By Scott Gilman
November 14, 2018
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Japan’s northernmost island is a skier’s paradise, but its natural beauty is worth exploring throughout the year. Scott Gilman of JapanQuest Journeys, a member of the T+L A-List of top travel advisors, created the following tour, which he can book for you. From $1,800 per person per day.

Getting There

From Tokyo, take a 90-minute flight to Hokkaido’s Kushiro Airport. Book your return flight from the rural Nakashibetsu Airport.

Day 1

Check in to Hazel Grouse Manor, a 90-minute drive from Kushiro Airport. The hotel, a Georgian home with a French restaurant, is near Kushiro Shitsugen National Park, Japan’s largest wetland. The region is home to approximately 1,000 Japanese cranes, once thought to be extinct. Get a closer view of the graceful birds at research centers and feeding stations throughout the park.

Day 2

Visit Akan Mashu National Park. Lake Mashu is famous for its clear water, and while you can only view it from a distance, it makes for sublime sightseeing. Nearby Lake Kussharo offers swimming and kayaking. At Iozan, an active volcano, buy eggs cooked by the heat of the mountain.

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Day 3

Drive 2.5 hours to remote Shiretoko National Park, located on a long peninsula on the northeastern corner of the island. Nature trails in the rugged landscape pass dramatic waterfalls and provide views of a chain of five small, pristine lakes.

Day 4

Stop at Kaiyodai Observatory for a panorama of the surrounding countryside before a flight from Nakashibetsu Airport back to Tokyo.