Trip idea in Japan

Experience Winter in Japan: the Sapporo Snow Festival


from £4,310 pp

(ex international flights)


16 days

The mountains of Japan turn into a snowy wonderland in the winter season. On this experiential 2-week tour, become immersed in the country's seasonal highlights. Start in Tokyo and make your way by bullet train to the frontierlands of Japan. Enjoy Sapporo's Snow Festival and the whimsical and mystical creations made by an army of snow artistes. Visit Aomori on the main island's north, the hotsprings of Nyuto Onsen, and the snow monkeys in Yudanaka. Head further into the central Alps, visiting Matsumoto, famous for its castle, onto the ancient Edo-period district of Takayama, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago - a mountain hamlet nestled deep in the Japanese Alps. Continue on to Kanazawa, a city once home to powerful lords who were devoted supporters of exquisite local arts and crafts - still a feature of the city today. Finish in Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital replete with UNESCO World Heritage sites. Enjoy a day of private guiding to unlock the secrets of this magnificent city. Please note: It is not yet known if the Hokkaido Snow Festival will take place in 2022. You may wish to defer until 2023 for this itinerary.

We will tailor this trip to you. Change anything - from excursions to accommodation to places visited.

Create your trip

Day 1 - Tokyo

  • Welcome to your self-guided tour of Japan
  • Arrival transfer from Narita airport to Tokyo - by train (Self-guided)
  • Welcome to Tokyo

Day 2 - Tokyo

  • A day at leisure in Tokyo

Day 3 - Sapporo

  • Travel from Tokyo to Sapporo (Self-guided) (JRP)
  • Welcome to Sapporo

Day 4 - Sapporo

  • Admire the sculptures at Sapporo Snow Festival

Day 5 - Sapporo

  • A second day at Sapporo Snow Festival

Day 6 - Aomori

  • Travel from Sapporo to Aomori (Self-guided) (JRP)
  • Welcome to Aomori
Nyuto Onsen

Day 7 - Nyuto Onsen

  • Travel from Aomori to Takawazo by bullet train (Self-guided) (JRP)
  • Travel from Tazawako station to Nyuto Onsen by bus (Self-guided)
  • Welcome to Nyuto Onsen

Day 8 - Tokyo

  • Travel from Nyuto Onsen to Tazawako station by bus (Self-guided)
  • Travel from Tazawako to Tokyo by bullet train (Self-guided) (JRP)
  • An evening of food and drink in Tokyo

Day 9 - Yudanaka

  • Travel from Tokyo to Yudanaka by JR and Nagano Electric Railway (Self-guided)
  • Travel from Yudanaka Station to the Snow Monkeys area by public bus (with inn stop) (Self-guided)
  • Suggested Sightseeing: See snow monkeys at Yudanaka Onsen (Self-guided)
Matsumoto, Takayama

Day 10 - Matsumoto, Takayama

  • Travel from Yudanaka to Matsumoto by train (Self-guided)
  • Welcome to Matsumoto
  • Visit Matsumoto Castle (Self-guided)
  • Travel from Matsumoto to Takayama by bus (Self-guided) (P2P)
  • Welcome to Takayama

Day 11 - Takayama

  • At leisure in Takayama
  • Visit Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall (Self-guided)
  • Visit Takayama Jinya (Self-guided)
  • Suggested Sightseeing: Hirata Kinenkan (CLOSED, DO NOT USE)

Day 12 - Shirakawago

  • Travel from Takayama to Shirakawa-go by highway bus (Self-guided) (P2P)
  • Welcome to Shirakawa-go
  • Suggested Sightseeing: Visit the Shiroyama Viewpoint
Kanazawa, Kyoto

Day 13 - Kanazawa, Kyoto

  • Travel from Shirakawa-go to Kanazawa by highway bus (self-guided)
  • Welcome to Kanazawa
  • See Kenrokuen Garden (Self-guided)
  • Travel from Kanazawa to Kyoto by train (Self-guided)
  • Welcome to Kyoto

Day 14 - Kyoto

  • Explore Kyoto with a private guide

Day 15 - Kyoto

  • At leisure in Kyoto

Day 16

  • Departure transfer from Kyoto to Kansai International Airport