February, 5-17 2018 Snow Monkey Hokkaido Photography Tour


Day 1, 2, Feb. 5, 6.  
Arrival and pick up Tokyo, Haneda, Jp (HND) We will meet at 12 o’clock noon at the Meeting Service Counter, 2nd floor Haneda International Airport, Passenger Terminal Arrival Lobby; (please see map and photo at bottom of this page). After meeting, we depart for Lake Shoji at Mt. Fuji. My team and I have been photographing and exploring this beautiful symbol of Japan for over 20 years; we know the best locations for us to shoot during the golden hours. The fuji five lakes are at the base of Mount Fuji and are comprised of Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, Saiko, Shōji and Motosu lakes. Over 95% of Japanese have never visited all the five lakes; you will be among the few that have photographed and visited all fuji five lakes.  Overnight Shoji Mount Hotel

Day 3, Feb, 7
After Shooting sunrise on Mount Fuji and breakfast, we depart Matsumoto a 2hr drive. Where we will enter the world the Samurai at Matsumoto Castle, also known as crow castle or Kurasu-Jo, due to its grandeur poised black exterior. Built in 1504 its unique architectural design does not exist elsewhere in Japan, having both a secondary donjon and turret adjoined to its central keep. When viewing the exterior of the castle, it unquestionably has 5 floors. However, the builders managed to perfectly hide the fact that on the inside there are six floors. The wood interior of crow castle provides an authentic experience unlike that felt at many other castles. After years of studying and photographing Kurasu-jo, I have become familiar with its most striking aesthetically photogenic angles. While photographing the interior of the castle, we will practice low-lighting techniques that I will explain to you. After a few hours of exploring and photographing this original Samurai castle built in the 16th Century, we depart for Shibu Onsen Village - Jigokudani Yaen-Koen Snow Monkey Park.  Overnight Shibu Onsen Ichinoyu Katei

Day 4, 5, Feb. 8-9.  
Shibu Onsen village - Jigokudani Yaen-Koen Snow Monkey Park, is where we will have close and personal encounters with the wild snow monkeys as they enjoy the hot springs. We have two full days here providing ample time for the best shots of the Japanese Macaques. I spend several weeks per year photographing and video-recording the snow monkeys. I am extremely familiar with individual monkeys in the park, including their rank and behaviors. During last winters workshop, my clients were well prepared that they had all their shots of the monkeys in the hot springs on the first day. The second day we concentrated on action shots of the monkeys playfully dashing through the snow jumping the local creek and climbing trees. “It's all in their body language and facial expressions. As visual artists, we seek to capture that moment. I want something that's unique, real-and unstaged. The snow monkeys will offer us that look.  Overnight  Shibu Onsen Ichinoyu Katei

Day 6, 7, 8, Feb. 10-12. 
After breakfast and check out at Shibu Onsen we transfer to Tokyo, Haneda Airport and fly to Hokkaido Japans most northern island. Shitsugen National Park and area is where we will photograph the breathtaking dancing Red-Crowned Crane, designated as a special national treasure and protected species of Japan. This is the ultimate birding adventure, the cranes are often described as snow ballerinas, as they perform their graceful courtship dance, they bow to one another, then raise their heads towards the sky and call in unison as they begin their dance. The pair or the entire flock will leap into the air at the same time commencing in the courtship dance. Before dawn, we will arrive at Otowabashi bride over the Setsurigawa river, where the cranes roost. Fingers crossed for cold weather and thick fog where we will take fantastical photos of the cranes dancing in the river of mystical fog.  3 nights at Kushiro La Vista Hotel 

Day 9, 10, 11 Feb. 13-15. 
The next phase of our birding wildlife Safari is in the finest Grandeur of nature in the North-East of Hokkaido. I have chosen our lodgings for three nights between Lake Furenko and Rausu; this is the perfect location for birding, wildlife and landscape photo ops. The area is home to the largest herd of Sika deer in NE Hokkaido; we will also photograph the red tailed fox, white tailed eagle, black kite, golden eagle and other species. The Steller’s Sea Eagle ranked the largest and most powerful bird of prey designated a national treasure of Japan. At Rausu we will board a chartered boat tour, that will take us to the Steller’s Sea Eagle feeding ground on pack ice. You will have hundreds of great shots of them clutching fish in their talons, feasting on fish, and in flight; the white-tailed eagle much smaller but just as fierce, swoop in from time to time joining in the festive feasting. We won't be spending much time in our hotel as they do in Rausu, and other groups due to us being mobile using SUV’s and our experienced staff drivers. From the golden hours and between we will be out journeying as adventure photographers shall be!  3 nights Shibetsu Kawabata Hotel

 Day 12, Feb, 16.
We transfer to Kushiro and prepare our gear for our return flight to Tokyo. You will have a few hours shopping time. During our farewell dinner, we will take a moment to reflect upon our adventure together.  Overnight Kushiro La Vista Hote

 Day 13, Feb. 17.  We fly back to Tokyo Drop off and departure from Haneda, JP (HND). Thank you, and we look forward to the next adventure together

Camera Gear Recommendations 
•Two Camera Bodies
•Wide Angle lens 12mm - 16mm
•Medium telephoto lens such as a 70-200mm - 120-300mm or a 100-400mm 
•Long Telephoto lens such as 500mm - 600mm- or an 800mm 
•Extension tubes
•Shutter release cable
•Sturdy Tripod
•Rain-Snow camera and lens cover
•2-3 camera batteries
•Filters and other gear you are accustomed to

Clothing Recommendations
•Waterproof Jacket with removable down thermal jacket or fleece.
•Wind and rain proof pants loose fitting to go over your regular trousers; and a pair of fleece pants.
•Pair of waterproof mittens, a pair of waterproof gloves.
•Wool ski cap and scarf or a cold weather balaclava with a waterproof cap.
•Sturdy boots with cold weather lining, room enough to wear a pair of regular socks and a pair of thermal socks.
•Comfortable walking shoes.
•Plus your usual winter wear.
We look forward to hosting you, if you have any questions pertaining to this itinerary or other, please contact us.

While On Tour In Japan You Can Be Reached 24/7 At
(81) 90-6923-3427
(81) 90-8777-3299


We will meet at 12 o’clock noon at the Meeting Service Counter, 2nd floor Haneda International Airport, Passenger Terminal Arrival Lobby