Imagine travelling through a winter landscape in a country heavy with tradition, where you can encounter & photograph entrancing snow monkeys, beautiful dancing red-crowned cranes, dreamlike swans on a snow covered frozen lake plus both Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles on drifting pack ice, this is exactly what the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour offers. Our trip also accommodates chance encounters with Ural Owls, Red Foxes & more native wildlife. Commencing in Tokyo & meeting at Narita Airport, the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour first travels to the Jigokudani Valley, to photograph the monkeys of “Hell’s Valley”, where steam & boiling water bubbles from small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs & formidably cold & hostile forests. Whilst we stay in the town of Yudanaka, our target is to photograph the Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata), more commonly referred to as Snow Monkeys, that descend from the steep cliffs & forest to sit in the warm waters of the onsen or hot springs. The monkeys return to the security of the forests in the evenings. We will spend two full days in the valley. You will have the opportunity to photograph the monkeys in the onsen, or at play in the valley below the main area where intimate mother & baby shots are easily achieved. It is without a doubt a harsh environment in the winter months with snow on the ground for a third of the year, but the hot springs make it a paradise for the several of hundred monkeys that live in the valley & the surrounding forests. Whilst at the onsen or the valley, the monkeys simply ignore the photographers & simply get on with whatever it is they want to be doing. From Yudanaka, our Japanese winter wildlife tour returns briefly to Tokyo, then travels onwards to the island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost & least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall, below zero temperatures & frozen seas. Our first main location is Akan National Park which is located in eastern Hokkaido. The park is well known for its three beautiful lakes: Lake Akan, Lake Mashu & Lake Kussharo. Akan National Park is composed of two separate parts. The smaller, western portion contains Lake Akan with the lakeside hot spring resort of Akankohan Onsen. The larger, eastern part contains Lake Mashu, Lake Kussharo, Iozan (Sulfur Mountain) & centrally located Kawayu Onsen. We stay in Akan for at least two full days of photography, at this location the focus is on photography of the red-crowned cranes; Red-crowned Cranes are the only crane species that have white primary feathers. Adult forehead & crown are covered with bare red skin, & a large white band extends from behind the eyes & meets sharply with the black lower neck. The majority of the body is pure white with the exception of black secondary & tertiary feathers. Eyes are black & legs are slatey to grayish black. Males & females are virtually indistinguishable, although males tend to be slightly larger in size. Red-crowned cranes form flocks in winter but otherwise live in pairs. Once mated the pair will stay together for life. The crane has one of the most beautiful dances in the bird world; these dances help to strengthen the bond between the mated pair.We will visit a number of crane sites at varying times of the day from sunrise through to sunset, with the intention of watching & photographing the cranes perform their intricate courtship dances; the birds bow to one another, then throw their heads over their backs, then bow again. The pair leaps into the air, at the same time raising their wings. The Red-crowned Cranes’ unison dance is a ritual the pair will perform together many times over the years, to strengthen their lifelong bond.Lake Kussharo is a caldera lake in Akan National Park, eastern Hokkaidō, Japan. As with many geographic names in Hokkaidō, the name derives from the Ainu language. It is the largest caldera lake in Japan in terms of surface area, & sixth largest lake in Japan. It is also the largest lake in Japan to freeze over completely in winter. The lake’s central island, Nakajima, is a composite volcano. Volcanic gases render the lake water acidic, & it supports few fish except in areas where inflowing streams dilute the water. The lake is on the migratory path of the whooper swan. We spend two days at the various swan locations, undertaking photography of these beautiful birds at the various calderas around which they gather. In addition some amazing opportunities are presented for in flight, taking off & resting on ice shots, all within a dreamlike landscape. The area is rich with other wildlife, much of which we will spend time at leisure attempting to locate & photograph – this includes red squirrels, red fox & a particular favourite in the form of the roosting Ural Owls. From Lake Kussharo, the Japanese winter wildlife tour moves onto Rausu; Rausu is a small coastal fishing town, with a small population of approximately 6,500. Located on the Shiretoko Peninsula , it is the most northeasterly town in Japan. During the winter months the population of Steller’s Sea Eagles & White-tailed Sea Eagles hunt for fish on the pack ice, which drifts down from the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia. We will stay in Rausu for several nights, during which we will take advantage of the tour boats that operate from Rausu harbour. These boats are without a doubt the best manner in which to see these stunning birds. The Steller’s Sea Eagle is the heaviest eagle in the world. It breeds in northeastern Russia & winters further south, reaching Hokkaido where it spends its days hunting for fish around the pack ice. Packs or clusters of these immense birds gather in Rausu harbour & out on the pack ice waiting for the fish that the tour boats provide. The White-tailed Sea Eagle is another large eagle, closely related to the North American Bald Eagle. It is more widespread than Steller’s & breeds across northern Europe & Asia, & is a year round resident of Hokkaido. The NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour includes three days of photographing the impressive sea eagles, with a 5am & 9am cruises each day. The afternoon of each day is free for rest or photo advice & critique; however, one evening at least will be devoted to photographing the Blakiston’s Fish Owl from a local hide. The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the largest living species of owl, it is in fact a large eagle owl, with a wingspan that can reach up to two metres long. Blakiston’s fish owl is found in Siberia, northeast China & the island of Hokkaido in Japan which is why the photographic opportunity afforded here is to be grasped, that said, the evening photography is harsh & adequate preparation is required. Additionally on the tour, we will include visits to a sea eagle feeding site on a frozen lake, this provides some amazing opportunities for shots of interaction between the sea eagles of both types, plus black-eared kites. The photographic opportunities afforded for bird in flights shots are equally excellent. Upon leaving Hokkaido, our tour to photograph Japan Snow Monkeys And Hokkaido’s wildlife will return to Narita airport, have a brief overnight stop in a local hotel near to the airport & from there depart homeward bound.
NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour Outline Itinerary
Available upon booking the tour & placing a deposit.
Available upon booking the tour & placing a deposit.
[su_disclaimer_tour participants=”3″] This Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour cost includes accommodation, breakfast, entrance fees to parks, feeding stations & nature tour boat trips at Rausu, all transport to & from Japanese airports & within Japan – excluding flights. The NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour cost specifically excludes all flights, both international & domestic, alcohol & other items of a personal nature. A non-refundable deposit of £700 is required to secure a place on this trip with the balance being due 12 weeks prior to departure (mid-November 2016).
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Make a Booking Enquiry
To make a booking enquiry, please complete the form below & we will get back to you as soon as possible. You are making an enquiry for the Japanese Winter Wildlife tour past event, which is scheduled for the dates of 11th - 24th February 2017 & costs £4699per participant.
How to Book
Before booking, it is important that you read the relevant past event event page & our Booking Terms & Conditions. If you have any doubts regarding your suitability for this past event, please contact us. To book, simply click the relevant link from the event page on our website. You will then be sent a booking form & a copy of our terms & conditions. In order to secure your place on the selected past event, simply complete the booking form with details of all persons travelling & holiday indemnity, in relevant cases, & return to us (either by email or by post) with confirmation that the deposit has been paid. Payments should be made via bank transfer.
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The past event itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional. NaturesLens past events require a minimum number of participants in order to be viable. If this minimum number is not met, the past event may not go ahead. This past event has a minimum participant level of 4 plus NaturesLens guide(s). In the event that the minimum number for a past event to go ahead is not reached, NaturesLens reserves the right to cancel any given past event. In that event 100% of monies received will be returned. However, NaturesLens is not responsible for expenses incurred by its customers. Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available. NaturesLens reserves the right to accept or decline any person as a member of any past event. Payment of deposit by past event participants or their representative constitutes their acceptance of all conditions contained herein. All bookings are made subject to our terms & conditions. Travel Insurance Requirements
It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical & personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the photography holiday. We also strongly recommend you take out cover for cancellation & curtailment & baggage cover. We have made use of the services of Campbell Irvine Insurance in the past, Campbell Irvine has policies which are specially designed for adventure holidays & are underwritten by AXA Insurance. As an alternative, check your standard travel insurance, many bank accounts include suitable insurance as part of a packaged deal. Personal Travel Insurance can be arranged directly at Campbell Irvine. For photographic insurance, we highly recommend the services of Glover & Howe. We have made use of their policies for a number of years now, adjustments, policy maintenance & claims are handled in an easy & professional manner by them.
Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Summary
The Japanese Winter Wildlife tour past event costs £4699per participant & takes place in Hokkaido in Japan, between the dates of 11th - 24th February 2017. It is ideal for photographing & more. This past event is led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens. Group size for this past event is a minimum of 4 participants & a maximum of 5, plus Sean. We consider this to be an event of Easy level of exertion, if you have any questions about your suitability for this event, please contact us prior to making a booking enquiry. The past event starts & ends at Tokyo Haneda Airport. .
Japanese Winter Wildlife tour Payment Details
Deposit required to secure a place: £940 payable upon making a booking.
Final balance payment due: November 11th, 2016*. Bookings made after this date will require the full payment to secure a place.
Bookings close: November 11th, 2016.
No-interest payment plan: we offer a no-interest payment plan for our photography holidays. Please enquire for details.
* Unless stated otherwise on our event booking form.
NaturesLens Limited is a company committed to customer satisfaction & consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, & in accordance with ''The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992'' all passengers booking with NaturesLens Limited are fully insured for the initial deposit, & subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form.
The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of NaturesLens Limited.