Experience Japan’s remarkable winter festivals, travelling from Sapporo to Otaru, Asahikawa and Sounkyo
Be entranced by winter in Japan. Experience the sensational Sapporo Snow Festival, be awestruck by the size of snow sculptures and watch the soft lantern light cast its magic over festivalgoers in Otaru. Explore picturesque landscapes, don some snowshoes for a wintery walk and sample some of the region’s finest beers and sakes as you enjoy an adventure of natural, cultural and artistic delights that celebrates the splendour of Japan’s far north.
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Winter is a beautiful time of year to explore Japan. The streets are lit up at night and blanketed in snow, the markets are bustling a piping hot bowl of ramen tastes especially good when it is below zero outside!
This is a brief but fun packed trip that gets the most out of the northern region of Hokkaido in a relatively short amount of time.
The Sapporo Ice and Snow Festival is world famous for its huge and elaborate sculptures. Make sure you get your camera out and have your batteries charged as you will take far more photos than you expected!
The picturesque Snow Light Path Festival in Otaru is a true winter experience. Stroll along the river, gathering around the glowing snow mounds and under lantern light.
Warm up after your winter wanderings with visits to some of Japan's best-known breweries and whiskey distilleries.
You will easily surpass your 10,000 steps a day on this trip, in fact most travellers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places on foot! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.
While heating inside buildings and trains is cosy, it gets very cold in Japan at this time of year (well below zero), so it's important to be prepared with warm clothes and waterproof shoes suitable for walking on ice and snow.
The festivals attended on this adventure are super popular with both foreign and domestic tourists so you can expect to be mingling with crowds as you enjoy the festivities together.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Japan Winter Festivals trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
2. This trip does not include a Japan Rail Pass. You will need to buy your own train tickets for any independent rail travel you wish to do in Japan.
3. Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional tour leader sources. As a result our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may be local Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.
4. We are currently unable to book pre or post tour accommodation at our start & finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through an online booking engine if you are planning to stay longer in Japan.
Our Japan Winter Festivals trips score an average of 4.71 out of 5 based on 7 reviews in the last year.
Had such a wonderful time on my first ever tour. Meeting people, experiencing things that I never thought I would do, and loving every moment. Not herded about with time to wander by yourself if you want. If the tour does recommend a certain type of clothing, heed the advice. You'll be more comfortable for it.
Review submitted 11 Mar 2018
Pack windproof ski layers and buy/bring ice grips worn over shoes or boots. Many hotels actually have laundromat facilities.
Review submitted 15 Feb 2018