Hokkaido:

Northern Sea Circuit

Hokkaido: Northern Sea Circuit

DAYS 13 / SHIP Heritage Adventurer

DEPARTURES 3 Jun 2022

PLACES VISITED

PRICES FROM $7,950 USD (More Rates)

Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, invite you to join them on the ultimate exploration of Japan’s last frontier – Hokkaido. Translating in English to ‘Northern Sea Circuit’, Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost and least developed island, and a world away from the country’s more traditional and contemporary cities.

Bordered by the Sea of Japan, Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, Hokkaido’s rugged landscape features a mountainous centre, complete with volcanic plateau, and is rightly famous for its volcanoes and hot springs. Among its multiple plains is Kushiro, the largest wetland in Japan and home of the Red-crowned Crane, one of the world’s largest and rarest cranes and iconic symbol of Japan where it is also known as the ‘bird of happiness’.

During our circumnavigation of this remarkable island we plan to explore to the outlying Rebun and Rishiri Islands, venture into national parklands, observe wildlife and experience the culture of the indigenous Ainu people and swathes of colourful flowers in bloom Hokkaido is renowned for.

With more than two million acres dedicated to national parkland, we plan to visit some of the island’s most impressive including UNESCO World Heritage Site Shiretoko National Park, or the ‘end of the Earth’ in the native Ainu dialect. Shiretoko is considered one of Japan’s most spectacular national parks and we look forward to exploring its untouched rivers, forests, mountains and waterfalls – home to Ussuri brown bears, Yezo sika deer and Ezo red fox. For birders, and non-birders alike, we hope to see the world’s largest eagle, the Steller’s sea eagle, and owl, Blakiston’s fish owl, Black Woodpecker and White-tailed eagle among other impressive species.

We hope you can join us for this rare opportunity to join this circumnavigation of Japan’s most enchanting isle as we explore the unspoiled nature, primeval wilderness, astounding rare wildlife, limpid lakes and alpine flowers during this unforgettable 13-day adventure.

Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, invite you to join them on the ultimate exploration of Japan’s last frontier – Hokkaido. Translating in English to ‘Northern Sea Circuit’, Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost and least developed island, and a world away from the country’s more traditional and contemporary cities.

Bordered by the Sea of Japan, Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, Hokkaido’s rugged landscape features a mountainous centre, complete with volcanic plateau, and is rightly famous for its volcanoes and hot springs. Among its multiple plains is Kushiro, the largest wetland in Japan and home of the Red-crowned Crane, one of the world’s largest and rarest cranes and iconic symbol of Japan where it is also known as the ‘bird of happiness’.

During our circumnavigation of this remarkable island we plan to explore to the outlying Rebun and Rishiri Islands, venture into national parklands, observe wildlife and experience the culture of the indigenous Ainu people and swathes of colourful flowers in bloom Hokkaido is renowned for.

With more than two million acres dedicated to national parkland, we plan to visit some of the island’s most impressive including UNESCO World Heritage Site Shiretoko National Park, or the ‘end of the Earth’ in the native Ainu dialect. Shiretoko is considered one of Japan’s most spectacular national parks and we look forward to exploring its untouched rivers, forests, mountains and waterfalls – home to Ussuri brown bears, Yezo sika deer and Ezo red fox. For birders, and non-birders alike, we hope to see the world’s largest eagle, the Steller’s sea eagle, and owl, Blakiston’s fish owl, Black Woodpecker and White-tailed eagle among other impressive species.

We hope you can join us for this rare opportunity to join this circumnavigation of Japan’s most enchanting isle as we explore the unspoiled nature, primeval wilderness, astounding rare wildlife, limpid lakes and alpine flowers during this unforgettable 13-day adventure.

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Hokkaido: Northern Sea Circuit
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1: Niigata
Arrive at the port town of Niigata, famous for snow, rice, sake and hot springs, and transfer to your hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition team over dinner at the hotel.

2: Niigata
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before exploring this bustling port town. This afternoon you will board your ship, settle into your cabin and familiarise yourself with Heritage Adventurer. We will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans. Join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we set sail for Akita.

3: Akita
Today we have a full day in Akita. Nestled between mountains and the sea, Akita’s scenic beauty and festival capital status, preserved samurai village and museums boasting world-class art makes it perfect for connecting with Japan’s history and culture. This morning we will venture inland to the castle town of Kakunodate. While the castle no longer remains, this former samurai city’s Uchimachi samurai quarter maintains a number of the original, centuries old samurai houses. Back in Akita, you will have free time to explore this fascinating cultural centre including the castle ruins at Senshu Park and Akita Museum of Art, designed by renowned Japanese architect Ando Tadao and featuring works by legendary artist Leonard Foujita.

4: Aomori
From our berth in Aomori we will travel inland to explore the spectacular Towada Hachimantai National Park and one of Japan’s most famous volcanic areas. Our journey will see us passing through the Kayano Plateau and Hakkoda Mountains to the scenic Oirase Valley and magnificent ancient caldera Lake Towada. There are numerous paths to explore here including the bird-filled primeval forest flanking the trails at Tsuta no Nana Numa (the seven ponds of Tsuta). We also plan to explore Oirase Gorge, running 14 kilometres from Lake Towada to Yakeyama it is considered one of Japan’s most beautiful rivers resplendent with crystal clear water, rapids, waterfalls and verdant wilderness-clad banks. Returning to Aomori enjoy some free time in the city.

5: Hakodate
Today we sail into the port of Hakodate, located at the southern tip of Hokkaido. This morning will see us venturing to Onuma Park where we plan to explore its picturesque, islanddotted lakes and majestic dormant volcano, Mount Komagatake. Explore the lakes’ endlessly fascinating and Instagram-worthy peninsulas and islands, many of which are connected by small bridges, by foot. Back in Hakodate this afternoon, there will be an option to enjoy a city tour including the enchanting Fort Goryokaku. This massive star-shaped citadel was built in the last years of the Edo Period, but repurposed now as a quirky public park boasting more than 1,000 cherry trees along its moats.

6: Muroran
Adventures abound at Shikotsu-Toya National Park, named after its famous twin caldera lakes. Another picturesque natural hot spot, the park’s spectacular scenery including the above mentioned lakes, hot springs and volcanic wonderland, are all easily accessible and offer multiple hiking and walking options. Activities here could include riding the cable car to the top of Mount Usu to take in the grand scale views over Lake Toya or visiting the geothermal spectacle of steaming vents and sulphurous streams at Jigokudani aka ‘Hell Valley’. This afternoon enjoy free time to explore Muroran at your leisure, visit the scenic cape and lighthouse or take in the city from above after a walk up Mount Sokuryo.

7: Kushiro
Major fishing port city Kushiro is rightly famous for Kushiro Shitsugen, Japan’s largest marshland and national park home to Japan’s sacred Red-crowned Cranes (tancho). Once thought to be extinct, a flock of 20 birds were discovered here in 1926; despite numbers now reaching almost 2,000 individuals, the cranes’ status remains endangered due to the shrinking of its wetland habitat. Exploring the marshland’s walking trails we hope to see the cranes in their natural habitat before visiting the Kushiro Crane Reserve to learn about its breeding programme and rehabilitation for sick and injured birds. This afternoon explore the architecturally striking Kushiro City Museum. Equally fascinating inside, discover Kushiro’s natural history and beauty of the indigenous Ainu culture.

8: Abashiri
This morning position yourself on the Observation Deck or in the Observation Lounge to enjoy views of the coastline and look for wildlife as we sail through the Nemuro Channel and around the Shiretoko Peninsula to Abashiri. This afternoon we plan to visit Lake Kussharo, a stunning tree-lined caldera lake, the largest in Akan Mashu National Park with a circumference of 57 kilometres. We also plan to visit Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park and its 10 hectares of flowering fields which turn vivid pink from May to early June during the park’s annual Shibazakura Festival. This evening we moor overnight in Abashiri.

9: Shiretoko National Park
Today we have allowed a full day to explore Shiretoko, one of Japan’s most pristine national parks and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the diversity of its ecosystems. This remote and untouched park combines rivers, forests, mountains and waterfalls, and is home to 36 land and 22 marine mammal species, as well as 285 bird species, including Yezo brown bears and Blakiston’s fish owls. The peninsula’s volcanic landscapes are impressive and we hope to traverse the Shiretoko Pass with its stunning views of Mount Rausu, the highest point on the Shiretoko Peninsula and return via the spectacular 20-kilometre coastal stretch of wildflowers known as Koshimizu Gensei-kaen.

10: Korsakov, Russia
This morning we arrive at the Port of Korsakov. After clearing customs we plan to explore the city – Sakhalin Island’s first Russian military post. From here we plan to visit Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the island’s capital which was once briefly claimed by Japan and returned to Russia after World War II. Architecture nods to Japan’s occupancy can still be observed around the city and options during our visit include exploring the Russian Orthodox Church, Sakhalin Regional Museum which is housed in a former Japanese mansion, and a slice of Russian life at the bustling local market.

11: Rebun Island
After clearing customs formalities in Wakkanai we will sail to the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park and berth at Rebun Island. Also known as Japan’s ‘island of flowers’, we plan to explore Rebun Island, a scenic isle off the northwest tip of Hokkaido and treasure trove of natural beauty. This tiny island is famous for its rich flora, including many alpine flowers not found anywhere else in the world which carpet the island from late April to mid September. We plan to take advantage of several opportunities to explore the floral splendour along the coastline which also offer excellent views over the surrounding crystal clear waters, of Rishiri Volcano and the rugged beauty of Cape Gorota.

12: Rishiri & Teuri-Jima
This morning we will explore neighbouring Rishiri Island where the skyline is dominated by the dormant volcano of Mount Rishiri climbing to 1,721 metres. Our tour of the island may include walking around manmade Himenuma Pond listening the to birdlife and taking in majestic Mount Rishiri and surrounding flora reflected in the pond’s surface, and Kutsugata Cape Park where we hope to see Japan’s famed Black Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit exploring the forest walks. There will also be free time to venture into the town or visit the hot springs. This afternoon we arrive at the tiny island of Teuri-Jima, part of the Shokanbetsu- Teuri-Yagishiri National Park and an important sanctuary for nesting seabirds including Common Murre and Black-tailed gulls. We will use our ship to sail by the cliffs and, if time permits, will launch the Zodiacs for a closer look.

13: Otaru
This morning we arrive in Otaru, a port city in Hokkaido known for glassworks, music boxes, sake distilleries and the picturesque Otaru Canal flanked with shops and cafes built within repurposed 1920s warehouses. After breakfast there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to the airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Otaru, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 1300 hours. During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.

Our ship: Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the 'Grande Dame of Polar Exploration' due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purposebuilt for adventure in 1991 at Finland's Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration. Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (f...

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Pricing

Hokkaido - 3 Jun 2022 to 15 Jun 2022 - Heritage Adventurer

Cabin Category Price USD Description Availablity
Main Deck Triple image Main Deck Triple $7,950 Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Superior Triple image Superior Triple $8,350 Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Deck 4 Superior image Deck 4 Superior $9,995 Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Deck 5 Superior image Deck 5 Superior $10,495 Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Main Deck Single image Main Deck Single $12,295 Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Superior Single image Superior Single $12,750 Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Worsley Suite image Worsley Suite $13,175 Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Heritage Suite image Heritage Suite $18,295 Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table and chairs and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat screen entertainment system. Available
Additional fees

Landing Fees: $500.00pp

Includes:

Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions

Excludes:

All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

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