Discover the fascinating natural and cultural worlds of Japan in a wondrous winter setting.
Japan in Winter
Sapporo Snow Festival and Snow Monkeys
12 days from $9,995
Discover the fascinating natural and cultural worlds of Japan in a wondrous winter setting.
- A Q&A with Expert Ross King
- A Q&A with Expert Cassandra Potts Hannahs
- A Q&A with Expert Grant Nel
- A Q&A with Expert Michelle Thaller
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Located in Shibuya, the bustling commercial and retail center of Tokyo, this hotel is on the 19th to the 40th floor of the Cerulean Tower Building and the Shibuya train and subway station is just five minutes on foot. The hotel offers eleven restaurants and bars (including a cigar bar and jazz club), a business center, laundry & dry cleaning, hair salon, treatment rooms, fitness center with sauna & indoor pool. Guest rooms are located on the 19th through the 37th floors, all with panoramic views of Tokyo. Rooms have complimentary WiFi, TV, fridge, safe, kettle & tea set, hair dryer & toiletries, robe & slippers.
Number of nights: 3
Kanbayashi Onsen, Japan
This mountainside ryokan is surrounded by pine forests, and the closest hotel to Snow Monkey Park (one mile away). Within the ryokan, there are indoor and outdoor onsen (hot spring) with separate baths for men and women, a traditional Japanese garden, restaurant & bar, and indoor heated pool free for guest use. Japanese-style guestrooms have futon bedding spread on tatami mat floors. Rooms have TV, fridge, kettle & tea set, hair dryer & toiletries, robe & slippers. Complimentary tea & coffee are available in the lounge. Laundry service is not available at the ryokan. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in guestrooms.
Number of nights: 2
Located in the heart of Sapporo, the hotel is a short walk to Odori Park and to the former Hokkaido Government Building. The hotel has five restaurants, laundry service, hair salon, treatment rooms, fitness center with sauna & indoor pool, and safe at the front desk. Guestrooms feature simple, modern décor. Rooms have complimentary WiFi, TV, fridge, coffee/tea maker, hair dryer & toiletries, robe & slippers.
Number of nights: 2
The hotel is a business hotel en route to our stay in the mountains. It offers four restaurants and one bar, laundry service, hair salon, and treatment rooms. Guestrooms have complimentary WiFi, TV, fridge, safe, kettle, tea set, hair dryer, toiletries, robe, slippers.
Number of nights: 1
Conveniently located within walking distance of some of Kanazawa's most popular sights, the 260-room Nikko Kanazawa combines a refined European atmosphere with the beauty of the four seasons. Hotel amenities include several restaurants, lounges, and bars; and an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, sauna, and Jacuzzi. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, Internet access, TV, and phone.
Number of nights: 2
Activity Level 3
Pace: This itinerary is fast-paced with five hotels and two internal flights, some longer motorcoach, and train rides and full days of activities and tours often out in cold winter weather. There will be walks of up to three miles on this program. Participants must be in good health in order to take full advantage of this tour.
Winter weather & conditions: Japan is normally cold in February with temperatures outside major cities that can vary from the single digits to the low 30s (°F) during the day, and from negative temperatures to the low 20s in the early mornings and evenings. It will be warmer in Tokyo, with daytime temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s and evenings in the mid-30s. On any given day, temperatures can fluctuate considerably and participants should be prepared for rain and snow showers. Walking will be required on busy city streets and in smaller villages to see the best of Japan. Sidewalks, especially in Tokyo and Sapporo, can be crowded and in villages and towns the roadways, sidewalks, and pathways can be snow-covered and icy. There will be quite a bit of walking and standing and some early morning departures. The Sapporo Snow Festival is located in Odori Park in the center of Sapporo, here you will find a fascinating world of snow and ice stretching across approximately one mile of city streets. Participants should expect exuberant and crowded conditions at the snow festival. Please note: The walk from Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen to see snow monkeys will be one mile each way on mostly flat trails with some slopes and stairs. The trails will most likely be snow-covered and can be challenging to walk. In case of heavy snow and ice, “snow grips” to be worn over boots will be provided for extra traction. A list of suggested clothing to pack for this trip will be included in pre-tour documents
Hotels & Ryokan: Most hotels on this itinerary will be western-style with all the amenities found at business style hotels in the U.S. The exception is the Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku which is a ryokan with Japanese-style accommodations. Rooms will have a private en suite bathroom, each with a toilet and a shower/bath. Shoes must be removed when entering the rooms. Bedding will be stored during the day, and Japanese futon mattresses will be laid atop tatami mats on the floor for sleeping at night. During the day, low tables with cushioned seats will be set directly on the tatami floor, though additional Western-style chairs are located at the window. There are a limited number of western-style rooms at the Inn and they are on a space-available basis. Participants should request a western-style room (if desired) when registering for this trip.
For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.
Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.
Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian. Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.
What Is Provided With Your Tour
- Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Tour Director, and local guides throughout the tour.
- All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
- All meals during the cruise (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner). Wine and beer served with lunches and dinners.
- Enrichment program of lectures and special events.
- All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
- Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
- All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
- Taxes, service, and port charges; all gratuities aboard and ashore.
- On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).
What Is Not Provided With Your Tour
- International airfare.
- Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
- Personal items such as wines, liquors, à-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
- Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
- Airport transfers for those not arriving or departing group travel days.
- Baggage in excess of one suitcase.
- Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
- Optional Travel Insurance
For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request. Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.
Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.
Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.
Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage
Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.
Travel Documents and Information
Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.
For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. Applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).
For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel
Physical and Medical Considerations
To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.
Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions. It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.
Itinerary or Tour Modifications
Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour. These elements include, but are not limited to: hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.
Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.
Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bathroom.
Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.
All tours, except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.
Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.
Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.
If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.
The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute. In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute. In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.
Photography and Video
Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.
READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER
Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.
The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.
Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.
AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:
The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including, but not limited to, weather, flooding, and high/low water levels, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, bites from or attacks by animals, insects, or pests, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.
Updated August 13, 2019