B: Breakfast | L: Lunch | D: Dinner | SD: Special Dinner
Day 1**Feb 8 | Honolulu –> Chitose
We begin our journey by boarding an international flight to Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island and the largest and northernmost prefecture. Meals and snacks will be served on the plane.
Day 2**Feb 9 | Chitose – Sapporo
Upon our arrival at the New Chitose International Airport, an Air and Sea Travel representative will escort us to our hotel. Sapporo is the fourth largest city in Japan by population and the largest city on the northern island of Hokkaido. It hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, the first ever held in Asia.
Day 3**Feb 10 | Sapporo | (B)
Sapporo is known for its annual Yuki Matsuri, internationally referred to as “the Sapporo Snow Festival”, which draws more than 2 million tourists from around the world. We will participate in this year’s 71th Sapporo Snow Festival at Odori Park and at the Susukino Area. “Odori” means “large street” in Japanese. It stretches from east to west and divides the city into northern and southern sections. The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s largest winter events and the main festival site is held in the park every year. It is magnificent and an event not to be missed! We will have ample free time today to walk around at our own pace and enjoy the city after exploring the Snow Festival.
Day 4**Feb 11 | Sapporo – Asahikawa – Sounkyo | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will transfer to Asahikawa to experience one of the most popular winter festivals in Hokkaido, the 61th Asahikawa Winter Festival. As Hokkaido’s second largest winter festival after Sapporo’s Snow Festival, it has one of the biggest snow sculptures. Every year one massive sculpture is made as a stage for music and other performances. The giant sculpture of a Korean fortress in 1994 even made it into the book of Guinness World Records as the largest snow construction built. The giant sculpture has a different theme each year, such as a snowman castle in 2010 or the Daisetsuzan Mountains in 2011. We can enjoy our time here. Afterwards, we will transfer to Sounkyo and visit Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest national park in Hokkaido. It preserves a densely forested, mountainous area of virtually unspoiled wilderness that is larger than some of Japan’s smaller prefectures and consists of three volcanic mountain groups. The park is also known for its alpine meadows and remote backcountry. It is famous for its wildlife and if we are lucky, we may see several rare species. We can enjoy the Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival by visiting the Sounkyo Gorge. This 12.4-mile long gorge contains a spectacular 328-foot jagged cliff and gorgeous waterfalls, also known as the “Roof of Hokkaido”. We will also visit the beautiful Ginga Waterfall and the Ryusei Waterfall, collectively referred to as “husband-and-wife falls” in Japanese. After a long day in the park, we will be rejuvenated at the Hot Spring tonight. A special “Mountain-River’s Four Season” Banquet is arranged for tonight’s dinner with most of the ingredients from the surrounding mountain and river which are also used in Japanese, Chinese, and western cuisines.
Sounkyo Onsen contains minerals, such as hydrogen sulfide, salt, and iron. Its water is neutral and is said to be good for hypertension and arteriosclerosis.
Day 5**Feb 12 | Sounkyo – Abashiri – Lake Akan | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will transfer to Abashiri, and take an icebreaker to the Sea of Okhotsk. It is the southernmost ocean on earth where Drift Ice is observable, and is relatively shallow and suitable for the growth of marine animals (Clione). We will spend some time observing the beautiful view of the drift ice aboard Aurora, an Icebreaker used as a cruise ship. It breaks the ice floating in the frozen Okhotsk Sea, enabling us to enjoy a leisurely journey while admiring the panoramic view of the drift ice. Next we will visit the Abashiri Prison Museum. The prison was built to house more than one thousand dangerous criminals and became famous through a popular yakuza movie series directed by Ishii Teruo in the 1960’s. We can see prison structures and exhibits depicting daily prison life in the museum. We will head to Lake Akan (Akan-ko) after lunch. The lake is famous because it is inhabited by spherical alga called “marimo”. In winter, Lake Akan is transformed into a beautiful stage for the Lake Akan Ice Festival “Fuyuhanabi”. During the festival, a small ceremony is held and a fireworks display over ice is presented nightly under clear skies. We will check in and have tonight’s dinner, a hearty buffet at the onsen resort. Later, we can relax and rejuvenate at a traditional outdoor hot spring in Akan.
Akan Onsen is a neutral hypotonic high-temperature spring. It is said to be good to soothe fatigue, rheumatism, sprains, stiff shoulders, neuralgia, muscle pain, and arthralgia.
Day 6**Feb 13 | Lake Akan – Tokachigawa | (B, L, D)
Today’s highlight is Ice Fishing. Our guide will lead us across the frozen surface of Lake Akan to the best spot to experience traditional fishing methods for fresh pond smelt (wakasagi). Later, we will enjoy yummy freshly made Wakasagi Tempura with the smelt we caught. Optional “snowmobiling” and “banana boat rides” are available for an additional cost. Our next destination is Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden, a popular confectionery company that originated in Obihiro city. Ryugetsu Co., Ltd. received the 1st Excellent Company Award from the Governor of Hokkaido in 2005. We can see the production line from the second floor as we tour the factory. Tonight, we can enjoy the Tokachigawa Hot Spring at our hot spring resort in Otofuke. It is A Moor (plant-derived) hot spring located on a plain, known as Bijin-no Yu. The moor vegetation makes the water rich in organic components. As such, the waters are milder and richer in natural moisturizers than ordinary hot springs, smoothing and moisturizing the skin and making the Tokachigawa Hot Spring famous as a “hot spring for beauty”. It is a natural gift from deep inside the ancient earth as there are only two Moor Hot Springs in the world. We will spend a wonderful time at the hot spring and relax for the rest of the day.
Tokachigawa Hot Spring has high contents of the rich natural environment, such as organic matter and humic acid. It is said to be good for beauty and an excellent skin-moisturizing and smoothing effect can be felt after taking a bath.
Day 7**Feb 14 | Tokachigawa – Chitose – Sapporo | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will return to Sapporo. On the way, we will stop at Sapporo Brewery. Sapporo Beer, one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in the country, has been brewed in the region since 1877 and is now produced and sold around the world. We will taste the locally made Sapporo beer here. Then, we will enjoy Japanese Yakiniku for lunch. The annual Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival sees the banks of Lake Shikotsu transformed into a magical frozen kingdom. With colorfully illuminated ice castles and a whole host of wintry activities, it’s a fantastic way to make the most of the season’s cold weather! We will spend some time here to experience this wonderful festival. Then, we will stop by the largest shopping mall in Sapporo, the Tanuki Koji Shopping Arcade. With 123 years of history, the unique traditional merchants will provide us the opportunity to purchase gifts for our families and friends. There are both traditional and modern stores here. A Crab Feast is arranged for tonight’s dinner.
Day 8**Feb 15 | Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo | (B, L)
After breakfast, we will drive by the Former Hokkaidō Government Office before we head to Otatu, a small harbor city which served as a major trading and fishing port in the late 1800s. We can see the history of this city through old warehouses and former office buildings. The famous Otaru Canal gives us an amazing view. During the day, artists display their works to passing tourists. Otaru is well known for its beautiful handmade and intricate music boxes. We will stop at the Otaru Music Box Museum to learn about this special product. The museum is located in a beautiful century-old red brick building, designated as one of the historic landmarks of Otaru City. Music boxes in various sizes and types are neatly displayed. Afterward, we will visit the Kitaichi Glass Company. We will be fascinated by glass tableware, accessories and art works of high quality and enjoy the gentle warmth and artistry, which can be created only by skilled craftsmen. We will learn the major role of the herring fishing industry during its heyday in Otaru, when we visit large Herring Mansions (Nishin Goten) built by wealthy fishermen to process fish and used as residences for themselves and their employees. It is one of the Tangible Cultural Assets of Hokkaido. Afterwards, we will transfer to Otaru Tenguyama, which is conveniently located near downtown Otaru. The famous “Tengu-no-Kabe” has a 38-degree slope, and is well known for hosting various national races throughout the season. We can go to the top of the mountain via a Ropeway. There are a few observatories at the top to view the beautiful night scenery of Otaru and enjoy the thrills and views of night skiing. Finally, we will pass by Sapporo Clock Tower as we transfer back to Sapporo.
Day 9**Feb 16 | Sapporo – Chitose –> Honolulu | (B)
In the morning, we will first stop at the Hokkaido Shrine, constructed in 1870 in Sapporo as an interim building of the shrine for three deities of the Hokkaido reclamation. After a stop at a Duty Free shop, we will transfer to the New Chitose International Airport for our return flight to Honolulu. This will end our Ice Snow Festival trip in Hokkaido.
CHECK OR CASH PAYMENT ONLY. A deposit of $ 350 per person is required at the time of application. The balance of payment is due 70 days prior to departure. In case balance of payment is not made within the required time period, Air and Sea Travel Center reserves the right to cancel reservations and charge a cancellation fee.
Written notice is required for any cancellation. Within 70 days before departure, the cancellation fee will be as follow:
** 69-31 days prior to departure, 50% of total price plus any other service fee caused from the cancellation;
** 30 days prior to departure or withdrawing during the tour shall be regarded as willingly giving up all rights concerned, 100% of total price, and request for other services as a substitute shall not be accepted.
Price from: $3,588.00
Includes: Tax and fuel surcharge
(SINGLE SUPP: $1000)