This private spring tour has been designed to let you explore four magnificent national parks in beautiful Hokkaido, Japan on a deeper level. This is an excellent chance to understand what has shaped the nature of Japan’s northernmost island and how the local geography, climate and culture of today’s Hokkaido came to be. See and feel the nature, wildlife, local food and seasonal flowers of Hokkaido’s late spring. We want to show you something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Welcome to Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island!
On your first day in Hokkaido, you and your family can focus on getting to know your personal driver and curing your jet lag. For your first dinner, step back in time and have a little venture around Hokkaido’s oldest market street “Akachochin Yokocho”, literally “Red Lantern Back Alley” in Kushiro city.
The origin story of Hokkaido nature at Kushiro Marshland
Today we are ready to start your Hokkaido wildlife adventure. It’s time to head for Kushiro-shitsugen National Park with a local nature guide.
The experienced guide will take you on a stroll on a wooden boardwalk to traverse the surprisingly deep swamp area. These invaluable, mysterious wetlands remain remarkably similar to how they were 3000 years ago. They have been designated as a national natural monument and protected under The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as waterfowl bird habitat. The story and background of these ancient, deep wetlands will help you to understand the evolution and variety of Hokkaido nature and wildlife on a deeper level as our journey continues.
Relaxing at gorgeous Lake Kussharo in Akan Mashu National Park
Today there is an opportunity to try out some calming private canoeing in Lake Kussharo, the largest caldera lake in Japan. You will disembark at the tip of the Wakoto Peninsula, where a local guide will prepare you a healthy, handmade lunch with charming details, making full use of tasty, local ingredients such as fresh oyster. There you may spot some wildlife, such as Ezo-shika deer.
At the tip of the peninsula there is water so steaming hot, that you can boil an egg for your lunch there! Today it’s okay to just be yourself and relax in the still quietness of the Akan Mashu National Park before heading further to the east.
– Japan is a country with plenty of volcanic activity, which is also the reason for its many natural hot springs.
– “Volcanic activity” doesn’t only mean hot orange lava or dangerous eruptions; besides hot springs you can see beautiful steam that rises to the surface and you can even try dipping your feet into a warm, soothing foot bath.
– The top of the Wakoto Peninsula is perhaps the best place within Akan Mashu National park for appreciating volcanic activity. Here at the lake you can find the steaming hot “Oyakotsu Hell”.
Orca spotting in UNESCO World Heritage Site Shiretoko National Park
The fourth day of your journey is dedicated to the ocean. Now it is finally time to take in the breathtaking wilderness of UNESCO World Heritage Site Shiretoko National Park. This is going to be an experience of a lifetime: Orca (“Killer Whale”) Watching Tour!
The orca in Hokkaido are quite energetic and playful. Therefore, visitors have a relatively good chance of seeing these impressive wildlife animals, especially in late spring and early summer, when they are the most active. Imagine what it will feel like to see these magnificent and social marine mammals swim right beside your boat to greet you!
– This national park, located in a peninsula at the far east of Hokkaido island, has one of the richest ecosystems in the world, combining both marine and terrestrial life.
– The national park is a crucially important habitat for rare wildlife species such as the world’s largest owl, Blackiston’s fish owl.
– The unique nature here is strongly shaped by the massive amounts of drift ice that arrives annually all the way from Amur River at the border of Russia and China. Hokkaido is the southernmost place on this side of the planet where drift ice phenomena can be witnessed.
– The black and white wild orca (also known as “killer whale”) can be witnessed around Shiretoko Peninsula in East Hokkaido especially in late spring and early summer.
– These giant animals gather in Hokkaido because of the minerals brought in by massive amounts of drift ice and local sea currents.
– In Ainu culture, orca is known as “Repun Kamuy,” the God of the Sea.
Explore the stunning Shiretoko National Park on foot
Today let’s explore the National Park on foot. During a three-hour nature trek with an expert guide, you can take in the outstanding scenery and learn about the precious fauna and flora protected here.
Besides the famous five lakes, Shiretoko National Park also has some rather beautiful waterfalls, such as Furepe Waterfall right at the edge of the ocean. You can also join a bear watching cruise all the way to the tip of the peninsula.
– Shiretoko National Park has the highest density of brown bears in the whole world.
– One can join a bear spotting cruise in the area. Staying on a boat is a safe way to appreciate these giant wildlife animals. Depending on the year, the possibility of seeing bears is over 90 %.
– Bears are of significant cultural importance for the Ainu culture. The bear is known as the “Kimun Kamuy,” God of the Mountains, in traditional Ainu beliefs.
Colorful tulips and bright pink moss phlox flowers
Before proceeding to the next national park, we will start this day by appreciating some more man-made natural sights: fields full of vibrantly colorful tulips is a scene that can only be enjoyed in late spring. But why are there tulips here in Eastern Hokkaido? There is a truly interesting story behind this, just wait and see.
Another seasonal flower of East Hokkaido is the pink moss phlox, also known as “shibazakura”, literally cherry blossoms on grass. The vibrant pink field of flowers is a very spectacular view that looks great in photos.
Mountainous Daisetsuzan National Park
Today you get to ride the northernmost aerial lift in Japan to appreciate the fresh, bright green spring scenery high up in the air! After taking your time enjoying the views, let’s steer towards wonderful views of a different kind. One of the highlights of the area is the cluster of clear gushing waterfalls nestled in the Soun Gorge.
Two of these are especially well-known. These charming natural spots have their own character and are almost like living creatures. Ginga Waterfall (lit.”Galaxy Waterfalls”) is the more delicate and sensitive of the two. This thin, sparkling waterfall with a height of around 90 meters falls gently down a mountainside. Ryusei Waterfall, (lit. “Shooting Star Waterfalls”) is the bolder and more lively one out of two. It appears as if this impressive 120-meter-high water force bursts out of nothing.
In the evening you will be arriving in Hokkaido’s largest city, Sapporo. After all the stunning nature you are perhaps eager to explore the culinary scene and nightlife of the city.
City of Sapporo in full bloom
Today is the last day of your late spring East Hokkaido tour. Today you will be enjoying some well-earned free time, shopping and sightseeing. Besides checking some of the must-see sightseeing locations, we warmly recommend strolling around to enjoy Sapporo Lilac Festival, held from the middle to the end of May. Sapporo’s central Odori Park has approximately 400 purple lilac flower trees that give off a delightful fragrance.
7 Nights Accommodation
7 Breakfasts / 3 Lunches / 5 Dinners
8 Days Jumbo Taxi with Local English speaking Driver
*2-3pax Toyota Alphard with Local English speaking Driver
Parking, Fuel and Highway Fees
Taxes (10% Consumption Tax)
*Prices are in JPY（Japanese yen）, per person, based on double occupancy.