Wildlife and Cultural Adventure in a Wintery World

Japan: Snow Monkeys and Winter Cranes

Japan

11 Days

Call for Pricing

Overview

    Contact Us Download Itinerary

    Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

    Overview

    Wild monkeys soaking in geothermal pools, graceful cranes preening and “dancing” on snowy rivers, whooper swans gliding on icy lakes, the snow sculptures of Sapporo—this is the natural winter world of Japan. We head to the Japanese Alps to watch snow monkeys (Japanese macaques) as they blissfully soak in bubbling mineral springs deep in the forest (we'll enjoy soaks of our own at our traditional hot-springs inn). In Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, we join in the fun and food of the Sapporo Snow Festival, where huge snow sculptures line the streets. At the great Kushiro Marsh, Japan's largest wetland reserve, we'll see flocks of red-crested cranes, the symbol of Japan. Journeying to Lake Akan National Park, with its caldera lakes, we'll witness Ainu culture with traditional dances. Most nights we'll stay in ryokans, where a hot soak at the end of the day will feel particularly good in the winter! A highlight of any visit to Japan is its superb cuisine, and we sample both familiar and new dishes, plus winter specialties such as yosenabe (“hot pot,” often cooked right at the table), along with Hokkaido's bounty of amazing seafood. Japan is a new world in many ways in winter—get out your winter boots and warm parka and join us!

    Arrive: Tokyo, Japan

    Depart: Sapporo, Japan

    Highlights

    • Get a fascinating insider perspective on Japanese culture
    • See the famous “snow monkeys” of Japan's Alps and the red-crested cranes and whooper swans of Hokkaido
    • Join in the fun of the Sapporo Snow Festival, see the Snow Light Path Festival in Otaru
    • Enjoy cozy traditional ryokans, a great way to experience Japanese life

    Overview

      Contact Us Download Itinerary

      Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

      Itinerary

      Download Itinerary Expand All Days
      From Tokyo, the “bullet train” takes us up to Nagano and we head up to the ancient hot springs town of Yudanaka in the Japanese Alps. The mineral springs where the Japanese macaques reside is just a short walk from our inn. We'll enjoy watching and photographing these fascinating creatures as they play, groom, and bathe in the springs.
      Flying to the lovely city of Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido, we join in the fun of the annual Snow Festival, with its giant snow and ice sculptures, intricately carved and lit at night.
      In Hokkaido's scenic countryside, we head for the Kushiro Marsh, home to half the world's population of red-crested cranes (known as tancho in Japanese). We'll witness their famous courtship dances as we explore the sanctuary and marshlands where they reside. An optional dawn viewing is a special treat, and we'll take a canoe trip through the marshland to view birds and other wildlife.
      The spectacular crater lake of Akan is the site of an Ainu cultural center, and we'll see the traditional dances held at the lake. At Lake Kussharo, flocks of wintering whooper swans gather here to feed around the shallows and we'll be able to see these beautiful white birds in the hundreds, along with possible red foxes and sea eagles.
      After our Farewell Dinner and overnight in Sapporo, we depart on homeward flights.

      Dates & Pricing

      Pricing below is per person and based on double occupancy. The earlier you book, the more choice you’ll have. WT also has the most generous cancellation and transfer policies in the industry, we make it easy if you change your mind. Have a small group of your own? Take over an existing date or choose your own. You’ll have your own private guide–and the adventure–all to yourselves!

      Payment & Cancel Schedule

      $600 due at time of reservation
      90 days prior to departure: Balance

      Cancellation & Transfer Schedule

      Up to 91 days prior to departure: No Charge!
      61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
      46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
      45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

      Included
      • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
      • Accommodations in comfortable ryokans and hotels
      • All meals included except 8 lunches and 1 dinner as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      • All activities as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      • All ground transportation and baggage handling from meeting until departure
      Not Included
      • Travel to and from the arrival and departure location as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      • Additional hotel nights outside the trip's scheduled dates
      • Optional gratuities to Trip Leaders or staff
      • Optional travel insurance
      • Other expenses of a personal nature (some alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

      Accommodations

      Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

      Courtyard Marriott Ginza Hotel

      Tokyo, Japan

      Day 1 (1 night)

      The location of this hotel is its best selling point—it's within walking distance of all the Ginza shops and cafes as well as the Imperial Palace and a handful of subway stations. The guest rooms are on the small side, as is typical in Japan, but they are quiet and...

      Yudanaka Onsen Yoroduya

      Nagano, Japan

      Days 2-3 (2 nights)

      This stylish, traditional ryokan is conveniently located in the center of Yudanaka, just a short distance from where the snow monkeys have taken up residence. We stay in Japanese-style rooms with tatami mats and en-suite bathrooms, and the ryokan has plenty of soaking options, from open-air onsens to a traditional...

      Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo

      Sapporo, Japan

      Days 4-5 (2 nights)

      Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo looks like a piece of Vienna in Japan. The name Edelhof means "Manor House" in German, and the hotel does a fine job replicating the architecture and European ambience, with large rooms, an elegantly decorated lounge and dining area, and a nice spa. The hotel is...

      Kushiro Prince Hotel

      Kushiro, Japan

      Days 6-7 (2 nights)

      With a convenient location near the Kushiro Marsh, this hotel is perfect for exploring the area. The hotel's top-floor lounge has panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and serves three meals a day including a breakfast buffet, while the Skyroom's Japanese-style seating overlooks the garden. Comfortable guest rooms have city...

      Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings

      Kushiro, Japan

      Days 8-9 (2 nights)

      Set right near Lake Akan, this onsen hotel offers Western and Japanese style rooms. The main attraction of Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings are the two onsens that guests can enjoy. Gender-separate indoor and outdoor baths are perfect to unwind and relax in after a day's explorations.

      Hotel Nord Otaru

      Otaru, Japan

      Day 10 (1 night)

      Inspired by Italian design and situated next to a canal in the shopping district of Otaru, Hotel Nord is a peaceful hotel with clean rooms and nice bathrooms. Take a walk alongside the picturesque canal or enjoy a drink at the hotel bar overlooking the city.

      Trip Leaders

      Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please click on their profiles below.

      Lucy Whitehead

      View Profile

      What the Trip is Like

      The trip is rated a Level 2, Easy to Moderate, according to our trip grading system.
      Review Trip Level Details

      We will be walking on a possibly snowy pathway for about a mile each way to see the snow monkeys. Warm, waterproof boots are necessary for this, plus warm, waterproof jackets, gloves, and hats for our time in Hokkaido. Our day at the Sapporo Snow Festival is spent walking on possibly snowy or icy boulevards during the day as well as in the evening. We spend our time at Kushiro visiting crane sanctuaries, with some outdoor walking as well as a boat trip on an open raft on our trip through the marsh. Our time at Lake Akan includes an evening visit to the frozen lake festivities, again walking on icy, snowy roads. Though our days should see temperatures in the mid-30s, it can be quite cold in Hokkaido in the winter, with temperatures dropping to below freezing and even possibly to zero Fahrenheit. We travel by train and charter bus, so layers work well.

      Though not physically difficult in terms of hiking, this trip can be challenging in other ways. The possibly very cold weather (and possibility of rain instead of snow) can make things uncomfortable for those who are not dressed properly, and the weather can even cause us to change our plans. A flexible nature and readiness to absorb and enjoy the culture are necessary for enjoyment of this trip, but the rewards are many!

      Although not physically demanding, the trip will yield greater rewards if you are in good physical condition and able to stay on your feet for 6-7 hours per day. Please remember, we will be sleeping on futons and eating at floor level, so it is important that you are able to sit down on and get up off the floor without much difficulty.

      We could experience snowy or even blizzard conditions during the course of this journey, which may alter our plans. Be prepared with cold weather clothing and good warm snow boots with adequate tread for walking. Of course, bring an additional pair of shoes to change into for our hotel dinners. Slippers are provided at our inns. A daypack is useful for our day trips, as well as to carry and shed or add layers on our bus days. We carry our own bags through the stations, airports, and on and off the trains and buses. You must be able to handle your own luggage with ease.

      Japan is a blend of the traditional and modern, and our trip encompasses this unique mixture. We will stay at traditional ryokans as well as Japanese-style hotels. The quiet world of the ryokan is a venerable cultural institution—a way to experience a simple, timeless way of life. After being warmly welcomed, we trade our street shoes for slippers. Once inside, we remove our slippers as we step onto the finely woven tatami mats covering our sleeping room floors. Our rooms are spacious and pleasant with low tables and comfortable futon mattresses with quilts and blankets. Some of our rooms will have attached toilets; at other times, we share the "down the hall" facilities. Although a few ryokans have baths in the rooms, most have an ofuro (a Japanese-style bath). Note: Single travelers will share accommodations at the ryokans.

      Normally, a fresh cotton yukata (robe) is provided for each guest. These light kimonos can be worn anywhere in and around the ryokan and we often wear them to meals (make sure to wear the left side over the right). For many of our breakfasts and dinners, beautifully presented meals are served as we sit on the floor at low tables on our tatami mats. Please note that many of the meals at ryokans are already set menus.

      A highlight of any visit to Japan is its superb cuisine defined by fresh ingredients and artful presentation. We will have ample opportunity to sample both familiar and new dishes. We will sample many types of Japanese food, and usually the first "bite" is with our eyes, the presentation being a tantalizing array of fresh fish, beef, vegetables, tofu, miso soup and, of course, rice, all served on individual plates and bowls of exquisite sizes, patterns, and proportions. We eat with chopsticks and are usually seated at low tables on the floor. During our stay at ryokans, a set menu is offered for dinner. At some ryokans, you may choose between a Japanese breakfast of fish, rice, miso soup, tofu, vegetables, pickled condiments and tea, or a western breakfast consisting of eggs, toast, salad, and coffee. Many places, however, offer only Japanese food.

      You will have all lunches and some dinners on your own, allowing you ample opportunity to sample the endless variety of Japanese food. When we are traveling, we may try an obento (box lunch), and we sample the snack foods of Japan and/or get a bowl of udon, ramen, or soba (noodles) at one of the local spots. Napkins are not used except at western-style restaurants; bring your own handkerchief.

      Given our locations, and true in most of Japan, choices of foods are not given. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies please check with us before booking. Our typical dinner hour is 7:00 pm, although we may eat earlier to accommodate early rising days.

      Keep in mind that Japanese food is very different from what we are used to, and with the limited availability of American foods, your food intake will be a big part of the Japanese adventure.

      Please note that vegetarian options are available, but limited. Strict vegetarian diets, vegan diets, or gluten reduced diets will be difficult to accommodate due to the pervasiveness of the fish-based stock dashi and the use of soy sauce and miso in Japanese cuisine. Gluten free cuisine will not be available.

      In Japan, bathing is a time honored tradition, a relaxing daily event. While staying in our ryokans, we will bathe as the Japanese do—using the ofuro system. In separate men and women's sides, the custom is to wash and rinse before entering the ofuro, a large tub of hot water where we can sit back with legs extended, submerged to the neck (this trip is not for the very modest!). Early Shinto was a religion of cleanliness and purification. Ritualistic bathing began during this time and has been perfected over the centuries. Either as a divine imperative or a luxury, bathing in Japan has always been regarded as more than a hygienic chore. The ofuro is the perfect way to finish a hectic day of travel. After a relaxing bath, we gather for the evening meal.

      Client Testimonials

      "The trip to Hokkaido was wonderful. We had been waiting a long time to go on this trip and were not disappointed. A great itinerary, excellent trip leaders and plenty of cultural and wildlife experiences."

      Bob S.

      Half Moon Bay, CA

      Book your trip today

      Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!

      Itinerary

      Submit the form below to download itinerary

      Hidden

      Hidden


      Trip Levels

      With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.

      Level 1 – Easiest

      Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.

      Level 2 – Easy to Moderate

      Hotel nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea kayaking.

       

      Level 3 – Moderate

      Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.

      Level 4 – Moderate to Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-6 hours), mountainous terrain, significant elevation gains and losses (hiking up or down as much as 3,000 feet) on many days. Altitudes no greater than about 10,000 feet.

       

      Level 5 – Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.

      Level 6 – Very Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (5-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 10,000 feet, with some days ascending as high as 18,000 feet.

      {"trip":{"TripID":10449,"Trip_Code":"SNOWMONK","Trip_Name":"Japan: Snow Monkeys and Winter Cranes","TripYear":"2024","BrandName":"Wilderness Travel","BrandID":1,"Trip_Tag_Line":"see custom fields","Start_Location":"Tokyo, Japan","End_Location":"Sapporo, Japan","Number_Days":11,"Number_Nights":10,"DisplayOnWeb":true,"Book_On_Web":false,"Featured":false,"SpecialEvent":false,"BestSeller":false,"Short_Description":"Wild monkeys soaking in geothermal pools, graceful cranes preening and &#8220;dancing&#8221; on snowy rivers, whooper swans gliding on icy lakes, the snow sculptures of Sapporo&mdash;this is the natural winter world of Japan. We head to the Japanese Alps to watch snow monkeys (Japanese macaques) as they blissfully soak in bubbling mineral springs deep in the forest (we&#39;ll enjoy soaks of our own at our traditional hot-springs inn). In Hokkaido, Japan&#39;s northernmost island, we join in the fun and food of the Sapporo Snow Festival, where huge snow sculptures line the streets. At the great Kushiro Marsh, Japan&#39;s largest wetland reserve, we&#39;ll see flocks of red-crested cranes, the symbol of Japan. Journeying to Lake Akan National Park, with its caldera lakes, we&#39;ll witness Ainu culture with traditional dances. Most nights we&#39;ll stay in ryokans, where a hot soak at the end of the day will feel particularly good in the winter! A highlight of any visit to Japan is its superb cuisine, and we sample both familiar and new dishes, plus winter specialties such as <em>\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nyosenabe<\/em> (&#8220;hot pot,&#8221; often cooked right at the table), along with Hokkaido&#39;s bounty of amazing seafood. Japan is a new world in many ways in winter&mdash;get out your winter boots and warm parka and join us!","Long_Description":"","ActivityHighlight":"Walking, including some steep stairs, 6-7 hours a day, Japanese-style dining (sitting on floor)","TripType":"Small Group Adventure","HeaderImage":"","HeaderImageAltTag":"","ThumbnailImage":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/thumb-SNOWMONK-japanese-macaques-winter-hot-springs-yudanaka-012324.jpg","MapImage":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/snowmonk-map.jpg","MapImageAltTag":"","FloatingImage":"","VideoLink":"","GroupSize":"","tripURL":"https:\/\/wildernesstravel.com\/trip\/japan-winter-hokkaido-monkeys-cultural-tour","ThisYear_Year":"","ThisYear_PriceDetails":"","ThisYear_PriceDetails2":"","Price":"0","SingleSupplementPrice1":"0","SingleSupplementPrice2":"0","SingleSupplementPrice1Caption":"","SingleSupplementPrice2Caption":"","AirPrice":"0","AirPriceCaption":"","FeePrice1":"0","FeePrice2":"0","FeePrice3":"0","FeeName1":"","FeeName2":"","FeeName3":"","ShowNextYearsPrice":true,"NextYear_Year":"2025","NextYear_PriceDetails":"Please call for pricing","NextYear_PriceDetails2":"","PriceNextYear":"0","SingleSupplementPrice1NextYear":"0","SingleSupplementPrice2NextYear":"0","NextYearSingleSupplementPrice1Caption":"","NextYearSingleSupplementPrice2Caption":"","NextYearAirPriceCaption":"","AirPriceNextYear":"0","NextYearFeePrice1":"0","NextYearFeePrice2":"0","NextYearFeePrice3":"0","NextYearFeeName1":"","NextYearFeeName2":"","NextYearFeeName3":"","TripSavings":false,"TripSavingsDescription":"","VariablePricing":false,"PricingNoteTitle":"","PricingNotes":"","NewTrip":false,"MinAge":0,"TripRatingID":4,"TripRatingName":"2","TravelFromDate":"2022-01-01","TravelToDate":"2050-12-31","BookFromDate":"2022-01-01","BookToDate":"2050-12-31","EventID":26,"EventName":"","AccountingGroup":"Pacific","DepositRule":2,"DepositAmt":"600","FinalDays":90,"AutoConfirm":false,"AutoConfirmAmount":"0","PrivateAvailable":true,"OperationMonths":"","AccmRating":"","TripStatus":"Active"},"itinerary":[{"DayFrom":1,"DayTo":1,"Headline":"Tokyo","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Arrive in Tokyo and make your way to our accommodation, the Courtyard by Marriott Ginza Hotel. We gather for a Welcome Dinner and trip briefing this evening.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":2,"DayTo":2,"Headline":"Nagano \/ Yudanaka","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"<br>Taking the Shinkansen (&#8220;bullet train&#8221;) to Nagano, we meet our private bus and head up to the Japanese Alps and the town of Yudanaka, which has a hundred-year-long history as hot springs resort. We&#39;ll have the afternoon to explore this small town and perhaps enjoy a soak in our onsen&#39;s hot springs before dinner. Overnight at Yudanaka Onsen Yoroduya.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":3,"DayTo":3,"Headline":"Yudanaka \/ Jigokudani Monkey Park \/ Snow Monkeys","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"From our onsen, we catch a shuttle to a snowy forest path and walk one mile each way to reach Jigokudani, where about 100 wild-living Japanese macaques have taken up residence around the natural hot springs. Jigokudani means &#8220;Hells Valley,&#8221; a name given to this region for its volcanic steam vents and sulphurous streams that naturally heat the spring water. In winter, the valley is usually snow-covered. We spend the morning watching, learning, and taking photos of these fascinating creatures as they bathe, swim, groom, and scamper around in groups. The monkeys are picturesque, dusted with snow and enjoying the warmth of the hot spring in the winter landscape. They are accustomed to seeing people and are easy to photograph. We return to town for lunch, with an optional afternoon return to Jigokudani Monkey Park, or time to soak in our onsens ourselves. Overnight in ryokan.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":4,"DayTo":4,"Headline":"Hokkaido \/ Sapporo","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Returning to Nagano and heading to Tokyo via train, we fly to Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan&#39;s main islands. Sapporo is a lovely city of parks, galleries, brew pubs, and a creative restaurant scene. Its annual snow festival was begun in 1950 and today is an international winter attraction. Overnight at the Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo, a Western-style hotel in Sapporo.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":5,"DayTo":5,"Headline":"Sapporo Snow Festival","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Sapporo Snow Festival<br>We spend the whole day seeing the spectacular sights of the festival and joining in the fun and magic of this event. Giant snow and ice sculptures, intricately carved and colorfully lit at night, line the streets and parks, and a festive atmosphere prevails. Beautiful Odori Park, which runs the length of the central Sapporo, features the festival's famously large snow sculptures, some more than three stories tall. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":6,"DayTo":6,"Headline":"Kushiro \/ Kushiro Marsh \/ Red-Crested Cranes","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"A train journey carries us across Hokkaido&#39;s scenic countryside of birch forests and small towns to Kushiro, a port city and site of the Kushiro Marsh, home of the red-crested crane, the beloved symbol of Japan. We delight in the opportunity to see and learn about these birds and efforts at their preservation. More than half the world&#39;s population of red-crested cranes visits this reserve, and we witness their famous courtship dances as we explore the sanctuaries and marshlands. Red-crested cranes (known as \"tancho\" in Japanese) stand nearly five feet tall, with a wingspan of eight feet. Our overnight will be at Kushiro Prince Hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":7,"DayTo":7,"Headline":"Kushiro Marsh \/ Crane Viewing","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"After breakfast, we&#39;ll head to the Toro Nature Center for a canoe\/raft trip through the marsh, a great way to view birds and other wildlife, and we&#39;ll make an afternoon visit to crane sites. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":8,"DayTo":8,"Headline":"Kushiro \/ Akan \/ Ainu Festival","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Early risers can go to a bridge overlooking a river where the cranes wake at sunrise, a great chance for photography. Lake Akan is a spectacular crater lake that is frozen in winter. We&#39;ll explore its crane-viewing sites and visit the small festival held on the lake by the Ainu people, Japan&#39;s indigenous people. They have established a cultural center here, with traditional dances held nightly, and we&#39;ll see the dances on one of our evenings. We stay at a ryokan-style hotel at Lake Akan, enjoying the hot baths and local food for both dinner and breakfast in this location, our most remote lodging. The food in Hokkaido is fresh from the sea, with local meats, and a variety of vegetables. Warm stews, noodle soups, and pickles and pickled vegetables are common fare in the winter season. Overnight at an onsen (hot springs inn) on Lake Akan.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":9,"DayTo":9,"Headline":"Lake Kussharo \/ Akan National Park \/ Whooper Cranes","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"At Lake Kussharo, a magnificently scenic crater lake in mountainous Akan National Park, we&#39;ll visit sites where whooper (pronounced hooper) swans congregate in flocks of dozens, even hundreds. These huge birds spend most of the year in Siberia but migrate here in winter, feeding around the lake&#39;s shallow edges, where hot springs melt the ice. We also visit Lake Mashu, a crater lake famous for its deep, clear waters. With luck we may see red fox or sea eagles. Overnight at onsen.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":10,"DayTo":10,"Headline":"Kushiro \/ Sapporo \/ Otaru Snow Light Path Festival","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"<br>We have a relaxing morning amid Lake Akan&#39;s beauty before our 1.5-hour transfer to Kushiro Airport for a flight to Sapporo. This evening in Otaru, we'll stroll amid the atmospheric lights of the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival and enjoy our Farewell Dinner. Overnight at Hotel Nord Otaru.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":13,"DayTo":13,"Headline":"Depart","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Depart on homeward-bound flights.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":1,"DayTo":3,"Headline":"Tokyo \/ Yudanaka \/ Snow Monkeys","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"From Tokyo, the &#8220;bullet train&#8221; takes us up to Nagano and we head up to the ancient hot springs town of Yudanaka in the Japanese Alps. The mineral springs where the Japanese macaques reside is just a short walk from our inn. We&#39;ll enjoy watching and photographing these fascinating creatures as they play, groom, and bathe in the springs.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":4,"DayTo":5,"Headline":"Hokkaido \/ Sapporo Snow Festival","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Flying to the lovely city of Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido, we join in the fun of the annual Snow Festival, with its giant snow and ice sculptures, intricately carved and lit at night.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":6,"DayTo":7,"Headline":"Kushiro Marsh \/ Red-Crested Cranes","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"In Hokkaido&#39;s scenic countryside, we head for the Kushiro Marsh, home to half the world&#39;s population of red-crested cranes (known as tancho in Japanese). We&#39;ll witness their famous courtship dances as we explore the sanctuary and marshlands where they reside. An optional dawn viewing is a special treat, and we&#39;ll take a canoe trip through the marshland to view birds and other wildlife.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":8,"DayTo":9,"Headline":"Lake Akan \/ Lake Kussharo \/ Whooper Swans","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"The spectacular crater lake of Akan is the site of an Ainu cultural center, and we&#39;ll see the traditional dances held at the lake. At Lake Kussharo, flocks of wintering whooper swans gather here to feed around the shallows and we&#39;ll be able to see these beautiful white birds in the hundreds, along with possible red foxes and sea eagles.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":10,"DayTo":11,"Headline":"Sapporo \/ Depart","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"After our Farewell Dinner and overnight in Sapporo, we depart on homeward flights.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true}],"itinpdf":[{"ItinYear":"2024","docType":"1","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/japan-snow-monkeys-and-winter-cranes-itinerary-2024.pdf"},{"ItinYear":"2024","docType":"2","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/japan-snow-monkeys-and-winter-cranes-predeparture.pdf"}],"whattoexpect":[{}],"highlights":[{"DisplayOrder":1,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Get a fascinating insider perspective on Japanese culture","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":31787,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":2,"HighlightText":"","Description":"See the famous &ldquo;snow monkeys&rdquo; of Japan&apos;s Alps and the red-crested cranes and whooper swans of Hokkaido","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":31787,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":3,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Join in the fun of the Sapporo Snow Festival, see the Snow Light Path Festival in Otaru","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":31787,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":4,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Enjoy cozy traditional ryokans, a great way to experience Japanese life","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":31787,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":10,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/10-SNOWMONK-japanese-macaques-geothermal-hot-springs-yudanaka.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18903,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":11,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/11-SNOWMONK-japan-cranes-courting-winter-kushiro-marsh.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18904,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":12,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/12-SNOWMONK-sapporo-snow-festival-hokkaido-japan-ice-sculpture.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18905,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":13,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/13-SNOWMONK-winter-monkey-japan-female-baby-snow-wildlife.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18906,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":14,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/14-SNOWMONK-frozen-akan-crater-lake-japan-ainu.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18907,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":15,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/15-SNOWMONK-kussharo-lake-hokkaido-whooper-swans.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18908,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":16,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/16-SNOWMONK-red-fox-japan-winter-wildlife-adventure..jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18909,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":17,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/17-SNOWMONK-nagano-snow-monkey-japanese-alps.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18910,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":18,"HighlightText":"","Description":"","Image":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/trips\/18-SNOWMONK-japanese-onsen-ryokan-cozy.jpg","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":18911,"caption":""}],"weather":[{}],"accommodations":[{"VendorID":70877,"Day_Number":1,"Sequence":10,"Duration":1,"Description":"Standard Room","VendorName":"Courtyard Marriott Ginza Hotel","CustomFields":{"Custom_slug":"courtyard-marriott-ginza-tobu-hotel","Custom_Location":"Tokyo"}},{"VendorID":72547,"Day_Number":4,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"Description":"Standard Room","VendorName":"Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo","CustomFields":{"Custom_slug":"hotel-monterey-edelhof-sapporo","Custom_Location":"Sapporo"}},{"VendorID":72548,"Day_Number":6,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"Description":"Standard Room","VendorName":"Kushiro Prince Hotel","CustomFields":{"Custom_slug":"kushiro-prince-hotel","Custom_Location":"Kushiro"}},{"VendorID":72549,"Day_Number":8,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"Description":"Standard Room","VendorName":"Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings","CustomFields":{"Custom_slug":"lake-akan-tsuruga-wings","Custom_Location":"Kushiro"}},{"VendorID":72550,"Day_Number":10,"Sequence":10,"Duration":1,"Description":"Standard Room","VendorName":"Hotel Nord Otaru","CustomFields":{"Custom_slug":"hotel-nord-otaru","Custom_Location":"Otaru"}},{"VendorID":72841,"Day_Number":2,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"Description":"Standard Room","VendorName":"Yudanaka Onsen Yoroduya","CustomFields":{"Custom_slug":"yudanaka-onsen-yoroduya","Custom_Location":"Nagano"}}],"inclusions":[{"DisplaySequence":1,"Type":"E","Description":"Travel to and from the arrival and departure location as indicated in Detailed Itinerary","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":2,"Type":"E","Description":"Additional hotel nights outside the trip's scheduled dates","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":3,"Type":"E","Description":"Optional gratuities to Trip Leaders or staff","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":4,"Type":"E","Description":"Optional travel insurance","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":5,"Type":"E","Description":"Other expenses of a personal nature (some alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":1,"Type":"I","Description":"Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":2,"Type":"I","Description":"Accommodations in comfortable ryokans and hotels","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":3,"Type":"I","Description":"All meals included except 8 lunches and 1 dinner as indicated in Detailed Itinerary","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":4,"Type":"I","Description":"All activities as indicated in Detailed Itinerary","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":5,"Type":"I","Description":"All ground transportation and baggage handling from meeting until departure","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""}],"destinations":[{"DestinationID":45,"Name":"Asia","Type":"Region"},{"DestinationID":84,"Name":"Japan","Type":"Country"}],"activities":[{"ActivityID":217,"Name":"Cultural","Primary":0},{"ActivityID":220,"Name":"Walking","Primary":0},{"ActivityID":238,"Name":"Limited Edition","Primary":0}],"guides":[{"GuideID":851179,"First_Name":"Lucy","Last_Name":"Whitehead","BioShort":"Having grown up in rural Tasmania, Lucy developed a deep love of nature and the outdoors through exploring the bush around her home on horseback and hiking with her family. She began her independent exploration at a young age with a week in the South West World Heritage area at the age of 11, and a school exchange in Japan at the age of 15. She is a world traveler who has lived in Europe, Japan, and Central America, and has a special affinity for Japan where she spent seven years studying Japanese literature, hitch-hiking around Hokkaido, and exploring trails and temples. She currently lives in Tasmania, one of her favorite places in the world, and works as a guide in both Tasmania and Japan. Lucy is fluent in Japanese and is keen to share her love of Tasmania, Japan, and all the places in between, with travelers and friends.","BioLong":"Having grown up in rural Tasmania, Lucy developed a deep love of nature and the outdoors through exploring the bush around her home on horseback and hiking with her family. She began her independent exploration at a young age with a week in the South West World Heritage area at the age of 11, and a school exchange in Japan at the age of 15. She is a world traveler who has lived in Europe, Japan, and Central America. After a year of working in Japan, she studied Japanese at the University of Tasmania, and later returned to Osaka on a scholarship to study Japanese literature along with anthropology, film, and ceramics. During her seven years in Japan, she taught English, hitch-hiked around Hokkaido, climbed Mt. Fuji, and walked the Kumano Kodo. She currently lives in Tasmania, one of her favorite places in the world, and works as a guide in both Tasmania and Japan. Lucy&apos;s partner is a well-known sushi chef from the countryside of Wakayama. Together they relish camping and diving in Tasmania&apos;s pristine wilderness, dining on internationally inspired dishes using home-grown produce, and surfing and snorkeling on the coast. Lucy is fluent in Japanese and is keen to share her love of Tasmania, Japan, and all the places in between, with travelers and friends."}],"guestreviews":[{"GuestNames":"Bob S.","GuestLocation":"Half Moon Bay, CA","GuestReview":"The trip to Hokkaido was wonderful. We had been waiting a long time to go on this trip and were not disappointed. A great itinerary, excellent trip leaders and plenty of cultural and wildlife experiences."}],"Extensions":[{}],"SimilarTrips":[{"TripID":10449,"SimilarTripID":10396,"Trip_Code":"LAPLAND","Trip_Name":"Lapland Adventures"},{"TripID":10449,"SimilarTripID":10448,"Trip_Code":"SNOWTIGE","Trip_Name":"Searching for Snow Leopards in India"},{"TripID":10449,"SimilarTripID":10466,"Trip_Code":"JAPEARL","Trip_Name":"Shinto Shrines, Pearl Divers, and Pilgrim Trails"},{"TripID":10449,"SimilarTripID":10339,"Trip_Code":"TEMPLTEA","Trip_Name":"Temples, Treasures, and Teahouses"}],"Specialists":[{}],"TripSegments":[{"VendorID":73369,"ProductID":83957,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Vendor Ops Payment","Vendor":"OKU Japan","Address1":"Kyoei Chuo Building 5F, 762 Nishiha","Address2":"","City":"Kyoto","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Japan: Snow Monkeys and Winter Cranes","Day":1,"Sequence":0,"Duration":10,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":11,"ProductID":54,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Single Supplement","Vendor":"Wilderness Travel","Address1":"1102 Ninth Street","Address2":"","City":"Berkeley","State":"CA","Postal":"94710","Product":"Single Supplement","Day":1,"Sequence":2,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"<p><\/p>","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":73369,"ProductID":83958,"SelectType":"Mandatory","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Internal Flight","Vendor":"OKU Japan","Address1":"Kyoei Chuo Building 5F, 762 Nishiha","Address2":"","City":"Kyoto","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Internal Air","Day":1,"Sequence":7,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":70877,"ProductID":80705,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Courtyard Marriott Ginza Hotel","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Tokyo","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":1,"Sequence":10,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"The location of this hotel is its best selling point&mdash;it's within walking distance of all the Ginza shops and cafes as well as the Imperial Palace and a handful of subway stations. The guest rooms are on the small side, as is typical in Japan, but they are quiet and comfortable. The breakfast buffet includes both Japanese and Western items and there are two on-site restaurants.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/10-courtyard-mariott-ginza-hotel-exterior.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":72841,"ProductID":82669,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Yudanaka Onsen Yoroduya","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Nagano","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":2,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"PropertyDescription":"This stylish, traditional ryokan is conveniently located in the center of Yudanaka, just a short distance from where the snow monkeys have taken up residence. We stay in Japanese-style rooms with tatami mats and en-suite bathrooms, and the ryokan has plenty of soaking options, from open-air onsens to a traditional Momoyama bath enclosed by Japanese umbrella pine, believed to be a sacred tree of Mt. Koya. The ryokan's restaurant serves wonderful Japanese cuisine and houses beautiful artwork.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/1-yudanaka-onsen-yoduraya-bath.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":72547,"ProductID":82375,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Sapporo","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":4,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"PropertyDescription":"Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo looks like a piece of Vienna in Japan. The name Edelhof means \"Manor House\" in German, and the hotel does a fine job replicating the architecture and European ambience, with large rooms, an elegantly decorated lounge and dining area, and a nice spa. The hotel is also walking distance to downtown Sapporo.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/1-hotel-monterey-edelhof-sapporo-lobby.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":72548,"ProductID":82376,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Kushiro Prince Hotel","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Kushiro","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":6,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"PropertyDescription":"With a convenient location near the Kushiro Marsh, this hotel is perfect for exploring the area. The hotel&#39;s top-floor lounge has panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and serves three meals a day including a breakfast buffet, while the Skyroom&#39;s Japanese-style seating overlooks the garden. Comfortable guest rooms have city or ocean views, private bathrooms, and bathtubs.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/1-kushiro-prince-hotel-room.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":72549,"ProductID":82377,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Kushiro","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":8,"Sequence":10,"Duration":2,"PropertyDescription":"Set right near Lake Akan, this onsen hotel offers Western and Japanese style rooms. The main attraction of Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings are the two onsens that guests can enjoy. Gender-separate indoor and outdoor baths are perfect to unwind and relax in after a day&#39;s explorations.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/1-lake-akan-tsuruga-wings-room.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":72550,"ProductID":82378,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Hotel Nord Otaru","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Otaru","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":10,"Sequence":10,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"Inspired by Italian design and situated next to a canal in the shopping district of Otaru, Hotel Nord is a peaceful hotel with clean rooms and nice bathrooms. Take a walk alongside the picturesque canal or enjoy a drink at the hotel bar overlooking the city.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/1-hotel-nord-otaru-room.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false}],"CustomFields":{"Custom_TC_Detailed_Itin_URL":"","Custom_Trip_Name_Addendum":"Adventure","Custom_Welcome_Letter_Addendum":"","Custom_Trip_Level_5":"","Custom_Welcome_Email_Send_List":"","Custom_FI_Optional_Donation_Text":"","Custom_Final_Docs_Letter_Send_List":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Trip_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_TP_Trip_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Payment_Terms":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>In order to confirm your space on this trip, we require a first deposit of $600 per person, which is fully refundable up to 91 days prior to departure.<\/body>","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Region":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>Japan<\/body>","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Region_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Emergency_Evac_Insurance":"","Custom_Welcome_Letter_Reading_List":"","Custom_Valid_Passport_Alternative":"","Custom_Visa":"","Custom_FB_Before_You_Go_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Before_You_Go_-_MISC_2":"","Custom_Luggage_Requirements":"","Custom_Carry-On":"","Custom_Hiking_Poles":"","Custom_Daypack":"","Custom_Vaccination_Card":"","Custom_FB_Packing_Reminders_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Additional_Notes_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Additional_Notes_-_MISC_2":"","Custom_Arrival":"","Custom_Arrival-_Meeting_Place":"","Custom_Arrival_Transfer":"","Custom_Departure":"","Custom_Extra_Services":"","Custom_Contact_Information_for_Friends_and_Family":"","Custom_Outfitter_Contacts_Left":"","Custom_Outfitter_Contacts_Right":"","Custom_name_slug":"japan-winter-hokkaido-monkeys-cultural-tour","Custom_Meta_Description":"Experience the wonders of Japan with this winter adventure in Hokkaido. See the snow monkeys, winter cranes, and the Sapporo Snow Festival.","Custom_List_Description":"Experience the wonders of Japan with this winter adventure in Hokkaido. See the snow monkeys, winter cranes, and the Sapporo Snow Festival.","Custom_Redirect":"","Custom_PJ_-_Best_Months":"","Custom_After_Dates":"","Custom_Trip_Web_Note":"","Custom_Title_Tag":"Japan: Snow Monkeys & Winter Cranes Tour | Wilderness Travel","Custom_Before_Days":"","Custom_After_Days_Header_1":"","Custom_After_Days_Text_1":"","Custom_After_Days_Header_2":"","Custom_After_Days_Text_2":"","Custom_Choosing_Right_Trip_Office_Contact":"","Custom_About_WT_Expeditions":"","Custom_Arrival_-_Sales":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2022-12-20T10:10:08 --><p><strong>Date &amp; Time: <\/strong>Day 1, in time for evening Welcome Dinner<br \/><strong>Suggested Airport for Arrival: <\/strong>Narita International Airport (NRT)<br \/><strong>Suggested Flight Arrival Time:<\/strong> 4:00 pm or earlier<br \/><br \/>Upon arrival at Narita, you will need to clear customs and immigration. There is a currency exchange on the arrival floor outside the customs area. We suggest changing your money into Japanese Yen here before continuing to the hotel by limousine bus or train. <br \/><br \/>A good website for arranging public transportation within Japan is <a href=\"http:\/\/www.hyperdia.com\/en\/\">www.hyperdia.com<\/a>.<\/p>","Custom_Departure_-_Sales":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2022-12-20T10:11:12 --><p><strong>Date:<\/strong> Day 11<br \/><strong>Suggested Airport for Departure: <\/strong>New Chitose (Sapporo) Airport (CTS)<br \/><strong>Suggested Flight Departure Time:<\/strong> After 3:00 pm<br \/><br \/>On Day 11, we provide a transfer from the hotel to New Chitose (Sapporo) Airport. Travel time to the airport can be up to 60-90 minutes, so we suggest that your outbound flight depart after 3:00 pm.<\/p>","Custom_International_Air_Travel":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2022-12-20T10:15:21 --><p>You are responsible for making your own arrangements for flights to and from Japan.<br \/><br \/>There are many online consolidators for booking travel, but for more personal help arranging air transport, you can contact Exito Travel at 1-800-655-4053 in the US or 1-800-670-2605 in Canada. They are very adept at putting flight itineraries together, to even the most far-flung places. More information can be found on Exito's website at <a href=\"https:\/\/exitotravel.com\/\">www.exitotravel.com<\/a>.<br \/><br \/>Depending on your routing, it is necessary to depart from the US one or possibly two days prior to Day 1 of the trip itinerary. The name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport exactly, and your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of return to the US.<br \/><br \/><strong>Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. <\/strong>Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule. It is your responsibility to ensure your flight times coordinate with the arrival and departure logistics for this trip.<\/p>","Custom_Extra_Hotel_Nights":"","Custom_Recommended_Hotels":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Header_1":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Text_1":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Header_2":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Text_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_1":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_1":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_3":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_3":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_4":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_4":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_5":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_5":"","Custom_file_name":"japan-snow-monkeys-and-winter-cranes","Custom_Passport":"A valid passport is required for your trip. Be sure to check the expiration date. Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of exit from Japan. In addition, we recommend your passport have at least two completely blank visa pages for every country you will be visiting. It is very important that the blank pages say &#8220;Visas&#8221; at the top. The last few pages of your passport, which say &#8220;Amendments and Endorsements,&#8221; and the final page of your passport, which may not have a page number, are not considered to be legitimate visa pages. The service of adding pages for visas was discontinued as of January 1, 2016. You can request a new passport through <a href=\"http:\/\/travel.state.gov\/passport\">US Passport Services Office<\/a> or use a visa service agency, which can take care of your passport renewal and expedite the process, if needed. We recommend <a href=\"http:\/\/www.passportvisasexpress.com\/?affId=2120\">Passport Visas Express<\/a>. Be sure to allow sufficient time to acquire this before your trip. <br><br>It is very important to carry photocopies of your passport's photo page and any acquired visa pages for your trip (if applicable) in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.","Custom_Visas_and_Entry_Notes":"US citizens do not need a visa for Japan. <br><br>If you are a citizen of any country other than the US, check with a local consulate for entry requirements. <br><br><strong>Customs &amp; Immigration<\/strong><br>All foreigners, including foreign residents, get fingerprinted and photographed upon entering Japan as a measure aimed at preventing terrorism. People refusing to cooperate are not granted entry into the country.","Custom_Money":"The unit of currency in Japan is the yen. You can exchange funds at major airports on arrival. In Japan, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted at ATMs, though American Express remains limited. You can withdraw cash at ATMs in 7-Eleven convenience stores or at post offices (often located near train stations). Traveler's checks can be a useful backup but are more easily cashed in large cities than small towns and can take some time to exchange outside of airports. <br><br>You will need to budget spending money for gratuities, for any meals listed as &#8220;on your own&#8221; in the trip itinerary (all lunches and a couple of dinners), personal items such as beverages, and for any optional excursions. There are also many beautiful goods for purchase. If you enjoy noodle shops or obento lunches, you can eat lunch for under $10 a day per person. Sodas from a machine are about $1. Coffee can range from less than $1 when purchased from a machine, canned or fresh, iced or hot, to as much as $8 a cup in a coffee shop. <br><br>To use an ATM internationally, you must have a four-digit PIN. If you plan to use your credit cards, inform your credit card company before your departure that you will be using the card abroad.","Custom_Tipping":"Tipping is completely discretionary, but over the years, clients have asked us for tipping guidelines to reward guides for outstanding service. A range of reference would be $135-175 per trip member for the Trip Leader. Tipping in restaurants and hotels is not a custom in Japan. Some restaurants and hotels will add a service charge to the bill in lieu of tipping.","Custom_Food":"We will do our best to accommodate special dietary needs, however, please keep in mind that certain cultural differences or limitations due to logistics can make it extremely difficult and at times impossible to accommodate dietary restrictions. Please inform us at least eight weeks before your trip if you have a restricted diet. It is important to bring a flexible attitude and supplemental snacks. In particular, it is very difficult to accommodate gluten-free and vegan or strict vegetarian diets due to the pervasiveness of gluten in key ingredients miso and soy sauce, and the use of a fish stock called dashi in many items.","Custom_Communications":"<strong>Telephone<\/strong><br>The international dialing code for Japan is 81. Please contact your cell phone company for specific instructions for international use.<br><strong><br>Email &amp; Internet Access<\/strong><br>Internet access is available at most but not all of our accommodations. <br><br>You may also choose to rent a portable WiFi device. You can rent one online in advance and have it sent to your hotel, or upon arrival at the international airport. Our Trip Leader's preferred service is <a href=\"http:\/\/www.rentafonejapan.com\/Mobile-Internet.html\">rentafonejapan.com\/Mobile-Internet.html<\/a> but there are many service options.","Custom_Electricity":"Japan has 100-volt current. Plugs are usually the flat, two-pronged type found in the US and Canada.","Custom_Laundry":"","Custom_Ship_Notes":"","Custom_Inoculations":"No inoculations are required. However, it is easy to get a small cut, so a tetanus booster is strongly recommended (good for 10 years). If you take prescription medicines, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your trip.","Custom_International_Health":"","Custom_Malaria_Prevention":"","Custom_Staying_Healthy":"You can reduce your risk of getting sick on the trip by washing your hands often and not touching your face with unwashed hands. If you arrive on the trip with a cold or feel the symptoms of a cold, avoid close contact with others and move away from people before coughing or sneezing. The CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow or upper sleeve, not your hands.","Custom_Getting_In_Shape":"","Custom_Medical_Care":"","Custom_Altitude_Considerations":"","Custom_Reading_List":"Elevate your travel experience by delving into this curated collection of books tailored to your upcoming adventure. They will not only entertain but also provide invaluable insights into the history, culture, cuisine, wildlife, mountain trails, or even folklore of the places you're about to explore. Discover the perfect companions for your journey ahead by <a href=\"https:\/\/bookshop.org\/lists\/wilderness-travel-japan\">following the link<\/a> or scanning the QR code.","Custom_Photography":"","Custom_Cultural_Considerations":"As we journey through Japan together, we will try to embrace the customs and mores of Japan, thus learning more about the history and getting a true sense of the culture. You will find that some of these customs and etiquette are not being followed by the younger generation or by all Japanese. However, as guests in the country, we will do our best to not lose face! Remember, this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Japanese people you may meet. <br><strong> <br><br> <br><br> <br><br><br>Presents<\/strong><div><br>If you are visiting a Japanese friend or a business acquaintance before or after the trip, you will probably be given a present. The tradition of present giving is unlike anything we have in the US. It is good to bring something for these occasions. Gifts should be wrapped and they should be made in the US. Even if you don't expect to meet a previous acquaintance, it is nice to have some little presents for an occasional kindness you may be met with while traveling. Any souvenir with a name or phrase in English printed on it is very welcome, although not necessary. A smile and an &#8220;<em>arigato<\/em>&#8221; are always appreciated.<br><strong><br>The Japanese and &#8220;Face&#8221;<\/strong><br>Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one's peers. Saving face is crucial in Japanese society. The Japanese believe that turning down someone's request causes embarrassment and loss of face to the other person. If the request cannot be agreed to, they will say, &#8220;it's inconvenient&#8221; or &#8220;it's under consideration.&#8221; The Japanese will try to never do anything to cause loss of face. Therefore, they do not openly criticize, insult, or put anyone on the spot. Face can be lost, taken away, or earned through praise and thanks.<br><strong><br>Harmony in Japanese Society<\/strong><br>Harmony is the key value in Japanese society. It is the guiding philosophy for the Japanese in family and business settings and in society as a whole. Japanese children are taught to act harmoniously and cooperatively with others from the time they go to preschool. The Japanese educational system emphasizes the interdependence of all people, and Japanese children are not raised to be independent but rather to work together. This need for harmonious relationships between people is reflected in much Japanese behavior. They place great emphasis on politeness, personal responsibility, and working together for the universal, rather than the individual, good. They present facts that might be disagreeable in a gentle and indirect fashion, and they see working in harmony as the crucial ingredient for working productively.<br><strong><br>Japanese Non-Verbal Communication<\/strong><br>Since the Japanese strive for harmony and are group dependent, they rely on facial expression, tone of voice, and posture to tell them what someone feels. They often trust non-verbal messages more than the spoken word as words can have several meanings. The context in which something is said affects the meaning of the words. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the situation to fully appreciate the response. Non-verbal communication is so vital that there is a book for <em>gaijins<\/em> (foreigners) on how to interpret the signs! <br><br><ul><li>Frowning while someone is speaking is interpreted as a sign of disagreement.<\/li><li>Most Japanese maintain an impassive expression when speaking.<\/li><li>Expressions to watch out for include inhaling through clenched teeth, tilting the head, scratching the back of the head, and scratching the eyebrow.<\/li><li>It is considered disrespectful to stare into another person's eyes, particularly those of a person who is senior to you because of age or status.<\/li><li>In crowded situations, the Japanese avoid eye contact to give themselves privacy.<\/li><li>If you are approached by someone crossing their forearms or pointer fingers or hands in an X shape in front of them, they are communicating that something is not permitted. Conversely, making a circular shape with the hands or arms means something is OK.<\/li><\/ul><strong><br>Japanese Hierarchy<\/strong><br>The Japanese are very conscious of age and status. Everyone has a distinct place in the hierarchy, be it the family unit, the extended family, a social or a business situation. At school, children learn to address other students as senior to them (<em>senpai<\/em>) or junior to them (<em>kohai<\/em>). The oldest person in a group is always revered and honored. In a social situation, they will be served first and their drinks will be poured for them.<br><strong><br>Japanese Etiquette&mdash;The Indispensable Basics<\/strong><br>Never enter a house with your shoes on. This is one of the few rules for which the Japanese will not make allowance just because you are a foreigner. This rule is also valid for some establishments like schools. Slippers are usually provided in the entrance hall. If slippers are provided for the toilet, use them instead of the one for the rest of the house. <br><br>Some shops, cafes, or department stores provide plastic covers for umbrellas. Make sure not to enter with a dripping wet umbrella without this cover. <br><br>Refrain from blowing your nose in front of other people. Japanese only use paper tissue for this. Like in other Asian countries, it is considered rude to blow your nose in a handkerchief and stuff it in your pocket afterward. Japanese are usually aware of this Western practice, although that might make them feel uncomfortable. NEVER blow your nose at a meal! <br><br>You should not eat while standing or walking in the street. Even inside a house, you should sit down to eat. The only exceptions are for eating at a counter (e.g., ramen) or for eating ice cream in the street. This custom is one of the most difficult to adapt to for many non-Japanese, as it doesn't seem to make much sense. <br><br>Do not point your finger, feet, or chopsticks at people. If you have to indicate an object or direction to someone, wave your fingers with the palm downwards. <br><br>Avoid expressing your opinion too directly. Japanese have what they call <em>honne<\/em> (real opinion) and <em>tatemae<\/em> (public opinion). They will express the latter in most situations so as not to disturb the group harmony. It is, of course, flexible and consists in agreeing with the people around you as much as possible. This is the reason why Japanese are so bad at debating serious issues in public (including the media). Honne is what you really think but do not say openly, or only to close friends or relatives. <br><br>When you are invited into a Japanese family, bring a small present or <em>omiyage<\/em> (souvenir, usually food). If you are coming straight from your country, it is preferable to bring some local culinary specialties from your home town\/region. <br><br>Say<em> o-jama shimasu<\/em> (sorry for disturbing) when entering someone's house.<br><strong><br>Table Manners<\/strong><br>Japanese meals at our inns are carefully prepared to highlight the local ingredients of the area and the skills of the chef. Unless you have an allergy or dietary restrictions, it is considered rude to ask for a substitution or to ask for customized food as we do in the US, i.e. &#8220;Hold the dressing and no butter on my potato.&#8221; Again the harmony of the group is what matters. <br><br>It is not uncommon in private households and in certain restaurants (e.g., Izakaya) to share several dishes of food at the table rather than serving each person with his\/her individual dish. In such a case, you are supposed to move some food from the shared plates onto your own plate by yourself, using the opposite end of your chopsticks (if you have used them already) or with special chopsticks that may be provided for that purpose. Do not stick your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, as this is used in Buddhist funerary ceremonies, and do not pass food to someone else with your chopsticks for the same reason. Contrary to Western manners, noodles can be and should be slurped. Likewise, bowls or plates should be brought up to the mouth rather than bending one's head toward it. <br><br>At a nomikai (e.g., while going drinking with colleagues at an Izakaya), you should (re)fill the glasses of people around you when they are empty, and they should do the same for you. If you want to refill your glass, start by serving other people. If you do not want a refill, do not empty your glass. <br><br>It is polite to say <em>itadakimasu<\/em> (Bon appetit, or thanks for the food) once before eating or drinking, and <em>gochisousama deshita<\/em> (thank you, that was delicious) to your host or to the restaurant's staff after eating or when leaving the place. <br><br>When dining on tatami, wear socks to dinner.<br><strong><br>Punctuality<\/strong><br>It is important to be on time! Trains, meals, appointments are all on time and again you lose much face if you are late and keep the group waiting.<br><strong><br>Bathing Etiquette<\/strong><br>Japanese wash themselves before entering the bath, as they have a customs of sharing the bath water. This is true as well for public baths (<em>sento<\/em>) as for thermal spring (<em>onsen<\/em>) and baths in individual homes. The reason is that other people will use the same water after. Therefore, you should not empty the bath after using it. Never take anything into the &#8220;tub&#8221;! <br><br>Japanese like bathing in (very) hot water (40 to 50 degrees Celsius). If it is too hot for you, you can add a bit of cold water, but not so much that it becomes tepid, or the next person won't appreciate it. <br><br>You will be given a cotton robe, a <em>yukata<\/em>, at the inns. You wear this to the bath and around the inn, even to dinner at times. Make sure you fold it left over right in front, as the opposite way is only used to bury the dead. You will also receive a modesty towel&mdash;a small, very useful towel. Once you have disrobed in the outer bath area you use the towel to cover your privates. You can take it into the bathing area with you and use it to wash and dry, making sure it never gets into the tub, though! Hence the images of towels on the head! <br><br>In public baths, be extra cautious to not mistake men and women's changing rooms, as it is extremely impolite. The men's room is usually on the left and normally has a blue curtain with <em>otoko<\/em> or <em>dono-sama<\/em> written on it. The women's room is usually on the right, with a red curtain reading <em>onna<\/em>. If you are not sure, ask.<br><strong><br>Meeting Etiquette<\/strong><br>Greetings in Japan are very formal and ritualized. It is important to show the correct amount of respect and deference to someone based upon their status relative to your own. If at all possible, wait to be introduced&mdash;it can be seen as impolite to introduce yourself, even in a large gathering. While foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow. How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person as well as the situation. The deeper you bow, the more respect you show. <br><br>A foreign visitor (<em>gaijin<\/em>) may bow the head slightly since no one expects foreigners to generally understand the subtle nuances of bowing.<br><strong><br>Facts and Statistics<\/strong><br><ul><li>Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan\/East Sea, east of the Korean Peninsula.<\/li><li>Capital: Tokyo<\/li><li>Population: 127,103,388 (2014 est.)<\/li><li>Ethnic Make-up: Japanese 99%, others 1% (Korean 511,262, Chinese 244,241, Brazilian 182,232, Filipino 89,851, other 237,914)<\/li><li>Religions: observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)<\/li><\/ul><strong><br> The Japanese Language<\/strong><br>Japanese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, with over 99% percent of the country's population speaking it. Amazingly, the language is spoken in scarcely any region outside Japan.<\/div>","Custom_Giving_Back":"","Custom_Enviromental_Concerns":"","Custom_Shopping_and_Souvenirs":"","Custom_Seasickness":"","Custom_Explore":"","Custom_Additional_Information":"","Custom_Essentials":"<ul><li>Air tickets (or E-tickets)<\/li><li>\nPassport<\/li><li>\nOne other picture ID, such as a driver's license<\/li><li>\nExpense money<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Luggage":"We recommend a small- or medium-sized rolling suitcase or backpack since you will be carrying your own luggage from the hotels to the taxis and through the train stations. On the train, you need to store your luggage in the rack above you. Soft-sided suitcases will be easier to squeeze in the rack. Please remember that getting a heavy bag up or down from overhead can be tricky. <br><br>For some of our train journeys or if you take the bullet train on your own, there is very limited space for large bags. If your bag is larger than 160cm (length+width+height), please notify us in advance so that we can make an advance reservation for an oversize bag. <br><br>For more information, visit <a href=\"https:\/\/jprail.com\/\">JPRail.com<\/a>. <br><br><ul><li>Rolling, soft-sided suitcase or backpack<\/li><li>Daypack or shoulder bag<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Clothing":"Important: This is a winter trip with long periods of time spent walking or standing on snow or ice. You will need to bring cold-weather clothing&mdash;a down jacket, snow coat, long underwear, scarf, hat, gloves, walking stick, and warm boots with good tread. Temperatures will probably range from minus 10F to 50F. <br><br>Dress for comfort, keeping in mind that in larger cities, the Japanese tend to dress more formally than Americans, but it's not necessary for you to do the same. Japanese women's clothing tends toward darker colors and muted tones, but again, it's not necessary to do the same. Jackets for men are not required anywhere on our tour, but if you are meeting Japanese friends or business acquaintances or planning an evening out, you might consider bringing a jacket. <br><br>It is to your benefit to pack lightly. Upon arrival, you will need to carry ALL your own bags through the airport to the train station, and then to the taxi stand. You must be able to carry your baggage up and down a flight of stairs and the equivalent of one city block. Other than the train from the airport, Japanese transportation is ill-suited for large suitcases and the train stations are usually vast. You will be able to wash socks and underwear by hand along the way. <br><br>In larger cities, the Japanese tend to dress more formally than Americans, but it's not necessary for you to do the same. Japanese women's clothing tends toward darker colors and muted tones, but again, it's not necessary to do the same. Jackets for men are not required anywhere on our tour, but if you are meeting Japanese friends or business acquaintances or planning an evening out, you might consider bringing a jacket. Longer walking shorts are suitable for cities. <br><br>Dress in layers, as the trains and buses will be warm, the outdoors cold!<br><br><ul><li>Winter walking shoes; comfort is most important, but slip-on shoes are very convenient for touring as we will be frequently removing our shoes<\/li><li>Insulated boots with good tread for standing and walking on snow<\/li><li>2 pairs of long pants. Fleece or wool pants are a good option for warmth.<\/li><li>Sweater or sweatshirt<\/li><li>2 pairs of long pants<\/li><li>2 shirts<\/li><li>Set of lightweight or medium-weight polypropylene or Capilene long underwear, bottoms and tops<\/li><li>3-4 pairs of underwear<\/li><li>3-4 pairs of socks&mdash;bring a warm pair to wear in ryokans with your slippers and on tatami mats, where you can't wear your slippers<\/li><li>Sleepwear (long underwear can double); in addition, yukatas (light robes) are provided almost everywhere<\/li><li>Outerwear:<\/li><li>Down jacket<\/li><li>Gore-Tex shell rain jacket (should fit over down jacket)<\/li><li>Gore-Tex overpants for warmth<\/li><li>Fleece or wool sweater or fleece\/down vest<\/li><li>Fleece or wool hat<\/li><li>Fleece neck gaiter or wool scarf<\/li><li>Set of fleece or wool mittens and\/or gloves<\/li><li>Equipment<\/li><li>Collapsible walking sticks or trekking poles. Important for walking and standing on snow and ice.<\/li><li>Handkerchief or bandana to use as napkins or paper towels (public restrooms do not usually provide paper towels)<\/li><li>Personal toiletries including soap<\/li><li>Small flashlight with extra batteries<\/li><li>Folding umbrella<\/li><li>Assorted stuff sacks or plastic bags to compartmentalize items in luggage<\/li><li>Sunglasses with case<\/li><\/ul><br>","Custom_Hiking_Boots":"","Custom_Equipment":"<ul><li>Handkerchief or bandana to use as napkins or paper towels (public restrooms do not usually provide paper towels)<\/li><li>\nPersonal toiletries including soap<\/li><li>\nSmall flashlight with extra batteries<\/li><li>\nAll-weather hat for sun\/rain<\/li><li>\nFolding umbrella<\/li><li>\nStuff sacks or Ziploc-style bags to compartmentalize items within your duffel<\/li><li>\nSunglasses with case<\/li><li>\nMoney belt or neck pouch. Always carry your passport, credit cards, and cash with you in a money belt or neck pouch tucked down inside your shirt or blouse.<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Personal_First_Aid":"Every trip member must bring a small kit for personal use. Your own experience will influence your choices.<br><br><ul><li>\nSunscreen. We recommend mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they do not contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Brands such as Honest Company, Badger, and Alba Botanica are found in most sporting goods stores and drugstores.<\/li><li>\nDramamine for curvy roads and boat rides, if needed<\/li><li>\nAspirin or Tylenol for muscle pain or headaches, Tylenol PM for sleeping<\/li><li>\n\nPepto Bismol tablets for diarrhea<\/li><li>\nTopical antibiotic such as Neosporin for cuts<\/li><li>\nBlister kit. Look for the long-lasting gel-type bandages that you can apply directly on blisters, such as Band-Aid Advanced Healing Bandages or Curad Gel Multi-Day Bandages. &#8220;Liquid band-aids,&#8221; such as New-Skin, are useful because they dry rapidly to form a tough protective cover over a blister.<\/li><li>\nCold or allergy capsules<\/li><li>\nPrescription medications properly labeled<\/li><li>\nSpare contact lenses or spare prescription glasses<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Optional_Items":"<ul><li>Camera, flashcards, extra batteries<\/li><li>\nExtra pair of shoes<\/li><li>\nReading\/writing material (think light!)<\/li><li>\nSnacks and powdered drink mixes&mdash;hot water is usually available in your rooms<\/li><li>\nConverter\/plug adapter for appliance use<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Prohibited_Items":"","Custom_When_to_Go":"","Custom_Children":"","Custom_Tag_Line":"Wildlife and Cultural Adventure in a Wintery World","Custom_Lodging":"10 nights ryokans and hotels","Custom_Meals":"All meals included except 9 lunches and 1 dinner","Custom_Difficulty":"Walking, including some steep stairs, 6-7 hours a day, Japanese-style dining (sitting on floor)","Custom_Currency_Exchange_Rate":"","Custom_Fuel_Surcharge":"","Custom_Signing_Up_For_a_Trip_-_Email":"","Custom_Optional_Hotel_Upgrades_-_This_Year":"","Custom_Optional_Hotel_Upgrades_-_Next_Year":"","Custom_Trip_Cost_Misc_Header":"","Custom_Trip_Cost_Misc_Text":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like":"The trip is rated a <strong>Level 2, Easy to Moderate<\/strong>, according to our trip grading system.","Custom_Terrain":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-09T17:35:41 --><p>We will be walking on a possibly snowy pathway for about a mile each way to see the snow monkeys. Warm, waterproof boots are necessary for this, plus warm, waterproof jackets, gloves, and hats for our time in Hokkaido. Our day at the Sapporo Snow Festival is spent walking on possibly snowy or icy boulevards during the day as well as in the evening. We spend our time at Kushiro visiting crane sanctuaries, with some outdoor walking as well as a boat trip on an open raft on our trip through the marsh. Our time at Lake Akan includes an evening visit to the frozen lake festivities, again walking on icy, snowy roads. Though our days should see temperatures in the mid-30s, it can be quite cold in Hokkaido in the winter, with temperatures dropping to below freezing and even possibly to zero Fahrenheit. We travel by train and charter bus, so layers work well. <br \/><br \/>Though not physically difficult in terms of hiking, this trip can be challenging in other ways. The possibly very cold weather (and possibility of rain instead of snow) can make things uncomfortable for those who are not dressed properly, and the weather can even cause us to change our plans. A flexible nature and readiness to absorb and enjoy the culture are necessary for enjoyment of this trip, but the rewards are many! <\/p>","Custom_Getting_in_Shape":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-09T17:35:24 --><p>Although not physically demanding, the trip will yield greater rewards if you are in good physical condition and able to stay on your feet for 6-7 hours per day. Please remember, we will be sleeping on futons and eating at floor level, so it is important that you are able to sit down on and get up off the floor without much difficulty.<\/p>","Custom_Weather":"We could experience snowy or even blizzard conditions during the course of this journey, which may alter our plans. Be prepared with cold weather clothing and good warm snow boots with adequate tread for walking. Of course, bring an additional pair of shoes to change into for our hotel dinners. Slippers are provided at our inns. A daypack is useful for our day trips, as well as to carry and shed or add layers on our bus days. We carry our own bags through the stations, airports, and on and off the trains and buses. You must be able to handle your own luggage with ease.","Custom_Accommodations":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body><p>Japan is a blend of the traditional and modern, and our trip encompasses this unique mixture. We will stay at traditional ryokans as well as Japanese-style hotels. The quiet world of the ryokan is a venerable cultural institution&mdash;a way to experience a simple, timeless way of life. After being warmly welcomed, we trade our street shoes for slippers. Once inside, we remove our slippers as we step onto the finely woven tatami mats covering our sleeping room floors. Our rooms are spacious and pleasant with low tables and comfortable futon mattresses with quilts and blankets. Some of our rooms will have attached toilets; at other times, we share the \"down the hall\" facilities. Although a few ryokans have baths in the rooms, most have an ofuro (a Japanese-style bath). Note: Single travelers will share accommodations at the ryokans.<\/p><p>Normally, a fresh cotton yukata (robe) is provided for each guest. These light kimonos can be worn anywhere in and around the ryokan and we often wear them to meals (make sure to wear the left side over the right). For many of our breakfasts and dinners, beautifully presented meals are served as we sit on the floor at low tables on our tatami mats. Please note that many of the meals at ryokans are already set menus.<\/p><\/body>","Custom_Cuisine":"<p>A highlight of any visit to Japan is its superb cuisine defined by fresh ingredients and artful presentation. We will have ample opportunity to sample both familiar and new dishes. We will sample many types of Japanese food, and usually the first \"bite\" is with our eyes, the presentation being a tantalizing array of fresh fish, beef, vegetables, tofu, miso soup and, of course, rice, all served on individual plates and bowls of exquisite sizes, patterns, and proportions. We eat with chopsticks and are usually seated at low tables on the floor. During our stay at ryokans, a set menu is offered for dinner. At some ryokans, you may choose between a Japanese breakfast of fish, rice, miso soup, tofu, vegetables, pickled condiments and tea, or a western breakfast consisting of eggs, toast, salad, and coffee. Many places, however, offer only Japanese food.<\/p><p>You will have all lunches and some dinners on your own, allowing you ample opportunity to sample the endless variety of Japanese food. When we are traveling, we may try an obento (box lunch), and we sample the snack foods of Japan and\/or get a bowl of udon, ramen, or soba (noodles) at one of the local spots. Napkins are not used except at western-style restaurants; bring your own handkerchief.<\/p><p>Given our locations, and true in most of Japan, choices of foods are not given. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies please check with us before booking. Our typical dinner hour is 7:00 pm, although we may eat earlier to accommodate early rising days. <br><br>Keep in mind that Japanese food is very different from what we are used to, and with the limited availability of American foods, your food intake will be a big part of the Japanese adventure.<br><br>Please note that vegetarian options are available, but limited. Strict vegetarian diets, vegan diets, or gluten reduced diets will be difficult to accommodate due to the pervasiveness of the fish-based stock dashi and the use of soy sauce and miso in Japanese cuisine. Gluten free cuisine will not be available.<\/p>","Custom_Transportation":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Header_1":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-09T17:34:04 --><p>Japanese Bathing<\/p>","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Text_1":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body><p>In Japan, bathing is a time honored tradition, a relaxing daily event. While staying in our ryokans, we will bathe as the Japanese do&mdash;using the ofuro system. In separate men and women's sides, the custom is to wash and rinse before entering the ofuro, a large tub of hot water where we can sit back with legs extended, submerged to the neck (this trip is not for the very modest!). Early Shinto was a religion of cleanliness and purification. Ritualistic bathing began during this time and has been perfected over the centuries. Either as a divine imperative or a luxury, bathing in Japan has always been regarded as more than a hygienic chore. The ofuro is the perfect way to finish a hectic day of travel. After a relaxing bath, we gather for the evening meal.<\/p><\/body>","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Header_2":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Text_2":"","Custom_Trip_Level_Note_1":"","Custom_Trip_Level_Note_2":"","System_Choosing_the_Right_Trip":"<p>Adventure travel often involves exotic destinations, unusual levels of physical exertion, or activities you may not have participated in previously. We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please call Wilderness Travel at 1-800-368-2794 or email us at <a href=\"mailto:\/\/info@wildernesstravel.com\">info@wildernesstravel.com<\/a>.<\/p>","System_References":"<p>We&rsquo;d be happy to put you in touch with a past client that has traveled with us on this trip.<\/p>","System_Visit_Our_Website":"<p>At <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/\">www.wildernesstravel.com<\/a>, you can book your trip online or find out about added departures, last-minute deals, and one-time Limited Edition adventures that aren&rsquo;t listed in our catalog. You can also access our complete library of detailed itineraries filled with enticing photos and videos, read bios of our Trip Leaders, find descriptions of trip accommodations, and check real-time availability of any trips that interest you.<\/p>","System_Helpful_Links":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:52:03 --><p>Wilderness Travel has compiled a list of useful websites for travelers. Find the Toucan Club tab on the home page of our website and choose Helpful Links: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/ toucan\/links\">www.wildernesstravel.com\/ toucan\/links<\/a>.<\/p>","System_About_New_Trips":"This is a new adventure and one that we are particularly excited about offering. However, as with all new departures, flexibility and a spirit of adventure are always appreciated! Activities are described in the itinerary but they can vary, sometimes considerably, depending on weather conditions, the group, and other factors.","System_About_Private_Journeys":"<p>Wilderness Travel Private Journeys are designed for people who want to travel with their own small private group, but who still want to experience the same superb itinerary design, great accommodations, and signature quality of Wilderness Travel's escorted group trips. These Private Journeys allow you to choose your own dates and your traveling companions&mdash;and enjoy the WT touch on all aspects of the journey.<\/p>","System_Limited_Edition_Adventures":"This is a Limited Edition adventure&mdash;which means a unique trip we've never run before or offer only every few years. Led by our most experienced Trip Leaders, these journeys often take place in remote destinations with only the most basic infrastructure for tourism. If you see a Limited Edition trip scheduled for this year, now is the time to sign up, as spaces fill very early and the trip may not be back for a while! Planned daily activities and actual timings may vary due to local conditions or the discretion of your Trip Leader&mdash;it is important to bring your spirit of adventure for these special exploratory journeys!","System_Social_Media":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:33:43 --><p><strong>SOCIAL MEDIA:<\/strong> We invite you to share your adventure with us on social media. Tag @wildernesstravel and we may even feature your content on our pages!<\/p>","System_If_You_Miss_Your_Flight":"<p><strong>IF YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT<\/strong><br>If you miss your flight or are otherwise delayed, contact our Wilderness Travel office, as well as our local partners, with your new flight information. Refer to the Emergency Contact Information listed in this Final Bulletin.<\/p>","System_Valid_Passport":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-16T10:26:21 --><p><strong>VALID PASSPORT:<\/strong> Check that your passport is valid for at least six months from the last day of your trip, and that you have at least two blank pages for any necessary visa or entry and exit stamps.<\/p>","System_Insurance_Policy":"<p><strong>INSURANCE POLICY:<\/strong> If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan, you should have received an email confirmation of your policy. Please bring a digital or printed copy of this policy with you. If you cannot find your email confirmation, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. If you have not purchased Travelex insurance already, you have the option to do so up to 24 hours prior to your departure.<\/p>","System_Covid-19_Travel_Requirements":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-04-19T13:27:44 --><p><strong>COVID-19 TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS:<\/strong> Please double-check COVID-19 entry requirements for any countries you may be traveling to or transiting through, on this website: <a href=\"apply.joinsherpa.com\/travel-restrictions\">apply.joinsherpa.com\/travel-restrictions<\/a><\/p>","System_Pre-Trip_Safety":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:37:06 --><p><strong>PRE-TRIP SAFETY:<\/strong> In the next weeks, we encourage you to do everything possible to stay healthy. Please practice social distancing, steer clear of potential COVID-19 exposure, and take an at-home antigen or lab based PCR test before you depart.<\/p>","System_Wilderness_Travel_Office":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:07 --><p>Our office in Berkeley, California can be reached at 510-558-2488, or by email at info@wildernesstravel.com. We are available during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, PST). <\/p>","System_ECI_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:31 --><p>If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan through Wilderness Travel, please remember to bring your Confirmation of Coverages (COC) with you on the trip, including your Plan Number and important emergency contact information.<\/p><p>If you've purchased a travel protection plan on your own, we recommend that you bring a copy of your policy, including all coverages, with you on your trip.<\/p>","System_Face_Masks_and_Hand_Sanitizer":"","System_DidNotPurchase_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-02-28T12:27:44 --><p>Travel Insurance: We recommend that you purchase travel insurance for this trip. For your convenience, we offer Travelex travel protection. Please let us know if you would like us to add the Travelex Travel Protection Plan to this final invoice. You can learn more about the policy on our <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/toucan\/travel-insurance\">website<\/a>.<\/p>","System_Purchased_Insurance":"Please remember to bring a copy of your Travelex Confirmation of Coverage and State Specific Policy with you on your trip. You should have received an email directly from Travelex with these documents. If you need this email to be re-sent, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. <br><br><br>","System_Photography":"<strong>Camera Recommendations<\/strong><br>With the many advances in digital technology, a simple compact digital camera or even your smartphone is capable of taking pictures suitable for the needs of most people. For higher quality images and the ability to use long lenses for closer wildlife pictures, a DSLR camera is well worthwhile, though heavier. Most digital cameras and phones have good video options, but you may want to consider a GoPro for a lightweight, waterproof option. Always practice ahead of time with new equipment and bring your manual with you. You may want to consider renting camera equipment for your trip from places such as <a href=\"https:\/\/www.borrowlenses.com\/\">borrowlenses.com<\/a>. This is an especially good idea for renting large zoom lenses that you may need for just one trip. Adding their extra insurance fee to cover expensive equipment is recommended. <br><strong><br>Camera Accessories<\/strong><br>We recommend bringing at least two large capacity memory cards or a small digital storage unit (or tablet) to back up your photos, freeing space on your memory cards. Don't forget to bring a battery charger and a backup battery so one is always charged and ready to use. For trips where you may be away from power sources for multiple days, consider looking into a solar-powered battery charger or buying additional backup batteries, and check that you have the appropriate adapter for the electrical outlets in your destination.<br><strong><br>Sharing Your Images<\/strong><br>We would love for you to share photos from your trip, and with your permission, may even use your photos in our marketing materials or on our photo blog. We request that you send us a small sample of your best images. Please email your photos to wtphotoblog@gmail.com or tag us @WildernessTravel on social media.<br><strong><br>Photography Etiquette<\/strong><br>When taking pictures of local people, be aware of cultural considerations. Approaching people with a warm smile and using polite gestures or simple phrases to ask permission to photograph them usually works well. It is always recommended to engage people in conversation before asking to photograph them, but if people do not wish to have their photo taken, please honor their requests. We urge travelers to avoid giving money in exchange for photo opportunities, which makes it harder for future travelers to have a meaningful personal interaction with local people. Please always heed your Trip Leader's guidelines for what is appropriate. ","System_Gear_Store":"To help you prepare for your next WT adventure, we've put together a great collection of top brands including Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Eagle Creek, and more at our WT Gear Store (<a href=\"https:\/\/wildernesstravel.newheadings.com\/\">wildernesstravel.newheadings.com<\/a>).","System_Questions?":"<p>Our Area Specialists are your single point of contact and would be happy to answer any questions about your trip!<br>800.368.2794 | 510.558.2488<\/p>","System_Pricing_Detail-Small_Group_Adventure":" <br><br>To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are priced according to the number of participants on the trip. All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. Please note that Wilderness Travel staff, or guests of Wilderness Travel such as travel writers, photographers, or leaders-in-training, are not included in the tier pricing count.","System_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:58:05 --><p>We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance. You can take advantage of a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan designed for Wilderness Travel by Travelex, or purchase other insurance on your own. See our website for details: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance\">www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance<\/a><\/p>","System_Make_it_Your_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:18 --><p>The prices above are for the ready-to-book adventure outlined in this Detailed Itinerary, a popular option that has been handcrafted by our Area Specialists to include the best of every destination. While many travelers choose to book this tour as is, our Area Specialists are also happy to work with you to customize this Private Journey to suit your specific interests and style of travel. We can arrange for longer or shorter stays, offer hotel upgrades (see below for sample costs), or add an extension to additional places of interest. We can even add special activities or customize excursions depending on your interests. We invite you to contact us to discuss your options!<\/p>","System_Signing_up_for_a_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:42 --><p>Early reservations are recommended since accommodations often sell out far in advance. Please call 1-800-368-2794 and ask for our [Africa Manager] or email us at [africa@ wildernesstravel.com] with any questions that you may have about this trip. To reserve your Private Journey, we will need to know your preferred dates of travel. We will then check availability and send you a proposed itinerary with exact pricing for your adventure. We can typically hold a provisional booking for one week. At that time, we must collect your initial deposit or accommodations will be released. We accept Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will send you a Welcome Packet that includes a letter of confirmation, Detailed Itinerary, Trip Application, Medical Form, and Pre-Departure Information Booklet with information to help you prepare for your adventure. Please see our Cancellations and Transfer Fee Schedule for specific payment information.<\/p>","System_Trip_Leaders":"<p>Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please visit <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/leaders\/\">wildernesstravel.com\/leaders<\/a>.<\/p>"},"terms":{"PaymentSchedule":"<p>$600 due at time of reservation <br \/>90 days prior to departure: Balance<\/p>","CancelSchedule":"<p>Up to 91 days prior to departure: No Charge!<br>61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost<br>46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost<br>45 days or less: 100% of trip cost<br><\/p>"}}