One of the things I enjoy most, besides taking photographs, is taking people along with me to some of my favorite locations. Sharing the experiences I love with others is very fulfilling. I’ve been taking small groups of people to some of the locations that the favorite episodes of Travels to the Edge took place. As seen in one of those episodes, Japan in winter is simply magical. Much of the wildlife has been habituated to people, and therefore translates into amazing photographic experiences.
First we’ll visit the snow macaques that live in the mountains about two hours west of Tokyo. Here in an isolated steep cut valley with an amazing mountain lodge are three extended families of macaques, numbering around 50. Because they are the most northern primate on earth, they have the longest, luxuriant fur of any primates, particularly in the winter months. They come down from the pine and oak forests and for a couple of hours a day they hang around a natural hot spring. They have been habituated to people visiting them there, so you can photograph from within inches without interrupting their behavior, which is very animated and fun. It is a photographic bonanza.
After visiting the macaques, we will travel to the northern island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido reminds me a bit of Alaska, full of forests of birch, pine and fir with a back drop of beautiful volcanic mountains. There are also large lakes and wild running rivers, and hosts three species of bird wildlife that are extraordinary to photograph. The Japanese Crane has been symbolized in Japanese culture for thousands of years due to its grace and beauty. Giant whooper swans come in the winter months from nesting in Siberia. They have been fed by locals for years, helping them sustain thru the winter, as well as creating an easy and wonderful photographic opportunity for us! And often Steller’s sea eagles will swoop around the same area. They are massive black and white raptors that winter over on the icy shores of Hokkaido.
The days are short in February on Hokkaido, but the beautiful hues of sunrise and sunset are protracted allowing us hours to capture quite stunning images. After sunset we will have time for a hot bath at the lodge before eating a traditional Japanese meal. After dinner we will have time for lectures and critiques before calling it a day. With the abridged daylight, it really allows for a nice schedule to fit everything in and still have enough hours for a good night’s sleep! Since we travel in and out of Tokyo, you will get to experience the surreal and wonderful contrast that Japan has to offer, not only the very modern and bustling city, but the natural and beautiful countryside.
Led by Art Wolfe and Gavriel Jecan
Limited to 10 participants
Transportation and Accommodation
All meals, lodging, and transportation specified on the itinerary are included. You will be responsible for your flight to and from Tokyo. You are encouraged to arrive one day prior to the workshop so that there is no worry of flight delays causing any problems.
Shooting schedules have the ability to be altered to effectively cater to the photographic desires of the group, as well as to adapt to changeable weather conditions.
*This tour is just being finalized now, the itinerary will be adjusted with additional information when it becomes available. Pricing is yet to be confirmed as well.
Day 1 Tokyo
Arrive Tokyo International Airport. Welcome and transfer to the Hotel.
Day 2 Tokyo
Art will gather arrivals in the early evening for Meet & Greet. This day is the latest day to arrive in Tokyo. Transfer and overnight Tokyo hotel for arrivals.
Days 3, 4, and 5 Yangon – Yudanaka
Group transfers by chartered bus to Yudanaka. Overnight at Village Lodge (3 nights)
Film snow monkeys and visit nearby hot springs village.
Days 6-9 Hokkaido
Transfer to Hokkaido by flight. Overnight at Hickory Wind Nature Lodge (4 nights).
Day 10 Tokyo
Transfer back to Tokyo by flight. Overnight Tokyo hotel.
Day 11 Tokyo-Departure Day
Participants can catch flights back home this day. Transfer to airport provided.
- Accommodations (twin sharing basis) as indicated above in the itinerary.
- All meals.
- Services of Air Conditioned Van
- Services of English speaking guide escort accompanying the trip
- Entrance fee to visit monuments.
- Services of local English guides during city sightseeing (as required)
- Mineral water during all meals, transfers, drives and sightseeing (available in vehicle)
Services Not Included
- Any international Airfare, travel insurance or medical insurance. (health insurance is mandatory and travel insurance is highly recommended)
- Anything not mentioned in inclusion above.
- Tipping to accompanying escort is not included in our quote.
- Any expenditure of personal nature like alcoholic drinks, Fruit shakes, sodas, laundry, telephone calls, or internet
- Anything ordered from room service at any hotel including mineral water (other than what being offered by the hotels on their compliment).
- Any sudden increase in price due to steep hike in fuel cost, change in government tax policy or for any reason beyond our control like acts of god, natural calamity, law and order situation, riots etc and any forced change in itinerary for any unforeseen situation or reason beyond our control.