Explore nature at its best, in a journey through some of the most spectacular and nearly untouched hot springs that lie amongst families of majestic and wild cranes, surrounded by fresh snow and sparkling ice blanketing the ground. Eight days in the wilderness between Eastern Hokkaido and Sapporo, although in temperatures well below freezing, will be an unforgettable breathtaking trip as you taste some of the freshest food, in the most exquisite hotels with outstanding service, under the clear, star-filled sky above. Experience a winter wonderland bound to inspire, where the beauty of natural elements appears in some of their purest forms, as you hear the rumbles of active volcanoes that surround.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
• Onsen: A dip in the pools at Moor Hot Spring Baths is not only relaxing, but also nourishing for the skin as the mineral-rich waters naturally moisturize like lotion.
• Festivals: Attend the Sairinka Light Festival, a light and sound extravaganza that celebrates the arrival of 1,000+ white swans, which fly into Tokachigawa Onsen every year.
• Ice Cruise: Enjoy an ice breaker cruise through scenic Shiretoko, pushing through the ice of the frozen Sea of Okhotsk to encounter wildlife.
Arrive in the beautiful northernmost Japanese Island of Hokkaido, where a driver will be ready to transfer you to your hotel in Tokachigawa Onsen, roughly three hours’ drive away from the airport in the stunning Tokachi planes. Enjoy a traditional Kaiseki Dinner at the hotel before having your first natural experience in a peaceful-yet-exhilarating bath in the Moor Hot Spring. When the time feels right, slowly make your way back through the snow-coated terrain to enjoy a unique spectacle of the “Sairinka” light festival, where you’ll be amazed by incredible lights and sounds.
This morning, you’ll leave Tokachigawa, and be transported into the ‘heart’ of Douto, renowned for its wild crane observatories, nestled in the Kushiro Marshlands. Start your day at the Ikeda Wine Castle where you will be able to taste a variety of fruity, dry and sparkling flavoured wines, before heading to the Akan Crane Centre where you will hear the natural music of singing cranes as they seek to impress their partner during the mid-winter months. Experience local food in the fresh market - you’ll be given a bowl of rice at the entrance, and may then stroll around to select the fresh catch of the day, fresh veggies, and more, as a topping. Return to your luxury hotel to freshen up, before catching the magical Lake Akan Winter Festival, with its stunning fireworks.
Wake up to glittering snow as the sun’s rays shine down onto the crispy fields, and enjoy a hearty breakfast ahead of this spectacular day. Today, you’ll visit Shiretoko - considered one of the most beautiful places in Japan. Registered as a World Heritage Site, this natural setting is home to an array of wild animals who happily reside in this unspoilt land and ocean. Experience the thrill of an ice breaker cruise that pushes its way through the solid planks of ice floating on the frozen Sea of Okhotsk. You can often see white-tailed sea eagles and seals from on board. You’ll also get the unique opportunity to witness the wild flocks of birds, penguins, and other mammals that congregate in their respective habitats, before heading back to witness the amazing Shiretoko Fantasia Light Show spectacle. A 20-minute display starting at 8pm daily, illuminates the sky with beaming lights that create incredible images of swans and other features, synchronized to the beat of music.
Get your adrenaline pumping as you race your way across the sculpted mountains and carved out valleys, densely coated in white powdery snow, on an exhilarating snowmobile ride. After a soothing hot lunch, embark on a scenic tour of the east coast as you travel on the Norokko Train towards the town of Abashiri. Capture the magical view of the frozen ocean and the Shiretoko mountain range in the distance as you sip a steaming cup of coffee on this phenomenal journey. Complete your scenic day at the Abashiri Winter Ice Festival that is symbolic of winter in this region of Hokkaido. At night the ice sculptures are lit up in a rainbow of colored lights and turn the area into a world of fantasy; a view that is quite different from daytime.
After a relaxing train ride from the day before, you’re bound to feel rested and ready to make the drive from Abashiri to Sounkyo. Off the beaten path, away from typical tourists destinations, immerse yourself in cultural and natural surroundings of the vast plains and large forests from the top of the Hills of Märchen. There is a high likelihood you may be lucky to experience a brief visual encounter with the famous deer, squirrel or fox here. After capturing this visual paradise on film, enjoy a lunch break as you stare into the white forest. You will then be taken to the amazing Fox Farm, where you’ll get up close and personal with one of the spectacular animals. This evening, settle into your comfortable new hotel.
Today you will get the chance to see more of nature’s wildlife as you drift through Asahikawa, and the intriguing Asahiyama Zoo. Although not big, this zoo is highly creative in the way of displaying the animals. One of the highlights is the ‘Penguin Parade’, where these cute birds stroll through the whole park to find their way to their pool. Watch as they wade to the water and unwittingly go about their daily business, while other animals from the colder global regions make a wonderful display of their natural, adoring selves. Enjoy a cultural visit into the Asahikawa Ramen Village where you can explore an interesting collection of ramen shops, as well as the Otokoyama Sake Museum. Fly to Sapporo and make your way to cozy hotel of your choice to relax for the evening.
Wake up early on your last full day to gallivant around Sapporo as you please. Explore the several shopping facilities, from market stalls to developed malls in this big city. Make a trip to visit the TV tower, Sapporo Beer Breweries or enjoy one of Japan’s biggest events - the Sapporo Snow festival. The Sapporo Snow festival showcases hand-sculpted, life-sized temples and castles that can be walked through, and other incredible designs, such as dinosaur statues that look like something out of Jurassic Park. Immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings and make a fun landmark by creating a good old snowman just outside the city centre. Day trips to Otaru, a nostalgic port roughly 40 minutes away by train on the outskirts of the city, can also be organized and highly recommended for a fantastic day out. Here you can enjoy the seafood and scenic walking opportunities as you meander through this beautiful town. Purchase some souvenirs and mingle with locals, as you explore the wildlife and enjoy romantic views of the white winter wonderland.
With the natural tranquil atmosphere, make an early move to walk along the white crispy snow from a fresh evenings snowfall. If you did not get a chance to explore the commercial side of Sapporo, now is your final opportunity to go shopping downtown and buy any last minute goodies. In particular, visit Mitsui and Rera Outlet, before a decent lunch. If shopping is not your scene, enjoy one last walk around the beautiful ice sculptures that are unique to Sapporo, before heading back to the airport for your onward flight to your next destination.
Blessed with abundant sunshine and rich soil, the gently flowing Tokachi River and rare botanical-based moor hot springs, the majestic landscapes of the Tokachi region are a sight to behold. Such treasures are easily accessible for guests of the Tokachigawa Onsen Daiichi Hotel. The hotel is divided into two buildings. All of the 24 rooms and suites at the Hoshu-tei complex are equipped with balconies and outdoor baths filled with moor hot spring water while some of the 87 rooms at the larger Toyo-tei building offer spring water baths. Rooms in Toyo-tei are available with both Japanese and western design aesthetics. At Yuraku, guests can experience the full luxury of the hot springs at public spring baths in the scenic outdoors among a garden of river stones. The area also features a dry sauna, mist sauna, hinoki, utase-yu, low and high-temperature bathtubs, and Jacuzzi. Additionally, there is a salon where all oils are created by the "father of aromatherapy" Dr. Jean Valnet of France. Two beautiful restaurants serve local cuisines and Japanese buffet. The resort also includes a tea lounge, bar, karaoke box, banquet halls, parking spaces, and 18-hole golf course.
Luxurious botanical moor hot springs known for smoothing and moisturizing skin only occur at two places in the world. The Tokachigawa Onsen Sanyoan hotel is located at one them. At the hotel's exclusive Fugetsu Large Bathhouse, guests can relax in a traditional Japanese cypress bath or a tiled bath and enjoy water from the moor hot spring. Guest rooms that allude to novels and literary works are beautifully feature illumination art by famed lighting designer Reiko Chikada and furnished with pinewood floors, handmade Japanese paper walls, Ryukya tatami mats, and 23 kinds of informal cotton kimonos along with six types of pillows for guests. There are rooms with Japanese and Western-style beds, all of which include baths made from Japanese cypress grown in Akita Prefecture along with a living space and other amenities. Two rooms house open-air baths. The Shunju Main Dining Room aims to appeal to each of the guest's five senses with creative Japanese dishes featuring such specialties as fresh crab and seafood from the Tokachi and Hiroo regions along with cattle raised on natural feed. The menu changes every two months. An aromatherapy salon is supervised by one of Japan's leading phytotherapists and aromatherapists, Chiyoko Kusakabe, and boasts oils by French by aromatherapy pioneer Dr. Jean Valnet. A bar, library, and music shop are also on-site.
Across the Nusamai Bridge in Kushiro and a short walk from Itsukushima Jinja Shinto temple rests the Hotel La Vista Kushirogawa. Casual, comfortable rooms are equipped with such modern amenities as wood furnishings, flat-screen televisions, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some rooms have tatami floors, futons, and chabudai dining tables. The hotel houses an informal restaurant with Japanese dishes and a gender-segregated bathhouse with natural indoor and outdoor tubs as well as a sauna, all fed by hot spring water, where guests can relax. Additionally, some of the best views of Kushiro are provided at the hotel’s observation lounge. Parking is complimentary, a business center is available, and a free shuttle to the train station is organized.
Covering most of the Shiretoko Peninsula on the northeastern tip of the island of Hokkaidō, Shiretoko National Park is known for its waterfalls, forests, and wildlife. The natural splendor of this World Natural Heritage Site is best enjoyed from the Shiretoko Grand Hotel, a resort that seeks to marry the beauty of the region with premium comfort. The rooms have clean, subdued designs that are designed in harmony with their views of Shiretoko's mountains and the Sea of Okhotsk. Some are equipped with open-air baths and all are feature such modern amenities as LCD televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi, and essential toiletries. Rooms are offered in western and Japanese styles. All guests are welcomed to join the open-air bath with hot spring water and breathtaking sights. The hotel has various dining options including a buffet with Japanese and western dishes and a "Shiretoko Breakfast" that comprises 50 dishes of both Japanese and western origin, all of which are locally sourced, fresh, and healthy. A bar, cigar lounge, laundry mat, kids’ corner, pet lounge, and outdoor lounge are all on-site.
Sitting at the crossroads between luxury and tradition is Hokutennooka Lake Abashiri Tsuruga Resort, a world-class resort overlooking Lake Abashiri. The resort is designed to preserve and relive the traditions of the Okhotsk people, historical inhabitants of Hokkaido who disappeared under mysterious circumstances: the lobby of the hotel is designed like a traditional pit house, artwork and carvings that recall the Okhotsk culture are placed throughout the buildings, and hotel staff often wear traditional clothing. But while this hotel prides itself on celebrating the past, it is also about celebrating the present guest, with luxury spa treatments and an outdoor spring bath, gourmet French, Japanese and western cuisine served in three on-site restaurants, and luxurious guestrooms and suites, including those in the Ko no Za wing that each feature their own open-air bath. Soak in culture while relaxing in a hot spring bath - that is how the past meets the best at this luxurious resort.
On the northeastern coast of Hokkaido lies scenic Abashiri, a site with numerous beautiful views for visitors to enjoy before escaping from the cold to the comfort of the region’s natural hot springs at Dormy Inn Abashiri. The hotel's 145 rooms come with both Japanese and western designs and are equipped with such modern amenities as wireless Internet, refrigerators, and essential toiletries. The indoor and outdoor facilities of the hotel’s gender-segregated bathhouse all filled with natural hot spring water. The on-site restaurant offers roughly 60 kinds of Japanese and Western dishes and a buffet is available; additionally, the hotel is expertly located in an area near the Abashiri River where there are several restaurants. There are also smoking booths, a laundromat, and internet room.
Enjoy a stay at Sounkyo Onsen Hotel in Hokkaidō, Japan. Nestled between mountains and beside the Ishikari River, this resort is a perfect natural retreat for those who like to be in nature, while also enjoying high-quality service and luxury accommodation. Year-round, guests can relax in the on-site hot springs baths and enjoy forest views from the relaxing sauna. For dining options, choices range from traditional Japanese, Chinese and western cuisine - all made with fresh, seasonal ingredients – as well as a buffet restaurant, and peaceful in-suite dining, decorated in traditional Japanese design, western design, or a fusion of the two. A natural oasis awaits at Sounkyo Onsen Hotel.
Enjoy a stay in Daisetuzan National Park at Hotel Taisetsu, a lovely hotel situated at the highest area in Sounkyo, offering stunning views of the lush, natural area. Guests may soak in the views while soaking in the hotel’s open-air bath and sauna, open 24 hours, or spend their days exploring the local area. Both Japanese and Western-style rooms and suites are available, and guests can enjoy details including “tatami" mats, air-conditioning, and daily newspapers. The star of the hotel - the restaurant - is ready to whip up the ultimate in local fare over five courses: “Oogi”, “Irodor”, “Hana”, “Miyabi”, and “Utage”.
The Sapporo Grand Hotel is a mature hotel with decades of experience delighting its guests, having been the first European-style hotel to enter the Hokkaido market. Guest rooms combine a traditional Japanese feel with modern, high-tech touches. We recommend the Premium Floor, Grand in Grand, which provide guests with luxurious comforts in a homely atmosphere. Guests may choose from seven bars and restaurants, serving Western, Japanese (including local Hokkaido speciality cuisine), and Chinese favorites. Guests may also make use of the hotel’s chapel, shopping arcade, business center and library, and Healing Court spa, where all kinds of aesthetic treatments are available. The hotel is conveniently-located a mere eight-minute walk from JR Sapporo Station, and around 40 minutes by high-speed rail from Chitose Airport.
The JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo provides sleek style and convenience in Hokkaido, Japan. Conveniently located above JR Sapporo Station with a direct link from Chitose International Airport by JR line, it is the perfect stop during a business trip for some rest, relaxation, and a dash of luxury. Guests can dine on French cuisine at MIKUNI Sapporo, seasonal western dishes at Sky J, traditional Japanese at Tancho, and casual European fare at Serena. Then, they can enjoy an indulgent treatment at the Sky Resort Spa and relax in the natural hot springs, air bubble baths and saunas. At the end of the day, guests can take in spectacular views from their room or suite, all located on floors 23 to 34 for the perfect sweeping panorama.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
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