Hokkaido tour in Japan
Description of Hokkaido tour in Japan
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost large island, known for national parks and steamy hot springs. On this 11 day tailor-made tour you’ll circle the island. Make the most of whatever season you’re travelling in – from winter powder to summer flowers.
You’ll start and end your tour in Sapporo, the island capital. From Sapporo you’ll go on to Furano, in the hilly interior of the island. Next you’ll head onto the northern coast, to stay at a ryokan inn in Abashiri and enjoy a Japanese Kaiseki dinner. From here it’s on to national parks, where rare cranes, preserved wetlands and fresh seafood await.
This trip changes a little with the seasons. In summer, Hokkaido is in full bloom. Travel in warm weather and you’ll come across wild flower gardens in Abashiri, admire Furano’s lovely lavender fields, and see unique flower fields in Biei as you cycle through the farmland.
In winter it’s a different story. Furano is world-famous for its winter sports. Hit the slopes in the cold months – or just admire the frosty wonderland. You can see the massive ice floes from an icebreaking ship on the Sea of Okhotsk near Abashiri. Come on this trip in February and you might even be able to visit Sapporo’s popular snow festival.
PlanetDecreasing your carbon footprint is very important though this can be a bit difficult when traveling. This is why our tours make use of Japan’s amazing mass transportation system from local buses and trains to the super fast bullet train. Not only is this the most environmentally friendly way to travel, it is also the fastest, safest and cheapest. Traveling by train will also let you people watch which put you that much closer to the culture.
Another way our to decrease your carbon footprint is to increase your physical foot steps while on one of our trips. Japan is best seen on foot so we encourage everyone to walk as much as possible and to observe the small details of Japan. We call this ‘sightseeing with your eyes open’. This means that you should not just focus on the must see sights but also on the small sights. An example of this is manhole covers which are uniquely decorated and vary with each town. This might seem trivial, but it is these small details that really connect our travelers to the Japanese culture. One way we make it easy for our travelers to walk is to have them stay at accommodations near mass transit stations, restaurants, and shops whenever possible. This way they can do everything they want without taking a taxi or having to rent a car.
While traveling it is easy to use more disposable products than you would at home. In Japan this can mean using waribashi (disposable chopsticks) instead of carrying your own, or buying water from a vending machine instead of using a reusable water bottle and the like. We encourage our travelers to carry a small bag or backpack with them so they can carry these things with them. If they do not have their own chopsticks then they can easy buy them at any convenient store or grocery story. Most of these chopsticks come in their own portable cases which make it perfect. The nice thing about carrying a bag is you can also use to carry things that you buy and refusing to accept a plastic bag.
PeopleDuring your trip to Hokkaido you will visit a few important cultural areas including a visit to North People Museum near Abashiri. This museum introduces and celebrates the culture and traditional of the Ainu people who are considered the indigenous people of Japan.
You will also visit Kushiro Marshlands which are vital to the wildlife of Hokkaido and is the only known habitat of the endangered Japanese Crane (tancho). Efforts have been made to allow visitors see these amazing birds without disturbing their natural habitat.
Food is an important part of any trip. One of the great features of Japanese restaurants is that most of them display plastic replicas of their dishes or have menus with photos. This makes it easy to just wander into any restaurant and order food. Of course this is not something that we organized but is a part of Japan which makes it easy to try new foods. If you have any food allergies we will include a translation card that you can show your server.
Before you arrive we will send you an information packet that includes an explanation of Japanese culture/etiquette, Japanese phrases and an overview of Japanese history.
Traveling to country where the first language is not English can be exciting and a little intimidating so we encourage our travelers to learn some basic phrases and to use them as often as possible. Fluency is not required but just saying arigato (thanks) or sumimasen (excuse me/I am sorry) will be appreciated, even if the pronunciation is butchered. The Japanese will see that our travelers are not standard tourists but travelers interested in the local culture. This simple effort will open up people and they will be much more willing to help. Your information packet includes basic phrases, pronunciation and how to write it in Japanese. We also send a reading list so travelers can read about Japan which will bring Japan more to life.
Local private guides can add a great deal to your understanding of Japan and the sights you are visiting. The reason why we hire local guides is that they know the area as this is where they live. We are also very critical of our guides and make sure that they are adding value. Before the start of a trip we will send the guides information about the travelers and their travel style. This way the guides can build a sightseeing plan that works for the travelers. Our guides also also very flexible and can adjust the plan to any changes in weather, interests or special events. While sightseeing you will use public transportation as much as possible and will walk quite a bit.
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