7 Days Hokkaido Far East Wild Winter

HOKKAIDO ADVENTURE

Walk on drifting ice

Lake Mashu Snowshoeing

Nature cruise, with a chance to sight Steller’s sea eagles

Rausu Dinner

7 Days Hokkaido Far East Wild Winter

Tour Code: JPN-AHHFEWW07

A winter odyssey in Japan’s eastern frontier, touring through three national parks in eastern Hokkaido. Be mesmerised by the extraordinary landscapes, the unique ice and snow experiences, and the warmth of the hot springs on this winter tour in Japan.

On this tour, we visit some of Hokkaido’s beautiful national parks. We take in unique winter outdoor activities including, walking on the drift ice, watching the dancing cranes, as well as snowshoeing on the outer rim of a crater with marvellous lake views.

You don’t have to be an experienced skier or snowboard to enjoy Hokkaido’s untouched deep snow. We use snowshoes to hike through the snowy landscape, allowing anyone to enjoy Hokkaido’s winter scenery. Out on, dry suits keep you dry and warm despite the freezing temperatures. Let us guide your once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Tour Highlights

  • Walk on the ice that has drifted all the way from Russia’s Amur River to Utoro, Shiretoko.
  • Take a nature cruise, with a chance to sight Steller’s sea eagles and White-tailed eagles off the Rausu coast.
  • Dive into the world of the Ainu; Walk in native forest with an Ainu guide, experience their food, music & dance at the Lake Akan Ainu settlement.
  • Venture into Japan’s eastern frontier, home to a trio of national parks: Shiretoko, Lakes Akan & Mashu, and Kushiro Shitsugen Wetland.

Who is this tour for?

  • Active travellers who enjoy walking for 3 to 5 hours a day.
  • Curious travellers who enjoy a mixture of activities & sightseeing and learning about the regions they visit.
  • Winter hikers & snow lovers interested in hiking in snow with the help of snowshoes (No prior experience required).
  • Adventurous travellers who enjoy rural hospitality staying in Japanese style accommodations with natural hot springs on site.

Tour Dates: 5-11 Feb 23, 19-25 Feb 23
Group size: 4-10 pax

Itinerary at a Glance
*B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner

Day 1 Meet your group in Abashiri City (D)
Day 2 Guided snowshoeing tour at Lake Kussharo (B, L, D)
Day 3 Guided drift ice walking tour in Utoro Shiretoko (B, L, D)
Day 4 Marine wildlife watching cruise in Rausu Shiretoko (B, L, D)
Day 5 Guided snowshoeing tour at Lake Mashu (B, L, D)
Day 6 Forest walk with Akan Ainu & crane watching in Tsurui (B, L, D)
Day 7 Transfer to Kushiro & farewells (B)

Itinerary (Subject to changes)

Day 1     Abashiri (Dinner)
1700 Meet your guide at our hotel near Abashiri JR Station in Abashiri, the largest city on Hokkaido’s eastern Okhotsk Sea coast. Once everyone joins, we will spend some time getting to know each other, introduce the programme for our upcoming adventure and then set off for a dinner in downtown Abashiri. For those who aren’t used to walking on icy roads, we will introduce you to the penguin-walking technique!

Overnight Hotel in Abashiri
Activities: Nil

Day 2 Lake Kussharo – Utoro (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast at the hotel, we head south for Lake Kussharo, where a flock of Whooper Swans spend the winter. Lake Kussharo, found in the Akan–Mashu National Park, is the largest caldera lake in Japan. In winter, nearly all of the lake’s surface is frozen, save for some parts of the shore where hot spring water bubbles up from underground. The swans flock to these hot water areas to have an onsen soak!

We will explore the lakeshore on snowshoes, hoping to spot avian visitors to the forest. Some birds commonly seen in the area are Woodpeckers, Tits, Eurasian Nuthatch and the Eurasian Jay. They will keep you busy with your binoculars. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch if the weather is favourable, otherwise, have lunch at a local cafe.

In afternoon, transfer to Utoro – a gateway town to the Shiretoko National Park. The national park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and we will call by the World Heritage information centre before checking in to our accommodation for the night.

Overnight Lodge in Utoro Shiretoko
Activities: Snowshoeing (2 hours)

Day 3 Ice Drifting – Rausu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Ready to wake up with a dip in the icy ocean? Well, this morning is all about that! The dry suits will keep us afloat, dry and warm; So don’t worry if you are not a good swimmer.

After breakfast at our hotel, we go meet our guides to receive safety instructions and get geared up to soak in the cold sea. We keep our normal winter clothes on, such as fleece and light down jacket, layered beneath our drysuits.

The exact location of our walk/swim depends on the locations of the ice on the day, which has drifted all the way south from the north of Sakhalin to the coast of Shiretoko. The drift ice is a natural phenomenon that can be seen on the Okhotsk coast every winter, generally from February to March. However, the scale of the ice has been observably shrinking in recent years due to climate change.

After lunch in Utoro we continue our journey to the fishery town of Rausu. In the evening, we visit an outdoor onsen hot spring, which is maintained by local volunteers passionate about hot spring bathing.

Overnight: Lodge in Rausu Shiretoko
Activity: Walking on the drift ice (1.5 hours)

Day 4 Nature Cruise – Yoroushi Onsen (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning we will take a cruise to explore the coastline on the Rausu side of Shiretoko. Renowned for its kombu seaweed and sea urchin, the peculiar submarine topography makes Rausu a prosperous fishing town. It’s not just humans that visit to fish though, the rich waters attract all sorts of wildlife and the local fishers have recently started to offer wildlife watching cruises.

After breakfast we set off for a 2.5-hour cruise with Shiretoko Nature Cruise. If we are lucky we will see Steller’s sea eagles, White-tailed eagles, Brunnich’s guillemots, and Steller sea lions. After the cruise and lunch in downtown Rausu, we continue our journey to Yoroushi Onsen.

It’s not just hot spring visitors who come to Yoroushi Onsen. A few Blakiston’s Fish Owls visit from time to time to feed in the river running behind the hotel. The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the largest owl in the world and has lived in Hokkaido’s forests for centuries. The Ainu people worship it as the kotan-kor-kamuy, the protector of the village.

While it is impossible to know when the owls turn up, the hotel has a comfortable viewing lounge where you can relax on comfortable sofas while you stay up and wait for their visit. When they arrive the large windows let you photograph them from the warm indoors. What else could you ask for!

Overnight: Ryokan in Yoroushi Onsen
Activity: Bird watching cruise (2.5 hours)

Day 5 Lake Mashu – Lake Akan onsen village (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After staying up late to wait for the appearance of the owls, wake yourself up with a soak in the hot springs. The onsen is open throughout the night into the morning at Yoroushi Onsen. Japanese visitors commonly take a bath before breakfast at these onsen retreats.

This morning we depart for the Lake Mashu lookout, where we walk with snowshoes along the outer rim of Mashu caldera. The lake is known as Misty Mashu for its mist and fog that frequently settle in the caldera, creating mystical landscapes. We take in the serene views of the surrounding nature covered in snow; before transferring to the Lake Akan onsen village.

After dinner in lodge, enjoy Ainu night concert at the Lake Akan Ainu Kotan (settlement) and appreciate the traditions presented by the Akan Ainu. Like many other indigenous cultures, the Ainu did not have forms of writing; their folklore is deeply embedded in songs and dances that vary from region to region.

Overnight: Hotel in Lake Akan Onsen
Activity: Snowshoeing (3 hours)

Day 6 Lake Akan – Tsurui village (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Forming part of the Akan–Mashu National Park, Lake Akan is a picturesque area to explore on foot, with volcanoes and native forests surrounding the caldera lake. We will venture into the forest guided by a local Ainu after breakfast in hotel. Our guide will teach us about Ainu history and their way of life living in harmony with nature.

Enjoy lunch at a restaurant run by a local Ainu family to experience the Ainu gastronomy before continue journey southwards to Tsurui village.

Tsurui is famous for the successful recovery of Tancho cranes, their population has regained to over 1,200 in the area surrounding Tsurui, with a reasonably high chance to see one even from the road. We visit the Ito Tancho Sanctuary to observe the cranes and learn about the community efforts which have contributed to their recuperation.

Our lodging tonight has unique Moor hot spring containing plant-derived organic substances. The Tancho gallery/bar in the annex makes a perfect setting to celebrate the final night together.

Overnight: Hotel in Tsurui
Activity: Snowshoeing (1.5 hours)

Day 7 Kushiro City (Breakfast)
For early birds and keen birders, we can get up before dawn to go out to see the Tancho crane’s morning takeoff from the Tancho nest in the river next to our lodging. They spend the night in a flock and leave all at the same time to feed.

After breakfast we bid farewell and drive about 1 hour to Kushiro City to complete the tour. We can drop you off at either Kushiro JR Station or Kushiro Airport between 10 am and 11 am.

Activity: None

7 Days Hokkaido Far East Wild Winter
Tour Code: JPN-AHFEWW07
Tour Dates: 5-11 Feb 23, 19-25 Feb 23
Group size: 4-10 pax

LAND Price per person in SGD :

Pax 4-5 6-10
Cost
Twin 4608 4138
Single 4988 4478

Price is subject to changes without prior notice

Please contact us for customize private rate.

LAND Price includes

  • 6 nights Accommodation with ensuite bathroom as per itinerary
  • Meals (6 breakfast, 5 lunch, 6 dinner)
  • Transportation to all the sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities as indicated and admission fees and rides as per itinerary
  • English speaking guide
  • Rental of Snowshoes and poles
  • First aid kit support
  • Safety equipment

Price excludes

  • All airfare + taxes
  • All train tickets
  • Other transport not mentioned
  • All other meals not mentioned
  • All other entrance fees not mentioned
  • Travel insurance
More Information

All of the information provided, which does not relate directly to that which is included in the price of the trip, must be checked and X-Trekkers cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in the supplementary information provided.

This Tour is FOR:

  • Active travellers who enjoy walking for 3 to 5 hours a day.
  • Curious travellers who enjoy a mixture of activities & sightseeing and learning about the regions they visit.
  • Winter hikers & snow lovers interested in hiking in snow with the help of snowshoes (No prior experience required).
  • Adventurous travellers who enjoy rural hospitality staying in Japanese style accommodations with natural hot springs on site.

ACCOMMODATION
DAY 1 Hotel in Abashiri with Ensuite bathroom
DAY 2 Lodge in Utoro Shiretoko with Ensuite bathroom and Onsen spa
DAY 3 Lodge in Rausu Shiretoko with Ensuite bathroom
DAY 4 Ryokan in Yoroushi Onsen with Ensuite bathroom and Onsen spa
DAY 5 Hotel in Lake Akan Onsen with Ensuite bathroom and Onsen spa
DAY 6 Hotel in Tsurui with Ensuite bathroom and Onsen spa

FOOD

Dnner on D1 to breakfast on D7.

GUIDE

Qualified mountain & local guide, recognised by the Japan state.

GROUP
Private group from 4 to 10 people, subject to availability.
Join-In Group 4-10 people.
Exceptionally, the group may include one more person, for example if a couple comes to register when there is only one place left, or in the event of simultaneous registrations.

START / END

MEETING POINT: Day 1 5:00 pm at our hotel in Central Abashiri.

Upon booking, please let us know your travel plans, so we can assist you with more concrete transportation plans to get yourself to our first night hotel. You can check in after 3:00 pm if you are arriving earlier than our meeting time.

END OF THE TRIP: Day 7 Kushiro, Hokkaido either the train station or airport

Extend your stay
Upon request we can book additional nights before or after the trip. Please note these bookings are non-refundable and the terms and conditions of the hotel apply.

Check your Essentials

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Cash in Japanese yen. Small restaurants and shops in rural parts of Japan do not accept credit cards. Lunch in general costs 1,000-1,500 yen and dinner 2,000-3,000 yen. You can withdraw cash from an ATM at a post office and 7-eleven convenience stores.
  • Gears for Japan Winter Hiking Tour
Getting There

Arrival
By Plane to Abashiri Memanbetsu (MMB)
You can fly directly from Tokyo Haneda (HND), Tokyo Narita (NRT), Sapporo New Chitose (CTS) and Sapporo Okadama (OKD).

From the Abashiri Memanbetsu Airport, Airport shuttles depart for Central Abashiri with the arrival of every domestic flight. The shuttle takes 26 mins from the Airport to the Abashiri JR Station, and costs ¥920 per person.

By Train (Japan Railway, abbr. JR)
By Train between Sapporo and Abashiri
You can search train timetable in English on Japan Transit Planner website.
It takes 5.5 hours and costs just over ¥10,000 for a non-reserved seat.

Our hotel is within walking distance from the Station.

Contact Us

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