HOKKAIDO'S PERFECT POWDER SNOW
12 nights (semi-guided)
Tokyo, Sapporo, Furano, Tomamu, Niseko, Otaru
From £6,495 pp
This unique tour has been crafted to cater to adventurous souls, with 12 days around Hokkaido, Japan's snowy north, and a little time in Tokyo for good measure You'll visit Sapporo, the island's capital city, and take in three exceptional ski resorts in your quest for the Japow Hokkaido's endless blanket of perfect, powdery snow that has earned cult status worldwide Wonderful winter
DAY 1 : One Step Closer
Your journey begins at London Heathrow, where you'll take an overnight flight. Watch the lights of the city fade out of view, rest up and enjoy dinner provided onboard.
DAY 2: Sapporo, Blessed By Snow
Your flight descends after breakfast, in the early hours of day two at Tokyo Haneda Airport, from where you'll be taken to the domestic terminal. After customs clearance and the airport shuttle you'll swiftly board your second and final flight to New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido You'll take a private car to dinner in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, at Jingisukan Daruma for jingisukan which literally means “Genghis Khan” This is a Hokkaido speciality of freshly grilled lamb and vegetables cooked on tabletop barbecues.
DAY 3: The City Melts Away
Today we encourage you to take a stroll around Sapporo Wander through Odori Park, the tree-lined oasis at the heart of the city, the Botanic Garden of Hokkaido University, the Sapporo Beer Museum, or learn a little history at the Clock Tower.
Suitably refreshed, you'll be whisked a couple of hours away by car to the foothills of Mt Furano, where you'll arrive at the four star Shin Furano Prince Hotel by mid-afternoon. Situated at the very centre of the action, it provides incredibly easy access to all of the resort's slopes.
DAY 4: Dive Right In
Your first morning in Furano is an exciting one; it's time to hit the slopes! After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, you'll be ready for the joys of this bewitching winter wonderland.
With 28 courses to suit all abilities, Furano is moderately sized, so you can get stuck in right away without spending ages travelling around between spots. From the highest point, 1,074m above sea level, there are stunning views of Mount Tokachi and the Daisetsuzan National Park's glorious mountain range. Many herald the snow here as the best in Japan, if not the world! The Snowboarding World Cup has been held here twice, and the FIS Alpine World Cup an astonishing 10 times. Furano is proud of its cultural heritage and is a friendly, bustling Japanese town.
DAY 5: Settling In On The Slopes
Prepare yourself for your second day of winter sports in charming Furano. Today could be the day to try a hot-air balloon ride for a 360° bird's-eye view of the silver mountains and the Furano Basin.
There's plenty to do aside from skiing: ice-hole fishing, snowshoe trekking, cat skiing and dog-sled rides are all available for you to try!
DAY 6: Tomamu Awaits
After a final breakfast at your hotel, you'll be driven to the Hoshino Resorts site in Tomamu roughly 90 minutes away for your next adventure. Arriving after a quick stop for lunch, you'll be greeted by luxury at the five-star Hotel Risonare Tomamu. Each suite in this beautifully decorated 32-storey hotel is at minimum 100 m². They are all furnished with a private sauna and a jet bath with a magnificent view of the local scenery. If you're aching for some down-time, the hotel's peaceful library cafe has wide windows peering out over the snow-covered surrounds.
DAY 7: The Lap Of Luxury
If you're hungry for the powder, you can head straight for the slopes from the hotel's position at the base of the resort.
You could alternatively take advantage of the free gondola ride up to Tomamu's best viewpoint, the 'Cloud Walk', disembarking at over 1,000 metres above sea level. Walk amongst the clouds along the suspended deck at Muhyo Terrace, nicknamed 'Hoarfrost Terrace' for the remarkable frozen fog visible on the trees below. Cosy up with a hot drink or soup at Kumo Café and gaze out at the awe-inspiring panorama of snow-dusted forests and the majestic Hidaka Mountains.
DAY 8: Tremendous Tomamu
On your last day in Tomamu, breakfast in style and make the most of this amazing resort. Lunch and dinner decisions are yours, so treat your tastebuds at one of the resort's quality venues. You might want to pick up a souvenir at the gift shop, take a horse ride through deep snow or recharge with an aromatherapy massage and body treatment in the hotel spa - or you may just enjoy another full day out on the pistes!
Day 9: Niseko Powder
It's time to say goodbye to Tomamu - after an early breakfast, you'll be delivered by private car to a sumptuous seafood lunch at Suttsu Oyster Village, around four hours away. Facing Suttsu Bay on the Sea of Japan, this is a revered seafood restaurant with a focus on the plump, mineral-rich native oysters and a seasonal menu of delicacies such as wild-caught sea urchin, abalone, whelks, snow crab and hand-dived scallops.
There's another short car ride before you arrive by early afternoon at the legendary Niseko; Japan's #1 ski resort. Niseko's name is known the world over - it's the first that comes to mind for many an international powder fiend and skiing aficionado. It has the magical ability to capture the lion's share of snowfall - 15 metres on average each year!
Niseko United is the largest of the resorts in Japan, covering over 1,000 acres, split between four resorts connected at the peak of Niseko Annupuri: Niseko Hanazono, Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri.
DAY 10: A World-Class Experience
Wake up in the powder capital of the world and make your plans over a tasty breakfast in the buffet restaurant. Niseko United's Shuttle Bus is free to holders of a Niseko United All Mountain Pass, which covers all four resorts - if you're planning to move around we highly recommend getting yourself one of these.
As to be expected at Japan's biggest resort, the variety of off-piste activities is equally huge. Firm visitor favourites include Hanazono Tube Park, gnarly backcountry tours and scenic snowmobile rides through clouds of fine powder.
DAY 11: Recreation And Relaxation
It's your final day in captivating Niseko. Post-breakfast, the alluring Mount Annupuri beckons, so don your gear for the last leap into those gloriously snowy trails.
If you haven't yet, this will be your last chance to enjoy the dynamic nightlife in Niseko. Annupuri and Niseko Village have a few lively bars but Hirafu Village is the centre of attention for visitors who like to play off-piste as much as they do. The full range is here - from warming izakayas for a gentle beer or two to sophisticated wine bars and buzzing late-night venues with live music and DJs.
DAY 12: Excite Your Tastebuds
Leaving the slopes behind, you'll eat breakfast early and travel just over an hour away to the famed Nikka Whisky distillery in Yoichi. You'll meet an English-speaking guide at the entrance. Follow the whisky-making process from start to finish, learning the history of Nikka and the similarities between Yoichi's wild landscape close to the sea and the Scottish Highlands that so inspired its founder.
Next, you'll depart for the historical port city of Otaru. You've some time before lunch, so take a walk around the nostalgic atmosphere of the beautiful Otaru Canal, once a key part of the city's busy trade industry, and now lined with charming old warehouses and filled with artists' displays.
Then it's on to New Chitose Airport next for a late afternoon flight to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, where you'll stay for the next two nights.
DAY 13: The greatest city in the world
Start your day in this eclectic world city. First thing, you'll alight on the Hato Bus Tour for a full day of sightseeing, pausing for a Japanese-style BBQ lunch. You'll experience Japan's traditional culture with visits to the gardens at Happo-en and Chinzan-so, a demonstration of the tea ceremony, and a look at one of the best and oldest bonsai collections in Japan. You will also discover Tokyo from the water with a serene cruise along the Sumida River which winds through the heart of the city, observing the blend of progressive and traditional architecture that makes this sprawling metropolis so unique.
DAY 14: Homeward Bound
It's time to say sayonara to Japan. After your breakfast, you'll begin the homeward journey to London Heathrow. It's a quick transfer to Haneda Airport and then you’ll board your return flight, with lunch provided on board. You'll have time to reflect on your wonderful experiences as you watch the cityscape disappear.
PRICES & INCLUSIONS
Price from £6,495.00 per person based on a Twin/Double room occupancy
Excluded dates: 20th December 2022 until 2nd January 2023
12 nights at 4* or 5* hotels
Meals: 12 hotel breakfasts, two lunches, three dinners
English-speaking guides on day 2, 12 and 13
Entrance and activity fees: Per itinerary
Ski pass: Eight days (Furano two days, Tomamu three days, Niseko three days)
Local transport: Bus and private car, per itinerary
Domestic flights from New Chitose Airport to Haneda Airport
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
Domestic flights between Haneda Airport and New Chitose Airport
Certain meals, per itinerary
To make a booking, a deposit of 10% of the total price is required.
The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.
Travel can be a great experience, but it can also be fraught with problems, so when going anywhere it is essential you are properly covered with good travel insurance. You should be protected against cancellation, curtailment and loss or damage to your belongings as well as medical emergencies and have peace of mind if the unexpected happens.
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