What is included:
All lodging, including the Tokyo hotel (double occupancy) on Feb. 9th, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transportation and transfers including the bus to the monkey park hotel, all entrance fees, and the in-country flights.
Not included: international flights to Tokyo, all lunches–most are on the run, all alcoholic beverages, laundry.
About the trip:
This trip is longer than most trips to allow for greater flexibility, more time with the cranes, and our other subjects. We will supply lots of pre-trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations. We will have the very best Japanese guides and stay at the award-winning lodge owned by our head guide. His network of local contacts and his knowledge of the weather, the area, and the birds are invaluable for a trip like this.
One of the best things about this trip is learning a bit about the Japanese culture. Their food and its presentation are unmatched. Japan is a very clean country. Most public bathrooms look like day spas. The train stations and airports are both spotless and safe. There is no tipping in Japan; it is almost an insult to tip service people. The Japanese are very respectful, polite, extremely helpful and kind. When we say no tipping, we mean for the service industry-we do tip our head guide’s apprentices that work for room and board. It averages to about $100.00 per person for the entire trip.
Arrive in Tokyo: Feb 9th, 2019 the latest. Feb 8th is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.
Bus Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: Feb 10th- We should arrive at our hotel by lunchtime allowing for a half-day of monkey photography. We will stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel). The sense of culture is everywhere as you walk through the hotel which is steeped in tradition. Our stay includes three ten-course Japanese dinners; these amazing meals are a big highlight. There are many traditional hot baths (public and private), aka onsens, on-site in this 300-year-old hotel. Trust us when we tell you that there is nothing better than soaking in these hot springs after a day of photographing out in the snow.
Full Day snow monkeys: Feb 11.
Full Day snow monkeys: Feb 12.
Feb 13th: Optional early-mid morning photographic excursion around Yudanaka, the old town that we are staying in. At the top of the town, there is a very photogenic temple/shrine that is usually covered in snow. Mid-morning we will travel back to Tokyo and then onto Hokkaido via a domestic flight (included and Paul will make all of the arrangements for this). We will arrive at our lodge in the evening. The lodge is a beautiful, artistically decorated space. All the rooms at the lodge have American beds. A local onsen (hot springs bath and shower) if you choose to go, is available for $5 each day and a ride to and from the Onsen is provided daily before dinner. The home-cooked Japanese styles meals at the lodge are prepared by Shinobu. She is a master chef and her meals will be slightly Americanized. We often remark to guests that this is more of a culinary than a photographic tour (joking of course) but after you taste Shinobu’s food, you will see what we mean. We will be a moments’ walk from the famed crane sanctuary. During one big snowstorm a few years ago we were the only photo group to be able to get to Tsurui Ito and had the place to ourselves while other groups had to wait for the streets to be plowed.
Feb 14-21: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owls, Red fox, landscapes and more. We will most likely spend one or two days photographing the Steller’s Sea Eagles. We may, depending on weather, stay overnight in Rausu. This part of the trip is to photograph the Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles from a boat. It is 100% dependent on weather, road, and pack ice conditions. Our trip offers complete flexibility in this area so that we can make every effort to get there and photograph. Our head guide has a close working relationship with the main boat captains meaning that we can make reservations on their boats and travel to Rausu at very short notice. Other photo tours do not have this flexibility and often end up stuck in Rausu while adverse pack-ice conditions exist, preventing any meaningful Eagle photography.
Feb 22. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need to overnight, the cost of that room is not included.
Please emailÂ Denise or me – email@example.com if you are ready to register or if you have any questions.
Once you decide to go you will need to send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit via check made out to Denise Ippolito.
Note: Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended.
*A single supplement is only available for a portion of the trip and is $1300.00 additional.