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Sapporo Snow Festival and Snow Monkeys

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You are viewing the 2018 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: JSE18)

Discover Japan in winter, exploring its stunning temples iconic cities

Discover Japan in winter, exploring its stunning temples iconic cities, the world-renowned Sapporo Snow Festival, where imposing ice sculptures loom, and the mischievous snow monkeys that inhabit the 'Land of the Rising Sun.'

  • Historic Nara
  • Kyoto
  • Authentic Japanese tea ceremony
  • Sightseeing tour of Tokyo
  • Hakodate and it's Vibrant Markets
  • Snow Monkey Park
  • Sapporo Snow Festival
  • Sightseeing tour of Sapporo
  • Travel by bullet train
What’s Included
  • 8 nights’ hotel accommodation
  • Return Scheduled Flights
  • Visit to the Snow Monkey Park

Sapporo Snow Festival and Snow Monkeys 2018Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Days 1-2 Kyoto

London to Osaka, Nara and Kyoto

Our adventure begins with an overnight flight to Osaka. Arriving on Day 2, we explore Nara, an attractive, compact city of narrow streets set against a backdrop of wooded hills. Here, we visit the Todai-ji temple, a an enormous wooden structure and Buddhist temple founded in the early 8th century. This structure is also host to the world's largest bronze Buddha statue, weighing 500 tons and standing at 15 meters tall.

We also visit the Kasuga Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the highlight of Nara, the Deer Park, known for the tame deer that roam around it. Following our time here, we transfer to Kyoto, where, this evening, we are welcomed to the 'Land of the Rising Sun' with a welcome dinner in our hotel.

Day 3 Kyoto

Kyoto and a Japanese tea ceremony

Today we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Kyoto, which dates back to the 7th century. As a former capital of Japan for over a thousand years, Kyoto is filled with ancient history and a wealth of incredible architecture, including the Kinkajuki temple, a beautiful traditional Japanese building set on a calm pond and decorated in gold leaf, and the Gion district, the most famous geisha district in Kyoto.

After, we go on to visit Nijo Castle, one of the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and built in 1679, and Kiyomizu temple, an ancient building set amongst a verdant forest. A waterfall running through the complex gives Kiyomiozu, meaning 'clear water', its name.

Afterwards, we are treated to an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, allowing a fascinating insight into this ancient cultural practice.

Day 4 Yudanaka


We travel by bullet train and regional rail, called the 'Snow Monkey Express' to Yudanaka today, a wonderful village filled with traditional architecture and trees, and watched over by a bronze statue of Buddha that is atmospherically lit up at night. Here, we overnight.

Day 5 Snow Monkeys, Japan
Snow Monkeys, Japan

Snow monkeys and on to Tokyo

Today is an undoubted highlight of our tour, as we discover the Snow Monkey Park. Inhabited by around 160 Japanese Macaques, the Monkey Park also contains a man made hot spring, where the creatures like to bathe in cooler months. The monkeys are used to humans, so it is possible to get quite close and witness them in their natural habitat.

There is also a visitor centre, where you can learn about the alpha male system of the monkeys currently residing in the Park, as well as view old pictures of the previous alpha monkeys. After time to observe the monkeys, we continue to Tokyo, travelling by local rail and bullet train.

Day 6 Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo
Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo


Today we take a full-day tour of Tokyo by coach, discovering the sights of this incredible city which is home to 13 million people. With its eclectic mix of old and new, Tokyo is a delight to explore.

Our guided tour includes a visit to the oldest temple in Tokyo, the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple. We move on from here to visit the Imperial Gardens or the Imperial Plaza, the complex that is home to the Imperial Family - the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world, with origins going back over 1,300 years to 660AD.

One of those Emperors, Emperor Meiji, is remembered in the beautiful Meiji Shrine Complex, which we also visit. Although he is not buried there, this complex was built in 1920 to remember the spirits of the Emperor and his wife, Empress Shoken.

From ancient to modern, we visit Tokyo Tower. Resembling the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, the tower was built in 1958 as an observation and communications tower. With its eye-catching orange and white design, it is a sight that is impossible to miss as it rises up from amongst the glass and concrete surroundings of modern Tokyo.

Day 7 Hakodate


Enjoy a free morning today to continue exploring the cultural metropolis of Japan's capital city, before we take one of the iconic and efficient Bullet Trains to the port town of Hakodate.

This evening, we venture up to the top of Mount Hakodate that overlooks the town to view the beautiful lights of the city below.

Day 8 Hakodate

Exploring Hakodate and on to Sapporo

We begin this morning with a visit to Hakodate's vibrant fish market, where fresh produce is bought and sold in a lively atmosphere. After exploring the vivid array of stalls, we continue by regional rail to Sapporo, the largest city on Hokkaido, and home to the annual Snow Festival.

Day 9 Snow Festival, Sapporo
Snow Festival, Sapporo

The Snow Festival

Today we visit the Snow Festival. The festival was started in 1950 by high school students who started building snow statues in Odori Park. 5 years later, forces from an army base nearby joined in, and since then the festival has taken off in a massive way.

Now entering its 68th year, teams from all over the world take part in the Snow Statue Competition, including teams from Munich, which is a sister city of Sapporo, and tourists descend on the city to enjoy the spectacular statues and revel in the delights of the festival.

At night, the fantastic displays are lit up, lending an incredible sense of wonder to the already exciting atmosphere of the event. Later, we enjoy a guided tour of the city, followed by farewell dinner in Sapporo.

Days 10-11 Homeward Bound
Homeward Bound

Homeward bound

Today, we transfer to the airport in Sapporo, for our onward flight to London via Hong Kong, arriving on Day 11.

Special Event Sapporo, Snow Festival
Sapporo, Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo's famous Snow Festival is one of Japan's best-loved winter spectacles, dominated by intricate snow sculptures and welcoming more than 2 million visitors each year.

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Flights from London to Osaka and from Sapporo to London
  • All rail and coach travel throughout

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 8 nights' hotel accommodation

Delicious meals included

  • 13 meals, including 8 breakfasts and 5 dinners


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • See historic Nara with a local guide
  • Discover Kyoto on a guided tour
  • Enjoy an authentic Japanese tea ceremony
  • Full-day sightseeing tour of Tokyo
  • See Hakodate lit up at night
  • Experience Hakodate's vibrant market
  • Visit to the Snow Monkey Park
  • Explore the Sapporo Snow Festival
  • Sightseeing tour of Sapporo
  • Travel by bullet train

Enhance your tour

  • Upgrade your flight to Premium Economy from £550 per person each way
Julie Pacalon
Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Kathryn Cambridge
Sapporo Snow Festival and Snow Monkeys

Discover Japan in winter, exploring its stunning temples iconic cities


Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2018/19

Long haul rail holidays to North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

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