Pay in full discount on selected dates. Save $420 pp!

from pp Twin Share

$5,699
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with only a $99 deposit pp

Single Traveller
$7,210 pp
Pay in full discount on selected dates. Save $420 pp!

from pp Twin Share

$5,699
Book Now Select
with only a $99 deposit pp

Single Traveller
$7,210 pp

14 Day Japan Winter Wonderland Small Group Tour

14 Day Japan Winter Wonderland Small Group Tour

This tour is escorted by local city guides in each location. The local guides will join you during the included activities and local representatives will assist with transfer arrangements. Another portion is self-guided, whether conducted by rail, cruise, or land, and you will travel between destinations on your own, with free time to explore at your own pace.

Escorted Type
Local Guides & Self-Guided

This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.

Pace
Moderate Pace

These tours are our proudest creations. They have been crafted for Inspiring Vacations travellers exclusively, with personal and unique experiences in mind. Please see the Important Information on your selected tour for exact group size. Enjoy features such as hand-picked accommodation, a sampling of the region’s best culinary delights, and a range of optional activities to choose from to best suit your travel style.

Group Size
Small Group

Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period. 

Cooling Off Period
7 Days
Small Group Tour
19,842 people have travelled to this destination

✓ Small group tour, up to 20 guests only
✓ Incredible sightseeing including Sapporo Snow Festival (4 Feb & 11 Feb departures only), Sapporo city tour, day tour of historic Otaru, steaming Noboribetsu’s Hell Valley, ascend  Mt Hakodate, visit the iconic snow monkeys, explore cultural Takayama, tour UNESCO listed Shirakawa-gō Village, visit Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen Garden, visit the stunning Miho Museum in Koka 
✓ 13 nights in central 3-star accommodation
✓ Breakfast daily
✓ Travel by bullet train between Hakodate and Nagano
✓ Escorted by a professional English-speaking tour guides in each location
✓ Comfortable, dedicated coach transportation
✓ In-depth sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary

✈ Needing international airfares to accompany your Inspiring Vacation? You will be able to access our flight portal after securing your package to add international airfares to your booking.

What we love about this tour

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.

Itinerary

Hotel
Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae or Similar

Welcome to Japan!

Upon arrival in Sapporo please make your way to your hotel. Once you check in and collect your welcome pack, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the capital of Hokkaido.

Perhaps you could start with Odori Park, a popular spot year-round, it's about 1.5km east to west (12 blocks) and the site for the Sapporo Snow Festival.

If it’s snowing, maybe explore central Sapporo underground in one of the several shopping streets.

Sapporo is also home to the Historic Village of Hokkaido, an open-air museum featuring historical buildings to show Hokkaido as it was in the Meiji and Taisho eras. The village is divided into four sections: a city area, farm village, fishing village and mountain village. There is a horse-drawn sled in winter.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Check In and Arrival Information:

You can travel between Sapporo Airport and your hotel by train. Your hotel is located approx 800mts from Sapporo Train Station. The train ticket will cost you approximately  ¥1,150 per person and a taxi from the train station to the hotel approximately ¥ 1,200 per car.

Travellers will be arriving at various times throughout the day.  If arriving prior to standard check-in time (3pm) you are welcome to leave your luggage with hotel reception and explore your surroundings until check-in becomes available, as there are no scheduled activities on Day 1 of the itinerary. The hotel may grant early check-in; however, this is strictly subject to availability and at the hotel’s discretion.

Hotel
Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Enjoy a tour of Sapporo today. Visit the famous Sapporo Clock Tower, built from timber in the late 1800s, the Sapporo Beer Museum and the lively Susukino district. It’s a haven for food, shopping and entertainment. It’s positively buzzing, with neon signs, noise, shopping and nightlife.

The evening is yours to enjoy this compact and friendly city.

SNOW FESTIVAL DEPARTURES INFO (4 Feb & 11 Feb departures only)

The snow festival is staged on three sites: the Odori Site, Susukino Site and TsuDome Site. 

The main site is the Odori Site in Sapporo's centrally located 1.5 kilometre long Odori Park. The festival's famous large snow sculptures, some measuring more than 25 metres wide and 15 metres high, are exhibited there. They are lit up daily until 22:00.

Besides about a dozen large snow sculptures, the Odori Site exhibits more than one hundred smaller snow statues and hosts several concerts and events, many of which use the sculptures as their stage.

A good view over the Odori Site can be enjoyed from the Sapporo TV Tower at the eastern end of Odori Park. The tower has extended hours (8:30 to 22:30) during the festival. Admission to the top observatory deck costs 720 yen per adult. A 1100 yen ticket allows a day visit and a night visit. 

The Susukino Site, located in and named after Sapporo's largest entertainment district, exhibits about one hundred ice sculptures. Susukino is located only one subway stop south of Odori Park. The ice sculptures are lit up daily until 23:00 

The less centrally located TsuDome Site is a family oriented site with three types of snow slides, snow rafting and more snow sculptures. Inside the dome, there are many food stands and a stage for events.

Hotel
Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Start with a half-day trip to Otaru this morning, a small harbour city known for glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries.

On our walking tour we’ll visit the quaint Otaru Canal, once an important commercial port. It’s well preserved and charming, lined with old merchant houses. We’ll visit landmarks like the Otaru Music Box Museum and the traditional shopping street Sakaimachi, all while learning about Otaru’s rich industrial heritage. Many of the buildings on Sakaimachi street have been converted into restaurants, cafes and shops – you’ll likely find some of the region’s fine glassware, a lovely souvenir.

Later we’ll return to Sapporo where you can enjoy some free time in the evening.

Hotel
Dormy Inn Higashi Muroran Natural Hot Spring or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Continue to Noboribetsu today, a small town with countless mineral springs. 

The onsens of Noboribetsu are the most famous in Hokkaido and Japanese tourists travel from far and wide.

The source of the waters are Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley), a steaming Volcanic pit near the town. Legend has it that this is the home to the oni (demon) Yukujin who bestows luck. You can see many statues of him around the town. It's a short walk from the town centre to Jigoku-dani passing many steaming vents that are scattered around town. 

Next, visit Kuttara-ko, a circular volcanic caldera lake, remarkable for not having a river flowing in or out of it.

Maybe relax afterwards in the hotel's onsen and bathe your cares away. The perfect way to finish the day.

As your day ends, prepare and overnight bag for the next two nights as your main luggage will be shipped directly to Nagano (Luggage restrictions on Shinkansen train).

Hotel
Hotel WBF Hakodate Watatsumi or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

After breakfast, continue to the port city of Hakodate, on the southern tip of Hokkaido Island. Upon arrival, catch a glimpse of Motomachi – this Western-influenced neighbourhood was the heart of the city's foreign settlement, one of only three allowed in Japan some 150 years ago. We'll also visit Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, a quaint shopping mall housed in a complex that dates back to the 1860s.

Next, visit Fort Goryokaku, a star fort located in the centre of Hakodate. This french influenced fort was the first western style fortification in Japan and was completed in 1864 

We’ll then ride up the 334m Mt Hakodate on the Hakodate ropeway, an aerial lift that takes about three minutes. On a nice day the views are spectacular across the city.

Hotel
Hotel WBF Hakodate Watatsumi or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today is a free day to explore Hakodate. This compact city can easily be explored on foot or by public transport. 

Maybe make your first stop at the Hakodate morning market. The market boasts over 250 stalls offering fresh produce and souvenirs. You might like to try the mouth-watering seafood donburi here to start your day with a bowl of steaming rice topped with freshly-caught seafood.

Otherwise visit the  Red Brick Warehouses of Hakodate. Dating back to the trading days of the past, the warehouses have been thoughtfully restored and now host an atmospheric shopping, dining and entertainment complex. 

Optional Tour - Sushi Making in Hakodate

Take a closer look at the fascinating world of sushi, extending from the ocean to your plate. Learn the art of sushi-making from a sushi master, then enjoy your creations afterwards.

Hakodate - from 11.30pm-12.30pm transfers not included

Hotel
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano Higashiguchi or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today, make your way to the train station to board the shinkansen bullet train to Nagano. (approx 6 hours) On arrival, make your way to your hotel, a short walk from the train station.. The rest of the day is free to explore Nagano.

Hotel
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano Higashiguchi or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Nagano prefecture, often referred to as the roof of Japan, is well known for its mountains, cultural history, great food and outstanding architecture.

Today our first stop is the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Witness Japanese macaque monkeys soaking in the onsen during the cold winter months. It’s an adorable sight. The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests.

Continue to Zenkoji Temple, a national treasure,  founded around 642AD when a Buddhist image was enshrined at the present site. None of the 37 generations of emperors have been allowed to view the image. The popularity of the temple comes partly from its liberal welcoming of pilgrims regardless of gender, creed or religious beliefs. 

Next, visit Hokusai Museum, home to works by Katsushika Hokusai whose most well known works include The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Red Fuji, which are a couple of prints from the collection Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.

Hotel
Route Inn Grantia Hida Takayama or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

This morning travel to Takayama, one of the most atmospheric towns in Japan. Visit the open air museum of Hida Folk Village, followed by Takayama Jinya, the former local government office which was in use from 1692 right up until 1969. Next, visit Matsuri no Mori (Festival Museum), an impressive museum about the famous Takayama Matsuri (festival) that is held twice a year in the town. Before leaving Takayama, we visit Yatai Kaikan (Festival Float Exhibition Hall) where some of the centuries old festival floats are on display to the public.

Hotel
APA Hotel Kanazawa Ekimae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Before leaving Takayama this morning we'll tour the Miyagawa Open-Air Market and stop at Kami Sannomachi Street in Takayama’s Old Town, a wonderfully well-preserved slice of old Japan, with houses and shops dating back to the Edo period (1600-1868). As well as the charming architecture, there are several quaint cafés and a number of old saké breweries to explore.

We'll then travel to Shirakawa-gō Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has more than 100 'Gassho-style' houses, which feature steeply-pitched roofs. Built many hundreds of years ago, these historic houses stand together in a beautiful natural setting. From the site’s observation deck you can enjoy a panoramic view of this unique village, its thatched-roof houses sitting among gorgeous mountain scenery. Following this we will transfer to Kanazawa to rest for the evening.

Hotel
APA Hotel Kanazawa Ekimae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today we’ll visit the stunning Kenrokuen Garden – one of the most beautiful in Japan. Developed over more than 200 years, starting in 1620, the garden contains almost 9000 trees and 200 plant species.

We also visit Nomura Samurai House, the historic residence of the Nomura Samurai clan. The intriguing house and grounds provide an insight into the lifestyle of the samurai, or military nobility, during the 16-19th centuries. The residence features beautiful architecture, gardens and décor, such as intricately painted screen doors.

Finally we will take a brief tour around Higashi Chaya District, a beautifully preserved and picturesque historical area of Kanazawa.

Hotel
Hotel Crown Hills Takefu or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Travel today to oft overlooked Fukui - home of dramatic sea cliff scenery, archaeological sites and traditional craftsmen. Visit the Eiheiji Temple. Standing on cedar-covered slopes, the temple was founded in 1244. The large temple complex consists of over 70 buildings, which are connected to each other by covered walkways that protect from the heavy snow seen in the region from December to March. 

Next, stop off at 2 of the region's most famous traditional crafts. First the Takefu Knife Village to view how traditional Japanese blades are made. Continue to Echizen Washi Village to learn about traditional paper making.

Hotel
Sarasa Hotel Namba or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Continue to Osaka today. En route, stop at the stunning Miho Museum, home to the Koyama family collection of art. The IM Pei designed building has the feeling of a secret hideout in a futuristic farmhouse. The museum houses works from Japan, and ancient art from areas such as Egypt, Western Asia, Greece, Rome, Southern Asia and China.

Continue to Osaka where the rest of the day is free.

Optional Tour - Osaka Food Tour

Explore old backstreets, markets, and retail areas seldom seen by most tourists; discover the New York-inspired neighbourhood of Shinsekai and see what ghosts still linger in the streets. Wander through the flashy, glittering, famed district of Dotonbori and sample famous Osaka treats like kushi-katsu and takoyaki octopus balls; plus find out why Osaka is considered the heart and soul of the Kansai region.

Start time: 5pm
Finishing time: approx 8.30pm

(This tour cannot operate on the same day as Hiroshima Day Tour. If you are wanting to do both tours, the Osaka Food Tour will operate the evening prior.)

Hotel
Sarasa Hotel Namba or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today marks the end of your incredible winter tour of Japan.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Departure and check out: There are several ways to travel from your hotel to either Osaka International Airport (ITM) or Kansai International Airport (KIX), from shuttle buses to trains and taxis. Transport to the airports can cost between 250 Yen to 21,000 Yen depending on the form of transport you choose. Your Tour Leader will be able to assist you arrange the most convenient way to the airport on the last day of the trip.

Travellers will be departing at various times throughout the day. Standard hotel check-out is from 10am-12pm. You are welcome to leave your luggage at the hotel reception and spend your final moments of free time exploring the area or alternatively please speak with hotel staff if you would like to extend your check-out time. Please note this service is subject to availability and will likely come at an additional cost. 

Inclusions

  • Small, intimate group experience – no more than 20 people
  • Incredible sightseeing including guided tours of Sapporo, Otaru, Noboribetsu, Hakodate, Nagano, Takayama, Shirakawa-gō, Kanazawa, Fukui 
  • Escorted by English-speaking local guides 
  • 13 nights’ accommodation in selected 3-star hotels 
  • Breakfast daily
  • Included bullet train from Hakodate to Nagano
  • Entrance fees as specified in the itinerary

  • Sapporo - Sapporo clock tower 
  • Sapporo - Sapporo Beer Museum
  • Otaru - glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries
  • Noboribetsu - Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley)
  • Noboribetsu - Kuttara-ko
  • Hakodate - Fort Goryokaku
  • Hakodate -  Mt Hakodate on the Hakodate ropeway
  • Hakodate - Hakodate morning market
  • Nagano - Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. 
  • Nagano - Zenkoji Temple
  • Nagano - Hokusai Museum
  • Takayama - Kami Sannomachi Street in Takayama’s Old Town
  • Takayama -  Miyagawa Open-Air Market
  • Shirakawa-gō Village -  a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Kanazawa - Kenrokuen Garden
  • Kanazawa - Nomura Samurai House
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District
  • Fukui - Eiheiji Temple
  • Fukui -  Takefu Knife Village
  • Fukui -  Echizen Washi Village
  • Koka - Miho Museum

Inspiring Taste
  • Visit the Hakodate morning market. The market boasts over 250 stalls offering fresh produce and souvenirs. You might like to purchase a mouth-watering seafood donburi here to start your day with a bowl of steaming rice topped with freshly-caught seafood.
 
Inspiring Sights
  • Visit Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Witness Japanese macaque monkeys soaking in the onsen during the cold winter months. It’s an adorable sight. The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests.

Fine Print

Secure your trip with a $99.00 deposit per person.

Once we receive your deposit, we will send you an invoice with your remaining balance and payment options.

Instalment Schedule:

  1. At the time of booking pay a $99.00 deposit per person.
  2. Pay a 1st installment of $540.00 per person within 28 days.
  3. Pay a 2nd installment of $1,080.00 per person within 90 days.
  4. You will then be invoiced for final payment 120 days prior to departure.

This is a land only package.

This package does not include international airfares. If you would like to add airfares to your booking our flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub. The flight portal will allow you to search for all available airfares to your destination. The function works like most general flight search engines allowing you to select your preferred airline, book different cabin classes (eg. Business class) and view flight durations and transit times to your destination. 

The flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub once the following criteria has been met:

  • Your booking is confirmed
  • Your departure date is within 11 months
  • You  have completed your passenger detail form

Visit our Flight Hub for more information on terms and conditions, amending your flights and information on luggage allowances. 

It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return. Visas may be required for your destination. For further visa information, click here.

Fitness Requirements
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.

This particular tour is categorised as a”3”

Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.

Tipping
A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. While tipping is not customary, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations.

You may also consider tipping your tour leader and driver for outstanding service throughout your trip. Suggested amount for your guide, 500Y per person per day. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Accommodation
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however, any changes are beyond our control.

Single Supplement
Single supplement is $1,511.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price.

Please note when choosing Single Supplement for this deal that you will receive a single room, which is smaller in size than a twin/double room. Unfortunately this is typical for Japan, as the cost to solely occupy a double/twin size room is incredibly high. We appreciate your understanding.

Triple Share
Not available.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for this tour to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.

Group Size
Minimum: 6 
Maximum: 20

Children
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.

Trip Style - Partially Escorted 
This is a combination of a Group Tour and Independent Travel. You will be escorted by a professional English speaking local guide from Osaka to Tokyo and travel independently from Tokyo to to Sapporo. All accommodation, trains and sightseeing are booked for you to ensure a smooth travel experience.

All participants must be in good physical condition to fully engage in this journey. For the safety and welfare of yourself and fellow travellers, if you are feeling unwell prior to departure, we advise staying home and contacting us to arrange alternate plans.

Prior to selecting your trip, carefully review the itinerary to assess your ability to comfortably manage our travel style. Please be aware that if, based on evaluation by our leader or local representative, a participant is deemed unable to safely complete the itinerary, we retain the right to exclude them from all or part of the trip without reimbursement.

It is advisable to consult your physician for current medical travel advisories and any required vaccinations before embarking. We recommend carrying a first aid kit and any necessary medications in their original packaging, as they may not be readily available during travel. For those carrying medication, it's essential to check your government's foreign travel guidelines for local restrictions or regulations.

To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):

  • Sushi Making in Hakodate (Day 6) - $117 per person
  • Osaka Food Tour (Day 13) - $180 per person

Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.

Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.

You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour. On this tour you can choose from the following options:

Pre Tour Accommodation

  • $311.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $259.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Post Tour Accommodation

  • $311.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $259.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Please select the number of extra nights required in the 'Additional Nights Accommodation' field when making your purchase. The additional cost for these arrangements will be added to your final payment invoice and are subject to availability.

  • International airfares
  • Airport Transfer
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Tipping
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

Click HERE for more information on weather in Japan

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