Sapporo Snow Festival & Japan Winter Highlights

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Overview

This 13-day trip brings together two Japanese islands to create one unforgettable experience that covers some of the major winter events this country has to offer. From the famous onsen hot springs throughout Japan that make the country so inviting in winter, to the free time to discover new and historical districts in Tokyo and Kyoto, to the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival in Hokkaido, this tour is the best answer for anyone looking for a different sort of adventure.

Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo

Arrive at any time.

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.

Day 2: Tokyo

Enjoy a morning tour of some of the city's highlights. With a free afternoon, opt to explore more of Tokyo's diverse districts.

Day 3: Tokyo/Shirakawa-go

It's a long travel day to reach the scenic village of Shirakawa-go. View the unique architecture before settling into a local style inn for the night. Enjoy a traditional dinner.

Includes: Dinner

Day 4: Shirakawa-go/Kanazawa

Enjoy a traditional breakfast before travelling to Kanazawa by bus. Wander through the samurai village on a short guided walk. Opt to visit the impressive 21st Century Museum, the geisha district, or Kenrokuen garden.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 5: Kanazawa/Kawayu Onsen

Travel to Kawayu Onsen in the Kii mountains and settle into the traditional inn for the evening. Visit the seninburo onsen, dug into the riverbed, and soak in the natural hot spring. Savour a traditional dinner at the inn.

It's a long, but scenic, travel day to reach the Wakayama prefecture. Kawayu Onsen is known for its large, outdoor onsen bath dug every winter into the river bed.

Dress in the yukata (cotton kimono) provided by the inn and stroll over to the seninburo (large public hot spring) to enjoy an unforgettable soak in the steamy natural hot spring water.

Includes: Dinner

Day 6: Kawayu Onsen/Osaka

Spend a free morning in the area. Opt to walk along the ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail or visit the Hongu Taisha Shrine and giant torii gate of Oyu No Hara. Travel to Osaka in the late afternoon and opt for a night out in buzzing Namba.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 7: Osaka

Visit the Instant Ramen Museum and create your own instant noodles. Explore this vibrant city with free time, opting to visit Osaka Castle Park or browse Shinsaibashi's trendy shops.

Osaka has heaps to offer including Osaka Castle Park, Shinsaibashi shopping street and Dotombori Bridge. Be sure to try "takoyaki" the city's famous squid snack. Osaka is a unique culinary destination – opt for a group meal of "kushikatsu".

Day 8: Osaka/Kyoto

Continue on to nearby Kyoto and enjoy a morning city tour. With options like a tea ceremony, a traditional costume photo shoot, and visits to temples or museums, there's tons to see and do.

Day 9: Kyoto/Sapporo

Catch a flight from Osaka to the island of Hokkaido. Enjoy some free time in Sapporo with an optional welcome meeting for any new travellers joining the group here.

Day 10: Sapporo

Take an orientation tour of the city before spending the day at the Sapporo Snow Festival. In the afternoon, depart for Otaru to experience this town's Snow Light Path Festival. Head back to Sapporo for the night.

Day 11: Sapporo/Noboribetsu

Travel to nearby Noboribetsu. Go for an easy hike through Jigokudani Park to view the scenery and geysers. Enjoy a stay at a traditional inn for the night, complete with dinner dressed in a provided yukata (cotton kimono). Afterward, enjoy the inn's soothing Onsen, natural outdoor hot spring baths, as you gaze up at the night sky.

Includes: Dinner

Day 12: Noboribetsu/Sapporo

Enjoy a free day to visit the snow festival or explore more of Sapporo.

Experience more of Sapporo with options to visit the Sapporo Beer Museum for a tour and tasting (complete with an optional all-you-can-eat-and-drink meal in the Beer Hall) or travel to the top of the Sapporo TV Tower for a new vantage point.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 13: Sapporo

Depart at any time.

Can't get enough snow? Book post accommodation and head to Niseko to experience Japan's world-class skiing and snowboarding.

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