The winter festivals in northern Japan are a sight to behold, and this trip gives you a fantastic insight into some of the biggest and best! Guided throughout by your English speaking local group leader you’ll experience the Sapporo Snow festival, marvel at Asahikawa’s giant snow sculptures and be entranced by Otaru’s Snow Light Path Festival.
Much of the travelling on this trip is done on the famous Bullet train. Journeying by rail produces significantly less carbon emissions per passenger than travel by either air or car, making this one of the most environmentally responsible methods to explore this magnificent country. In fact, when it comes to carbon emissions, as a company we operate a carbon neutral policy, offsetting all passenger travel ‘on the ground’ while on tour.
All travellers in the group will be encouraged to travel with refillable water bottles and purification tablets rather than purchasing water in plastic bottles to minimise waste and your group leader will also be on hand to advise on the responsible discarding of rubbish throughout the trip, recycling wherever possible.
We are a big supporter of the protection of endangered species around the world. It is against our Responsible Travel policy for leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark.
There are many activity options enabling you to interact with local people and learn and understand their traditions. We of course do what we can to demonstrate respect for local culture and tradition. While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall, it is quite a conservative country. We spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. During your visit you will receive hospitality from local families and people. A great way to reciprocate is to bring a small gift from your country, eg. animal figurines, pens, flags or stickers.
The accommodation for this trip is a mix of small locally owned and operated ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and guesthouses, where our patronage is directly supporting local families. Our gracious hosts will help guide you around traditional practices and living arrangements. An outdoor onsen (hot spring bath) is a real highlight of a guesthouse stay. There are separate baths for males and females, and as no clothes or swimming costumes are allowed in the hot springs - it's time to shed those inhibitions!