Trip reference number: 12492

Trip Operator: Wildlife Worldwide

Japan’S Winter Wildlife

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Highlights of this spectacular winter trip include views of Japan’s most famed wildlife: flocks of Steller’s sea eagles, Japanese cranes, Blakiston’s fish owl, and Japanese macaques bathing in hot springs.

Hokkaido, Japan's most northerly island, is covered with snow, the rivers frozen over, and the wintry countryside graced by the stately Japanese crane, with its elaborate courtship rituals. Along the rugged coastline we search for seabirds in the many bays and inlets, and at the fishing village of Rausu find Steller's sea eagles, attracted by the cold, rich waters of the Okhotsk Sea. We also search the snowy woodlands for another rarity, Blakiston's fish owl, which hunts along the riverbanks. 

On return to Tokyo, we stay overnight so can see something of the frenetic pace of city life before taking a shinkansen – bullet train – northwest to Nagano, to enjoy the iconic sight of Japanese macaques a.k.a. snow monkeys bathing in natural hot springs at Jigokudani (Hell's Valley). 

No visit to Japan would be complete without savouring the country's extraordinary cultural richness, so in Nagano we visit one of the country's foremost religious sites, the temple of Zenko-ji, which houses the very first statue of Buddha brought from India. During our stay we experience many of Japan's customs and traditions for ourselves: our accommodation includes a traditional Japanese ryokans (inns), we bathe Japanese-style in onsen (natural hot springs), and enjoy the country's legendary cuisine. 

If you are interested in a trip dedicated to photographing snow monkeys, red-crowned cranes and more, we also offer our Japan's Winter Wildlife Photography Special with photographer Bret Charman.

Typical itinerary

The full itinerary detail is available on our website.

  1. Day 1: Depart UK
  2. Day 2: Arrive Tokyo & fly to Hokkaido; drive to Kawayu via Tsrurumi-dai & Lake Kussharo
  3. Day 3: Kawayu; visit Tsurui Crane Sanctuary
  4. Day 4: Drive to Rausu
  5. Day 5: In Rausu
  6. Day 6: Drive to Yoroushi
  7. Day 7: Drive to Lake Furen & continue to Kushiro; fly to Tokyo
  8. Day 8: Shinkansen to Nagano & transfer to Yamanouchi
  9. Day 9: Yamanouchi: visit to see Japanese macaques
  10. Day 10: Drive to Nagano & visit Zenko-ji; shinkansen to Tokyo
  11. Day 11: Fly to the UK

Please note: Most of our hotels have western-style rooms with private bathroom; on Hokkadio we stay in ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), which have a futon laid on the floor, rather than a bed.

  • Available*: Jan to Mar
  • Group size: 12
  • Price including flights from/to UK: From £5,595 pp
  • Price excluding international flights: From £5,095 pp
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return bullet train between Tokyo and Nagano
    • 2 nights hotel in Tokyo
    • 5 nights hotel/ryokan on Hokkaido
    • 2 nights ryokan in Yamanouchi
    • Most meals
    • Transfers
    • Entrance fees to parks & reserves
  • Activities available:
    • Boat trip
    • Culture
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Snowshoeing
    • Walking


This is a group trip with fixed departure dates. Please refer to our website for further information.

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown

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