The Official Hokkaido Adventure Travel Guide

Join Photographer Yukinori Otsuka, a Resident of Hokkaido, on a Special Photo Tour to Capture the Winter Nature and Wildlife of Eastern Hokkaido!





  • 7days 6nights

  • Min.8, Max.10

  • Wildlife

    Wildlife Observation

  • Capturing stunning views of the sunrise at the Bihoro Pass and Lake Kussharo
  • Photographing the mystical ‘Mashu Blue’ on the frozen Lake Mashu
  • Taking pictures of white-tailed sea eagles (ojiro-washi) and steller's sea eagles (o-washi) on drift ice at sunrise
  • Photographing the foraging behavior of Blakiston's fish owls (shima-fukuro), a rare species found in protected natural environments
  • Getting up close to unique birds and wild animals native to Hokkaido, such as the long-tailed tit (shima-enaga) and Eurasian flying squirrels (Ezo-momonga)

East area of Hokkaido, Bihoro pass, Lake Kussharo , Lake Mashu, Shiretoko Peninsula , Rause , Cape Shiretoko , Abashiri.






Yukinori Otsuka, who is an experienced mountain guide and photographer, will take you to his recommended spots for photographing nature, birds, and wild animals.

He has been captivated by Hokkaido for 20 years, ever since his relocation to the region in his early 20s and will share its charm with the tour group.

In the winter season of eastern Hokkaido, which boasts a high percentage of sunny days, we will observe the foraging behavior of Blakiston’s fish owls (shima-fukuro), a rare species found in Shiretoko’s well-preserved natural environments. We will also seek to spot white-tailed sea eagles (ojiro-washi) foraging on drift ice at sunrise, and Eurasian flying squirrels (Ezo-momonga) inhabiting an urban park, demonstrating that in Hokkaido wildlife is even present in the city.

The tour ensures ample time for photography, making it a highly satisfying experience for photography enthusiasts.



Meet up at Kushiro Airport and travel to the accommodation in Teshikaga

We will gather at Kushiro Airport, where we will also meet up with the nature photographer, Yukinori Otsuka.

In the afternoon, we will head to Teshikaga and stay at Masuya, an inn for travelers and nature photographers.

As long as time and weather permit, we will observe nature and take photos in the surrounding forest.

During dinner, the host will share stories about the local nature, birds, and wild animals.

Mr. Otsuka will also tell us about his relocation to Hokkaido, the appeal of Hokkaido’s beauty of nature, and show examples of his own photographic works.


Photography of natural landscapes such as the morning glow at Bihoro Pass, and the mystical Lake Mashu

We will get a move on early in the morning to capture the winter natural landscapes in the early light, such as the morning glow at Bihoro Pass and the scenery of Lake Kussharo below. We can easily see the contrast between the outer mountain and the huge caldera that created the lake.

After the shoot, we will move on to Lake Mashu and capture the mystical lake from the first observation deck of Lake Mashu. It may be completely frozen or show a deep azure known as ‘Mashu Blue’ due to its high transparency, depending on the season.

In the afternoon, we will head to Mt. Io, where snow does not accumulate even in winter. We will witness the ongoing volcanic activity and the experience standing in the middle of the volcano, feeling the geothermal heat and the smell of sulfur.

If we have time in the evening, we will do astrophotography at the Lake Mashu observatory, and capture the overwhelmingly beautiful starry sky.


Backup for Day 2 or observation of red-crowned cranes and wildlife in the Kushiro Wetlands

This is a spare day for Day 2, and will be used as a backup for shooting around Lake Kussharo and Lake Mashu. If we are able to hit our photographic goals on Day 2, then we will move on to Tsurui village to observe and photograph red-crowned cranes (tancho).

In the afternoon, we will visit the Kushiro Wetland Wildlife Protection Center to learn about the surrounding wildlife and ecosystem.

The photography tour involves many early morning, evening, and nighttime shoots. Since winter photography with cold temperatures can be physically demanding, rest time will be provided based on the condition of the participants.


Backup day in the morning and Rausu in the Shiretoko Peninsula in the afternoon

The morning will be used as spare time for Day 2 activities.

In the afternoon, we will make a move to Rausu in the Shiretoko Peninsula.

If there is an opportunity, we will take photos of the nature and wildlife of Eastern Hokkaido that can be seen on the way.

Once we arrive, we will check into Washi no Yado, a lodging where Blakiston’s fish owls regularly hunt, allowing us to observe and photograph their hunting behavior at night.


Take a drift ice cruise to Shiretoko Cape and photograph large birds of prey from the boat

We will depart early in the morning to catch the Shiretoko Nature Cruise to see the drift ice. During the cruise to Shiretoko Cape, we can photograph large birds of prey such as white-tailed and steller’s sea eagles foraging on the drift ice with the sunrise as our background.

In order to provide photographic opportunities, the ship will take considerations such as cutting off the engine and moving slowly, allowing us to photograph wild birds that cannot be observed from land.

In the afternoon, a rest period is scheduled. We can also take photos of small birds and wildlife such as long-tailed tits around the inn. At night, we can also observe and photograph the hunting behavior of Blakiston’s fish owls.


Morning as backup and transfer to Abashiri in the afternoon

The morning of Day 6 is kept as a backup for Day 5 activities, with a second chance for photography from the cruise ship.

In the afternoon, we will move to Abashiri.

If we can photograph to our satisfaction on the cruise on Day 5, we will start the day early and take photos of natural scenery such as Mt. Shari on the way to our next destination.


Photograph Eurasian flying squirrels at a park in Abashiri

We will observe and photograph Ezo momonga, Eurasian flying squirrels, a species native to Hokkaido, at a park in Abashiri city.

Through this experience, we hope to appreciate the richness of Hokkaido’s nature, even in urban areas.

After taking our time photographing the squirrels, we will head to Memanbetsu Airport, where the tour will conclude.


Area Facility Type Room Type Onsen / Spa WiFi
1 Teshikaga Ryokan Bed room Spa WiFi
2 Teshikaga Ryokan Bed room Spa WiFi
3 Teshikaga Ryokan Bed room Spa WiFi
4 Rausu Ryokan Japanese style Spa WiFi
5 Rausu Ryokan Japanese Style Spa WiFi
6 Rausu City Hotel Bed room Spa WiFi

Tour Operator / Contact

Aipine Tour Servise Co.,Ltd.


Yashima Bldg.2F, 420-3 Dainichi, Yotsukaido-shi, Chiba 284-0001 Japan




Official web site

Alpine Tour Service is a travel agency specializing in mountaineering, trekking, hiking, and other mountain travel, as well as bird watching, flower watching, and adventure and nature observation activities. Founded in 1969, we are currently celebrating our 54th year in business. We are actively developing adventure tours not only in the world but also in Japan, as well as long trails and other projects that combine “walking” and “cultural experiences”.

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