5 Nights Hokkaido Winter Wildlife and Nature Photography

This spectacular wildlife photography tour is specially tailored to provides opportunities for seasoned photographers to enjoy the very best photography “bucket-list” experience that Hokkaido has to offer. Attendees will get to observe and capture the ravishing Japanese national-treasure Tancho (red-top cranes) dancing in the snow of Tsurui Village, the huge but rare Blakiston’s Fish Owl, flocks of gigantic Steller’s Sea Eagles and the regal Whooper Swans of Lake Kussharo.

Photo credits: Tsuyoshi Kato

Hokkaido Tour Details (Feb)

You’ll be provided with more details in our final itinerary before we depart for the tour, below is an outline of our itinerary during our 6 days wildlife, nature and landscape photography adventure in the frozen far north of Japan.

RECOMMENDED FLIGHTS ON JAPAN AIRLINES (Not included in package price)

Singapore – Haneda / JL036 / 26Feb / 2225-0555HRS +1
Haneda – Kushiro / JL541 / 27Feb / 0755-0935HRS
Make your own flight arrangements to arrive by 10am in Kushiro or do contact us for flight booking assistance if required.


On arrival in Kushiro airport. Meet & greet by our experienced photo-guide, who will take us to Kussharo for lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we will proceed to beautiful Lake Kussharo. This scenic lake is frozen during winter and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Despite frozen, small parts of the lake are kept ice-free by geothermal activity and you will see colonies of Whooper Swans which migrated here from Russia . The swans can be photographed in various angles, be it on the lake, on the ice or while in flight! This evening, our choice of accommodation at Kita Fukuro in Kawayu (or similiar) is a local ryokan with large communal bath and open-air baths facing the forest with water drawn directly from the hot spring source. Dinner will be served in the ryokan. Have a good night rest for an early morning photography session the following day.

Overnight: Kawayu – Kita Fukuro or similar


Head off to Lake Kussharo again early in the morning. The combination of ice and snow, and sometimes falling snow, as well as steam rising from the water in the early morning, makes for some surreal wildlife photography opportunities.

Return to the hotel for breakfast followed by checking out before we proceed on a short drive to Mt. Iou. for a quick stop before heading on to the next destination. Iozan is an active volcano in the vicinity of Kawayu Onsen. Its yellow, sulfurous vents can be viewed from a close proximity and visitors are free to walk around the steaming area.

Following that, we make our way to Tsurui Village where you will see the magnificent Japanese wildlife treasure- Tancho (Red-crowned Cranes), which in the winter months are concentrated in the complex of damp fields and marshlands. We will make a stop at the Red Crane Sanctuary where you can see them dancing and as one pair begins its courtship dance which frequently spreads through the flock like a wave, which may see dozens of striking black and white birds leaping into the air or throwing back their heads and bugling towards heaven. This is definitely one of the world’s greatest wildlife photography spectacles!

This evening, we will check in to Hickory Wind where we will meet our host Mr Makoto Ando who is also the owner of the lodge. Ando-san is also an internationally renowned award-winning photographer who has regularly won Smithsonian and various local and international contests. (P/S: He knows all the best place for photography around the area!)

Overnight: Tsurui: Hickory Wind


A day filled with photography opportunities with Ando-san. Enjoy a trek to some of his secret locations for vantage points to capture the best pictures of the Red-crowned Cranes. Ando-san will keep the itinerary of this day a secret till you got there.

NOTE: A Telephoto Zoom lens (minimum 300mm and above) is highly recommended.

Overnight: Tsurui: Hickory Wind


After breakfast, we will check out and bid farewell to Ando-san. We will proceed to Otowa Bridge for our last opportunity to shoot the Red Crown Crances before we move on to our next destination - Rausu
After lunch, we will head to Notsuke Peninsula where you can try to spot some deers and be prepared to do some dramatic landscape photography. If you enjoy minimalist photography, this will be the best opportunity.
Overnight: Rausu: Marumi (local ryokan)


Depart for an 2 hours Wildlife watching cruise right after breakfast. We will be cruising into the northern Nemuro Strait with sea ice. Get your long lens ready to capture the Stellar's sea eagles and White-tailed eagles in action!

Thereafter, proceed for lunch before we head on to Shiretoko to try our luck to spot Ezo Deer.

This evening, we will take a quick dinner before heading to Washi no Yado to try our luck to shoot Blakiston's Fish Owl.
Overnight: Rausu: Marumi (local ryokan)


On the final day we'll spend the morning searching and photographing Steller's Eagle around Rausu areas and inland winter landscape on the way to the Memanbetsu Airport where we will board our domestic flight to Toyko for connection to Singapore (Flight on own arrangements).

NOTE: This morning is intentionally kept free & easy in case the wildlife cruise has to be re-scheduled due to weather.

RECOMMENDED FLIGHTS ON JAPAN AIRLINES (Not included in package price)
Memanbetsu - Haneda / JL566 / 04Mar / 2020-2215HRS
Haneda - Singapore / JL035 / 05Mar / 0005-0645HRS+1
* Lake Kussharo - Whooper Swans
* Tsurui Village - Tancho (Crane and others)
* Rausu cruise - White-Tailed Sea Eagle, Stellar's Sea Eagle, Stellar's SeaLion, Harbor Seal, Ribbon Seal, Baird's beaked Whale
* Washi no Yado - Blaciston's Fish Owl
* Photography coaching
* 5 nights accommodation.
* Daily Breakfast, 6 lunches, 5 dinners.
* All local land transport by private vehicle
* Photography coaching by Jensen Chua over entire tour.
* Day session with award-winning photographer, Makoto Ando. He is also Hokkaido's designated monitor of Japanese cranes as well as ranger guide of the Shiretoko region.
Single Room: S$6715
Twin Sharing Room: S$5560 per person

Price excludes International airfares to Hokkaido which is approximately S$1000.

For Booking and euquiries, kindly contact Cindy Loo

Email: cloo@holidaytours.net Contact: 62382774





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