Arrive at Memanbetsu Airport in Ozora, Hokkaido, Japan. Get your first glimpse of Hokkaido, Japan’s wild northernmost island, as you transfer to the Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel & Resort, by a chartered bus, taxi, or bus owned by the hotel (~1.5 hour drive). Once you arrive at the hotel, enjoy a buffet dinner.
Your trip begins on the Shiretoko Peninsula, the wild coast of Hokkaido featuring empty beaches and tall cliffs. Its unique environmental landscape — including being the lowest latitude in the Northern Hemisphere where sea ice forms — allows many marine and terrestrial species like the Blakiston’s fish owl to thrive in this UNESCO-designated area.
Tuesday, February 26:
Enjoy a relaxed morning at your leisure, then meet up with your fellow travelers for an orientation and meeting followed by lunch. Head out for your first Hokkaido adventure such as a drift ice walk or drift ice cycling with trekking (4 hours).
Group 1: Drift Ice Walk
Group 2: Drift ice cycling with trekking (total 4 hours)
Arrive back at the hotel for free time with an option to attend the Shiretoko Drift Ice Festival. Swap stories from your day over a Japanese dinner at the hotel.
Wednesday, February 27:
Start the day snowshoeing or drift ice diving. (Please note: Advanced open water diver certification and experience with diving with dry suits is needed for drift ice diving.)
Group 1: Snowshoeing
Group 2: Drift Ice Diving (Max 6 pax)
After lunch, transfer to Kawayuonsen (~1.5 hours driving). En route, you’ll see Mt. Iwo, an active volcano that was once mined for sulphur but today is home to abundant plant life. Once at the hotel, Kinkiyu, there is the option of seeing an Ainu Contemporary Performance Show. The Ainu are the indigenous people of Hokkaido. They perform traditional songs and dance to keep their traditions alive.
Thursday, February 28:
Begin the day with winter river and lake canoeing or local cooking and pottery making.
Group 1: local cooking and pottery making
Group 2: winter river and lake canoeing
Transfer to Akan (~1 hour) and arrive at the hotel, Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga, before heading out to explore the area. Akan National Park, one of Japan’s first national parks, has three pristine, caldera lakes including Lake Akan, which is known for its rare marimo algae and forest walking trails. Keep an eye out for the red-crowned (or tancho) cranes, a symbol of prosperity in Japan.
We have an opportunity to visit the Ainu Village, located three minutes from the hotel. Traditionally hunter-gatherers and fishermen, the Ainu live almost exclusively on Hokkaido. Meet artisans at work on traditional handicrafts like Nibutani Attushi, a cloth made with thread from tree bark, and Nibutani Ita, flat and shallow wooden bowls.
Enjoy the buffet dinner at the hotel (19:00), which also boasts a huge spa facility.
Friday, March 1:
Today’s adventures include a guided fat bike tour through the Akan forest or trekking for “Hikari no Mori.” “Hikari no Mori” is the name of a forest which is a private estate owned by Maeda Ippoen Foundation that preserves the forest of Akan. The Hikari no Mori is a walking trail with an 800-year old gigantic Japanese Judas tree and a mud volcano. Lunch will take place at or around the Ainu Village.
Group 1: trekking for “Hikari no Mori”
Group 2: Guided fat bike tour through the Akan forest
In the afternoon, unwind with some free time and enjoy a Japanese dinner at the hotel. You may attend an optional traditional Ainu dance performance.
Saturday, March 2:
Leave the hotel and transfer to Kushiro Station to catch the train. Once you arrive at the station, board the limited express off to Sapporo Station (4 hours 17 min train ride). Onboard, you’re invited to relax and unwind with food and drink while chatting and networking with fellow travelers. Premium seats will be reserved.
Once you arrive at Sapporo Station, you’ll transfer to the hotel, Sapporo Park Hotel, just a 20-minute drive away. Dinner will be at Izakaya, a restaurant with a Japanese-style, pub-like atmosphere, in Susukino, the most area in Sapporo. The jumping-off point for Hokkaido’s adventurous experiences, Sapporo’s urban atmosphere offers a rich taste of Japanese culture and is known for its exciting nightlife, street food vendors, and world-famous namesake beer.
Sunday, March 3:
Choose between sightseeing in Sapporo and Otaru, which is adjacent to Sapporo, or head out for a ski tour at the Kiroro Ski Resort. Kiroro, the area of ski resorts encompassing Hokkaido’s Mt. Yōtei (often referred to as the “Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido”), is particularly popular for its powder snow and long ski runs.
Group 1: Sightseeing Sapporo and Otaru
Group 2: Ski Tour
After sightseeing or the ski tour, meet up at the Sapporo Beer Garden to see how beer is made and processed. Pair these excellent beers with dinner at the Garden grill in the beer garden. Try the local specialty called Genghis Khan, a BBQ dish made of fresh lamb with grilled vegetables.
Monday, March 4:
AdventureWeek Japan features a specialized Marketplace connecting attending buyers and media with local travel companies operating in Japan. Bring business cards as potential partners are eager to meet you.
The marketplace will be prepared at 9:00 and then it will start at 14:00 at the Sapporo Park Hotel.
After a productive Marketplace, join new friends and colleagues for a farewell party.
Tuesday, March 5:
It’s time to say “Sayounara”to Hokkaido. Transfer from Sapporo to the Shin-Chitose Airport, which is approximately a 1.5-hour drive. From there, catch your own flight.
* Please note that this AdventureWeek itinerary is in development and subject to change.
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