Japan Winter Wonderland – Tohoku & Hokkaido

14 Days

Start in Tokyo, one of the world’s most contemporary cities, and travel upward north to Japan’s winter wonderland. Japan has some cities listed as the world’s snowiest. You will be surprised to learn how deeply snow is ingrained in Japanese culture. The country has one of the world’s most remarkable winter festivals with giant snow and ice sculptures, winter sports, and other fun snow activities. Furthermore with the gorgeous winter scenery, learning Japanese heritage and culture, meeting the Ainu (the indigenous/native people of Japan), dining on great northern foods, and staying in a Japanese inn with hot springs, the experience shall be unforgettable.  

Destinations: Tokyo > Suyaku Onsen > Hirosaki > Hakodate > Sapporo > Kushiro > Lake Akan > Utoro > Shiretoko National Park > Abashiri > Tokyo

Accommodations: All rooms are double occupancy, two persons sharing a twin or double-bed room. Breakfast included. A single supplement is extra.

Please Note: A $500 deposit per person is required. After signing up an agent from Deaf World Adventures will contact you to process your booking.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Sign Up with us Today!

February 4, 2025 - February 17, 2025 $ 4450
6 Available
February 5, 2026 - February 18, 2026 $ 4450
8 Available

Tour Summary

You arrive in Tokyo spending two days in the big city visiting famous landmarks in Central Tokyo, Asakusa, Harajuku, and Shibuya, and meeting Deaf Japanese before you embark to the northeast for your winter wonderland tour.

The Northeast of Japan is famous for its countryside, seasides, high mountains, lakes, rice fields, farms, hot spring onsen, and snow. It is said that the northeast region of Japan collects more snow every year than any weather reporting station in the world. The Sukayu Onsen, where you will visit and stay one night, is believed to be the snowiest inhabited place on Earth. Other cities and towns in the same region rank within the top 5 or 10 snowiest. How exciting!

On this tour, you join a local Deaf guide and travel through the spectacular world of snow-covered landscapes, castle towns, local cultures, and festivals. You will travel the local way, riding on the Shinkansen (aka the bullet train) and public transportation with Japanese people. In remote areas, your guide will drive you.

Our winter adventures include culture immersion activities and some sports. You will ride the Hakkoda ropeway up and over a snowy terrain with snow monsters below.  And join millions of visitors to Sapporo’s annual winter festival with giant snow and ice sculptures. You ride in a canoe on the Kushiro River through a marshland that inhabits the once nearly extinct Japanese red-crowned cranes and snowshoe through the Shiretoko peninsula, an important UNESCO world heritage site, home to many wildlife animals and birds. And we dare you to walk on drift ice floes in the Okhotsk Sea. Boots, snowshoes, and thermal wet suits are provided.

The tour includes visits to Buddhist temples, Japanese shrines, and cultural heritage sites with exhibitions and hands-on art and craft activities. Your guide will take you to see some of Aomori’s giant three-dimensional lantern floats made from colorful paper-mâché. You can make an art with the paper there and bring it home as a souvenir. In Hokkaido, you visit the Ainu village, the home of the native people of Japan. You will come across permanent exhibitions of Ainu culture and arts. One exhibition includes amazing wood sculptures by the late Masamitsu Takiguchi who is Deaf Japanese and was married to an Ainu woman. He was an acclaimed artist and had a wood shop in the village that is now run by his son, Ainu, and is a wood carver, too.

Other exciting activities include a ride on an old passenger train with an old-fashioned potbelly stove through traditional villages and snow-covered rice fields. There you will see a splendid 20th-century mansion that once belonged to a famous Japanese writer, Osamu Dazai. You will stop to see the Hakodate harbor, one of Japan’s oldest with the Motomachi district built by foreign residents in 1854. The district has an interesting mix of beautiful homes by foreigners who settled there.

Furthermore, dine on great local foods, and eat some of the region’s best-known seafood and rice dishes. And drink the best local sake, beer, and whiskey while you enjoy the natural scenery, culture, and artistic delights of Japan’s far north.

Your guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. You check in at your hotel and settle in your room. You have free time to rest or take a leisure walk around your hotel. In the evening you meet up with some Deaf Japanese near your hotel for a welcome social with appetizers and drinks.

Activities: airport transfer, check-in hotel, and Deaf social

Meals: Japanese-style appetizers and drinks

Hotel: TBA

Day 2 :

After breakfast you go up the Skytree, a magnificent tower, for a view of greater Tokyo, then stop at Asakusa for the Senso-ji temple with the Nakamise-dori. And you visit the Meiji Shrine surrounded by a lush green forest in Tokyo and walk down the streets of Harajuku with quirky fashion. Lastly, you stop in the Shibuya ward with the famous crosswalk, city lighting, and Hachiko dog statue.

Activities: Skytree, Senso-ji Nakamise-dori, Meiji Shrine. Takeshidori, Omotesando, Shibuya crosswalk, Hachiko dog statue, and more.

Meals: breakfast

Hotel: TBA (2nd night)

You check out and travel to Aomori on the Shinkansen train (bullet train). It’s your first ride on this train. You arrive in the afternoon and transfer to the Suyaku Onsen Resort hotel shuttle bus. Suyaku is said to be the world’s snowiest inhabitant. The ride is over an hour and through a snowy passage to the resort. You check in and enjoy the scenery and many different onsen facilities offered to you.

Activities: first Shinkansen ride, Suyaku Onsen Resort, lecturer about the region’s snow records, the Hakkoda mountain, and the onsen resort.

Meals: breakfast and dinner

Hotel: Suyaku Onsen Resort 

In the morning you check out and go on an adventure at Hakkoda Mountain. You go up a ropeway to see the snow monsters. At the summit, you follow a snowy trail for a close-up view of the snow monsters. You return to the base by ropeway (optional downhill skiing). Next, you go on a scenic drive through Hirosaki, a castle town. You check in and go see the castle and the samurai district. In the evening there is a traditional winter festival at the castle.

Activities: explore Hakkoda mountains, ropeway ride, snow monster encounters, leisure snow walk, scenic drive, Hirosaki Castle with the samurai district, and local winter festival events.

Optional: downhill skiing skiing, ski gear rental at your own expense

Meals: breakfast

Hotel: Dormy Inn Hirosaki  

In the morning you go on a scenic ride on an old-fashioned train with a potbelly stove through Tsugaru villages and snow-covered rice fields. You stop at Goshogawara to see the Shayokan, a beautiful mansion built by the famous Japanese writer Dazai Osamu. The house is a national treasure. You also visit the Tachibuta No Yakata exhibition hall to see the display of some huge (23 meters/19 tons) paper lantern floats that are used in Aomori festivals. You may make a small lantern or art item there to take home as a souvenir. In the evening you may want to do sake tasting at a local restaurant (optional, reservations are required).

Activities: scenic train ride with old-fashioned stove, the Shayokan mansion, Tachibuta No Yakata, and paper-mâché workshop

Optional: sake tasting at a local restaurant at your own expense

Meals: breakfast

Hotel: Dormy Inn (2nd night)

You check out and travel to Hakodate, one of the oldest international trading ports in Japan. Hakodate’s Motomachi District has the most beautiful foreign settlement in Japan. There are some homes, warehouses, shops, and churches built by foreign architects. And there is a foreign cemetery, too.  In the evening you ride up the Hakodate ropeway for a beautiful view of the city night-line.

Activities: second Shinkansen ride, sightseeing of Hakodate harbor and Motomachi district, leisure time at the red brick warehouses and Hakodate night line

Meals: breakfast

Hotel: HakoBA The Shared Hotels

You check out the hotel and stop to see a morning market near the harbor with fresh fish in an auction. You may want to try some sashimi before leaving the city. Following you catch the Shinkansen train to Sapporo, the site of the largest snow and ice sculpture festival. Upon arrival, you check your hotel and settle down. In the late afternoon take a local subway to the Sapporo Brewery for a sign-language tour of the beer factory. There are options for beer tasting. The evening is an all-you-can-eat and drink (lamb and vegetable grill) and social with the Deaf from the city.

Activities: morning market, third Shinkansen ride, Sapporo Brewery, all-you-can-eat local lamb and vegetable grill, and Deaf social.

Meals: breakfast and dinner

Hotel: TBA

Free Day! You join many people from around the world at the Sapporo Snow Festival. The event is on your own at Odori Park near your hotel. You admire the giant snow and ice sculptures at the park. The event has many other winter activities such as snow rafting, snow games, performances, and a snow labyrinth. Also, enjoy the many food and handicraft stalls that are open at the park. Your hotel is also near the Susukino Ice Sculpture Street. You can go there, too. In the evening you may be interested in tasting some of Japan’s best whiskey from Sapporo (optional, reservations are required.)

Activities: free time at the Sapporo Snow and Susukino Ice Sculpture Festival

Optional: Whiskey tasting (at your own expense)

Meals: breakfast

Hotel: TBA (2nd night)

Check out, pick up a bento (lunch box), and travel by express train to Kushiro city. The train ride is half a day. You sit back, relax, enjoy the scenery, and experience the local way of eating a bento on the train. You arrive in Kushiro in the late afternoon, check in hotel, and prepare for a sunset walk to Nusamai Bridge. The bridge is close to your hotel.  It is said that the sunset scene is one of the world’s best. After sunset, you stay for the light-up event and then walk over to the fisherman’s wharf near the bridge for the rest of the evening. You can shop and have dinner there.

Activities: express train ride, bento lunch, Kushiro waterfront, Nasamai Bridge with sunset, and the fisherman’s wharf.

Meals: breakfast

Hotel: ANA Crown Plaza  

You check out early and embark on your canoeing adventure. You ride in a canoe paddled by a local guide through a magical white world made of snow, rime, and frost. Your guide will point you to any wildlife animals and birds by the shore. Don’t forget your Binoculars!   And you see the Tsuri-ito Tencho Sanctuary with Japan’s most iconic bird, the red-crowned cranes. These birds were once nearly extinct and now they’re protected. In the afternoon you check in at your hotel at Lake Akan. Your hotel is by a lake in a village where the Ainu people (the native/indigenous people of Japan) live. You explore the Aniu Kotan (community) with exhibitions, galleries, and shops. You stop by a permanent exhibition with beautiful wood sculptures by the late Masamitsu Takiguchi who is Deaf Japanese and married an Ainu woman. The village also hosts a winter festival with winter activities on the frozen lake with fireworks at night. You can watch the fireworks from your hotel window.

Activities: canoeing adventure, red-crowned crane sanctuary, Lake Akan, Aniu Kotan, Masamitsu Takiguchi art exhibition, and local festive events.

Meals: breakfast and dinner

Hotel: Tsuruga Wings 

You check out and hop on a local bus to Utoro.  The bus stops at various sights for sightseeing. You ride through Akan Mashu National Park, stopping at Lake Mashu to see the pristine lake with deep blue waters, and the Bihoro Pass with a view of Lake Kussharo. Next, you ride to Abashiri harbor port and get on the Aurora ice breaker to view the drift ice floes. Following the icebreaker, you hop back on the bus to Utoro.  The bus drops you off at your hotel that looks out to the Okhotsk Sea. You check in your room. The hotel has natural hot spring onsen facilities and large windows for watching the sunset at the sea.

Activities: scenic drive around Akan-Mashu National Park, Bohoro Pass, Abashiri Icebreaker, and sunset watch at the Okhotsk Sea.

Meals: breakfast and dinner

Hotel: Shiretoko Daichi Hotel  

In the morning you don some snowshoes and walk with a national guide into the Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the summer half of the park trails are closed to visitors. It is closed to protect the wildlife environment. In the winter these trails are accessible. You will see beautiful snowy landscapes and the five frozen lakes and waterfalls. Wildlife animals of deer, foxes, weasels, steller’s eagles, and other snowbirds may appear in the park. After lunch, you go to the Shiretoko Nature Center to learn why UNESCO awarded the Shereitoko Peninsula an important title and pick up your thermal suits for the ice drift walk at Okhotsk Sea. The evening is at your hotel with natural hot springs onsen and lounges.

Activities: snowshoeing in Shiretoko National Park, wildlife viewing, Shiretoko Nature Center and drift ice walk tour

Meals: breakfast and dinner

Hotel: Shiretoko Daichi Hotel (2nd night)

You check out and take the airport liner to Memanbetsu Airport for your flight to Tokyo. You arrive in Tokyo in the late afternoon and hop on a bus that takes you to the Toyosu Senkaku Bandai, the newest “streetscape” attraction in Tokyo designed with an old Edo period theme where you can enjoy different markets, shopping, and Japanese culinary culture before your departure the next day. The place is open 24 hours and has sleeping facilities.

Activities: fly to Tokyo, free time, and overnight at the Toyosu Senkaku Bandai

Meals: breakfast

Place of Stay: Toyosu Senkaku Bandai

It’s time to say, “Sayonara”. You will be transferred from your hotel to Haneda Airport.

Activities: check-in airport
Meals: farewell breakfast
Hotel: none

What is included and not included in the tour?


  • Airport transfers
  • JR ticketing and seat reservations
  • Local transportation
  • Driver Hire
  • One-way domestic flight (Memanbetsu to Haneda)
  • 13-nights accommodations (mix of 3 or 4 star hotels, double occupancy room and Japanese inn with tatami and natural hot spring bath)
  • Meals (14 Breakfasts, 7 Dinners)
  • Deaf social time
  • Tour conductor / guide
  • Museum, Galleries and Park admission fees
  • Ropeway Fees
  • Snowshoes and thermal wet suit rental
  • A electronic handbook with list of tips, suggestions and more

Not Included

  • International airfare
  • Flight insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuity for guides
  • Other meals not in the itinerary
  • Cultural or sporting activities not on the itinerary*
  • Laundry, SIM card, and other services not included in the tour
  • Alcohol, soft drinks, snacks and desserts

Japan Winter Wonderland Adventure Route

From $ 4450
/ Per Person Sharing a Twin/Double Room

Trip Information

  • Haneda Airport
  • 14 days / 13 nights
  • Shinkansen (aka the bullet), local public transportation, domestic flight and private driver hire
  • American Sign Language, International Sign & English
  • medium - walk on concrete, cobblestone, snow and ice, some climbing stairs, using public transportation and winter sport activities: snowshoeing, canoeing and drift ice walk
  • historic and landmark sightseeing, scenic drives and rides, culture immersion, winter festivals, Deaf social, canoeing, snowshoeing, and walk on drift ice
  • Peggy Prosser
  • Nadeshiko Yoriai
  • D-travel Agency