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2023 HOKKAIDO ICE & SNOW WINTER FESTIVALS

(featuring seven winter festivals in Hokkaido)

February 8 - 17, 2023 (10 Days & 8 Nights)

Haneda, Chitose, Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival , Otaru, Sakaimachi Dori, Music Box Hands-on-Activity, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi , Sapporo (1 night), Susukino Ice Festival, Ramen Yokocho, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, Asahikawa, Asahikawa Winter Festival, Asahikawa Heiwa-dori Kaimono Koen Otokoyama Sake Brewery, Sounkyo Gorge, Sounkyo Hyobaku Ice Festival Abashiri, Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum, Lake Akan Snow Activities, Akan International Crane Center Tokachigawa, Hakucho Matsuri (Sairinka), Soba Making Hands-on-Activity, Sapporo (2 nights), Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Kaitaku Kinenkan, Shiroi Koibito Theme Park, Chitose, Haneda 

$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit of $100 per person received by 9/1/2022 )

 

LAND TOUR COST: 
$ 2,675 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
$ 525 per person
 
(Group airfare to be advised when available) (Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
 

Wednesday, February 8 (Day 01) 

HONOLULU to HANEDA to CHITOSE

Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the check-in lobby at the airport for check-in procedures for our flight to Haneda International Airport. Lunch and a snack will be served on board the flight. After completing entry and customs formalities at Haneda  Airport, we will transfer to check-in for our domestic flight to Chitose in Hokkaido, the second largest and northernmost island of Japan.  

 

Thursday, February 9 (Day 02) 

ARRIVE CHITOSE  

We’ll arrive Chitose Airport in the evening, then transfer to our hotel to check-in for the night. 

Accommodations at CHITOSE AIR TERMINAL HOTEL or similar

 

Friday, February 10 (Day 03) 

CHITOSE - LAKE SHIKOTSU - OTARU (B)(D)

We’ll travel to picturesque Lake Shikotsu, Japan’s northernmost ice-free caldera lake to visit the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival (subject to confirmation of opening date). Enjoy strolling through this fantastic world of ice with various snow and ice sculptures lined nearby the lake. We’ll continue on to spend the night in historic Otaru, a charming and romantic port city best known for the iconic Otaru Canal, beautifully restored with old-fashioned gas lamps and preserved stone warehouses, providing a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. Enjoy strolling along Sakaimachi Dori, the main shopping street featuring a variety of sweet shops, glassware shops, and cafes. At the end of the street is a Music Box Museum featuring a huge selection of elegant and unique music boxes. In front of the entrance of the museum stands an old-fashioned steam clock presented to Otaru by the city of Vancouver,  British Columbia. Enjoy a hands-on-activity to decorate a music box to take home as a  souvenir in a music box workshop. 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 ‘Sa Shi Su Se So’, an outlet shop specializing in elegant soy sauce bottles. Subject to confirmation of the opening date of the festival in Otaru, we’ll visit the Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi (Otaru Snow Light Path Festival) in the Unga Kaijo area located along the Otaru Canal. The combination of the snowy town, illuminated candles,  and glittering lanterns create a romantic and scenic winter spectacle. Dinner will be provided for you this evening. 

Accommodations at AUTHENT HOTEL OTARU or similar

 

Saturday, February 11 (Day 04) 

OTARU - SAPPORO (B)

We’ll continue on to spend the night in Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido, best known for its ramen, beer, and the annual winter festival. One of the main highlight during the winter season in Hokkaido is visiting the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, the largest and most popular winter festival in Hokkaido. Centered on Odori Park, hundreds of spectacular snow sculptures and statues of all sizes are exhibited here, including a huge snow sculpture used primarily 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 beautifully illuminated with colored lights, providing a breathtaking sight.  We’ll visit Susukino, a lively entertainment district of Sapporo - home to hundreds of bars,  restaurants, and nightclubs. Susukino also hosts its own spectacular winter event - the  Susukino Ice Festival. Featured along the main street are hundreds of intricately 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 offering a  variety of delicious Sapporo ramen. Dinner will be on your own this evening. Our hotel is located adjacent to the train station with many restaurants to select for your dinner option. 

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

 

Sunday, February 12 (Day 05) 

SAPPORO - ASAHIKAWA (B)(D

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 (subject to confirmation of the opening date) 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 enjoy a stroll through Asahikawa Heiwa-dori Kaimono-koen, Asahikawa’s main pedestrian-only street lined with restaurants, shops and department stores. The main highlight is an international ice sculpture competition where teams from all over the world compete to create extraordinary ice carvings. Hokkaido has the ideal climate and water conditions to produce superior sake. For sake enthusiasts, we’ll visit the Otokoyama Sake Brewery & Museum, featuring exhibits and displays of the tools utilized to observe the step-by-step process of sake production. At the conclusion of the tour, some of their delicious products will be available for you to sample and enjoy. We’ll spend the night in Asahikawa, Hokkaido’s second largest city. Dinner will be provided for you this evening. 

Accommodations at ART HOTEL ASAHIKAWA or similar

 

Monday, February 13 (Day 06) 

ASAHIKAWA SOUNKYO GORGE - ABASHIRI (B)(D)

Daisetsu-zan is the largest of Japan’s national park and contains the very essence of rugged Hokkaido: vast plains, soaring mountain peaks, hidden gorges, cascading waterfalls, forests, and wilderness. The main route through the park is Sounkyo  Gorge - a scenic ravine that extends into the park. The gorge is renowned for its picturesque waterfalls featuring two of the main ones: 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 make a photo stop to view both of these falls which are frozen during this time of the year, creating an awesome sight. Subject to confirmation of the opening date, enjoy a visit of the Sounkyo Hyobaku Ice Festival, a fantastic world of ice featuring spectacular man-made ice sculptures, fascinating ice caves, pillars, domes, and tunnels lined along the riverbed of the Ishikari River. 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. We’ll visit the Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum located on Mount Ten to, 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. This evening, enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs at our onsen hotel. 

Accommodations at ABASHIRI KOSO or similar

 

Tuesday, February 14 (Day 07) 

ABASHIRI - LAKE AKAN - TOKACHIGAWA ONSEN (B)(D)

We’ll continue on to Lake Akan, a beautiful crater lake in Akan National Park. On the frozen surface of the lake, experience and enjoy some of the outdoor winter activities offered: snowmobile rides, smelt ice fishing, ice skating and exciting banana boat rides (at own expense). We’ll visit the Akan International Crane Center, a breeding center and sanctuary dedicated to red-crested Japanese cranes (tancho). These cranes represent longevity and we’ll be able to view some of these cranes as they roam about in the facility. The museum features interesting exhibits about the history and ecology of these endangered species. We’ll continue on to spend the night in Tokachigawa, a region noted for its golden-brown onsen waters and breathtaking scenery of the Tokachi Plains. The Tokachi River creates rare botanical-based moor hot springs, known as ‘hot springs for beauty’ and is known to provide shelter to thousands of migratory graceful swans. In the evening, (subject to confirmation of the opening date) we’ll visit the Hakucho Matsuri (Sairinka Festival), a festival based on the theme of hundreds of white swans that fly to Tokachigawa Onsen. Attractions at the festival features a laser show and a view of hundreds of colorful LED  lights illuminating the snowy grounds - creating a majestic sight. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot spring waters of our onsen hotel this evening. 

Accommodations at HOTEL DAIHEIGEN or similar

 

Wednesday, February 15 (Day 08) 

TOKACHIGAWA - SAPPORO (B)(L)(D)

Soba is the Japanese name for a thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Enjoy a hands-on-activity to knead, roll, and cut your own soba . Enjoy tasting your own creation as you slurp the delicious noodles together with a dipping sauce for lunch.  We’ll continue on to spend our last two nights in Sapporo. On arrival, we’ll 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. Currently, it is used primarily as a training facility for athletes at Nordic events. Weather permitting,  we’ll ride on a chairlift to the top of the observation deck to enjoy spectacular views of Sapporo city. You’ll experience the same view as the ski jumpers as they sit on the plank preparing to fly in the sky. We may be fortunate enough to see some skiers practicing their jumping skills. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at a local restaurant. 

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

 

Thursday, February 16 (Day 09) 

SAPPORO (B)

This morning, we’ll visit Kaitaku Kinenkan (The Historical Museum of Hokkaido), an interesting museum located in the Nopporo  Forest Park. The museum features well-presented exhibits that document the history of Hokkaido with artifacts and fossils throughout the region, including exhibits of the fascinating Ainu culture. Enjoy a visit of the Shiroi Koibito Park, a large theme park operated by  Ishiya, a popular local cookie company in Sapporo. The company’s flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookies - two thin butter cookies with a layer of white chocolate in between - one of the most popular souvenirs to bring home from Hokkaido. Subject to availability, we’ll observe the cookie production in the factory through large glass windows. Dinner will be on your own this evening. Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

 

Friday, February 17 (Day 10) 

SAPPORO - CHITOSE to HANEDA to HONOLULU (B)

The morning is at your leisure to do some last-minute shopping in the underground mall located near our hotel. We’ll transfer to Chitose Airport in the afternoon to check-in for our domestic flight to Haneda Airport. On arrival, we’ll transfer by shuttle bus to the  Haneda International Terminal for our evening flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line.  

Land portion based on 120 Yen = $1.00 U.S.

 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 6/1/2022. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, additional fuel surcharges 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.

2023 Tour Registration Form

2023 General Conditions & Addendum (Japan/International)