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The Heart of Hokkaido with

National Geographic Photographer Michael Yamashita/

Dates: 19th of August (Mon) – 24th of August (Sat) 2019




Day 1:  19th of August (Mon): Arrive in Niseko; Greeting

We will be meeting at the lobby of the hotel. 

After an initial introduction we will be enjoying a most

wonderful welcome dinner at the renowned Hyatt House Niseko.


Overnight at: Hyatt House Niseko

Day 2: 20th of August (Tue): Mt. Yotei

A visual sister to Mt. Fuji, Mount Yotei, a spectacularly stunning active

stratovolcano, is located in the heart of Shikotsu-Toya National Park,

Hokkaido, Japan.  Nicknamed “Ezo” after the original name given to Hokkaido,

it towers over endless grasslands and rolling hills as it stands at 1,898 meters tall.

Not only does it stand in the heart of the National Park but it is the heartbeat of

all the Japanese and foreign people who live surrounding this majestic

natural monument.


By doing a loop from Hyatt House Niseko, which is well known for its beauty

and location, we will create a route by initially passing through Kutchan town. 

Kutchan is located in the Abuta District and is the largest city in this natural area. 

From there, we will move on to Fukidashi Park, which is located in Kyogoku and

boasts a natural spring that produces over 80,000 tonnes of incredibly clear and

cold drinking water.  This water is caused by decades of rainfalls and winter runoffs

from the unbelievable amount of yearly snowfall seen in Hokkaido. 

Our last stop before reaching Hirafu will be Makkari, at which point we will

enjoy a phenomenally delectable meal of pork chops from sows and gilts

that have been fed cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and oregano organically,

before heading out for an enjoyable walk that meanders around the base of

“Ezo-Fuji”.   After passing through Niseko we will settle back in at

our beautiful hotel, Hyatt House Niseko: the point of our original departure,

completing a full 360 degrees around Mt. Yotei.


Overnight at: Hyatt House Niseko


Day 3: 21st of August (Wed): Lake Toya

Spewing lava and a cloud of volcanic ash in 2000, the still active volcano

named Mount Usu is next on our list. Boasting steamy and relaxing hot springs,

Mount Usu itself is located just moments away from Lake Toya and is a part

of the Lake Toya region itself. You will find spectacular views near the summit of

this stunning volcano as we take the ropeway up to the observatory. 

The observation deck offers up a panoramic view of not only Lake Toya, but

also another active lava dome volcano; named Showa Shinzan. 

By going one more level up, and only a short walk away, the stunning views

which make Hokkaido so special can be seen, such as the ocean and the massive

crater left behind after Showa Shinzan erupted in 1977.


Overnight at: Hyatt House Niseko

Day 4: 22nd of August (Thu): Shiribetsu River then Onsen

Activity day!

Niseko, untouched and unspoiled...forests, volcanoes, lakes and the

ever-exciting rivers that feed directly from springs and mountains.

Rather than driving or walking through this scenic area as we had before,

we’ll be taking a different approach by rafting down the Shiribetsu river.

Known to be one of Japan’s cleanest rivers, the winter runoff from melting

snow will make it an adventure, with peaceful lulls between moments of excitement.
In the afternoon, although Japan’s own “Route 66” otherwise known as the

“Panorama Line” will be closed during this season, we will be taking a brief

drive up a winding mountain road that exults in unparalleled natural beauty,

which is the lushness of Hokkaido’s spring.


Overnight at: Hyatt House Niseko


Day 5: 23rd of August (Fri): Shakotan Peninsula

Delectable sea urchin. Fresh herring. The Japanese appetizing flounder fish.

The ever-famous Japanese Salmon. Savory squid. Tempting mackerel.

Enticing abalone. Depending on the season any one of these ambrosial fish and

more can be available as Shakotan Peninsula is renowned as a bountiful

fishing ground since the 19th century.

The Shakotan peninsula flaunts a 30 km mountain range, which extends into

the northwest Pacific Ocean. The area’s perfection lays in its, rugged precipices,

mountainous topography and some small game wildlife.

With glaciers in winter on Mount Shakotan, lakes, and prairie grass blowing

wildly in the autumn, the sea itself is what draws people back again and again,

as its jutting cliffs cut into an ocean of beauty with blues of azure and clarity

to rival that of a sapphire. In addition to this we will be visiting

Shimamui Coast and Cape Ogon.  To finish this briskly refreshing day,

we’ll be stopping in at Nikka’s whiskey distillery in Yoichi, which is quickly

becoming an international contender in taste and reputation.

Overnight at: Hyatt House Niseko

Day 6: 24th of August (Sat): Farewell

The tour ends after breakfast










Important Note

The weather at this time of years is considered to be quite dependable and beautiful, with above warm temperatures, and at times even hot with blue skies and slight breezes. However, there could be a chance that we might find ourselves faced with strong winds and possible heavy rainfalls, and may need to remain at the hotel on occasion; if there are weather advisories, or at our discretion. If such a situation arises we will handle it as best we can, but at times nature has its own ideas and we have to remind ourselves that it’s beyond our control and try to be as flexible as possible. It’s those very same weather fronts that keep the land of Hokkaido unique. We need a spirit of adventure and a good sense of humor and all participants in this tour will genuinely have a phenomenal experience.


Accommodation & Meals

We’ll be staying in the exquisite Hyatt House Niseko (

Everyone will be automatically booked into a two-bedroom suite.  If you prefer to have a room of your own, or a bit of privacy, a single supplemental room can be made available at an extra charge.

We’ll note immediately if you have any food preferences (allergies, vegetarian, etc.) and we will make the appropriate changes as soon as possible to suit your dietary needs. The restaurants listed above may change due to various reasons or unforeseen events.


What is included in the Package?

  • All accommodations and meals during your tour

  • A chartered van/bus with driver to transport us safely and comfortably around Niseko for the trip’s entirety

  • A local bilingual guide who travels with you throughout to ensure all logistics run smoothly and without difficulty.


What is NOT included in the Package?

  • Any international flights or travel costs to the meeting point.

  • Hotels while traveling prior to or following the tour

  • Beverages or additional items ordered during meals



Cost & Reservation

The total cost for aforementioned tour is:


JPY 570,700


To book your place, please pay a reservation fee of 10% of the tour price by credit card, Paypal or bank transfer. Be sure to have your swift code readily available if choosing bank transfer.
*All Deposits are Non refundable



Cancellation Policy/Fees

If you wish to cancel your tour, please notify Spark Photography in writing in advance. Once Spark Photography receives your notice of cancellation, the cancellation will take effect. The following cancellation charges will apply: 


Days prior to departure / Cancellation Charges
42 days + / Full amount of your deposit
21-41 days / 25% of tour price
8-20 days / 50% of tour price
2-7 days / 75% of tour price
1 day / 100% of tour price
Departure day / 100% of tour price



A Word on Insurance

You are strongly advised to arrange the following insurance:

Travel Insurance — If you fall sick or have an accident during the course of the trip, you will miss part of your tour, and possibly incur hospital fees and other expenses that can mount up. We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance for yourself for the entire length of the trip in advance of departure


Cancellation Insurance — This is often included in your Travel Insurance, but if for any reason you have to cancel your tour, cancellation insurance can help you recuperate your costs.
Note that travel and cancellation insurance usually has to be bought within 10 days of booking the tour or less. Please be sure check on this as soon as you book.



Camera Equipment Insurance — We also suggest that you insure your photography equipment and belongings if not included in your home or travel insurance. If you already have your gear insured, double check that you are covered for international travel, as you are visiting Japan from overseas.


©️Michael Yamashita


©️Michael Yamashita


©️Michael Yamashita


©️Michael Yamashita

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