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February 3 - 11, 2014 (9 days and 7 nights)

** Guaranteed Departure **

(deposit must be made by 08/15/2014)

 Narita, Chitose, Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, Sapporo (2 nights), Susukino Ice Festival, Ramen Yokocho, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, Otaru, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Asahi Brewery, Asahikawa Winter Festival, Heiwa-dori, Otokoyama Sake Brewery, Sounkyo Gorge, Sounkyo Hyobaku Ice Festival, Abashiri, Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum, Abashiri Ice Breaker Boat Cruise, Lake Akan, Shiraoi Porotokan, Noboribetsu, Jigokudani (Hell Valley), Chitose, Haneda

$ 4,095 per person
$ 450 per person
$ 2,895 per person
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
Tuesday, February 3 (Day 01)
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the check-in lobby at the airport for baggage check-in procedures for our flight to Narita International Airport. Lunch and a snack will be served on board the flight. After completing entry and customs formalities at Narita Airport, we will transfer to check-in for our domestic flight to Chitose in Hokkaido, the second largest and northernmost island of Japan.

Wednesday, February 4 (Day 02)
We'll arrive Chitose Airport in the evening, then transfer to our hotel located in the airport terminal to check-in for the night.

Accommodations at CHITOSE AIR TERMINAL HOTEL or similar

Thursday, February 5 (Day 03)
This morning, we'll travel to picturesque Lake Shikotsu, Japan's northernmost ice-free caldera lake - part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Lined along the shores of the lake, enjoy strolling through a fantastic world of ice featuring various snow and ice sculptures at the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival. We'll continue on to spend two nights in Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido, best-known for ramen, beer, and the annual snow festival. We'll travel to Susukino, a lively entertainment district of Sapporo - home to hundreds of bars, restaurants, and night clubs. During the annual winter festival in Sapporo, Susukino also hosts its own spectacular winter event - the Susukino Ice Festival. Featured along the main street are hundreds of intricate hand carved ice sculptures created by various artisans and business establishments. Susukino is also noted for Ramen Yokocho, a narrow alley lined with many small shops serving a variety of delicious Sapporo ramen. This afternoon, we'll visit the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, the largest winter festival in Hokkaido and one of Japan's most popular winter event. Centered on Odori Park, hundreds of spectacular large and small snow statues are exhibited here, including a huge snow sculpture used to host concerts and events. Created by various artisans, each block displays its own individual creation, turning Odori Park into a fabulous winter dreamland. In the evenings, the festival venue is a breathtaking sight to see, beautifully illuminated with colored lights. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at a local restaurant.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Friday, February 6 (Day 04)
This morning, we'll travel to historic Otaru, a charming and romantic port city located in western Hokkaido facing Ishikari Bay. A well-known symbol of the city is the historic Otaru Canal. Beautifully restored with old-fashioned gas lamps and preserved stone warehouses, it provides a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. Enjoy strolling through Sakaimachi Dori, a preserved merchant street featuring many shops, museums and cafes. Featured at the southern end of the street is a Music Box Museum with a wide variety of elegant music boxes. Standing in front of the building is an old-fashioned steam clock, presented to Otaru by the city of Vancouver. Otaru is also noted for its intricate glassware - featuring its most popular item - a drip-free soy sauce bottle. Created in all sizes, shapes and colors, you'll find them available at many of the glassware shops in Otaru. We'll continue on to visit the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, a ski jumping venue located on the eastern slope of Mt. Okura. The stadium has hosted a number of winter sports events, including the 1972 Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2007. Currently, it is used primarily as a training facility for athletes at Nordic events. Hokkaido is noted as the birthplace of beer in Japan and this afternoon, we'll visit the Asahi Brewery - a leading brewery and soft drink company in Hokkaido. Enjoy an interesting guided tour to observe the process of beer production. At the conclusion of the tour, some of their delicious products will be available for you to sample in the tasting room. This evening, dinner will be on your own to try some local cuisine at one of the restaurants in the underground shopping mall located near the hotel.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Saturday, February 7 (Day 05)
We'll continue on our journey, traveling northeast to Asahikawa, a city located in the heart of the Daisetsu mountain range. Discover a fantasyland of snow and ice sculptures displayed on a beautiful white snowfield at the spectacular Asahikawa Winter Festival, Hokkaido's second largest winter festival. Located on the banks of the Ishikari River, the centerpiece of the festival is a magnificent giant snow sculpture, created with a different theme every year. This huge sculpture is primarily used as a stage for concerts, events, and for the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival. We'll visit an international ice sculpture competition held at Heiwa-dori (pedestrian street), where international teams from all over the world compete to create extraordinary ice carvings. Hokkaido has the ideal climate and water conditions necessary to produce superior sake. At the Otokoyama Sake Brewery, observe the step-by-step process of sake production with interesting displays, photos, and exhibits. At the conclusion of the tour, samples of some of their delicious products will be available for you to enjoy. Our travel continues on to Sounkyo, a hot spring resort nestled in the center of Sounkyo Valley located in Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest of Japan's national parks. Enjoy dinner and relax in our onsen hotel located nearby the breathtaking Sounkyo Hyobaku (Ice Waterfall) Festival. In the evenings, the festival site is beautifully illuminated with colored lights.

Accommodations at SOUNKYO CHOYOTEI HOTEL or similar

Sunday, February 8 (Day 06)
In the morning, we'll visit the Sounkyo Hyobaku Festival, a fantastic world of ice featuring spectacular man-made ice sculptures, fascinating ice caves, pillars, domes, and tunnels lined on the riverbed of the Ishikari River. We'll continue on to Sounkyo Gorge, a spectacular gorge extending along the Ishikari River and renowned for its impressive waterfalls. We'll make a photo stop to view two of the most picturesque falls - Ryusei-no-taki (Shooting Star Falls) and Ginga-no-taki (Milky Way Falls) - both selected as two of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan. We'll continue on to spend the night in Abashiri, an important local port city located in Okhotsk sub-prefecture on the northern coast of Hokkaido. Abashiri is best known as the site of Japan's first maximum security prison and for its drift ice in the winter season. We'll visit the Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum located on Mount Tento, a hands-on science center providing interesting information about the history of sea drift ice (ryu-hyo) that floes into the Sea of Okhotsk from Russia. Experience walking through a room with freezing temperatures while swaying a wet towel that freezes as you exit the room. Time permitting and subject to availability, enjoy a fun and exciting outdoor snow activity at this site. This evening, enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs at our onsen hotel.

Accommodations at ABASHIRI KOSO or similar

Monday, February 9 (Day 07)
Weather permitting, enjoy an exciting adventure as we board the 'Aurora' - a special purpose sightseeing boat designed to move and navigate through ice covered waters, crushing the drift ice that floes into the Sea of Okhotsk. The incredible vibrations and crushing sounds as we cruise on the North Hokkaido Sea is an experience you'll never forget. We may even be lucky enough to see white-tailed eagles and some seals along the way. We'll continue on to Lake Akan, a beautiful crater lake in Akan National Park. Two volcanic mountains - Mt. Oakan (Male Mountain) and Mt. Meakan (Female Mountain) compliment the scenery around the lake. Lake Akan is also home to marimo, a rare green algae species, designated as a National Special Natural Monument. On the frozen surface of Lake Akan, experience and enjoy some of the outdoor winter activities offered such as snowmobile rides, smelt ice fishing, ice skating, and exciting banana-boat rides (at own expense). We'll continue on to spend the night at our elegant onsen hotel in Tokachigawa. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at TOKACHIGAWA DAIICHI HOTEL or similar

Tuesday, February 10 (Day 08)
Our journey continues on to the town of Shiraoi, visiting Porotokotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu village. Exhibits and artifacts are displayed in the museum relating to the history, culture and lifestyle of the Ainu people. Enjoy a traditional Ainu song and dance performance performed in a chise (Ainu home) by some of the villagers. One of them will demonstrate how to play the mukkur, a kind of mouth harp made of a piece of thin-shaved bamboo with a thread attached to it - creating a strange, resonating sound. We'll travel on to spend the night in Noboribetsu, one of Hokkaido's famous hot spring resort, beautifully surrounded by forested hills - part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Before checking into our hotel, we'll visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a spectacular ravine located just above the town of Noboribetsu Onsen. Displays of hot steam vents, sulfurous streams, and other volcanic activity can be viewed at this magnificent site - the main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring waters. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our fabulous onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at NOBORIBETSU GRAND HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, February 11 (Day 09)
The morning is free to relax or enjoy a stroll through the shops in the town of Noboribetsu. In the afternoon, we'll proceed to the Chitose Airport to check-in for our flight to Haneda Airport. On arrival at the airport, we'll transfer to the Haneda International Terminal to board our flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A meal will be served on board the flight.


Map of Tour Itinerary

The tour price is based on double occupancy and a minimum group size of 20 passengers. Fare adjustment may apply for groups of 20 or under. The rate is based on tariffs and exchange rates effective 6/1/14. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, fuel surcharge increase and fluctuation of the rate of exchange between U.S. and foreign currency. In the event of revaluation, the land portion of the tour price may be adjusted prior to your final statement.

Land portion based on 102 Yen = $1.00 U.S.