. Try and get there around sunset for the best views.

Lots of accommodation in the area offers breakfast and dinner. We decided not to do dinner to give us the chance to go out and explore the nearby towns. Here it is the same story as Shiretoko, restaurants close early, so try and avoid eating late.

The rooms at the hotel do not have showers or baths in the rooms. You wash in the onsens  in the hotel. A word of warning, it can take a bit of practice to get the temperature right as the taps are extremely sensitive, but its a great way to start and finish your day.

Where To Eat: The nearest town is Teshikaga which has 2 restaurants and a bunch of convenience stores. Your choices are ramen or tempura. On the plus side, both are fantastic.

Where We Stayed: Hotel Parkway . Great little onsen hotel .

Otaru Canal Hokkaido Itinerary

One of Hokkaido’s top hikes. Getting to the top of Mashu-Dake takes around 4-6 hours return. Bring plenty of water and warm clothes as the top of the mountain can be very cold.

A few minutes after getting to the top we were treated to our own private snowstorm ! You will need good shoes as the track can be slippery, and although it’s not a particularly challenging walk the last 400m are very narrow and steep so take care.

Also the car packing ticket you get at Mashu-Ko can also be used at Mt Io the next day or vice versa.

The hotel offers a great breakfast that comes complete with raw egg rice. You crack an egg into a little bowl whisk it and add some soy sauce before pouring it onto the warm rice. Delicious.

Mashu-Ko Dake Hike Hokkaido Itinerary

The scenery around Mount Io is to die for, but the smell is not pleasant, think Rotarua in New Zealand – lots of sulphur.

From here its a short drive to Kussharo where there are plenty of hiking options and a few hot water beaches on the shores of the lake. There is a great hike around the peninsula which gives some beautiful views.

Akan-Ko is approx 50km from Kussharo and is a little more developed for tourism than the other two lakes. The drive from Kussharo-Ko to Akan-Ko is particularly good, probably more interesting than Akan-Ko itself in our opinion.

Akan-ko has a rather cool little foot spa cafe. Perfect after a long day of exploring.

Lake Kussharo Hokkaido Itinerary

This is a long drive, be under no illusions. We left just before 10 and headed straight for the bihoro pass which is a must. Possibly one of the best views we got in Hokkaido.

From here we drove to the Kushiro wetlands, which is ok but there isn’t a huge amount to do. However it does give you a break from driving and the scenery on the way is excellent.

From here we jumped on the Doto Expressway around 2pm thinking there would be a service station fairly soon after where we could grab some lunch as we were starving. Sadly we were wrong, finally coming across one around 4:30. We ended up staying in New Chitose as there was no affordable accommodation around Shikotsu-Ko.

Where To Eat: The area is dotted with great eats. In particular some amazing izakayas and BBQ (yakinuku) restaurants.

Where We Stayed: Hotel Plus Hostel Sapporo . Has private and shared rooms so you can find something that suits your budget.

Bihoro Pass Hokkaido Itinerary

Not listed in guidebooks or J apanGuide.com, this peninsula an hour and a half outside of Sapporo is an undiscovered gem. We only found out about it after doing a google search of “what to do in Otaru” and this came up on a TripAdvisor thread.

Probably the most stunning coastland we drove in Japan, with only a few others on the road. Some lovely short walks around the peninsula are well marked by road signs.

From the Shakotan Peninsula back to Chitose you pass through the lovely little town of Otaru. At night the canal and the surrounding buildings are lit up, so its a great place to go for a wander. Also check out the little alleyways close to the canal that around stuffed full of izakayas.

Where To Eat: The alleyways around the Otaru Canal offer a huge variety of great food.

Where We Stayed : Sho Inn Otaru . A small but cosy and affordable hotel in Otaru.

Shakotan Peninsula Hokkaido Itinerary

Noribetsu is probably the most famous onsen town in Japan full of hot spring baths and naturally, it is very popular with tourists. In fact, this was probably the busiest place we visited during our time in Hokkaido, but we’d definitely recommend it.

There are plenty of great walks around Hell Valley and the one down to Ooyunuma and the Ooyunuma Foot Spa. A great place to dip your feet after a few steep hills. Very easy to get to from Sapporo or New Chitose.

Checking out Hell Valley itself is also super cool. This volcanic crater is filled with bubbling sulphur hot spring baths and dramatic natural colors. The name “Hell Valley” is fitting because it really looks other worldly.

Driving back from Noribetsu you can choose to check out Lake Toya or Lake Shikotsu in Shikotsu Toya National Park.

Lake Toya is one of the most famous sights to see when you visit Hokkaido. Surrounded by volcanoes and peaks, the gorgeous Lake Toya offers some of the most stunning views in the country.

If you’re visiting between April and October, you may get to witness the Lake Toya Long Run Fireworks Festival. On clear evenings, a 20 minute fireworks display lights up the skies around Lake Toya, which is a super cool event to witness.

Where To Eat: The dining options in Noribetsu is pretty pricey, but just outside the town there are plenty of cheap restaurants.

Where We Stayed: Dai-ichi Takimotokan . There are lots of accommodation options in the heart of Noribetsu but this one has a hot spring, hot tubs, and swimming pools.

Shiretoko Goko Hokkaido Itinerary

Day 12 – Saying bye to our car and flying on to Hiroshima

We chose a great day to leave as southern Hokkaido was hit by a huge blizzard. We had planned to go and see Lake Shikotsu but the weather was awful. In fact the winds were so strong that trees were blown down blocking parts of the road that were already covered with snow and ice.

Sadly we only saw lake Shikotsu under a fair bit of snow, but it certainly seemed very pretty.

We rented with OTS. The car they gave us was a small modern hybrid which really saved on petrol. The service and packages they offer were comfortably the cheapest and they also have the Hokkaido Expressway Pass set up and installed for you.

Some other companies don’t offer this service and will send it to your hotel, which is pretty inconvenient.

Next stop was to head off and check out the best things to do in Hiroshima .

Renting a car for an epic Hokkaido trip is a once in a lifetime experience. This truly is a place of outstanding natural beauty, culture and hospitality and must for any traveller. Our only regret is that our photos cannot truly convey how beautiful it really is.

Hokkaido Pinterest Image

Richard Barnes

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Hi, You wrote a great article and it is very informative, thank you very much. May I know when was the above trip: Day 1 ~ Day 12? I will be in Hokkaido from Oct 24 to Nov 3, not sure if it is still worth to travel to Asahikawa?

Hi, do give Richard a message over on his website. He will be able to help you. All the best. https://abearandapig.com/

Hi, I like this report about Hokkaido a lot, am just planing our trip. Been to many other places in Japan before. I only wanted to know, when you have been there, “autumn” is not exact enough to plan 🙂 so can you please be a bit more detailed(like End of Sept. …) ?? Thank you very much!

Hi, I read ur article and need ur advice. Arrive Chitose Airport 27/10/2019, company incentive trip covered Noboribetsu, Jigokudani, Otaru, Sapporo, Mitsui Outlet, Okurayama Ski Jump, Hokkaido Shrine & Tanukikoji St. From 30/10/2019 morning till return flight from Chitose 4/11/2019 09:35 is my free and easy session with another partner Any recommendation program for 30/10 to 3/11?

I will be visiting Hokkaido in November and the group will include elderly and young children. Appreciate if you can recommend itinerary that is suitable

Hope you had a great trip. 🙂

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Volcanic fumaroles in Akan-Mashu national park

Volcanic fumaroles in Akan-Mashu national park

©Payless Japan/123RF

Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji : a must-see in Kyoto ancient capital

Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji : a must-see in Kyoto ancient capital

©siraphol/123RF

An authentic stay in one of our traditional houses in Kyoto

An authentic stay in one of our traditional houses in Kyoto

©JapanExperience

Worldwide famous Shibuya crossing, Tokyo

Worldwide famous Shibuya crossing, Tokyo

©Wasin Pummarin/123RF

In one night and one morning, enjoy a cruise between the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido

In one night and one morning, enjoy a cruise between the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido

Sapporo city - Buddha hill designed by Tadao Ando

Sapporo city - Buddha hill designed by Tadao Ando

©Athichoke Pimviriyakul/123RF

Otaru river dock in winter in Hokkaido

Otaru river dock in winter in Hokkaido

©Phongthorn Hiranlikhit/123RF

Volcano in Akan-Mashu national park

Volcano in Akan-Mashu national park

©Martin Capek/123RF

Crater lake in Hokkaido

Crater lake in Hokkaido

©Ooriya Ron/123RF

Furano flower fields with Daisetsuzan-Nationalpark mountains

Furano flower fields with Daisetsuzan-Nationalpark mountains

©Pranodh Mongkolthavorn/123RF

Shabu-shabu hot pot - traditional Japanese cuisine

Shabu-shabu hot pot - traditional Japanese cuisine

©wnaoki/123RF

  • Travel insurance
  • Japan Experience

Hokkaido and the northern Japan

  • Duration : 19 days
  • Locations : Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo, Sapporo, Sounkyo Onsen, Akan-ko, Furano, Sapporo
  • Add to favorites

This trip to Japan will take you from Kyoto to Tokyo and then up again, by boat, to the island of Hokkaido  !

Discover a less touristy Japan, closer to nature . Travel around Hokkaido by car and discover the natural parks of this large island in the north.

A variety of accommodation and transport , a guided tour of Kyoto and pocket Wi-Fi  : an organised trip in total freedom ! 

3 week itinerary (19 days)

  • Departure city/airport : Osaka  (Kansai international airport : KIX )
  • Kyoto (4 nights including 1 day in  Nara )
  • Tokyo (3 nights)
  • Ferry (1 night)
  • Sapporo (3 nights)
  • Sounkyo Onsen (1 night)
  • Akan-ko (3 nights)
  • Furano (2 nights)
  • Sapporo (1 night)
  • End Return airport : Sapporo (New Chitose international airport : CTS )

Please find below the itinerary details.

Tour length : 18   nights / 19 days (+ 1 day at the beginning if you leave from Europe)

Indeed, the tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. On departure, you will have to leave Europe on the day before. The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference.

Example : 

  • Departure from Europe : January 1st
  • Arrival Osaka  (date to be selected in the tour calendar while booking ) : January 2nd
  • Return flight from New Chitose international airport : January 20th

Fancy Northern Japan's nature but also the South's beaches? Our combined tour " Japan from North to South " is perfect for you!

Why this trip to Japan ?

  • Welcomed at the airport  by our team, you will be taken to your hotel in Kyoto by shuttle bus
  • In Kyoto, a travel angel will welcome you to a  traditional Japan Experience house
  • A guided tour of the Gion district will complete your stay in Kyoto
  • Head for Tokyo by high-speed  Shinkansen,  for 3 days in the heart of the capital
  • Enjoy a cruise along the coast to the island of Hokkaido in less than a day!
  • In Hokkaido, fabulous natural landscapes dotted with majestic volcanoes await you
  • Included in your tour : car rental to explore the far north of Japan!
  • End your stay in Sapporo, host city of the 1972 Winter Olympics
  • Take advantage of your Japan Rail Pass and car rental
  • Enjoy unlimited  internet access  thanks to your pocket Wi-Fi
  • If needed, contact our bilingual Japanese/English-speaking assistance team available 7/7
  • A number of guided days or other  optional activities  are available
  • Benefit from the expertise of  Japan Experience , European leading travel agency in Japan.

Your trip in detail

Day 1 : wake up in kyoto 京都.

Arrival in Japan - Kyoto and Yasaka Pagoda at rising sun

Arrival in Japan - Kyoto and Yasaka Pagoda at rising sun

©pat138241/123RF

Arrival at Kansai International Airport (KIX). Welcome to Japan! Yokoso 日本へようこそ!

Pocket Wi-Fi collection at the airport.

Reception at the exit from Customs in English by our airport assistant, who will give you all your travel documents. Unaccompanied transfer from the airport to your traditional Japan Experience house!

Check in before 8:00 p.m. in your accommodation. A Travel Angel will welcome you, show you some unique details and help you to have an unforgettable stay in Kyoto. You will be able to "live the Japanese way" for a few days, with a space much bigger than a hotel room and a kitchen to prepare good Japanese food!

Day 2 : First steps in the old capital

Kiyomizu dera temple in Kyoto during fall leaves

Kiyomizu dera temple in Kyoto during fall leaves

©Luciano Mortula/123RF

What is there to do in Kyoto in 3 days?

We advise you to start your visit to Kyoto slowly by visiting the city centre and the Gion district: - The Nijo castle, former shogun's residence - Nishiki, Kyoto's culinary market - Kiyomizu-Dera, the great water temple - The historical streets of Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka - Kodai-ji, the maple and bamboo temple of Kyoto

Finish off seeing the sunset in Gion. Meet your guide at 19:00 to start your late stroll around Gion, Kyoto's historic district.  

At the end of this 1 hour 30 walk, your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to eat out! Please note that it is strictly forbidden to take photographs in the historic district of Gion.

Day 3 : Gold and Silver Treasures

Visit Ryoan-ji, Kyoto, the most famous rock and zen garden in Japan

Visit Ryoan-ji, Kyoto, the most famous rock and zen garden in Japan

©Philippe Voisin

We recommend the following itinerary for this second day's visit to Kyoto: - Ryoan-ji Zen Garden - The Kinkaku-ji ( Golden Pavilion ) - Ginkaku-ji ( Silver Pavilion ) - The bewitching path of philosophy - The Nanzen-ji temple

One of our many experienced English-speaking guides can accompany you on a tour of these symbolic sites (optional, from 9:00 to 17:00).

Day 4 : Between temples and deer

Todai-ji temple and its imposing statue of the buddha : a must-see in Nara

Todai-ji temple and its imposing statue of the buddha : a must-see in Nara

©Surachet Shotivaranon/123RF

For your last day in Kyoto and its surroundings, we recommend taking the 50 minute journey to Nara, which is included in your package.

Visit to Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan in the 8th century. Discover: - The Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha and its thousands of lanterns - The Todaiji, its great bronze Buddha and the imposing Nan-Daimon gate - Kofukuji temple and its beautiful pagoda

Return to Kyoto and stop for sunset at Fushimi Inari, the huge 10,000 torii sanctuary in Kyoto. If you wish to be accompanied on this day, one of our English-speaking guides will unveil all the secrets of Japan's first capital (optional, return trip from Kyoto).

Final night in your traditional Kyoto house.

Day 5 : First steps in the capital

Worldwide famous Shibuya crossing, Tokyo

From Kyoto Station, get to Tokyo in 2 hours 40 minutes on the Shinkansen high-speed train, included in your package.

Check-in at Hotel OMO3 Tokyo Akasaka by Hoshino Resorts or hôtel de même catégorie 3*.

We advise you to slowly start visiting Tokyo from its western districts: - Harajuku: the avant-garde district - Meiji Jingû, the imperial shrine - Takeshita-Dori: the most famous street in Japan - Omotesando: Tokyo's Champs-Élysées - Shibuya and its unmistakable "crossroads"

Day 6 : The big loop

Hamarikyu gardens : One of Tokyo must see

Hamarikyu gardens : One of Tokyo must see

©tupungato/123RF

For this third day of visiting Tokyo, we recommend the following "loop". Start from Tokyo Central Station, with its original architecture, then go to visit: - Ginza, Tokyo's chic district - Tsukiji, the small outdoor food market - Hamarikyu, the Japanese garden between Tokyo's buildings - Asakusa, a traditional district and place of pilgrimage, accessible by a cruise on the Sumida River - Sensô-ji Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in the city - Tokyo Sky Tree  reaching a height of 643mn and its panoramic view of Tokyo at sunset 

Enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River between Hamarikyu and Asakusa.

Day 7 : Now for some activity...

For nearly eight centuries, the great Buddha has watched over the ancient capital of Japan in Kamakura

For nearly eight centuries, the great Buddha has watched over the ancient capital of Japan in Kamakura

Sanil Chitrakar

This is your last full day to visit Tokyo, so make the most of our many optional activities: - Are you looking more for fun? Ghibli Museum, Disneyland or Hello Kitty Park are waiting for you! - Do you prefer a themed activity? Book a visit on an architecture tour, gardens, home cooking or Noh's theatre. - Chasing thrills? Let yourself be tempted by a helicopter ride or a sumo tournament (in season)!

If you wish to continue the visits at your own pace, Kamakura will seduce you. This small coastal town just 45 minutes by train (no reservations required) from Tokyo was once a shogun capital. The great Buddha of Kamakura is the symbol of the city. Our English-speaking guides can help you discover this city full of history.

Day 8 : Back to the future

Lovely Toshogu shrine in Ueno park, Tokyo

Lovely Toshogu shrine in Ueno park, Tokyo

©Juan Broullon/Unsplash

Travel back in time for this 4th day: - Yanaka, the old Tokyo - Ueno, the place of resistance of the last Samurai, and its park full of cherry trees - Akihabara, the electronic and manga district - Odaiba, the island of futuristic entertainment in Tokyo Bay

In the afternoon, travel to the port of Niigata on the Sea of Japan (2 hours direct by Shinkansen, departing every 30 minutes until late at night, included in your package). Spend the afternoon and evening in this lively city with its many bars and restaurants. This is a far cry from the tourist circuit, in a Japan off the beaten path. Don't hesitate to try Niigata's rice and sake, the most famous in the country. You'll reach the port of Niigata in the middle of the evening, 3 kilometres from the centre, to board a comfortable cruise ship (see details below). After a night on the waves along the Japanese coast of Tohoku, you will get to Hokkaido in the early morning. After passing through the Tsuruga Strait , a crossing about 20 km wide between the two largest islands of Japan, Honshu and Hokkaido, you will arrive at the port of Tomakomai. Not tempted by the boat trip? As an option, you can select the Tokyo -> Sapporo day trip by Shinkansen and train (1 change, about 8 hours, included in your Japan Rail Pass).

Day 9 : The North's big city

In one night and one morning, enjoy a cruise between the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido

Possibility of breakfast and/or lunch on board the cruise ship (payment on site). Arrive in the middle of the afternoon at Tomakomai port. A shuttle bus (about €8, to be paid on the spot) or a taxi will take you to Minami-Chitose station, from which a direct train will take you to the heart of Sapporo in 35 minutes (train every 10 minutes, included in your Japan Rail Pass). Check in to the Unwind Hotel or hôtel de même catégorie  3*. Spend your first evening strolling through the 4500 restaurants and bars of the lively Susukino district!

Settle into your 3*  hotel in the heart of the city.

Day 10 : Hokkaido in a nutshell

Otaru river dock in winter in Hokkaido

For the last valid day of your Japan Rail Pass, we advise you to go to the Sea of Japan with Russia in the distance: - Otaru, a charming port city (45 min by JR train, included in your offer) - And 20 minutes further by JR train,  Nikka whisky distillery, the oldest in Japan: selected for its climatic similarity with Scotland You can also head south: - In Shiraoi, the brand new Ainu National Museum (opening April 2020), 1 hour by JR train. - Noboribetsu, the village with the most famous onsens in Japan. Most of them are integrated into hotel complexes but are open to non-residents. Not to miss in this village: Hell Valley, whose volcanic fumaroles give off a strong smell of sulphur! 1 hour 15 direct JR train, then 10 minutes by bus (tpsy on site). 

Overnight stay in your hotel in Sapporo.

Day 11 : A young, dynamic city

Sapporo city in Hokkaido - Odori Park

Sapporo city in Hokkaido - Odori Park

©Sean Pavone/123RF

Huddled under a blanket of snow for most of the year, the city of Sapporo still bears the traces of its colonial past. Don't miss : - Ôdôri Park, a huge green border that stretches between the buildings and divides the city in two - The Sapporo Beer Museum, created in Japan's first brewery (dinner available) - The Clock Tower, Television Tower and Three-Eight Tower - Nijo Seafood Market - The former seat of government and its botanical garden  

Last night in your hotel in Sapporo.

Day 12 : In the heart of Daisetsuzan National Park

Sounkyo waterfall, Hokkaido

Sounkyo waterfall, Hokkaido

©Satoru Kobayashi/123RF

Over the next week, you can only explore the island of Hokkaido by car from Sapporo, as the rail network is not developed enough to reach the various points of interest on the island. Don't be put off by the idea of driving a car in Japan! If in your country you are used to driving on the right, after a few minutes of apprehension about driving on the other side you will be impressed by the ease of driving on Japan's roads. Indeed, the Japanese/English bilingualism of most of the signs and GPS, very good road conditions, automatic cars, low traffic jams and the courtesy of Japanese people behind the wheel will make this visit of an unusual Japan pleasant! Remember that petrol in Japan is slightly cheaper than in the UK and many other countries. Pick up your rental car next to your hotel in the morning. Leave for Hokkaido's most famous national park, and the largest in Japan. You will reach Sounkyo Onsen, a spa in the heart of the national park at an altitude of 670m, in 3 hours by car. 200 kilometres, 3/4 on motorway, 1/4 at the end on national road easily passable through dense forests. No mountain roads. Arrive at noon and check into your ryokan. In the afternoon, take the cable car up to the top of Kuro-dake Mountain. A magnificent view of the national park awaits you. At the end of the day, enjoy relaxing in the onsen of your ryokan, or in a different one in the village.

At night at the ryokan, you will be treated to a tasty traditional Japanese dinner before retiring to your tatami room.

Day 13 : A vast wilderness

Crater lake in Hokkaido

Traditional Japanese breakfast at the ryokan.

After an essential stop at the 2 most famous waterfalls of Hokkaido , at the exit of Sounkyo village, you will head to Akan lake, sacred land of the Ainu people, the island's indigenous nation. 3 hours 30 of national road, with a bit of sufficiently wide mountain road and no major difficulties. You will gradually leave the Sounkyo Gorge and the thick forests of the park to reach small farm valleys. Restaurants and farmers' shops along the roadside will welcome you with pleasure. Arrive in the middle of the afternoon at the edge of Lake Akan, in the heart of the eponymous national park, which is even wilder and more volcanic than Daisetsuzan.

Settle into your 3*  hotel in the small village of Akanko onsen, on the shores of the lake. Later in the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to discover the lake on a small cruise.

Day 14 : Natural beauty

Volcano in Akan-Mashu national park

Breakfast at the hotel.

Here is an overview of a day's exploration of this wilderness area (by car, within a 50 km radius of your hotel): - Deep caldera lake - Easy to see volcanic gas - Ainu village - Onsen in the middle of nature - Free onsen inside reputable hotels  

Day 15 : Tackling the volcano

Volcanic fumaroles in Akan-Mashu national park

Drive to an active volcano (about 20 minutes by car) via a picturesque lake with clear waters. A 5-hour hike, topped off with a swim in the volcanic waters when you arrive.  You can also discover the fabulous Shiretoko National Park, the last natural enclave inhabited by bears, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park can be reached in 2 hours by car, and an additional 1 hour by car is necessary to reach the heart of the park. A wild paradise that has to be earned... Final night in your hotel in Akan-ko.

Day 16 : Crossing Hokkaido

Furano flower fields with Daisetsuzan-Nationalpark mountains

Departure for Furano (225 km, 3 hour 30 drive). Highway and national road. Some mountain road towards the end, not particularly difficult). On the way, passing by the "Church on the Water", the most secret building of the architect Tadao Ando.

Arrival in the Furano Valley, a bucolic winter sports resort famous for ... its Camembert and its red wine!

Settle into your 3*  hotel.

Day 17 : Lavender, cheese and a blue pond

Blue Pond in Hokkaido

Blue Pond in Hokkaido

©Jarrett Kow/Unsplash

Breathe the air of Japanese nature in Furano, a small village famous for its lavender fields in summer and its beautiful ski area in winter. Our recommendations: - Admire the lavender fields, and enjoy a sublime panorama of Mount Tokachi to the west and Mount Yubari to the south. Taste the many lavender specialities! - Taste the local wine in the Furano vineyard, as well as its cheese, which is famous throughout Japan (try the squid ink cheese!). - Lake Biei, a picturesque lagoon blue lake (a 40 minute drive from your hotel). Second night in your hotel in Furano.

Day 18 : Return to the island's capital

Sapporo city - Buddha hill designed by Tadao Ando

In the morning, drive to Sapporo (2 hours 15, national road and highway, some mountain road to be expected at the start). Before arriving in Sapporo, we recommend one of the following 2 stops: - Moerenuma Park, designed by the famous designer Isamu Noguchi. - With a short, 30-minute diversion, the impressive Takino Cemetery :  where the architect Tadao Ando has installed monumental statues and a 13m high Buddha Hill.

Arrive in Sapporo in the middle of the afternoon (car to be returned before 6pm) and settle in the same hotel as in the middle of your stay in this city. Final evening in the lively streets of the city

Day 19 : Sayonara, and see you next time!

Sayonara - bye bye Japan !

Sayonara - bye bye Japan !

©Sezer özger/123RF

Transfer to Sapporo International Airport (5th Japanese airport, 20 km to the south) in 40 minutes by train from Sapporo central station, see details below.

Return flight to Europe, North America, Australia with a change in Tokyo, Helsinki or one of the major Asian cities.

Don't hesitate to extend your trip by one or more days, to Hokkaido...We will be able to advise you!

Arrival in Japan - Kyoto and Yasaka Pagoda at rising sun

Included in your self-guided tour

Accommodation

- 4 nights in a  traditional Kyoto house  

- 3 nights in a 3* hotel  in the heart of Tokyo, close to public transport

- 1 night on board the ferry to Hokkaido

- 3 nights in a 3* hotel  in Sapporo

- 1  night in a 3* ryokan  in Sounkyo Onsen, traditional half-board

- 3 nights in a 3* hotel  in Akan-ko

- 2 nights in a 3* hotel  in Furano

- 1 night in a 3* hotel  in Sapporo

The basic rate includes a twin room for two people.

-  Airport transfers  

- Prepaid public  transport card

-  Japan Rail Pass  for 7 days

- Licence translation for 1 person (see details below)

- 7-day rental car, English GPS and basic insurance

Experiences and meals

-  Airport welcome

-  Traditional dinner and breakfast  in the ryokan

- Breakfast except in major cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo)

-  Welcome to Kyoto  by a travel angel

-  Guided night  tour of Gion (1h30)

Additional services

- Unlimited  Wi-Fi  access with pocket wifi

- Complete e- travel diary  

- The helpline is available from 8am to 10pm Japanese time, 7 days a week, in English and Japanese . The number will be given to you in your travel pack. It is valid for telephone calls and Whatsapp.

Not included in the price of your trip

- Flights Europe <> Japan

- Optional insurance policies

- Personal expenses including meals (breakfasts optional)

- Public transport when all 3 cards are exhausted (see details)

- Fuel for the car

- Anything not included in the "included in your tour" section

More about your trip

Your tour :

  • The prices displayed on this page may vary according to the exchange rate of the Japanese ¥.
  • Unfortunately, this tour is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • Children and babies accepted. From 3 to 11 years old a child rate is offered. In each accommodation, a standard adult bed will be offered to them, and a standard seat will be allocated to them in transport. From 0 to 2 years old inclusive, a "baby" rate is offered. This price corresponds to the allocation of a cot in the majority of the accommodation of the chosen circuit. However, we cannot guarantee a baby cot in each accommodation.
  • This programme is subject to change due to circumstances such as weather conditions or any other case of force majeure. Please note that due to the current circumstances, any information mentioned is subject to change or modification.
  • Travel diary by email maximum 8 days before departure, and other electronic documents 
  • Paper documents (airport transfer tickets, transport cards) when you arrive at the airport by our airport assistant.
  • Your pocket Wi-Fi at the airport.
  • This tour is not open from 15 November to 15 March. The weather conditions in Hokkaido during this period causes the closure of several roads on this tour.
  • At least one person participating in the trip must have a valid driving licence in their countr
  • Note: In very rare cases, mostly in very high season, steps might be reversed. You will be informed in your mini travel-guide. Thanks for your kind understanding.

Your accommodation :

  • Some hotels may ask you to pay a tourist tax on arrival. This depends on the city and even the hotel, as some do not include it in the booking price. Normally, it is 200¥/night/person (about £1.37/1.93$) but can be slightly higher in 4* hotels. It must be paid in cash at the hotel reception. For traditional Japan Experience accommodations, it is included in the initial tour price.
  • Room size: in Japan, a densely populated country where everything is compact, 3-star luxury hotels are of very good quality but the rooms are often quite narrow (12 to 20m2/129 sq ft to 215 sq ft) depending on the hotel. Please note the size of the single room, between 10 and 16m2 (107sq ft and 172 fq ft). For more comfort, you can choose our luxury 4* accommodation upgrade option. 
  • Double room: Rooms for two people in western hotels have 2 single beds (twin rooms) by default, which can usually be joined together. As an option, you can select a double room instead of a twin if you prefer a double bed. This option is not valid in the Japan Experience house in Kyoto nor in the ryokans (on individual futons).
  • Single room: People travelling alone and wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. The single room supplement is compulsory for orders with an odd number of participants. Please note that if you request more than two people in a single room, the single room supplement will be applied to all accommodation except for the ryokans (3 and 4*). In fact, as this is traditional accommodation, people with the same reservation are grouped together in spacious rooms for up to 5 people.
  • 3-person room: If there are 3, 5 or more of you and you do not select the single supplement, a triple room will be allocated to you.
  • In the case of a group order (> 5 people), it is possible, depending on hotel availability, that not all members of the group will be accommodated in the same hotel. Nevertheless, we aim to keep you close. 
  • Names of the hotels : The names given on the site are for information only. In the event of unavailability, an establishment of equivalent standing will be scheduled. Hotels, corresponding to local standards, are given as an indication and may be changed on site for hotels of a similar category.
  • In the ryokan, the rooms have a private sink and toilet. The single-sex collective Japanese baths ("onsen") then act as shared bathrooms, with showers and thermal baths. They are freely accessible, at the times in force on the site. These baths are often not accessible to people with clearly visible tattoo (s). The latter are invited to contact us to evaluate the possibilities of accommodation with private baths or shared baths that can be reserved. The 4* ryokan (see 4* option) have comfortable futons raised on either western beds in a traditional tatami room. The bathrooms and toilets of the 4* ryokans are private.
  • Traditional house in Kyoto: each house has been chosen for its location (transport, shops, temples...) and thus to facilitate your stay. Most of them are either located in the historical district of Gion or on the edge of the Path of Philosophy and the Silver Temple. All lodgings have at least one Japanese tatami room and are equipped with a minimum of 3 beds, either in a single western bed (not double) or on a futon. Do not hesitate to specify in your comments that you want to sleep in a western bed.
  •  Bedroom on the ferry to Hokkaido: standard room with 2 bunk beds, a TV and small bathroom. No porthole. Option for a higher quality room with balcony.

Your transport :

  • Flights are not included in this tour. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to include flights in your order: Flights in economy class with stopovers or direct flights, eco-premium or business air upgrades, provincial departures or abroad: we will be able to advise you.
  • The tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. You will arrive in Japan via  from Kansai airport (KIX, not Itami ITM) and will leave from Sapporo airport (CTS). You will have to leave the day before from Europe and land at the latest at 4pm in order to be at your hotel at 6pm to meet your travel angel in the traditional house in Kyoto.
  • The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference, with a departure time of 9am at the earliest. Please do not hesitate to consult us for any uncertainty or need for precision in the choice of international flights.
  • Please note that for the return flight from Sapporo International Airport, you will need to change at Tokyo, Helsinki or one of the major Asian cities. In Tokyo and Seoul, please check that the connecting airports are the same. Sapporo -> Tokyo and Sapporo -> Seoul flights sometimes land at different airports (Tokyo Haneda HND or Seoul Gimpo GMP) from those from which international flights to Europe depart (Tokyo Narita NRT or Seoul Incheon ICN).
  • If the flights have been purchased by your care without the intervention of Japan Experience, it is necessary to send us by mail 1 month before your departure your flight information (flight number, airport, date and time of arrival) to allow us 'Organize your welcome and airport transfer.
  • Airport transfers: The shared shuttle bus leaves from the airport and stops in front of your Japan Experience home or very close to it. Our airport assistant in Kansai Airport will drive you to the platform to take the airport transfer. Afterwards, this hotel transfer is unassisted. If you would like to be accompanied from the airport to your hotel reception please choose the option "Accompanied Airport Transfer". 
  • The return transfer from your hotel to Sapporo International Airport is by public transport from the central station (40 minutes by train) It's a straightforward journey, with the train arriving directly at the airport.  Cost: 1150¥ (about €10, paid with your pre-paid transport card, already loaded with the amount for the transfer). From 5:50am to 9:50pm, with train every 10 to 15 minutes. If you want door-to-door transport, we recommend that you contact your hotel reception to order a taxi. It will cost you approximately €45 for a 45 minute journey.
  • Included in your tour is a pre-charged transport prepayment card of ¥ 1,500 (around £10.30 / 14.54$) (suica or Pasmo brand); and a 7-day Japan Rail Pass. Upon expiry of the 1,500¥ Transport Prepayment Card, or if the line you are travelling on is not covered by your Japan Rail Pass, any travel will be at your own expense by recharging your pre-paid transport card (at vending machines in all stations and metro stations). 
  • Travel by metro and bus in the cities (payable by pre-paid transport card, included in your package)
  • Transfers from the train station to the hotels (by foot, bus, metro or taxi)
  • Travel on private train lines (other than JR)
  • Travel on Nozomi and Mizuho high-speed trains (shinkansen)
  • Trips made outside the validity period of the Japan Rail Pass
  • Japan Rail Pass: It is not necessary to possess a Japan Rail Pass which covers your entire stay. This is only cost-effective if it is used for long journeys between the different stages of your stay (especially in shinkansen) which are very expensive. In large cities like Tokyo, only about ⅓ of public transport is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and getting around is relatively cheap (Tokyo metro tickets: £1.71 / 2.42$; Kyoto daily bus card: £1.71 / 2.42$). Thus, providing you with a Japan Rail Pass for more than 7 days (14 or 21) would not be cost-effective and, on the contrary, would significantly increase the cost of your trip.
  • If a person taking part in the tour is a Japanese national and a resident of Japan, or a foreigner with tax residence in Japan (including a student), then that person is not eligible for the Japan Rail Pass. Please contact us to get the price of the tour without a Japan Rail Pass. They will have to buy the train tickets for the tour directly in Japan. The Kansai Thru Pass is also subject to the same nationality/residency requirements. This is not the case for the Hakone Free pass. If this person is a Japanese citizen but not a resident of Japan, then he/she can benefit from the Japan Rail Pass under certain conditions (see  https://www.japan-experience.com/frequently-asked-questions ).
  • Licence translation for car rental: The translation of the driving licence into Japanese is included in your tour: we take care of all the necessary steps once you have sent us a valid driving licence. Once in Japan, the translation of the driving licence along with the original license allows you to drive legally and easily. This translation is only necessary for driving licences from the following countries France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco and Taiwan. For licences issued from other countries, you must obtain an international licence.
  • Travel by boat to Hokkaido: the ferry leaves at 10:30 pm from Niigata harbour, located 3 km from the central station. You can travel on foot, by local bus or by taxi at your own expense. There is a large waiting room where you can wait for the ferry. The ferry has a restaurant, theatre and spa, which are available at no extra charge. Unfortunately, people with visible tattoos are not permitted in the spa. When the ferry arrives the next afternoon, a shuttle bus (to be paid for locally) will be waiting to drive you to the JR Minami Chitose Station. If the ferry from Niigata is not available, we will provide a ferry from Oarai, a 1.5 hour ride from Tokyo (included in your package). Same travel time and arrival city.

Your activities :

  • Airport reception is in English. Your airport assistant will be waiting for you at the customs exit holding a sign with the name of the reservation. They will give you your travel documents and take you to your airport transfer. They will not accompany you to Kyoto (this is possible, but optional).
  • An English and French speaking Travel Angel who is a specialist in Japan will be there to welcome you to your traditional house in Kyoto. They will give you the keys, explain how the house and its facilities work, give you a tour of the area (tourist sites, supermarkets, bike rental...) and answer all your questions. They will be available throughout your stay in case of any problems or questions.
  • The guided tour of Gion takes place in groups of 12 people maximum, from 6pm to 7:30/8:00pm. In English. More details on the meeting place in your travel journal. Dinner is not planned but your guide will be able to give you their best spots.

Your meals :

  • Traditional Japanese dinner and Japanese breakfast (mostly savoury) are included in your ryokan. Do not hesitate to indicate any dietary requirements you may have, we will pass them on to the ryokan so that they can take them into account when planning the meals. If the ryokan does not take any of these dietary requirements into account, we cannot be held responsible and no compensation will be issued.
  • Breakfasts which are not included in your package can be added at the reception when you arrive at the hotel. However, you will find many cafés near your hotel serving copious breakfasts, often tastier than those in the hotels, which sometimes have tight schedules and are predominantly savoury. However, if you would like to add breakfast to your offer when you make your reservation, you can select it as an option.
  • The traditional Japan Experience houses are equipped for cooking and are located close to supermarkets and markets.
  • Meals on the ferry to Hokkaido are served in the large restaurant. They are optional, in the form of a buffet and must be paid for on the spot.

When you buy, Japan Experience offers you 2 types of protection:

Japan Experience Flex :  Cancellation insurance before departure under conditions.

Japan Experience Protect : Pre-departure cancellation insurance under conditions and on-site assistance under conditions. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a visa? Do I need vaccinations?

As of October 11, 2022, Japan will open its borders to all Europeans (including the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland) and North Americans (Canada and the United States) without requiring a visa.

Only non-triply vaccinated travelers need a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to departure.

Do I still need a visa to travel to Japan as a tourist?

No, no visa is required for blue countries including all European countries (European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland included) and North American countries (Canada and United States). List of blue countries: https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html . If you have another nationality, please contact the Japanese embassy in your country of residence to obtain this visa.

Do I still need a PCR or antigen test to go to Japan?

No, if you are triple vaccinated with the vaccines approved by Japan (Pfizer, Moderna, ...exhaustive list here : https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page24e_000317.html ) there is no need for any test.

I do not have 3 doses of vaccine or I am not vaccinated against COVID, can I enter Japan?

Proof of Covid vaccines is no longer required for travelers from "blue" countries. Therefore, unvaccinated travelers can enter Japan if they live in blue countries. But a negative PCR test is required at embarkation for travelers who are not vaccinated 3 times.

Is there still a quarantine upon arrival in Japan?

Quarantine and testing on arrival have been eliminated for travelers from blue countries.

Is insurance mandatory?

No, but it is recommended. Japan Experience, as an option of its tours, provides appropriate travel insurance solutions.

What anti-covid measures are still in place in Japan?

The mask must be worn indoors (except in exceptional cases) and in transportation.

What applications should I download before entering Japan?

For tracking the evolution of the coronavirus epidemic, the Japanese government recommends downloading several applications:

MySOS, the health and location tracking app (it will be used to confirm your location, health status and accommodation).

COCOA, the COVID-19 contact confirmation app (this will be used to notify you of possible contact with a COVID-19 positive person).

For more information, please visit: https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/manual/pdf-en/summary.pdf 

Do Japanese people speak English?

Few Japanese speak English, even in the tourism sector. With the exception of hotel staff in the major tourist cities, few Japanese are fluent in English. However, this does not prevent them from doing everything to help tourists in need. One or more guided activities are included in all Japan Experience tours. This will allow you to get a closer look at Japan's thousand-year-old culture. Feel free to add one or more optional guided days. Guided tours are led by bilingual Japanese guides, for total immersion without effort!

How much should I budget for a trip to Japan?

Travelling in Japan is cheaper than travelling in Europe, except for transport: a. By train (that's why a Japan Rail Pass is the best solution) b. By taxi: with the exception of short trips, taxis are expensive. Please note that fruit and vegetables in supermarkets are also significantly more expensive in Japan. For meals and accommodation, there are some interesting options. You can find tasty lunches for €7-8, even in Tokyo. For accommodation, Japan Experience offers traditional accommodation in the major tourist cities of Japan, with good value for money. In short, it is entirely possible to quickly reduce the price of a trip to Japan by adjusting your various budgets (food, accommodation, transport), without sacrificing the quality of your stay! Finally, we advise you to go to Japan with Yen (¥) from our partner Comptoir Change Opera ( https://www.ccopera.com/ ). The vast majority of payments in Japan are still made in cash.

What are the procedures for entry?

Due to the current crisis, we advise you to visit the website of the Japanese embassy in your country to find out about the procedures for entry. Normally, for citizens of the European Union, Switzerland and Canada, you just need a valid passport (for the duration of your stay). A visa is not necessary for a tourist stay of less than 90 days.

Guided or self-guided tour... what type of tour should you go for?

Whether you want to discover new things or discover yourself, stay in a fully organised tour or take a leisurely one: at Japan Experience, you will find a tour to suit your needs! Discover our 3 tour formulas now: guided, self-guided or personalised tour: Guided tours: Travelling with a specialist Would you like to travel with a small group of 8 to 12 people, accompanied by a private English-speaking guide? Classic destinations or off the beaten path, Japan Experience offers many guided tours, for all kinds of budget. Offering several departure dates throughout the year, these tours start at €2,890 per person. Self-guided tours: Independent travel These tours, with pre-planned itineraries, include accommodation, flights, transport, 24-hour assistance and optional guided activities. From €540 per person, plan your days as you wish, following the recommendations in your travel diary. Tailor-made tours: Travel according to your desires Design the trip you've always dreamed of! Our specialist advisors are available by email, telephone or directly in one of our agencies to answer all your questions and help you design your own customised tour.

Our commitments as Japan Experience, Europe No. 1 travel in Japan

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  • Competitive prices  thanks to a single team in UK, Europe, USA and Japan, with no intermediaries
  • Assistance  available in Japan throughout your trip
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Optional services

Our other self-guided tours.

Discover other Self-Guided tours like « Hokkaido and the northern Japan »

Osaka castle, surrounded by city business center skycrapers

City break - Osaka tour Self-Guided Tours in Japan

  • Duration : 8 days
  • Locations : Osaka
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels, Non-flight transportation, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance

Mount Fuji during cherry blossom (Sakura)

Tokyo, Mount Fuji & Kyoto Self-Guided Tours in Japan

  • Duration : 10 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Non-flight transportation, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance

Red Maple leaf on head of little Japanese Buddhist monk doll rock in Japanese Garden

Japanese Immersion Self-Guided Tours in Japan

  • Duration : 13 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Hiroshima, Osaka, Koyasan, Kyoto
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Non-flight transportation, Guided activities, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance

Couple walking on street while holding umbrella in Kyoto

Romantic tour in Japan Self-Guided Tours in Japan

  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Okayama, Miyajima, Kyoto
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Japan Experience house, Non-flight transportation, Guided activities, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance

Chuson-ji temple in Hiraizumi - UNESCO World heritage

Tohoku: Traditional Japan Self-Guided Tours in Japan

  • Duration : 18 days
  • Locations : Kyoto, Tokyo, Nikko, Sendai, Tohoku, Aomori
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Japan Experience house, Non-flight transportation, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance

Old streets in Gion, traditional Kyoto district : a must-see when visiting Kyoto

Slow Travel Japan Self-Guided Tours in Japan

  • Duration : 21 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Okayama
  • Included : 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Airport Transfers, Non-flight transportation, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance, Activities

Our activities in Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo, Sapporo, Sounkyo, Akan-ko, Furano

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Tokyo Architectour Activities in Tokyo

  • Duration : 8 hour
  • Location : Minato City

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Butoh Dance Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 45 minute
  • Location : Kyoto

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Culinary tour in Kyoto Activities in Kyoto

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Wagashi, Japanese pastry Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 1 hour

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Tokyo Sumo Tournament (January, May and September) Activities in Tokyo

  • Duration : 3 hour
  • Location : Tokyo

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Kabuki, the Japanese popular theatre Activities in Tokyo

Please select your country on the list below:

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Hokkaido Treasure Japan private tours with local tour guides. Explore Hokkaido and more.

Inspirational private tours. tailored just for you..

Hokkaido Travel

PICK UP Blog Column

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Sapporo: The City of the Fleeting Cherry Blossoms

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PRIVATE TOURS WITH A PERSONAL DRIVER IN HOKKAIDO, NORTH JAPAN

Get the most out of your visit to Hokkaido, Japan with our customized private tours. We offer multi-day private guided tours with a car and personal driver all for your use. There will be an English-speaking licensed tour guide supporting you during the whole trip, making it possible to head right into the heart of Northern Japan, and enjoy a cultural adventure without masses of tourists. Realize your dreams, immerse yourself into a different culture and get off the well-worn tourist trails with our unique travel plans!

  • Completely private tours tailored just for you
  • Unique authentic Japanese culture experiences
  • Luxury cars & minibuses with a personal driver
  • Experienced, English speaking licensed tour guides
  • No stress. Pick-up/drop off at your hotel. Leave everything to us

Spring Custom-Made tour

April - May

Summer Custom-Made tour

June - August

Autumn Custom-Made tour

September - November

Winter Custom-Made tour

December - March

Hokkaido private tour sample itineraries

Customer reviews.

Hokkaido Travel

HTIT for the splendid vacation in Winter Hokkaido

Hokkaido Travel

No negatives, just plus plus plus!

Hokkaido Travel

 Our First Winter Journey: Exploring Hokkaido’s Genuine Charm

Hokkaido Travel

There were way too many “bests” on this tour

Hokkaido Travel

Amazing vacation!

We have a wonderful trip even though it is just 5 days in Hokkaido.

Hokkaido Travel

Glad that we booked with Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel for our holidays in Sapporo

Hokkaido Travel

Will be amongst one of the best memories we will carry with us forever!

Hokkaido Travel

Great year-end holiday for myself and my family.

SAMPLE ITINERARIES

Hokkaido Travel Tips. Our recommended itineraries are available here.

Cherry Blossoms and Springtime Culinary in Southern Hokkaido

Hokkaido Travel

Four National Parks and Wildlife in Late Spring East Hokkaido

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Local Experiences, Food, and Summer Scenery in Eastern Hokkaido for Families

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The Art of Japanese Craftsmanship and the Flowers of Summertime Central Hokkaido

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Art Venture, Local Delicacies and the Stunning Sunflower Fields Midsummer Central Hokkaido

Hokkaido Travel

True Autumn Full of Stunning Colors and Outdoor Activities in Central Hokkaido

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SDGs – Focused Private Tour in Northern Hokkaido, JAPAN

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Cultural Getaway to South Hokkaido in the Peak of Autumn

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Snowy Fun in Early Winter Hokkaido for Adventure-Seeking Families

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Full Course of Epic Winter Activities in East Hokkaido

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Outstanding Winter Wildlife Adventure in East Hokkaido

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Skiing, Boutique Ryokan and Local Culture in South Hokkaido

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Sapporo: Extraordinary Geisha Experience and Private Hokkaido Dinner

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Hokkaido on a Plate: Exploring the Food Culture of Japan’s Northern Jewel

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Discover Japanese Sake in Sapporo – Tour a Brewery and a Liquor Shop

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Hokkaido Hokkaido Explore Japan's northernmost prefecture

  • Destinations

Japan’s northern island is famous for its beautiful wilderness, world class powder snow, delicious seafood and fascinating indigenous culture. Just a short flight from Tokyo, Hokkaido is the perfect escape in all seasons

Hokkaido is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding in winter, thanks to its abundant powder snow and top resorts like Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano. Sapporo, Hokkaido’s main city, famous for Sapporo beer, Sapporo ramen and the annual Sapporo Snow Festival . Hakodate is a traditional port with charming historical areas and gorgeous night views. Hokkaido’s mild summers provide relief from Japan’s humidity, and the perfect conditions for hiking and exploring the many National Parks. Much of Hokkaido is wild and unspoiled, with natural hot springs, volcanic lakes and unforgettable experiences. Explore the culture and traditions of the indigenous Ainu people at Lake Akan , and journey to the Shiretoko Peninsula to see free-roaming brown bears, foxes and deer.

Find the latest information on the Sapporo Snow Festival at https://www.snowfes.com/

How to Get There

Hokkaido is accessible by plane from all major airports in Japan to New Chitose Airport near Sapporo, with international flights from Shanghai and Seoul. Direct flights from Tokyo take about 90 minutes. There are also several international flights. It is possible to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo. The Japan Rail Pass can be used to travel on the Shinkansen.

The fastest way to reach Hokkaido is by plane . Flights from Tokyo to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport take about 90 minutes. By train, it takes around eight hours from Tokyo. Take the JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, then transfer to the Hokuto limited express to Sapporo. There are also some inexpensive long-distance ferries from Honshu to ports outside of Sapporo. Niigata, Oarai (Ibaraki Prefecture), Sendai, Nagoya, Maizuru (Kyoto Prefecture) and Tsuruga (Fukui Prefecture) all have ferries that go to Hokkaido.

  • Hitting the slopes of Niseko and Rusutsu in winter
  • The rolling hills of Furano’s lavender farms in summer
  • Fresh seafood including succulent crab, salmon and fresh sushi
  • The unspoiled wilderness of Hokkaido’s national parks

Recommended for You

Around Sapporo

Cherry Blossoms

Forecast of first bloom

27 Apr 2024

Forecast of full bloom

30 Apr 2024

Explore Hokkaido by Area

japan tour hokkaido

Trending Attractions in Hokkaido

Furano

Local Specialties

It's curry in a delicious soup form. This spicy dish is filled with seasonal vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, peppers, cabbage, okra and lotus root. Chicken leg is the standard meat, but you can choose ingredients and toppings such as lamb, pork, or oysters, and adjust the spiciness to suit your taste.

food-craft

Hakodate Ramen

Hakodate ramen takes the traditional pork or chicken soup base and adds kelp or other seafood to give it the flavor of Hakodate's rich fishing heritage. The result is a lighter, saltier and less oily soup stock.

food-craft

Obihiro Butadon

Locally sourced pork is aged briefly to bring out its natural umami. It is grilled with a sweet and spicy sauce and served on Hokkaido rice, with more sauce. A simple dish that showcases the natural flavors of Hokkaido.

food-craft

Hokkaido Seafood

Japan is synonymous with seafood, and it features on menus everywhere throughout the country. Yet, for the very freshest, most delicious and widest array, Hokkaido is considered the place to go. Crab, shrimp, scallops, sea urchin, fish roe, squid and salmon are but a few of the delicacies for which Japan's northern island is famed. To try a little of everything, order kaisendon—a generous assortment of fresh seafood served on a bed of rice.

food-craft

Ishikari Nabe

The Ishikari River in Hokkaido is famous for the delicious salmon that swim in its waters. Ishikari nabe marries this salmon with locally grown potatoes and various seasonal items in a kelp and miso broth, all cooked together in a boiling clay pot.

food-craft

Muroran Yakitori

Pig farming flourished in this region in the 1930s, and many yakitori restaurants began putting Muroran yakitori on their menus. Also known as Muroran yakiton, the dish got its name because the juicy chunks of pork are skewered and grilled in the same way yakitori is prepared.

food-craft

Bibai Yakitori

While most yakitori places offer the standard, recognized chicken parts, Bibai is all about the gizzards, hearts and livers. Try a few skewers and see what you've been missing.

food-craft

Sapporo Ramen

Served in a rich miso soup and topped with butter, sweet corn, bean sprouts and pork, this winter warmer is on the menu at ramen restaurants throughout Sapporo and the rest of Hokkaido.

food-craft

Kegani, horsehair crab, can be served raw, boiled or grilled, and yields exceptionally sweet, tender meat. You can find kegani in sushi, bento boxes and hot pots across Hokkaido.

food-craft

Kushiro Kattedon

Buy a bowl of rice at Kushiro Washo Seafood Market and wander the stalls, filling it with as much fresh, reasonably priced seafood as you like.

food-craft

Okhotsk Atka Mackerel

Hokke, also known as the Arabesque greenling, lives in the cold waters of the Sea of Okhotsk. A flavorful, juicy fish, hokke can be served raw, boiled or grilled with lemon and soy sauce. Its high fat content makes it a great partner for white rice and alcohol.

food-craft

Cuts of lamb or mutton and vegetables are cooked at the table on a domed metal grill. Served with dipping sauces, it's a delicious, communal style of dining. The dish's name refers to Genghis Khan, because the Japanese thought lamb was a favorite of Mongolian soldiers.

food-craft

Yubari Melon

A hybrid melon grown in greenhouses in Yubari that is famous for its perfectly round shape and intense sweetness. You might never enjoy another melon quite as much ever again.

food-craft

Asahikawa Ramen

With an extra layer of oil on top of a delicious soy sauce-based soup, Asahikawa ramen is extra fun to slurp thanks to its thin, firm and wavy noodles.

food-craft

Traditional Ainu Crafts

Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido is home to the Ainu, indigenous people who have a deep respect for nature and believe God is found everywhere. They once survived by hunting, fishing and foraging, and created many beautiful objects used in their daily lives such as knives and clothing.

food-craft

Nibutani Trays

Hand-carved wooden trays featuring traditional motifs unique to Ainu culture, including soft spirals, diamond-shaped eyes, thorns and fish scales. Each piece is intricately fashioned to accentuate the wood grain. Ainu bachelors didn't put a ring on it, they carved love tokens, including Nibutani trays.

food-craft

Nibutani Tree-Bark Textiles

Bark from Manchurian elm or Japanese lime trees is handspun and woven into distinctively textured fabric. Used in regional kimono, workwear and accessories, this durable, breathable natural textile is Mother Nature’s Gore-Tex. Nibutani tree-bark cloth was a common material in Ainu households for centuries.

food-craft

Yakumo Wood-Carved Bears

Farmers in the little town of Yakumo, Hokkaido, couldn’t work in winter because of the snow, so in 1924 they started carving kibori kuma as souvenirs to make money and fight boredom. This carving of a bear biting a salmon has become one of Hokkaido’s most iconic souvenirs.

food-craft

Bolta Figurines

Bolta ningyo are dolls welded from bolts, nuts, washers and other components, made in Muroran, a city of iron in Hokkaido. The five-centimeter-high bolta character comes in 100 poses, appearing as a warlord, musician, singer, tennis player, tea ceremony master, astronomer, thinker and many other guises.

food-craft

Seasonal Highlights

When the snow melts, Hokkaido is transformed. Hokkaido's northern location means the cherry blossom season is later than in other parts of Japan, with blossoms appearing in the second half of May.

lake toya area

Summer is lavender season in Hokkaido, and there are dozens of other flower festivals too. The last mountain snows melt, allowing opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, golf, rafting and other green season sports. It is also less humid and cooler than other parts of Japan.

lake shikotsu area

In fall, enjoy the colorful foliage along the streets and in the national parks. Taste Hokkaido's seasonal produce when it is freshly harvested, and fresh salmon roe from the salmon that travel up the rivers in fall. Autumn in Hokkaido is short, and it's not unusual to see autumn colours and snow at the same time.

jozankei onsen

When it comes to skiing in Japan, Hokkaido is a popular destination for powder snow. Don't miss a chance to glide down the slopes of the Niseko, Rusutsu or Furano resorts after a fresh snowfall. The Sapporo Snow Festival, with its giant snow and ice sculptures, attracts thousands of visitors every year. Drift ice boat cruises and 'drift ice walks' on the ice floes are also becoming increasingly popular.

jozankei onsen

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Luxury Japan Travel

The Hokkaido Tour – Summer 2024

Embark on a Journey of Elegance and Discovery: The Hokkaido Tour – Summer 2024 Welcome to a world where luxury meets tradition, where each day unfolds into a tapestry of cultural richness and serene beauty. Join us on a 10-day journey through Hokkaido, Japan’s northern gem, where Luxury Japan Travel promises an experience nothing short of extraordinary.

  • Trip Type Hokkaido , Luxury Tour
  • Activities Cultural Immersion , Exclusive Dining , Private Vehicles , Special Stays , Unique Experiences
  • Group Size No size limit - 8 Max
  • Locations Biei , Furano , Hakodate , Hokkaido , Otaru , Sapporo , Shakotan Peninsula , Yoichi
  • Fixed Departure August 5, 2024
  • Trip Outline
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes

Embark on an enchanting 10-day journey through Hokkaido with Luxury Japan Travel, where traditional Japanese elegance blends seamlessly with nature's splendour. Begin your adventure in the historic city of Hakodate, indulging in the tranquillity of luxurious ryokans and the culinary finesse of kaiseki cuisine. Immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of the star-shaped Goryokaku fortress and the vibrant Hakodate Morning Market. Journey onwards to the charming town of Otaru, where history whispers through its picturesque canal and glass workshops. As you venture into Sapporo, Hokkaido's lively capital, experience a mosaic of urban exploration, from the serene Hokkaido Jingu Shrine to the lively Sapporo Beer Museum. Your senses will be delighted by the floral extravaganza of Furano and Biei, painting a canvas of vibrant colours and scenic beauty. As you delve into the rich Ainu heritage and witness the breathtaking views from Mount Hakodate, each day unfolds into a story of discovery and luxury. Concluding with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation of Japan’s northern gem, this tour is an exquisite blend of relaxation, cultural depth, and gourmet experiences, tailored for those seeking an exclusive and unforgettable adventure."

Crafted with a passion for immersive luxury and cultural richness, our Summer 2024 Hokkaido Tour is a meticulously designed journey through Japan's northern paradise. Each day is woven with exclusive experiences, from serene onsen retreats and Michelin-starred dining to intimate sake tastings and scenic explorations, ensuring a symphony of unforgettable moments that capture the heart and soul of Hokkaido's enchanting beauty.

Itineraries

Date : august 5, 2024, arrival in hakodate – embrace serenity.

japan tour hokkaido

Locations: Hakodate

Your adventure begins upon landing at Hakodate Airport, where the mesmerizing beauty of Hokkaido starts to unfold. Our Luxury Japan Travel Tour Directors, your hosts and guides, will warmly welcome you, setting the tone for a tour filled with personal touches and exclusive experiences. You'll be whisked away to a luxurious ryokan, an epitome of Japanese elegance, where a soothing onsen bath awaits to wash away your travel fatigue. As evening descends, indulge in a meticulously prepared kaiseki dinner, an intricate dance of flavors and artistry, marking the start of your culinary journey in Japan.

- Welcome at Hakodate Airport - Check-in at luxury ryokan - Onsen experience - Kaiseki dinner

Meals: Dinner

Date : August 6, 2024

Hakodate - a blend of history and nature.

japan tour hokkaido

Locations: Hakodate and surrounds

Awaken to a day of exploration in Hakodate, a city where history and scenic beauty intertwine. Discover the star-shaped Goryokaku Koen, a fortress bearing tales of yesteryears, and ascend the Goryokaku Tower for a bird's-eye view of this historical gem. Visit the Morning Market for some local treats. Stroll through the charming Red Brick Warehouse district, a symbol of Hakodate's rich past, now bustling with quaint shops and cozy cafes. The day culminates with a breathtaking evening vista from Mount Hakodate, a moment where city lights and twilight skies create a magical tapestry. - Visit Goryokaku Koen & Tower - Hakodate Morning Market - Red Brick Warehouse district exploration - Mount Hakodate evening view

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Date : August 7, 2024

Cultural immersion.

japan tour hokkaido

Your third day is a tribute to the serene surroundings of Hakodate. Begin with a leisurely stroll down the enchanting Hachiman Zaka, lined with historic houses and charming shops, a perfect window into local life. A short drive takes you to the picturesque Bay Area, where the awe-inspiring coastal scenery and tranquil ambiance are your companions. This leisurely day is punctuated by another exquisite kaiseki dinner, a culinary reflection of Hokkaido’s finest seasonal ingredients.

- Hachiman Zaka stroll - Visit Bay Area - Kaiseki dinner at ryokan

Date : August 8, 2024

Journey from hakodate to otaru – scenic beauty unveiled.

japan tour hokkaido

As you leave Hakodate, a scenic express train journey transports you through the heart of Hokkaido's countryside to Otaru, a town celebrated for its historic charm. On arrival, immerse yourself in the town's beauty, from its well-preserved buildings to the enchanting Otaru Canal. The day is a blend of relaxation and exploration, topped off with a dinner that showcases the best of Hokkaido's seasonal produce.

- Scenic train ride to Otaru - Gourmet bento lunch - Explore Otaru’s historic town and canal - Dinner showcasing seasonal produce

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Date : August 9, 2024

Otaru, shakotan, yoichi – a day of discovery.

japan tour hokkaido

Venture out to the Shakotan Peninsula, a hidden gem where nature’s artistry is at its best, and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch. Witness the stunning turquoise waters of the Sea of Japan and breathe in the fresh coastal air. A visit to the famous Nikka Whisky Distillery in Yoichi offers a peek into the art of Japanese whisky-making. The day concludes with a spectacular sunset at Mount Tengu, accompanied by some of Hokkaido’s finest sake.

- Visit Shakotan Peninsula - Luxury Picnic Lunch - Nikka Whisky Distillery tour - Sunset at Mount Tengu with sake tasting

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Special - Sake Tasting at Mount Tengu)

Date : August 10, 2024

From otaru to sapporo – the urban experience.

japan tour hokkaido

After indulging in a special Michelin Star sushi lunch, bid farewell to Otaru and head towards Sapporo, Hokkaido’s vibrant capital. Explore the city’s heart, from the lively Susukino district to the iconic landmarks dotting the cityscape. Your day in Sapporo is a delightful mix of urban exploration and culinary adventures. - Michelin Star sushi lunch - Explore Sapporo’s Susukino district - Dinner in Sapporo

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Date : August 11, 2024

Sapporo - cultural exploration & summer traditions.

japan tour hokkaido

Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Sapporo. Begin with a guided tour of the city's historical and cultural jewels – the serene Hokkaido Jingu Shrine and the lush greenery of Odori Park. Marvel at the iconic Sapporo Clock Tower and delve into contemporary art at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art. As the day winds down, a visit to the Sapporo Beer Museum offers a delightful taste of one of Japan’s most famous brews, followed by a sumptuous dinner featuring Hokkaido’s renowned lamb.

- Guided tour of Sapporo's key sites - Visit Sapporo Beer Museum - Dinner featuring Hokkaido lamb

Date : August 12, 2024

Furano and biei - nature's palette.

japan tour hokkaido

Embark on a journey to the magnificent countryside of Furano and Biei. Be captivated by the vibrant flower fields of Farm Tomita, a rainbow of colours and fragrances. Enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch amidst this idyllic setting of lavender. Then, marvel at the picturesque Patchwork Road in Biei, a breathtaking canvas of rolling hills and floral beauty. Try a Yubari Melon. Enjoy an evening's relaxation back at your hotel in Sapporo.

- Visit Farm Tomita and Patchwork Road - Gourmet picnic lunch - Evening relaxation in Sapporo

Date : August 13, 2024

Sapporo and surroundings - cultural depth.

japan tour hokkaido

Explore the outskirts of Sapporo with a visit to the Ainu Kotan, a traditional Ainu village. Gain insights into the unique culture, food and customs of the Ainu people, the indigenous inhabitants of Hokkaido. Lunch is Ainu cuisine. The afternoon offers free time for personal exploration in Sapporo, with detailed recommendations provided. For dinner, an exclusive experience awaits at the Two Michelin Star Tempura Araki, a culinary experience that's both intimate and exquisite.

- Visit Ainu Kotan - Free time in Sapporo - Two Michelin Star Tempura Araki

Date : August 14, 2024

Departure - memories to cherish.

japan tour hokkaido

Your Hokkaido adventure concludes with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, filled with reflections on the unforgettable experiences and friendships forged. As you check out and head to New Chitose Airport, you carry with you not just souvenirs, but a deeper appreciation of Japan’s northern island, its beauty, culture, and warmth.

- Breakfast at the hotel - Transfer to New Chitose Airport

Meals: Breakfast

  • Accommodation : High-end hotels and traditional ryokans, including upgraded rooms where available.
  • Meals : Daily breakfast, selected lunches, and dinners as per the itinerary, including special meals like Michelin Star sushi, Michelin Star tempura and exclusive dining experiences.
  • Private Vehicles : Comfortable and luxurious private vehicles for all city tours and inter-city transfers.
  • Guided Tours and Activities : All guided tours and cultural activities as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Tour Directors : Services of English and Japanese-speaking tour directors throughout the journey.
  • Entrance Fees : Entry fees to museums, temples, parks, and other attractions as per the itinerary.
  • Luggage Handling : Service for transferring luggage between accommodations.
  • Special Experiences : Unique activities like onsen experiences, sake tastings, and gourmet picnics.
  • Airport Transfers : Arrival and departure transfers to and from Hakodate Airport and New Chitose Airport.
  • International Airfare : Guests are responsible for their flights to and from Japan.
  • Domestic Airfare: Guests are responsible for their flights to Hakodate. 
  • Travel Insurance : Highly recommended for all travellers, to be purchased independently.
  • Personal Expenses : Shopping, additional meals, personal entertainment, and other personal expenses.
  • Optional Activities : Activities marked as optional in the itinerary.
  • Tips and Gratuities : Tips for guides or service providers, at the guest’s discretion.
  • Visa Fees : Responsibility of the guest if applicable.
  • Additional Beverages and Snacks : Extra drinks or snacks not included in meal plans.
  • Additional Transport Costs : Transportation costs for personal exploration outside of arranged tours.

japan tour hokkaido

Do I need Travel Insurance to join a tour?

We strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance to protect against unforeseen circumstances. Luxury Japan Travel does not sell travel insurance, but we advise getting a policy from a reputable company that suits your individual needs.

Is Japan a safe country to travel in?

Japan is renowned for its safety, with an exceptionally low crime rate. It's tourist-friendly, and locals are often eager to help foreign tourists.

What standard of accommodation can I expect?

Our accommodations are 4 and 5-star standard, selected for comfort, location, and authenticity. We choose hotels and ryokans that provide an authentic Japanese experience, often unknown to international tourists.

How fit do I need to be to participate in the tours?

Our tours require a low to moderate level of fitness as walking is a common mode of travel in Japan. We design our tours to include a mix of activities to suit various fitness levels.

What language is spoken during the tour?

The tours are conducted in English. A good understanding of English is necessary to fully enjoy the experience.

Can solo travellers join Luxury Japan Travel tours?

Yes, solo travellers are welcome. A single traveller supplement fee is applied at the time of booking, the amount of which will be provided to you then.

Do you sell airfares or assist with flight bookings?

We specialize in the tour component within Japan and do not sell airfares. However, we can recommend flight routes and timings post-booking.

What premium transportation options are available within Japan?

We offer a variety of premium transportation options, including first-class Shinkansen tickets and private vehicle services, ensuring a comfortable and luxurious travel experience within Japan.

How do I book a tour or experience with Luxury Japan Travel?

You can book our tours and experiences through our website or by contacting our customer service team. We will guide you through the booking process and answer any questions you may have.

What payment methods are accepted?

Luxury Japan Travel accepts various payment methods, including major credit cards and bank transfers. Please contact us for more details on payment options.

How can I get a quote for a custom luxury travel package?

To get a custom quote, please contact us with your travel preferences, desired experiences, and any specific requests. Our team will craft a personalized luxury travel package tailored to your needs.

What types of luxury tours are available?

We offer a range of luxury tours, including cultural, historical, gastronomic, and adventure tours. Each tour is designed to provide an exclusive and immersive experience of Japan's unique offerings.

What is the cancellation policy for bookings?

Our cancellation policy varies based on the tour and booking conditions. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions or contact us for specific details regarding cancellations.

How can I arrange a custom or private tour?

For custom or private tours, please contact our team with your preferences and requirements. We specialize in creating tailor-made experiences that cater to your unique interests.

Can you arrange exclusive cultural experiences like private geisha entertainment or samurai workshops?

Yes, we can arrange exclusive cultural experiences such as private geisha entertainment, samurai workshops, tea ceremonies, and more, providing a deep dive into Japan's rich cultural heritage.

How can I experience luxury dining in Japan?

We can arrange luxury dining experiences, including reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants, private chef services, and unique culinary events that showcase Japan's gastronomic excellence.

What should I know about Japan's cultural etiquette during my luxury travel?

Understanding Japan's cultural etiquette is key to a respectful and enjoyable travel experience. We provide guidance on local customs, dining etiquette, temple visit protocols, and more to ensure you navigate Japan's culture with ease and respect.

Where can I find the Terms and Conditions for Luxury Japan Travel's services?

Our Terms and Conditions are available on our website 24/7 and upon request. They provide detailed information on booking policies, liability, cancellation procedures, and other important aspects of our services.

How many guests are typically on a tour?

Our tours are intimate and exclusive, limited to either 6 or 8 guests. This small group size ensures a personalized and luxurious experience, allowing for deeper immersion into Japanese culture.

What's the weather like in Japan during different seasons?

Japan experiences four distinct seasons. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are mild and pleasant. Summer (June to August) is warm and humid, while winter (December to February) can be cold, with snow in some regions. We provide specific weather forecasts closer to your travel dates for more precise planning.

What should I pack for my trip to Japan?

Packing depends on the season of your visit. Essentials include comfortable walking shoes, layers for varying temperatures, and an umbrella or rain gear. Luxury Japan Travel will provide you with personalized and tailored advice on packing, specific to your tour, prior to its commencement.

Do you have a minimum number of guests required for the tour to depart?

Yes, our tours require a minimum number of guests to depart. If this number isn't met, we will inform you in advance. For details on how we handle these situations, including alternatives and options, please refer to our terms and conditions.

What is it like on the tour?

Our tours are not just about luxury and comfort; they are an extraordinary blend of fun, enjoyment, and memorable experiences. Each day is filled with excitement, offering an unparalleled learning experience and a deep cultural connection. You'll delve into the heart of Japan's culture with expert-guided explorations, relish exceptional dining, and stay in premium accommodations. Expect each moment to be a delightful journey, one that leaves you with happy memories and a profound understanding of Japan's unique beauty.

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japan tour hokkaido

The Luxury Cherry Blossom Tour of Hokkaido

  • Jozankei Onsen
  • Noboribetsu Onsen

May 3rd – May 13th, 2024 Discover the enchanting allure of cherry blossoms in full bloom with “The Luxury Cherry Blossom Tour of Hokkaido,” a one-of-a-kind luxury tour crafted for the ultimate sakura experience in Hokkaido. This exclusive journey invites you to savour the magical spectacle of Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms through a lens of unparalleled luxury and elegance.

japan tour hokkaido

Custom Tour of Japan

At Luxury Japan Travel, we understand that every traveller has unique desires and interests. Our Custom Tour of Japan is designed to cater to these individual preferences, offering an unparalleled level of personalization. Whether you’re drawn to the serene beauty of Japan’s landscapes, its rich historical tapestry, or its cutting-edge urban culture, our custom tours are crafted to align perfectly with your aspirations.

japan tour hokkaido

The Classic Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan

“Discover the allure of Japan’s cherry blossom season on our Classic Cherry Blossom Tour. This 11-day luxury journey from Kyoto to Tokyo offers an intimate glimpse of sakura splendour, combining historic elegance and modern charm. Experience the serenity and beauty of Japan’s most iconic season through exclusive cultural encounters and breath-taking landscapes.”

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Vast wildnerness and a winter wonderland

Top attractions in hokkaido.

Mount Yotei

Mount Yotei

Makomanai Takino Cemetery

Makomanai Takino Cemetery

Otaru Canal

Otaru Canal

Goryokaku Park

Goryokaku Park

Around hokkaido.

Sapporo

The largest city in Hokkaido has a western flavor with streets running in square blocks that were initially designed by American Horace Capron back in the early 1870’s. A short walk from Sapporo..

Otaru

Otaru is a beautiful little port town just one hour northwest of Sapporo. Overlooking Ishikari Bay, this port town is well known for its seafood culture, traditional canal area, glassworks,..

Furano

Located in the heart of Hokkaido lies a magnificent paradise for flower lovers – Furano. If Netherlands is the garden of Europe, then undoubtedly, Furano will be the garden of Asia: a land of..

About Hokkaido

In 2014, Hokkaido (北海道, Hokkaidō ) defended its number 1 position on the annual Prefectural Attractiveness Ranking (conducted by the Brand Research Institute) for the 6th year running, virtually making it a must-visit if you have time. First inhabited by the Ainu people, Hokkaido has its own very unique culture.

Some of the most delicious food in Japan can be found in Hokkaido, including seafood, miso ramen, agricultural products, and meat (especially mutton and lamb).

In terms of places to visit, Hokkaido isn’t just the winter resort many believe it to be, although the slopes in the Niseko area are among the best ski resorts in the world. Escape the heat and enjoy the beautiful lavender fields in Furano in the summer, while the fun Asahiyama Zoo and stunning Shiretoko Peninsula are just two of the many popular tourist destinations of Hokkaido.

  • Things to Do in Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido Cherry Blossom Spots

Hokkaido Top 10

  • Recommended

Altezza Italian Restaurant

Altezza Italian Restaurant

Hokkaido Named on Best of Travel 2024 List

Hokkaido Named on Best of Travel 2024 List

Hokkaido in Springtime

Hokkaido in Springtime

Restaurant Mikaku

Restaurant Mikaku

Biratori Nibutani Ainu Museum

Biratori Nibutani Ainu Museum

Niseko Features on 2024 Trending Destinations List

Niseko Features on 2024 Trending Destinations List

Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry

Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry

Camaro Steak Diner

Camaro Steak Diner

Ristorante Otto Sette

Ristorante Otto Sette

Sora Japanese Restaurant

Sora Japanese Restaurant

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

Hokkai Bon Odori

Hokkai Bon Odori

Hokuryu Sunflower Festival

Hokuryu Sunflower Festival

Sounkyo Onsen Ice Fall Festival

Sounkyo Onsen Ice Fall Festival

Sapporo Access Guide

Sapporo Access Guide

Hakodate Fish Market

Hakodate Fish Market

Asahikawa Winter Festival

Asahikawa Winter Festival

When to Go to Sapporo

When to Go to Sapporo

Hokkaido: Top 10 Things to Do

Hokkaido: Top 10 Things to Do

Upcoming hokkaido events.

Otaru Umeshu Festival

Otaru Umeshu Festival

Each year, Hokkaido's Tanaka Sake Brewing Kikkogura hosts the Otaru Umeshu Festival, which serves as a celebration of this much-loved..

Dogtooth Violets at Totsushozan

Dogtooth Violets at Totsushozan

Katakuri, or dogtooth violets, grow in abundance during spring in numerous parts of Japan. If you're looking for one of the..

Shizunai Cherry Blossom Festival

Shizunai Cherry Blossom Festival

From the early to mid May timeframe, Hokkaido's Shizunai Nijukken Road is an amazing place to enjoy the beauty of sakura season...

Where to eat in Hokkaido

Hakodate Fish Market

If the thought of eating a still alive squid will make you squirm, there are other alternatives to get close to the freshest seafood..

Shingen Ramen

Shingen Ramen

A must-go if you're looking for ramen in Sapporo. Be prepared to queue.

Japanese Beer in Hokkaido

Japanese Beer in Hokkaido

From mainstream to boutique, this is everything you need to know about Hokkaido beer.

Places to stay in Hokkaido

Hoshino Resort Tomamu

Hoshino Resort Tomamu

Tomamu Resort is like being on centre stage in Nature’s amphitheatre, playing and resting in peace and solitude.

Lake Toya

A camping trip on the shores of stunning Lake Toya, site of the 2008 G8 Summit and one of Japan's natural treasures.

Kitahiroshima Classe Hotel

Kitahiroshima Classe Hotel

The joy of your first snow fight, less than an hour from landing at Sapporo Chitose Airport.

Latest Hokkaido Reports

Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry

Previously known as Tsubaki Salon, Otto Sette celebrates the culinary calendar of Hokkaido, with riches from the sea, land and sky...

Biratori Nibutani Ainu Museum

Celebrates the richness of Ainu culture and create new traditions through a wood carving or embroidery class

Let us know how we can help.

Wild Lands of Eastern Hokkaido – Small Group

A small-group guided tour through Eastern Hokkaido

Tour Highlights

brief explanation of what this Tour offers goes here.

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Tour highlights

  • Taste Hokkaido's famed seafood and local produce - considered some of the best in Japan
  • Visit crystal clear crater lakes unique to the region
  • See incredible views of varied landscapes each day - from wetlands to forests, to mountains
  • Learn about the unique culture of Hokkaido's indigenous people
  • Enjoy natural wonders and viewing Hokkaido brown bears from the sea on a wildlife-spotting boat ride
  • Experience soothing Onsen Hot Spring baths after incredible hiking

What's Included

  • Full-time services of an English-speaking tour guide
  • 8 nights in hotels and Japanese-style ryokan/minshuku inns
  • Daily breakfast and 8 dinners
  • All transportation between tour locations
  • Entrance to museums, national parks, and other sights on the group's itinerary
  • Daily luggage transfer on motorcoach
  • Airport transfer upon departure from Utoro Onsen to Memanbetsu Airport

Our Commitment

  • Trips of Experience
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  • Responsible Travel

japan tour hokkaido

Hokkaido is the second-largest of Japan’s islands and long regarded as a remote wilderness by other residents of the Japanese archipelago. Known in feudal times as Ezo, Hokkaido was originally inhabited only by the indigenous Ainu people. Today it attracts nature lovers and is a pristine paradise of mountain ranges, lush forests, and indescribably beautiful crater lakes produced by volcanic activity.

Join our small-group guided tour on a wonderful journey from Kushiro on Hokkaido’s eastern Pacific coast, through to the Shiretoko Peninsula stretching out into the Sea of Okhotsk. See untouched nature, visit UNESCO wetland nature reserves, experience spectacular landscapes formed by volcanoes, and enjoy flora and fauna special to Hokkaido. You have the chance to spot abundant wildlife as we walk the trails – watch for foxes, deer, and numerous species of birds. After each day’s walk, we relax in Onsen hot springs, a delightful by-product of the region’s geothermal activity. Another highlight of the tour is Hokkaido’s wonderful regional cuisine, some of the freshest in Japan with local specialties found at every stage of our journey. Hokkaido covers too large an area to explore on just one visit, but this tour brings you to the very best locations on the island.

Your adventure begins in the fishing port of Kushiro, famous for some of the best seafood in Japan and home to a unique fishing culture that invented the Robatayaki style of cooking on an open grill. From Kushiro, we visit Hokkaido’s largest marshland area and continue to Lake Akan, the only place where the famous spherical Marimo algae can be spotted.

Marshlands of Hokkaido

At Ainu Kotan village, home to the largest remaining Ainu community in Hokkaido, we view a traditional dance performance. Our journey also brings us to Lake Mashu, one of the clearest lakes in the world, and finally onwards to the Onsen town of Utoro on the Sea of Okhotsk. If the weather is kind, we take a boat ride from the Shiretoko Peninsula with the chance to glimpse waterfalls visible only be seen from the sea and Hokkaido brown bears searching for fish with their cubs. Shiretoko is the very end of Japan – a remote area of truly untouched nature.

September 8 to September 16, 2023

July 22 to July 30, 2024 August 16 to August 24, 2024 August 30 to September 7, 2024 September 9 to September 7, 2024

Price per person:

Starting from US$4045.00 based on double occupancy (subject to change without notice)

Sample Itinerary

The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.

japan tour hokkaido

Meet at the tour hotel in the center of Kushiro. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a local Robatayaki restaurant. Robatayaki is a style of cooking on an open hearth called an Irori and said to originate in Kushiro. Fishermen of northern Japan have cooked in this way for more than a century and the technique has now spread throughout the country. Our dinner is grilled seafood of the highest quality.

japan tour hokkaido

Travel this morning by private vehicle to Kushiro marshland, Japan’s largest wetland area with a diverse ecosystem and Japan’s first Ramsar Site. The area is home to the red-crowned crane, a national treasure and loved by birdwatchers, as well as abundant other wildlife. Walk through the forest to the observatory overlooking the vast marshland and then continue on trails through the marsh exploring the local flora and fauna. After the walk, we head onwards in our vehicle to Lake Akan, a crater lake in the Lake Akan National Park. The area is home to the largest community of indigenous Ainu people Hokkaido. We stay here for two nights in a lovely Onsen hot spring hotel in a lakeside setting.

Walking distance:  6.8km / 4.2 miles Elevation gain:  negligible ascent and descent Time required:  3 hours

japan tour hokkaido

Today we climb Mount Meakandake, an active volcano whose peak reaches 1,499m and which has formed the landscape around Lake Akan. We hike through wonderful scenery. Ainu legend says that Mount Meakandake and Mount Oakandake were a married couple, but Oakandake was unfaithful to his wife. The volcanic activity which continues to this day symbolizes the strife between them.

Gaze across the landscapes of Mount Oakandake and Lake Onneto, watching out for alpine flowers unique to Hokkaido.

Walking distance:  6.6km / 4.1 miles Elevation gain:  788m/2585 feet ascent; 788m/2585 feet descent Time required:  4.5 hours

japan tour hokkaido

Kawayu Onsen

This morning we visit the Akanko Ainu Kotan Village to learn about the history and culture of Hokkaido’s indigenous inhabitants, the Ainu. We watch a traditional dance performance, officially recognized as an important feature of Japan’s cultural heritage.

Afterward, we travel by our private vehicle to Kawayu Onsen and enjoy a lovely walk to Mount Iou, known as Atosa Nupuri or ‘Naked Mountain’ in the Ainu language. Today, Mount Iou is a very active volcano and we will watch as sulfur rises from the more than 1,500 fumaroles covering its slopes.

Our lodging tonight is a charming Ryokan inn in Kawayu Onsen. The town is famous for having some of the highest-quality thermal waters in the whole of Hokkaido. Kawayu Onsen’s name in the Ainu language is ‘Seseki-petsu’, meaning ‘hot river flowing through the village’.

Walking distance:  5.2km / 3.2 miles Elevation gain:  negligible ascent and descent Time required:  2.5 hours

japan tour hokkaido

After a short journey by private vehicle, we reach Lake Mashu. Known as one of the clearest lakes in the world and one of the most beautiful in the whole of Japan, Lake Mashu is often shrouded in mist during the summer months, giving it an air of mystery.

After climbing on foot to the peak of Nishibetsudake, we descend the other side of the mountain, enjoying amazing views of the vast grass farmland unique to Hokkaido. After the hike, we continue by private vehicle to Abashiri, a modern town that relies on its fishing industry. Our accommodation tonight is a lovely Onsen Ryokan.

Walking distance:  11.4km / 7.1 miles Elevation gain:  553m/1814 feet ascent; 763m/2503 feet descent Time required:  5 hours

japan tour hokkaido

Today we enjoy optional cycling or walking through one of the largest wildflower nature reserves in Japan beside Lake Saroma, Japan’s third-largest lake with a length of 20 kilometers. In the Wakka Nature Center, we can spot hundreds of different types of flowering plants.

Later, we visit the Museum of Northern People and learn more about the indigenous peoples inhabiting the north. The Ainu have a history stretching back over 2,000 years to the time of their arrival in Hokkaido from Siberia; the area also has mysterious traces of an even earlier culture called the Moyoro.

We make our way to Utoro Onsen, a pleasant hot-spring town and gateway to the vast Shiretoko Wilderness. This is a perfect base for our next three nights in a local hotel enjoying the Onsen baths and regional delicacies.

Optional Cycling/Walking distance:  up to 20km / 12.5 miles Elevation gain:  negligible ascent and descent Time required:  2 hours

japan tour hokkaido

If the weather is kind today, we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Okhotsk. From the sea, there are stunning views of the Shiretoko Peninsula’s dramatic coastline and perhaps even glimpses of Hokkaido brown bears and their cubs, as well as deer, foxes, and marine life such as dolphins and whales. If the weather is not calm enough for the boat ride, we’ll stay on land and hike a lovely waterfall path instead.

In the afternoon we travel by local bus to the famous Shiretoko Five Lakes, spending time on the picturesque nature trails there.

Walking distance:   3.4km / 2.1 miles Elevation gain:  negligible ascent and descent Time required:  1.5 hours

japan tour hokkaido

Today begins with a local bus journey to the start of today’s walk past picturesque lakes and onwards to Lake Rausu, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest lake on the Shiretoko Peninsula. Here there are stunning views of Mount Rausu, the highest peak of the peninsula. This is a wonderfully remote area whose beauty is not widely known. We provide boots for the uniquely enjoyable mud trail before returning to our lodgings in Utoro Onsen.

Walking distance:   6.3km Elevation gain:  187m/613 feet ascent; 187m/613 feet descent Time required:  3 hours

Image source: Ministry of Environment

After breakfast, our guide will arrange a transfer to Memanbetsu Airport for your return flight to Tokyo or Osaka airport.

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Wild Lands of Eastern Hokkaido – Small Group In Pictures

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Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.

Jeff Aasgaard

Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.

japan tour hokkaido

Michiyo Kakiuchi

Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.

japan tour hokkaido

Izumi Yamauchi

Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.

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japan tour hokkaido

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7 Days Hokkaido Tour

  • From Tokyo To Hokkaido
  • Thursday, October 12, 2023 Updated

Hokkaido Tour

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Tour Departure and Prices 1) Price per person.    2) Airfare is not included.  

Hokkaido & Northan Japan Tour Map

Tour Includes

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Important information, minimum size.

Private tours can be arranged for a minimum of one person. Please consult with us for details as the itinerary may vary based on the number of participants.

Single Supplement

Single travelers are required to pay a single supplement in order to guarantee single room accommodation.

We request one suitcase, one carry-on bag, and an overnight bag per person. The tote bag we provide can be used to hold any small merchandise/souvenirs purchased during your tour. When you check out, bring your luggage to the lobby and the bus driver will assist in loading it onto the bus. When you arrive at the next hotel, the bus driver will unload your luggage for you to bring to your room. Please note: The maximum weight of a checked in bag is typically 20 Kilograms or 44 Pounds. You will be traveling with your luggage except during the bullet train ride (if applicable).

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All hotel rooms come with a full bathroom and room amenities free of charge unless stated otherwise.

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All motor coaches come equipped with air-conditioning, plenty of space, comfortable seats, and Wi-Fi.

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All of our tours begin in either Tokyo or Osaka/Kyoto. When beginning or ending a tour in Tokyo, please book flights to or from Narita International Airport or Haneda International Airport. For tours beginning or ending in Osaka/Kyoto, please book flights to or from Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport. We recommend you do not book your flights until the tour status changes from Book Now to Guaranteed Departure . You can also contact us if you would like for Japan Deluxe Tour's to arrange your flights.

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Traveling and visiting sights in Japan includes a good amount of walking. To fully enjoy the tour, please be prepared to keep up with the pace of the group, climb stairs with no difficulty, and wear comfortable shoes for all day use.

Guests with tattoos may not be able to use the hot-springs or onsens while in Japan. We apologize if you are unable to enjoy this experience during your stay.

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AFAR

Exploring National Parks in Eastern Hokkaido, Japan

Posted: March 22, 2024 | Last updated: March 22, 2024

<p>In addition to three national parks, eastern Hokkaido is lined with volcanoes that result in dozens of natural hot springs, or onsen. The area is also known for its dairy cows.</p><p>Photo by T. Kingfisher/Shutterstock</p><p>When most travelers imagine traveling to Hokkaido, the northernmost—and wildest—of Japan’s four main islands, they may picture themselves skiing on fresh powder (“Japow”) in famous ski towns like Niseko and enjoying the eponymous beer in Sapporo, the prefecture’s capital.</p><p>While winter in Hokkaido is always a good idea, the island is worth a visit any time of year. Last September, I traveled to the prefecture to attend a travel industry conference: specifically, the <a class="Link" href="https://www.adventuretravel.biz/" rel="noopener">Adventure Travel Trade Association</a>’s annual World Summit in Sapporo. The week prior, eight attendees had the opportunity to visit one of Japan’s quietest corners: Hokkaido’s far east.</p><p>In other parts of Japan, such as Kyoto’s Gion district and Mount Fuji, new regulations are <a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/magazine/japan-to-limit-tourists-in-kyotos-gion-district-and-mt-fuji" rel="noopener">limiting entry</a> due to overtourism. Not so in eastern Hokkaido. Here, you may see fishermen drying <i>kombu </i>on rocks at low tide or sacred red-crowned cranes crossing the street, not unlike four Englishmen on the cover of <i>Abbey Road</i>. There are three national parks to explore, wildlife to sight, bits of Indigenous Ainu wisdom to glean, dozens of onsen to enjoy, and insanely creamy soft-serve ice cream to eat (Hokkaido is famous for its dairy cows).</p><p>Over the course of a week, I was floored by the diversity of landscapes I witnessed. I visited a volcano so sulfuric that it causes local cars to corrode. I trekked through an old-growth forest more commonly frequented by Ussuri brown bears. I walked on a boardwalk through the country’s largest wetland system. From a moody cliffside, I was overjoyed to watch an otter do otter things. And most evenings, I was able to treat myself to an onsen bath—across this region, they are highly varied in their pH levels and mineral contents.</p><p>It was a slow, immersive experience into a side of Japan that, seemingly, few travelers even know exists.</p><p>Left: The best way to see the bluffs that line Japan’s Shiretoko Peninsula is by boat. Right: Fishermen sometimes take travelers out to Cape Shiretoko; along the way, they may spot Ussuri brown bears.</p><p>Photos by Sarika Bansal</p>

In addition to three national parks, eastern Hokkaido is lined with volcanoes that result in dozens of natural hot springs, or onsen. The area is also known for its dairy cows.

Photo by T. Kingfisher/Shutterstock

When most travelers imagine traveling to Hokkaido, the northernmost—and wildest—of Japan’s four main islands, they may picture themselves skiing on fresh powder (“Japow”) in famous ski towns like Niseko and enjoying the eponymous beer in Sapporo, the prefecture’s capital.

While winter in Hokkaido is always a good idea, the island is worth a visit any time of year. Last September, I traveled to the prefecture to attend a travel industry conference: specifically, the Adventure Travel Trade Association ’s annual World Summit in Sapporo. The week prior, eight attendees had the opportunity to visit one of Japan’s quietest corners: Hokkaido’s far east.

In other parts of Japan, such as Kyoto’s Gion district and Mount Fuji, new regulations are limiting entry due to overtourism. Not so in eastern Hokkaido. Here, you may see fishermen drying kombu on rocks at low tide or sacred red-crowned cranes crossing the street, not unlike four Englishmen on the cover of Abbey Road . There are three national parks to explore, wildlife to sight, bits of Indigenous Ainu wisdom to glean, dozens of onsen to enjoy, and insanely creamy soft-serve ice cream to eat (Hokkaido is famous for its dairy cows).

Over the course of a week, I was floored by the diversity of landscapes I witnessed. I visited a volcano so sulfuric that it causes local cars to corrode. I trekked through an old-growth forest more commonly frequented by Ussuri brown bears. I walked on a boardwalk through the country’s largest wetland system. From a moody cliffside, I was overjoyed to watch an otter do otter things. And most evenings, I was able to treat myself to an onsen bath—across this region, they are highly varied in their pH levels and mineral contents.

It was a slow, immersive experience into a side of Japan that, seemingly, few travelers even know exists.

Left: The best way to see the bluffs that line Japan’s Shiretoko Peninsula is by boat. Right: Fishermen sometimes take travelers out to Cape Shiretoko; along the way, they may spot Ussuri brown bears.

Photos by Sarika Bansal

<p>When most travelers imagine traveling to Hokkaido, the northernmost—and wildest—of Japan’s four main islands, they may picture themselves skiing on fresh powder (“Japow”) in famous ski towns like Niseko and enjoying the eponymous beer in Sapporo, the prefecture’s capital.</p> <p>While winter in Hokkaido is always a good idea, the island is worth a visit any time of year. Last September, I traveled to the prefecture to attend a travel industry conference: specifically, the <a class="Link" href="https://www.adventuretravel.biz/" rel="noopener">Adventure Travel Trade Association</a>’s annual World Summit in Sapporo. The week prior, eight attendees had the opportunity to visit one of Japan’s quietest corners: Hokkaido’s far east.</p> <p>In other parts of Japan, such as Kyoto’s Gion district and Mount Fuji, new regulations are <a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/magazine/japan-to-limit-tourists-in-kyotos-gion-district-and-mt-fuji" rel="noopener">limiting entry</a> due to overtourism. Not so in eastern Hokkaido. Here, you may see fishermen drying <i>kombu </i>on rocks at low tide or sacred red-crowned cranes crossing the street, not unlike four Englishmen on the cover of <i>Abbey Road</i>. There are three national parks to explore, wildlife to sight, bits of Indigenous Ainu wisdom to glean, dozens of onsen to enjoy, and insanely creamy soft-serve ice cream to eat (Hokkaido is famous for its dairy cows).</p> <p>Over the course of a week, I was floored by the diversity of landscapes I witnessed. I visited a volcano so sulfuric that it causes local cars to corrode. I trekked through an old-growth forest more commonly frequented by Ussuri brown bears. I walked on a boardwalk through the country’s largest wetland system. From a moody cliffside, I was overjoyed to watch an otter do otter things. And most evenings, I was able to treat myself to an onsen bath—across this region, they are highly varied in their pH levels and mineral contents.</p> <p>It was a slow, immersive experience into a side of Japan that, seemingly, few travelers even know exists.</p>

Shiretoko National Park

The most visually stunning place I visited in eastern Hokkaido was the Shiretoko Peninsula, whose name comes from the Ainu word “ siretok ,” or “end of the earth.” The moniker checks out: The narrow spit of land juts into the Sea of Okhotsk, and the majority of the peninsula consists of Shiretoko National Park.

In 2005, the area was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its richly integrated ecosystem. During the winter, a large amount of sea ice forms in the marine area, creating nutrient-rich waters and phytoplankton blooms that sustain diverse species, including whales, seabirds, bears, and deer. (As is the case worldwide, the sea ice here is under threat due to our warming planet.) In addition to the fauna, visitors can explore dense forests, dramatic bluffs, and a series of volcanoes, including Mount Rausu, which has an 8.3-mile out-and-back hiking route.

Before the trip, I was most excited about the park’s Five Lakes Walk , which winds through a primeval forest and offers views of the Shiretoko Mountains and five small lakes. At the visitor center, my group was first treated to a thorough bear safety lecture and video. (Additionally, many signs warn visitors that this is bear territory.) Once outside, before the trek, everyone was instructed to clean their shoes with a wire brush to ensure they wouldn’t mistakenly introduce any seeds or bugs to the park. This was one of many moments on the trip that showcased the Japanese reverence for nature.

The safety instructions ended up lasting longer than the walk. Perhaps 100 yards in, a few hikers came from the opposite direction, informing us that they spotted a bear and, in accordance with park regulations, the entire loop needed to close for several hours. Well, we were definitely in bear country! Luckily, there was a beautiful, albeit short, wooden elevated walkway built for times like these. Electric fencing ensured humans were separated from our ursine friends and I was able to enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

Shiretoko National Park was even more spectacular on the water. From the nearby seaside town of Rausu, I hopped on a whale watching boat that went into the middle of the Nemuro Strait. Everyone on board shrieked with delight when we saw a sperm whale come to the surface to breathe for a few minutes, after which it gloriously displayed its tail and dove down at least 2,000 feet to search for food for the next hour.

The next day, I traveled as far north as possible to a tiny town called Aidomari. From there, I took a fishing boat to the tip of Cape Shiretoko. The cliffs, waterfalls, and royal blue water were only made more magnificent by a surprise sighting of a mother bear fishing with her cubs.

<h2>Lake Akan (Akan Mashu National Park)</h2> <p>About 100 miles southwest from Rausu is Lake Akan. This area, within Akan Mashu National Park, is a stronghold of Indigenous Ainu culture. The most meaningful activity I participated in during this week was a guided walk by the lake with <a class="Link" href="https://www.akanainu.jp/en/karpekuru/craft01/" rel="noopener">Kengo Takiguchi</a>, an Ainu guide (with <a class="Link" href="https://en.anytimeainutime.jp/" rel="noopener">Anytime, Ainutime!</a>) and a wood carver. The Ainu people, who traditionally followed a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, inhabited Hokkaido long before the Japanese. To date, they retain their own language, culture, and beliefs.</p> <p>However, as with many Indigenous groups around the globe, the Ainu are still working to be respected in modern Japanese society. The Japanese government only recognized them as an official Indigenous group in 2008. To date, there are no official numbers of Ainu people—surveys claim there are between 13,000 and 25,000, although the actual number could be much higher. Many people hide their Ainu heritage due to economic and social <a class="Link" href="https://minorityrights.org/communities/ainu/" rel="noopener">marginalization</a>. As a result, UNESCO claims the Ainu language to be “critically endangered.”</p> <p>Takiguchi hopes to counteract the discrimination against his community in part by introducing his culture to visitors. Donning a jacket with characteristic <a class="Link" href="https://www.anytexture.com/2020/10/ainu-textiles" rel="noopener">Ainu swirls</a>, designed to ward off evil spirits, he explained the animistic beliefs that guide their relationship with the world. “We hate words like abundance,” he said. “Things belong to everyone, not only humans.” Everything has <i>kamuy</i>, or a divine spirit, and deserves to be treated with care and respect. He picked a <i>shikerebe</i> berry, which is grown from a cork tree, tastes like mandarin orange peel, and can treat stomach ailments. The bark, Takiguchi said, can be used to <a class="Link" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926669023001449#:~:text=As%20a%20common%20material%20of,treat%20sores%20in%20ancient%20China." rel="noopener">treat sores</a>.</p> <p>I later learned, through the Adventure Travel Tourism Association, that at one point, some private investors <a class="Link" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLNMKgsE5ao" rel="noopener">considered building a casino</a> in Lake Akan to boost the area’s tourism. This ended up being scrapped in favor of a more naturalistic form of adventure tourism, which is what visitors can enjoy today.</p>

Lake Akan (Akan Mashu National Park)

About 100 miles southwest from Rausu is Lake Akan. This area, within Akan Mashu National Park, is a stronghold of Indigenous Ainu culture. The most meaningful activity I participated in during this week was a guided walk by the lake with Kengo Takiguchi , an Ainu guide (with Anytime, Ainutime! ) and a wood carver. The Ainu people, who traditionally followed a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, inhabited Hokkaido long before the Japanese. To date, they retain their own language, culture, and beliefs.

However, as with many Indigenous groups around the globe, the Ainu are still working to be respected in modern Japanese society. The Japanese government only recognized them as an official Indigenous group in 2008. To date, there are no official numbers of Ainu people—surveys claim there are between 13,000 and 25,000, although the actual number could be much higher. Many people hide their Ainu heritage due to economic and social marginalization . As a result, UNESCO claims the Ainu language to be “critically endangered.”

Takiguchi hopes to counteract the discrimination against his community in part by introducing his culture to visitors. Donning a jacket with characteristic Ainu swirls , designed to ward off evil spirits, he explained the animistic beliefs that guide their relationship with the world. “We hate words like abundance,” he said. “Things belong to everyone, not only humans.” Everything has kamuy , or a divine spirit, and deserves to be treated with care and respect. He picked a shikerebe berry, which is grown from a cork tree, tastes like mandarin orange peel, and can treat stomach ailments. The bark, Takiguchi said, can be used to treat sores .

I later learned, through the Adventure Travel Tourism Association, that at one point, some private investors considered building a casino in Lake Akan to boost the area’s tourism. This ended up being scrapped in favor of a more naturalistic form of adventure tourism, which is what visitors can enjoy today.

<h2>Mount Iō (Akan Mashu National Park)</h2> <p>The next day, I traveled 40 miles east to check out the fumaroles of Mount Iō (which translates directly to “sulfuric mountain”). Months later, I still vividly recall the neon yellow stones, made of pure sulfur, sitting beside billowing plumes of white smoke and gurgling hot springs. I felt like I was on the set of <i>How the Grinch Stole Christmas</i>. The sulfur content is so high that not only does it smell intensely like rotten eggs but also, my guide Kazuhiro Arai told me, most metal goods in the region begin to corrode after a couple of years. “Secondhand cars from here aren’t worth much,” he joked.</p> <p>Back in the parking lot, located adjacent to the most impressive steam vents, I took note of a large concrete divot that extended from the volcano outwards. In case the active volcano erupts again, Arai said, authorities created a path for the lava to (hopefully) flow. Between the bear lecture and the lava path, I began to appreciate how seriously the Japanese government considers safety.</p> <p>From Mount Iō, I strolled along the Tsutsujigahara Nature Trail, where the sulfur dissipated before my eyes. Close to the volcano, the only flora were hardy shrubs that could withstand the high acidity levels. Over the 1.5-mile-long trail, I excitedly took note of every new species of grass that took root. Toward the end, I found myself surrounded by trees that could not survive closer to the volcano.</p> <p>At the end of the trail, I encountered one of many public onsen across Hokkaido. This one, the <a class="Link" href="https://www.visit-hokkaido.jp/en/spa/spot/detail_10610.html" rel="noopener">Kawayu Onsen Foot Bath</a>, is more acidic than apple cider vinegar—but Arai promised that water with a pH level of 1.5 is in fact a great treatment for any dead foot skin. (I’m happy to report that I emerged from the onsen with two feet firmly attached to my body, though they were slightly red.)</p>

Mount Iō (Akan Mashu National Park)

The next day, I traveled 40 miles east to check out the fumaroles of Mount Iō (which translates directly to “sulfuric mountain”). Months later, I still vividly recall the neon yellow stones, made of pure sulfur, sitting beside billowing plumes of white smoke and gurgling hot springs. I felt like I was on the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas . The sulfur content is so high that not only does it smell intensely like rotten eggs but also, my guide Kazuhiro Arai told me, most metal goods in the region begin to corrode after a couple of years. “Secondhand cars from here aren’t worth much,” he joked.

Back in the parking lot, located adjacent to the most impressive steam vents, I took note of a large concrete divot that extended from the volcano outwards. In case the active volcano erupts again, Arai said, authorities created a path for the lava to (hopefully) flow. Between the bear lecture and the lava path, I began to appreciate how seriously the Japanese government considers safety.

From Mount Iō, I strolled along the Tsutsujigahara Nature Trail, where the sulfur dissipated before my eyes. Close to the volcano, the only flora were hardy shrubs that could withstand the high acidity levels. Over the 1.5-mile-long trail, I excitedly took note of every new species of grass that took root. Toward the end, I found myself surrounded by trees that could not survive closer to the volcano.

At the end of the trail, I encountered one of many public onsen across Hokkaido. This one, the Kawayu Onsen Foot Bath , is more acidic than apple cider vinegar—but Arai promised that water with a pH level of 1.5 is in fact a great treatment for any dead foot skin. (I’m happy to report that I emerged from the onsen with two feet firmly attached to my body, though they were slightly red.)

<h2>Kushiro-shitsugen National Park</h2> <p>The southernmost of the national parks I visited in eastern Hokkaido was Kushiro-shitsugen. It was established in 1987 to preserve the country’s largest wetland and the endangered cranes that call the area home.</p> <p>We stayed at Hotel Taito, whose owner Masahiro Wada is a professional nature photographer. On display throughout the property were photos of cranes, which are at their most elegant in the winter, when they gather at feeding sites and dance in pairs.</p> <p>I enjoyed experiencing the wetland through the wheelchair-friendly wooden boardwalk that begins at the <a class="Link" href="https://www.japan.travel/national-parks/parks/kushiroshitsugen/see-and-do/onnenai-visitor-center/" rel="noopener">Onnenai Visitor Center</a>, located on the park’s western edge. This walk gave me the sensation of floating above water of unknown depth. At one point, Arai pushed a long pole entirely into the marsh, and a few minutes later, his colleague Yuka Obitsu pointed to the poisonous plants, such as water hemlock, that were rooted nearby. I decided to stick to the middle of the path.</p> <p>Another vantage point to appreciate the park is to hike to Cape Kirakotan, which is only accessible with special permission. (It is possible to receive permission through some local hotels, including Taito, tour operators, or by contacting the local <a class="Link" href="https://en.tsurui-kanko.com/spot/spot-114/" rel="noopener">Agency for Cultural Affairs.</a>) The path weaves through wild shrubs, within which you may be lucky to find a Sika deer—or less lucky to encounter a brown bear. The trail ends at the marsh’s “inner sanctum,” a viewpoint of the capillary of riverbeds that comprise the ecosystem.</p> <p>Directly to the east of the national park is another marsh, the Kiritappu Wetland. Though not officially a national park, it feels just as untouched as Kushiro-shitsugen. My group was able to ride canoes within the Biwase River area, which is home to nearly 200 bird species and many types of flowers, including iris, hydrangea, and sessilifolia. Kiritappu, which translates to “place of fog,” is home to a cape of the same name, where I was lucky to spot an otter.</p> <h2>Where to stay</h2> <p>Across this circuit, we stayed in locally run ryokans, most of which provided excellent meals and onsen facilities.</p> <p>I particularly enjoyed <a class="Link" href="https://www.kifuu.com/english/" rel="noopener">Hotel Kifu Club Shiretoko</a>, which features bright, spacious guest rooms and a do-it-yourself tempura dining experience that was equal parts fun and stressful. Imagine a fondue dinner, except you first dip skewered vegetables or seafood in batter and then in a small pot of boiling oil. The onsen facilities here are superb: In addition to the public indoor onsen, there is a private one located underneath a star-studded sky. The hotel offers fantastic access to Shiretoko National Park, as well as the nearby Mount Rausu.</p> <p>Closer to Kushiro is the picturesque village of Tsurui, famous for its population of endangered cranes, its dairy products, and its seafood. Here, stay at <a class="Link" href="https://en.tsurui-kanko.com/spot/spot-39/" rel="noopener">Hotel Taito</a>, which is popular among nature photographers looking to capture the perfect shot of a red-crowned crane. Hotel Taito boasted the most elaborate onsen on the trip. It was here that I discovered that cold plunges aren’t so scary when they can be immediately followed by a dip in hot water. In contrast to the Kawayu Onsen Foot Bath, the water here is alkaline (with a pH of 9), which leaves skin feeling silky smooth. The restaurant featured some of the freshest ice cream I have ever tasted.</p> <h2>How to do it</h2> <p>My trip was organized by <a class="Link" href="https://www.adventure-hokkaido.com/" rel="noopener">Adventure Hokkaido</a>, a locally owned adventure tour company that runs trips across the prefecture’s six parks. Our guides, Kazuhiro Arai and Yuka Obitsu, were incredible naturalists who patiently answered my questions about Japanese forestry, Ainu culture, and vegetarian food options.</p> <p>Given how remote the parks are, and how little English is spoken in the small towns that dot Hokkaido’s far east, I would recommend visiting this region with a Japanese speaker, if not a full-service tour operator. Public transportation is limited within and between the national parks, so a private vehicle would make for a smoother journey.</p> <p>My group started in the port city of Kushiro, the most populated metropolis in eastern Hokkaido. There are direct flights to Kushiro from Tokyo and Osaka. Otherwise, Kushiro is a three-hour train ride from the island’s capital, Sapporo. From Kushiro, our group took a bus in a clockwise direction (to Lake Akan, Mount Iō, Kushiro River, Shiretoko National Park, and Kiritappu).</p> <p>In a country known for its bullet trains and megacities, this trip was a reminder that Japan is not a monolith. I appreciated the opportunity to experience so many dynamic landscapes in a single week. There are few places in the world that contain volcanoes, marshes, and mountains in such short distances—as well as such varied wildlife. And my experiences with the Ainu community in Lake Akan further cemented my belief that Indigenous wisdom is always worth seeking and heeding.</p> <p>Perhaps what will stay with me the longest from this trip (aside from the overwhelming sensory experience of Mount Iō) is how Japan respects its natural bounties. The visitor centers in every park offered a wealth of information about the flora and fauna in the region so that travelers could truly appreciate what they had the opportunity to see. We were constantly reminded to not remove material from the park, to not introduce foreign pathogens into the ecosystem, and to keep a respectful distance from animals. In other words, enjoy the wild things, but keep them wild.</p>

Kushiro-shitsugen National Park

The southernmost of the national parks I visited in eastern Hokkaido was Kushiro-shitsugen. It was established in 1987 to preserve the country’s largest wetland and the endangered cranes that call the area home.

We stayed at Hotel Taito, whose owner Masahiro Wada is a professional nature photographer. On display throughout the property were photos of cranes, which are at their most elegant in the winter, when they gather at feeding sites and dance in pairs.

I enjoyed experiencing the wetland through the wheelchair-friendly wooden boardwalk that begins at the Onnenai Visitor Center , located on the park’s western edge. This walk gave me the sensation of floating above water of unknown depth. At one point, Arai pushed a long pole entirely into the marsh, and a few minutes later, his colleague Yuka Obitsu pointed to the poisonous plants, such as water hemlock, that were rooted nearby. I decided to stick to the middle of the path.

Another vantage point to appreciate the park is to hike to Cape Kirakotan, which is only accessible with special permission. (It is possible to receive permission through some local hotels, including Taito, tour operators, or by contacting the local Agency for Cultural Affairs. ) The path weaves through wild shrubs, within which you may be lucky to find a Sika deer—or less lucky to encounter a brown bear. The trail ends at the marsh’s “inner sanctum,” a viewpoint of the capillary of riverbeds that comprise the ecosystem.

Directly to the east of the national park is another marsh, the Kiritappu Wetland. Though not officially a national park, it feels just as untouched as Kushiro-shitsugen. My group was able to ride canoes within the Biwase River area, which is home to nearly 200 bird species and many types of flowers, including iris, hydrangea, and sessilifolia. Kiritappu, which translates to “place of fog,” is home to a cape of the same name, where I was lucky to spot an otter.

Where to stay

Across this circuit, we stayed in locally run ryokans, most of which provided excellent meals and onsen facilities.

I particularly enjoyed Hotel Kifu Club Shiretoko , which features bright, spacious guest rooms and a do-it-yourself tempura dining experience that was equal parts fun and stressful. Imagine a fondue dinner, except you first dip skewered vegetables or seafood in batter and then in a small pot of boiling oil. The onsen facilities here are superb: In addition to the public indoor onsen, there is a private one located underneath a star-studded sky. The hotel offers fantastic access to Shiretoko National Park, as well as the nearby Mount Rausu.

Closer to Kushiro is the picturesque village of Tsurui, famous for its population of endangered cranes, its dairy products, and its seafood. Here, stay at Hotel Taito , which is popular among nature photographers looking to capture the perfect shot of a red-crowned crane. Hotel Taito boasted the most elaborate onsen on the trip. It was here that I discovered that cold plunges aren’t so scary when they can be immediately followed by a dip in hot water. In contrast to the Kawayu Onsen Foot Bath, the water here is alkaline (with a pH of 9), which leaves skin feeling silky smooth. The restaurant featured some of the freshest ice cream I have ever tasted.

How to do it

My trip was organized by Adventure Hokkaido , a locally owned adventure tour company that runs trips across the prefecture’s six parks. Our guides, Kazuhiro Arai and Yuka Obitsu, were incredible naturalists who patiently answered my questions about Japanese forestry, Ainu culture, and vegetarian food options.

Given how remote the parks are, and how little English is spoken in the small towns that dot Hokkaido’s far east, I would recommend visiting this region with a Japanese speaker, if not a full-service tour operator. Public transportation is limited within and between the national parks, so a private vehicle would make for a smoother journey.

My group started in the port city of Kushiro, the most populated metropolis in eastern Hokkaido. There are direct flights to Kushiro from Tokyo and Osaka. Otherwise, Kushiro is a three-hour train ride from the island’s capital, Sapporo. From Kushiro, our group took a bus in a clockwise direction (to Lake Akan, Mount Iō, Kushiro River, Shiretoko National Park, and Kiritappu).

In a country known for its bullet trains and megacities, this trip was a reminder that Japan is not a monolith. I appreciated the opportunity to experience so many dynamic landscapes in a single week. There are few places in the world that contain volcanoes, marshes, and mountains in such short distances—as well as such varied wildlife. And my experiences with the Ainu community in Lake Akan further cemented my belief that Indigenous wisdom is always worth seeking and heeding.

Perhaps what will stay with me the longest from this trip (aside from the overwhelming sensory experience of Mount Iō) is how Japan respects its natural bounties. The visitor centers in every park offered a wealth of information about the flora and fauna in the region so that travelers could truly appreciate what they had the opportunity to see. We were constantly reminded to not remove material from the park, to not introduce foreign pathogens into the ecosystem, and to keep a respectful distance from animals. In other words, enjoy the wild things, but keep them wild.

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Riding in Style on Japanese Trains

Luxurious rail cars offer countryside views with a range of cultural itineraries and budgets.

A train moves along a track. Its metallic sides are reflecting the landscape, including cherry trees with pink blossoms.

By Vivian Morelli

Reporting from Tokyo

Japan’s public transportation is known for its punctuality, efficiency and high-quality service, which means train travel is a great way to see the countryside and to experience Japanese culture — even if you’re squeezed into Tokyo’s crowded Yamanote line at rush hour or experiencing the popular high-speed Shinkansen bullet train .

But many savvy visitors crisscross the country in another way, using luxury trains that resemble five-star hotels on rails.

Luxury rail travel appeals to “someone who wants slow travel, the experience of excellent service in a contained environment, the finest dining, the most exquisite accommodation with private bathrooms,” Simon Pielow, co-founder of the Luxury Train Club , said by phone from Wiltshire County, England. “Things that many people have no idea is possible on anything other than a royal train.”

One trip chartered by his agency starts and ends at Hakata station in the city of Fukuoka, crossing the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on the Seven Stars , a seven-car luxury sleeper train. Journeys for either two days and one night (per person, double occupancy) range from 650,000 to 900,000 yen (about $4,292 to $5,942), or four days and three nights from ¥1.2 million to ¥1.6 million. (A single supplement would apply.)

“The train is very much sought-after because of the quality of the service on the train and its exclusivity,” Mr. Pielow said. “The people who come to us are desperate to travel on the train.”

With limited space, most would-be travelers need to apply several months in advance.

The Seven Stars, or Nanatsuboshi in Japanese, was named in part after the number of its carriages, in part after the seven prefectures of Kyushu: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima, and for seven of the main attractions of the region, including its nature, food and hot springs. (Other stars have been known to ride these rails: The actress and producer Margot Robbie told Vogue last year that she and her husband had traveled to Japan in part to ride the Seven Stars.)

The train consists of a lounge car, a bar, a tatami-mat tearoom and a souvenir shop, as well as eight 108-square-foot private rooms and two larger suites, the biggest measuring 226 square feet.

Guests don’t necessarily have to spend all their time on board. They can also get off to participate in activities such as a guided walk along the Wakimoto coast, a seaside area of Kagoshima Prefecture, that lasts about an hour.

Meals can be consumed aboard the train or at restaurants along the way, and one night can be spent in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn.

So how does that work on a train? Some stops last an hour or more, enough time for guest excursions. But often, the train will keep rolling and pick up the guests at a later station.

But there also are other luxury trains in Japan. (Seven Stars and the Shiki-Shima, detailed below, can be booked from overseas. The others listed here must be booked from within Japan.)

The Twilight Express Mizukaze is an Art Deco-inspired sleeper train decorated from traditional crafts such as pottery and cut glass. Onboard entertainment includes a tea ceremony, live music and a signature cocktail from the bar. Five routes are offered, including a two-day, one night one-way trip and a three-day, two-night round trip. A suite includes a private balcony and bathroom with a tub at ¥875,000 for a shorter journey and ¥1.4 million for a longer one. A “royal” twin room with windows on both sides of the car was recently listed at ¥385,000 per person, double occupancy.

The Aru Ressha is known as a “dessert train” that runs between Hakata and Yufuin in Kyushu. The one-way, three-hour itinerary is just enough time to indulge in appetizer, fish, meat and dessert courses for ¥35,000 per person. The train is decorated with black and gold arabesques on the outside and baroque styling inside.

The Spacia X offers a more budget-minded luxury experience. This six-carriage train equipped with plush sofas and private lounges links Tokyo to Nikko, a picturesque city in Tochigi Prefecture. Simran Nagra, a 33-year-old Canadian actuary who lives in Tokyo, used the train for a two-hour, ¥3,840 trip in July to the hot springs resort of Kinugawa Onsen. “I was really excited to ride it because it’s a luxury train, but has very affordable pricing,” she said. “The windows are huge and hexagonal, to highlight the views,” she said, and the cafe car featured Nikko specialties including craft beer on tap, two types of sake and locally sourced coffee.

GranClass was the choice out of necessity for the Australian journalist Jake Sturmer, 35, and his wife, Rachel, in 2018. “We had just moved to Japan, some friends invited us on a trip, and the only seat available for us to travel was on GranClass,” he said, referring to the first-class cabin on the Shinkansen. “What a luxury it was,” he said, mentioning the large, cushy seats, the hot towels to cleanse hands and faces, and bento boxes they were served during a two-hour ride from Tokyo to Iiyama in Nagano Prefecture.

The Train Suite Shiki-Shima was created to contribute to the recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.

Riders can choose from four seasonal routes lasting from one to three nights and departing from Tokyo. One goes northward along the Sea of Japan to Hakodate and the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park in Hokkaido Prefecture. Another is a wintertime itinerary through the snowy Tohoku region, where guests will get off the train to view traditional dancing and participate in woodwork or sewing workshops with local artisans. Prices range from ¥420,000 to ¥1.3 million per person, based on double occupancy in a sleeper car.

Shinobu Ohashi, 34, a paper-cutting artist who lives and works in Saitama, Japan, used the Shiki-Shima in December 2020 and April 2022. “I wanted to experience the design of the Shiki-Shima train, which I had seen on TV and in magazines, and the hospitality provided,” she wrote in an email.

The attention to detail impressed her: “When my companion complimented the garnishes that were offered only to the women on the dishes,” she said, “he was then also brought the same ones. We were both surprised.”

During one trip the cherry blossoms in Hakodate were in full bloom, she said: “We were taken to a cherry blossom viewing spot that was not on the trip schedule.”

The train has special meaning for her. “I am from the Tohoku region, from Fukushima Prefecture,” she said. “Even though a lot of time has passed since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I believe that Shiki-Shima is a reassuring presence.”

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    Japan tour . Our airport pick-up went very smoothly. Our guide, Vivian, on the second day was very nice, very accommodating, took into account our preferences. ... Visit Hokkaido Museum and Hokkaido Historical Village to learn about the history, culture, and natural environment of Hokkaido. In the afternoon, visit Sapporo Science Center for fun ...

  6. Best of Hokkaido Tour

    Tour Descriptions. Discover Japan's charming northern island during our Hokkaido Adventures Japan Tour package for 2020. Explore the scenic beauty in Hokkaido as we visit the can't miss spots on Japan's northern island! Sample exotic flavors, visit wonderful sights, and discover a new side of Japan north of Tokyo on this fully-guided Japan Tour!

  7. THE 10 BEST Hokkaido Tours & Excursions

    29. Asahiyama Zoo, Blue Pond, Shirahige Falls, Ningle Terrace (from Sapporo) 4. Full-day Tours. 8-10 hours. Enjoy the top Hokkaido sightseeing spots, Asahiyama Zoo, Biei's Blue Pond, Shirahige Falls, and Furano's Ningle Terrace, …. Free cancellation.

  8. The Best of Hokkaido Tour

    The Hokkaido Rail and Drive tour focuses on the northernmost of the main islands, Japan's last frontier. Hokkaido is a natural wonderland of mountain ranges, deep caldera lakes, active volcanoes, numerous thermally-heated mineral springs and virgin forests. The attitudes of the inhabitants are akin to those of the pioneers of the American West, but still unmistakably Japanese.

  9. Hokkaido Tranquil Summer 8 Days by Supera Tours

    With the In-depth Cultural tour Hokkaido Tranquil Summer 8 Days, you have a 8 days tour package taking you through Sapporo, Japan and 7 other destinations in Japan. Hokkaido Tranquil Summer 8 Days includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, insurance, meals, transport and more. Day 1 rrive in New Chitose Airport (CTS) (32 ...

  10. Explore the Destinations in Hokkaido, Japan 2024/2025

    Hokkaido. With its rolling hills, wide open spaces, lakes, rivers and nature reserves, Hokkaido is a haven for wildlife and natural scenery. Whether you're visiting in the middle of summer for walking and hiking, or in the depths of winter to see the breathtaking ice floes and the huge sea eagles that make this rugged landscape their own ...

  11. How to Plan Your PERFECT Hokkaido Itinerary [2024 Guide]

    When to Visit Hokkaido. Our 12 Day Hokkaido Itinerary. Day 1 - Sapporo. Day 2 - Sapporo to Asahikawa. Day 3 - Asahikawa to Utoro (Gateway to the Shiretoko National Park) Day 4 - Shiretoko National Park. Day 5 - Shiretoko National Park. Day 6 - Shiretoko National Park to Akan National Park. Day 7 - Mashu-Ko and Mashu-Dake.

  12. Hokkaido & Northern Japan Tours

    A Luxury Immersion into Hokkaido. 9 Days 14 Cities from USD 6,989. from Tokyo to Hokkaido. 2024 Schedule Available. View Tour. Our Northern Japan Tours uncover Tohoku and Japanese festivals including the Kanto Festival, Nebuta Festival, and Sendai's Tanabata Matsuri.

  13. Japan Tour

    This trip to Japan will take you from Kyoto to Tokyo and then up again, by boat, to the island of Hokkaido ! Discover a less touristy Japan, closer to nature. Travel around Hokkaido by car and discover the natural parks of this large island in the north. A variety of accommodation and transport, a guided tour of Kyoto and pocket Wi-Fi : an organised trip in total freedom !

  14. Hokkaido Private Tours

    Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. / 9F Daito Building 8-1 Minami 2-jo Higashi 2-chome Chuo-ku Sapporo Hokkaido 060-0052 JAPAN License Number : Hokkaido Prefecture 2-597 Japan Private Tours with Local Tour Guides. Explore Hokkaido and more.

  15. Hokkaido

    Sapporo, Hokkaido's main city, famous for Sapporo beer, Sapporo ramen and the annual Sapporo Snow Festival. Hakodate is a traditional port with charming historical areas and gorgeous night views. Hokkaido's mild summers provide relief from Japan's humidity, and the perfect conditions for hiking and exploring the many National Parks.

  16. The Hokkaido Tour

    The Hokkaido Tour - Summer 2024. From USD 13,000. Embark on a Journey of Elegance and Discovery: The Hokkaido Tour - Summer 2024. Welcome to a world where luxury meets tradition, where each day unfolds into a tapestry of cultural richness and serene beauty. Join us on a 10-day journey through Hokkaido, Japan's northern gem, where Luxury ...

  17. Hokkaido Guide: Things to do in Hokkaido

    In 2014, Hokkaido (北海道, Hokkaidō) defended its number 1 position on the annual Prefectural Attractiveness Ranking (conducted by the Brand Research Institute) for the 6th year running, virtually making it a must-visit if you have time.First inhabited by the Ainu people, Hokkaido has its own very unique culture. Some of the most delicious food in Japan can be found in Hokkaido, including ...

  18. Hokkaido Private Tour

    1. The Allure of a Hokkaido Private Tour. Traveling with our Hokkaido Private Tour packages means experiencing the island your way. Every traveler is unique, so we ensure our tours are not one-size-fits-all. Our private tours offer flexibility and customization, allowing you to explore Hokkaido at your own pace.

  19. Wild Lands of Eastern Hokkaido

    Day 2- Walk Kushiro Marshland and travel to Akan Onsen. Day 3- Hike Meakandake. Day 4- Visit Ainu Kotan Village in the morning and afternoon walk to Mt. Iou. Day 5- Walk along Lake Mashu and traverse the Mashu Caldera. Day 6- Wakka Nature Center. Day 7- Sea of Okhotsk boat ride and Shiretoko Five Lake trails.

  20. 7 Days Hokkaido Private Tour Winter Sapporo Niseko Hakodate

    1. Tour highlights. Stay at the best 5&4-star hotel in Hokkaido. Exploring the snowy paradise of Niseko, Japan. Visit a popular destination in Hokkaido in winter. Completely private tours tailored just for you. Visit Sapporo, Asahikawa, Furano, and Hakodate. Enjoy a 2-night stay at Hilton Niseko Village, where comfort meets luxury amidst snowy ...

  21. Best of Hokkaido Tour

    The peak seasonal surcharge USD 400/person applies to the tour departing between 3/15/2024 and 4/15/2024 tours. Experience the captivating blend of urban charm and natural splendor in Hokkaido with our well-curated tour package. Travel through the bustling city of Sapporo, the romantic port town of Otaru, the picturesque landscapes of Furano ...

  22. Exploring National Parks in Eastern Hokkaido, Japan

    My trip was organized by Adventure Hokkaido, a locally owned adventure tour company that runs trips across the prefecture's six parks. Our guides, Kazuhiro Arai and Yuka Obitsu, were incredible ...

  23. JREast South Hokkaido Pass

    8 posts. 1 review. 1 helpful vote. JREast South Hokkaido Pass. Apr 6, 2024, 6:04 AM. Save. I am trying to purchase the JR East South Hokkaido from overseas. But it is not accepting my Visa card for payment.

  24. Japan Offers Luxury Train Travel

    One trip chartered by his agency starts and ends at Hakata station in the city of Fukuoka, crossing the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on the Seven Stars, a seven-car luxury sleeper train ...

  25. Levanga Hokkaido v Nagasaki Odds

    Bet on Levanga Hokkaido v Nagasaki, taking place on Apr 7 at 1:05am ET. Find all Levanga Hokkaido v Nagasaki betting odds and place bets before gametime or live bet the action with FanDuel Sportsbook. Verifying location…. Check the latest Levanga Hokkaido v Nagasaki: Apr 7 odds and bet online with FanDuel Sportsbook!