Japan in Winter 2018 ~ February 9-24: $9,499.00/double occupancy. Limit 8/FULL WAIT
* 3 Day Kyoto pre-trip extension available.
Join award winning photographers Denise Ippolito and Paul McKenzie on a photographic adventure to Japan. One of our main subjects will be the amazing Snow Monkeys aka Japanese macaque. We will spend approximately 2 ½ days photographing them. When we get to Hokkaido we will be staying right next door to the crane sanctuary that the Red-crowned Cranes fly into daily. We will drive to Lake Kussharo and photograph the beautiful Whooper Swans with the foggy mist from the Onsen. We will drive to Rausu to photograph Steller’s Sea Eagles from a boat. In addition to these main subjects will also have opportunities to photograph White- tailed Sea Eagles, Ural Owl, Red Fox, landscapes and more.
What is included:
All lodging, including the Tokyo hotel on Feb. 9th, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transportation and transfers including the bus to the monkey park hotel, all entrance fees, the in-country flights are also included.
Not included: international flights to Tokyo, all lunches–most are on the run, all alcoholic beverages, laundry.
About the trip:
This trip is longer than most trips to allow for more flexibility, more time with the cranes, and our other subjects. We will supply lots of pre-trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations. We will have the very best Japanese guide and stay at his award winning lodge. His network of local contacts and his knowledge of the weather, the area, and the birds will be invaluable for a trip like this.
One of the best things about this trip is learning a bit about the culture. Their food and the presentation of their food is unmatched. Japan is a very clean country. Most public bathrooms look like day spas. The train stations and airports are both spotless and safe. There is no tipping in Japan; it is almost an insult to tip service people. The Japanese are a very respectful, polite, extremely helpful and kind. When I say no tipping I mean for the service industry-we do tip our local guides’s apprentices that work for room and board. It averages to about %100.00 per person for the entire trip.
Arrive in Tokyo: Feb 9th, 2018 the latest. Feb 8th is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.
Bus Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: Feb 10th- A 1/2 day of monkey photography is possible depending on our travel time. We will stay at an authentic Japanese hotel. The sense of the Japanese Culture will be everywhere as you walk through this hotel that is steeped in tradition. Our stay includes three ten course Japanese dinners; these amazing meals will be a highlight for sure! There are many traditional hot baths aka onsens on site in this 150 year old hotel.
Full Day snow monkeys: Feb 11.
Full Day snow monkeys: Feb 12.
Feb 13th: Full travel day to Hokkaido via domestic flight (included and Paul will make all of the arrangements for this) we will arrive at our lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is a beautifully, artistically decorated space. All the rooms at the lodge have American beds. A local onsen (hot springs bath and shower) if you choose to go is available for $5 each day and a ride to and from the Onsen is provided daily before dinner. The home-cooked Japanese styles meals at the lodge are prepared by Shinobu, she is a master chef in the kitchen and her meals will be slightly Americanized. We will be a moments’ walk from the famed crane sanctuary. During one big snowstorm we were the only photo group to be able to get to Tsurui Ito and had the place to ourselves while other groups had to wait for the streets to be plowed.
Feb 14-23: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owls, Red fox, landscapes and more. We will most likely spend one or two days photographing the Steller’s Sea Eagles. We may, depending on weather, stay overnight in Rausu. This part of the trip is to photograph the Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles from a boat. It is 100% dependent on weather, road, and pack ice conditions. Our trip offers complete flexibility in this area so that we can make every effort to get there and photograph.
Note: In Rausu and at the Snow Monkey Park, the hotel rooms are Japanese-style. You sleep on comfortable mats on the floor. Wi-fi is available every day of the trip.
Feb 24. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need to overnight, the cost of that room is not included.
* 3 Day Kyoto pre-trip extension ~ $1750.00 double occupancy
We will spend a day at both the Bamboo Gardens at Arashiyama and the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Both places offer amazing photographic opportunities. Our hotel is located near a beautiful open air market that you may choose to explore. You could also arrange to dress up as a Geisha and/or Samurai and have your photos taken. Either way it is a nice pre-trip.
Includes: All ground transportation and return train ticket to Tokyo and all lunches and dinners. Minimum of 4 participants.
We have had a lot of interest already and four spots are sold if you would like to save your spot or if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me via e-mail.
Once you decide to go you will need to send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit via check made out to Denise Ippolito.
Note: Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended.