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Knees Deep In A Snow Extravaganza

From AU$5,499  p.p

10 Days - Sapporo - Sounkyo - Asahikawa - Otaru
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Highlights
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JR Tower Observatory Deck

JR Tower Observatory Deck is located inside JR Tower, a multipurpose facility with a shopping mall, restaurant, and hotel, connected to Sapporo Station. The Observation Deck can be accessed by taking the elevator from the 6th to the 38th floor. The Observation deck offers you a 360 view of Sapporo, you can see Ishikari Bay New Port to the North, Hokkaido University and Mt. Teine to the West, and the Sapporo Dome and central Sapporo, which is laid out as a grid, to the South. On the west side interior of the observatory deck are beautiful scenic mountains and river landscape ceramic walls from the world renowned sculptor Takenobu Igarashi. Enjoy the wonderful views of Sapporo in JR Tower Observatory Deck.

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Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s largest winter events with it covering three sites in Odori, Susukino and Tsu Dome. Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950, when high school students built a few snow statues in Odori Park. It has since developed into a large, commercialized event, featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures and attracting more than two million visitors from Japan and across the world. Odori Park is famous for large snow sculptures, some measuring more than 25 metres wide and 15 metres high, are exhibited there. They are lit up every day of the festival. Odori Park/Site also exhibits more than one hundred smaller snow statues and hosts several concerts and events, many of which use the sculptures as their stage. Susukino is Sapporo’s largest entertainment district and during Sapporo Snow Festival it exhibits about one hundred ice sculptures. Tsu Dome Site is a family oriented site with three types of snow slides, snow rafting and more snow sculptures.

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Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival

Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival is a snow event held in Sounkyo Onsen, Kamikawa Town located in the eastern part of Asahikawa city, and has been held since 1976. It is held from late January to late March every year, and is well known as a specialty winter event. Ice sculptures, a resting place, a food stall, a public restroom, North Ice Pub and Hyoto Shrine are surrounding the venue. Tourists from all over the world come to see the beautifully shaped lit up ice sculptures at night. Located in a riverbed of Ishikari River nearby Sounkyo Onsen Resort, and restaurants, cafes and convenience stores are built in the resort. In addition you can see Ryusei Falls, Ginga Falls and Obako close by. The featured ice sculptures are huge igloos, ice pubs and Hyoto shrine so people can walk through them and explore the interesting ice art objects.

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Asahikawa Winter Festival

Asahikawa Winter Festival is Hokkaido’s second largest winter festival after Sapporo’s Snow Festival. While Asahikawa may not be able to boast having Hokkaido’s biggest winter festival, it certainly has one of the biggest snow sculptures. Every year one massive sculpture is made as a stage for music and other performances. The giant sculpture of a Korean fortress in 1994 even made it into the book of Guinness World Records as the largest snow construction built. Asahikawa festival takes place in two different places around Asahikawa city, they are known as Asahibashi Site and Heiwa Dori. You can enjoy sledding, tubing, snowmobile rides, snow rafting and view large snow sculptures depicting popular anime and movie characters. Definitely try Asahikawa Ramen, visit Asahiyama Zoo and walk across Asahibashi Bridge while you are here!

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Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Otaru Snow Path Festival is a festival where the local people decorate the area with beautiful lanterns and small snow statues for ten days. It began in 1999 with the hope of creating a place for people to feel easy to think about things leisurely in the glow of the candelight, and to have time to reflect on themselves forgetting a little of their bothersome daily life in a rapidly changing society. The two main official festival areas are known as: Unga Kaijo and Temiyasen Kaijo. Unga Kaijo displays illuminated snow sculptures and lanterns along the entire Otaru canal area. Temiyasen Kaijo is situated between the canal and the train station, stretching about half a kilometre along the tracks of the former Temiyasen railroad. The entire path is decorated with illuminated snow lanterns and sculptures. Enjoy the wide range of festival foods here such Otaru sushi, sake, ramen, ankake yakisoba, kamaboko fish cakes, kushi-dango, fried chicken and other seafoods.

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Sapporo Beer Museum

Sapporo Beer Museum was opened in July of 1987 and is the only beer museum in Japan. It was opened to provide visitors with knowledge about beer and brewing in the Sapporo area. Renovated in 2004, the exhibition allows guests to learn easily about the history of Sapporo Breweries Ltd and the beer industry. After the exhibitions, beer tastings are available at a small fee. Enjoy Sapporo beer, the large atmospheric halls and sophisticated restaurants located next to the beer museum in the Sapporo Beer Garden. Enjoy your day here!

 

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Mt Okura Observatory

Mt Okura Observatory is located about 6km in Miyanomori area west of central Sapporo. Once held for 90 metre ski jump competitions of the Winter Olympics in 1972, Mt Okura Observatory is now a place to view spectacular views of Sapporo when there are no world cup skiing competitions or ski jump events. The stadium consists of the Winter Sports Museum, the Okurayama Crystal House and the Mt Okura Observation Platform as well as the ski jump. The stadium has an area of about 8.2 hectares housing around 50,000 people at a maximum during a competition and the ski jump is categorized as the large hill jump. The total height of the jump hill from the top starting point to the bottom of the slope is 133 metres, also the distance to the K-spot is 120 metres. Visitors can take the chair lift up to the observatory and also learn about the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics and winter sports in general at the Sapporo Winter Sports Museum. The museum has a variety of fun sport simulation games that cover events like ski jumping, speed skating and ice hockey. Enjoy your time here at Mt Okura!

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Nijo Fish Market

Nijo Fish Market is located near the centre of Sapporo and is known for fresh seafood, including its famous seafood rice bowls. Nijo Market is said to have developed in the early Meiji Period, when fishermen from Ishikari Bay started selling fresh fish there. Eventually, noodle shops, bars and greengrocers opened, laying the foundations for today’s Nijo Market. Sapporo’s Nijo Market is a popular market where one can enjoy sashimi topped rice and sushi that make full use of the fresh seafood just arriving from various parts of Hokkaido in the morning. Crabs lining up in front of the stores are the most popular seafood souvenirs among visitors. Come along and enjoy a unique experience and taste of local Hokkaido seafood!

Features

Brave the snowy mountains of Hokkaido by venturing through the stunning Sapporo and surrounding areas. Immerse yourself in local traditions by joining in Sapporo Snow Festival, Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival, Asahikawa Winter Festival and Snow Light Path Festival. Taste Sake, Japan’s oldest beer, Sapporo Beer and try fresh Hokkaido seafood at Nijo Fish Market. Do not miss out on the treasures of Hokkaido, the northern most point of Japan!

Itinerary and Map
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Day 1

Australia Sapporo

Board your international flight from Australia via Tokyo to Sapporo.

Day 2

Sapporo 

Welcome to Sapporo, Japan! Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, make your way down to the arrival area where you will meet your friendly tour guide, they will transfer you to your hotel.

At 6:00pm you will have a welcome meeting with all group members in the lobby of your hotel. Together you will go out for the first group dinner.

Day 3

Sapporo

Ohayou-gozaimasu (Good morning!) After eating your breakfast we will head off on our tour of Sapporo city. First we will stop at JR Tower Observatory Deck to see panoramic views from 160 metres above ground of Ishikari Bay New Port to the North, Hokkaido University and Mt Teine to the West and the Sapporo Dome and central Sapporo, which is laid out as a grid to the South. Then walk around past the iconic Sapporo Clock Tower with its wooden structure and American inspired design.  After that we will travel around Odori site, Tsudome and Susukino site to see one of Japan’s largest winter events, Sapporo Snow Festival! Sapporo Snow Festival displays a range of exquisite snow sculptures, snow slides, snow rafts, illuminations and much more. Grab a rubber tube and slide down the snow slide, make a snow man, view residents of Sapporo show off their snow sculptures and enjoy a range of Hokkaido authentic foods. 

 

Enjoy your time in Sapporo and at one of Japan’s best winter festivals, Sapporo Snow Festival!

Day 4

Sapporo Sounkyo

Today we will make our way from Sapporo to Sounkyo by local train and public buses. Your tour guide will lead you along the way and you will arrive Sounkyo in the afternoon. Once it hits night time we will all gather and go to Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival to enjoy a beautiful display of ice and lights. We will weave our way through the ice tunnels and see the magnificent crystal ice pillars being lit up with colourful illuminations. After that we will head back to the hotel for a buffet dinner and enjoy a relaxing bath in the natural hot springs (No swimsuits available).

Enjoy your stay in a traditional styled Japanese hotel tonight in Sounkyo.

Day 5

Sounkyo Asahikawa

After eating breakfast we will board the bus for our next destination Asahikawa. Asahikawa is the second largest city in the prefecture after Sapporo. The city is full of natural splendour, with the magnificent Daisetsuzan Mountain Range in the background and 120 rivers flowing through it. Once we reach Asahikawa we will do a sake tasting experience at a local sake brewery. Sake is rice wine, one of the specialities in the region due to the abundant rice fields and clear waters. Try some samples to warm up your body and learn about the unique history of sake in the region.

After that we will end the day by sliding on over to Hokkaido’s second largest winter festival, Asahikawa Winter Festival. Asahikawa Winter Festival is held every year with visitors coming from all over the world to see their renowned large snow sculpture stage with live music, performances and fireworks displays in the evening. Asahikawa is famous for Asahiyama Zoo and also ramen so make sure you see the interestingly inspired animal sculptures and try the local flavoured delicious ramen.

After a long day in the snow head back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Day 6

Asahikawa Otaru

Today we will make our way by local train from Asahikawa to the small harbour city of Otaru. This morning you have free time to explore Otaru city. After that we will take our own orientation walk around the city to see the canal area, Sakaimachi Street and some the other local historical buildings. Try a glass blowing experience, buy some souvenirs and see the beautiful old fashion lights lining the canal with the warehouses in the background. By night time we will make our way to Unga Kaijo and Temiyasen Kaijo area to enjoy the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. With decorated lights and small snow statues this festival is glittering, peaceful and a very pleasant atmosphere. Join in with the locals and make your very own snow lanterns!

Enjoy your time in Otaru, famous for its beautiful snowy and lantern lit canals.

Day 7

Otaru Sapporo

Ohayou-gozaimasu! (Good morning) Today we will take the local train back to Sapporo. Before reaching Sapporo we will stop at Mt Okura Observatory to see where they once held 90 metre ski jump competitions for the Winter Olympics in 1972. Take the chair lift up the top of Mt Okura and see the spectacular views of Sapporo. Go inside the Sapporo Winter Sports Museum and have a go at a variety of fun sport simulation games such as ski jumping, speed skating and hockey.

After a long day of travelling by train and visiting Mt Okura Observatory we will head back to the hotel for a good rest.

Day 8

Sapporo

Today is your final day in Sapporo. We will begin our day by travelling to Sapporo Museum. Sapporo Beer is one of oldest and most popular beer brands in the country, being around since 1877.  Here we will take a look into the history of beer in Japan and the process of beer making. After looking through the museum, beer tastings are available at a small fee. You will be able to sample two glasses of beer. After that we will move onto Nijo Fish Market a public market in central Sapporo to try some of Hokkaido’s finest seafood. Make sure you try one of the most popular items uni ikura donburi, sea urchin and salmon eggs on rice.

Once you are full and enjoyed your time in Nijo Fish Market you are free to explore Sapporo on your own for the rest of the afternoon.

As it turns to night, your guide will transfer you back to your hotel for the night. Enjoy your last night in Sapporo.

Day 9

Sapporo Australia

Today transfer from Sapporo to New Chitose Airport to board your overnight flight via Tokyo to Australia. 

Day 10

Australia

Arrive in Australia today.

Inclusions & Exclusions
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Inclusions

  • Return international airfares with All Nippon Airways departing Sydney and Melbourne 
  • 7 nights accommodation (twin room based)
  • All transportation costs
  • Start and End at the hotels in each destination
  • Activities indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals, 7 breakfasts and 1 dinner (Day 3)
  •  English speaking tour guide – will accompany the group throughout the whole tour.
Exclusions

  • First night group dinner, all dinners except Day 3.
  • Travel Insurance (Strongly recommended)
  •  Personal expenses and anything not stated
Departure Dates