8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan

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Free Tutorials
International Photo Workshop
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Tour starts
Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
Minimum age:


Capture the spectacular sights of winter on this 8-day photography workshop in Hokkaido, Japan!

Hokkaido island bursts with stunning scenery during the winter season, when its magnificent landscapes become swathed in a layer of pure white snow. Gorgeous mountain peaks, vast open fields and breathtaking frosted lakes make this a dream destination for those seeking to add something more unique to their portfolios. You'll have the chance to photograph an abundance of extraordinary wildlife, including snow monkeys, whooper swans, red-crowned cranes, owls, deer, eagles and more as you immerse yourself in this winter wonderland. Be prepared to experience a melting pot of fascinating traditions, rich culture and delicious, authentic cuisine as you explore the northernmost island of Japan.

Throughout this tour, you'll be guided by three world-renowned photography guides – Daniel Kordan, Kenji Yamamura and Hokkaido wildlife specialist, Hiroki Inoue. Together, they possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise which will guarantee you a remarkable and strongly educational tour of the second largest island in the Land of the Rising Sun. They'll teach you everything you need to know for a truly wonderful winter adventure in this uniquely splendid part of the world.

Don't miss out on the unspoilt snowy landscapes of Hokkaido in winter! Check availability by choosing a date.

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All transfers (including drivers’ services, gasoline, fees etc)
Lodging in hotels – twin rooms, shared with another participant (single room available for $750 USD extra)
Education provided by professional English-speaking guides




Bird watching
Photo Tours
Photo Workshop

Daily itinerary

Day 1
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 1

Day 1 - Arrival at Kushiro

Meeting at the Tokyo Haneda airport 2 hours before our flight to Kushiro, Hokkaido. I recommend to arrive to Tokyo a day or two earlier and settle down in one of Haneda airport hotels just inside the terminal (At Terminal 2 there is Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu; and at Terminal 3 there is The Royal Park Hotel Tokyo Haneda). Arrival to Kushiro airport on recommended flight (will be sent to the group). You can arrive via Osaka or other cities, but arrival time to Kushiro airport should be no later than 13:00. Upon arrival to Kushiro your guides and drivers will meet you and transfer to our first afternoon photoshoot with Tancho – red crowned cranes until sunset. Just after sunset transfer to our hotel at Tsurui area. Discuss upcoming adventure with your tour leaders at delicious Japanese dinner and soak in traditional and world famous Hokkaido onsen bath.

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Day 2
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 2

Day 2 - Tsurui

Today we devote for bird photography. We catch in our compositions the graceful dance of cranes in different locations around Tsurui starting sunrise at the bridge with the views of the steaming river. We continue to Crane Sanctuary to photograph a graceful Tancho Tango around their feeding time. Images your will take are like traditional Japanese ink paintings! There is also a chance we will spot Shima Enaga – cute long tailed tit which recently became a symbol of Hokkaido. And Ural owls hiding in the woods.
Just after the quick lunch we proceed to Kusharo lake to photograph whooper swans.

We continue into Akan National Park on the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. Around lake Kussharo we will find lots of minimalistic scenes of single trees. Besides that you can photograph graceful whooper swans at sunset with golden light behind. They spend winter here at hot springs bathing in warm waters of Kussharo lake.

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Day 3
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 3

Day 3 - Rausu

We drive to Rausu. From here you can see Kuril islands already! Our main goal in Rausu will be to photograph Steller sea eagle. We take a sea excursion with local bird specialists. Get ready your telephoto lenses to catch magnificent eagle in action! For sunset we plan to visit Notsuke peninsula where you can spot Sika deer and foxes. Another activity is to spot the largest owl in the world in the night – Blakiston’s fish owl. There is one particular lodge that specialise on it’s spotting. Settle in Rausu for one night.

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Day 4
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 4

Day 4 - Lake Mashu

Today we have a wonderful sunrise sea cruise into the open ice of Hokkaido! Many Steller’s sea eagles come to sit on the ice and fish, as well as white tailed eagles. You will have at least 2h + opportunity to photograph these beautiful birds very close as they so get used to the fishing boats! Just after the cruise return to hotel for breakfast and packing. Departure towards Biei though magical Hokkaido landscapes.

Arriving to Biei in the evening. Settle down in our hotel in Biei for next 2 nights

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Day 5
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 5

Day 5 - Japanese single trees

These are the days we spent most of the time with classical minimal style Hokkaido compositions. We visit iconic “Christmas tree”, Seven stars trees and several other less known spots. Images of Japanese single trees in the snow always remind me of an oriental writing, and they are perfect when printed and framed on the wall.


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Day 6
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 6

Day 6 - Sapporo

Sunrise at the famous Christmas tree! We continue exploring Hokkaido by driving further south from Biei towards Sapporo. At sunset we photograph torii gates on top of the rock in the water. Get ready your ND filters to make long exposures, timeless images.

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Day 7
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 7

Day 7 - Yudanaka

Transfer from Sapporo city to Chitose airport for the flight departing 10 a.m. from Chitose to Haneda by ANA. Just upon arrival to Chitose we take the train ride to Yudanaka (shinkansen + local train), which will allow us to reach “snow monkeys town” in just 3 hours from Tokyo. Settle down for 2 nights in Yudanaka in traditional Japanese inn with beautiful onsen hot springs.

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Day 8
8 Day Hokkaido Photography Tour in Japan - day 8

Day 8 - Japanese macaques

Imagine a troop of Japanese macaques leisurely soaking in natural hot springs while snowflakes gently descend from the winter sky. This idyllic scene is a reality at the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, where these remarkable primates exhibit a behavior found nowhere else on Earth. For the snow monkeys, hot spring bathing isn’t just about leisure; it’s a matter of survival. The harsh winters of the Jigokudani area can plunge temperatures far below freezing. Seeking warmth, the snow monkeys discovered the therapeutic embrace of these steaming hot springs, creating a unique blend of nature and adaptation. Today we walk 1 mile towards hot spring where Snow Monkeys enjoy the bath and spend quite a time there with them, at least 2-3 hours. We will come just for the opening and leave once main flow of tourists start to come around 11 am -12 pm. After the lunch break in town we will return back to monkey onsen and stay until closure at 4 p.m. Optionally you can skip the afternoon walk + session with monkeys and instead enjoy hot springs at the hotel!
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Departure Schedule

20-28 January 2025 - guided by Daniel Kordan


We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas.

The tour is always dependent on weather, as the weather can indeed be highly unpredictable. Likewise, wildlife sightings dependent on favourable conditions and there is no guarantee that they will appear on a given day.


Daniel Kordan

Daniel Kordan

English, Russian
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Renowned landscape photographer, Daniel Kordan, is an explorer at heart. Having realized his passion for photography and traveling at a young age, he now spends his time sharing his vision and the many wonders of the world with people all around him.

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