The Hokkaido Winter Landscape Photography Adventure Jan 6-18, 2019

The 2019 tour is now full. Please consider the 2020 tour and/or contact us if you’d like to be added to the cancellation list for 2019.

Introduction

Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan, offers some of the most desolate and rugged yet sublimely beautiful winter landscape photography opportunities on the planet. It’s the minimalist winter photographer’s dream.

Tokyo based photographer Martin Bailey has been traveling to Hokkaido yearly since 2003 and has a deep understanding of the island. Although British born, Martin has lived in Japan for 26 years, speaks fluent Japanese and understands the culture fully, making him your perfect host.

We could write a novel about this tour and it wouldn’t get our message across as well as the video we made with footage from our 2017 tour, so please watch this video before you go on. Grab a drink, turn up your speakers and go full screen, then welcome to our world.

Itinerary

You’ll be provided with more details in our tour guidebook after you reserve your place, but here is an outline of our itinerary during our twelve day landscape photography adventure in the frozen far north of Japan.

Jan 6 Haneda Airport

To ensure that the group is all together and ready to leave early on Jan 7, we include the night of Jan 6 (Sunday) in the tour, and for those that arrive early enough in the evening, we will start to get to know each other over an optional dinner at the hotel at Haneda airport.

Jan 7, 8, 9: Biei

Fly from Haneda Airport (Tokyo) to Asahikawa Airport in central Hokkaido. This area offers beautiful inland winter landscape opportunities, with rolling hills and distant mountains, streams and the occasional lone tree on a hill. We stay in a hotel near the beautiful Shirohige (White Beard) Falls, which appears as a breathtaking iridescent blue in the dawn light. We spend our first three nights in this area, before traveling to the west coast of the island.

Jan 10, 11: Haboro

From day four we spend two days based in a coastal hotel at the small fishing town of Haboro. The coast is punctuated with groups of wave breaking tetrapods that make for stark subjects in the rough seas. The port at Haboro also offers some nice industrial fishing boat scenes and paraphernalia.

Jan 12, 13: Wakkanai

A steady drive up the west coast takes us past the islands of Rishiri and Rebun to Wakkanai. Wakkanai is the northern most city of Japan, and a great base to photograph the rugged seascapes, fishing harbours and fish drying frames.

Jan 14, 15: Ohmu

At the start of day 8 we drive to the Souya Harbor, northern-most tip of Japan, from where on a clear day we’ll be able to see the Russian island of Sakhalin to the north. We then head down the east coast of Hokkaido to the town of Ohmu where we spend a further two days to photograph the beautiful port and go inland to explore.

Jan 16, 17: Lake Saroma

Our last two days in Hokkaido are spent at Lake Saroma, with lake side views from our luxurious hotel. Saroma is the largest lake in Hokkaido and the third largest in Japan. Also known as the Saroma Lagoon, this shallow body of water freezes easily, offering minimalist landscape photography  opportunities.

Jan 18: Photography in the morning then return to Tokyo

On the final day we’ll spend the morning photographing in the Saroma or Abashiri areas and inland winter landscape on the way to the Memanbetsu Airport, then return to Tokyo, Haneda airport on an afternoon flight.

Expedition Spirit

The weather from Siberia beats down relentlessly on Hokkaido, particularly the north-western coast that we’ll be visiting. This means there is a very good chance that we find ourselves snowed-in at the hotel on occasion. Logistically, we will handle this, but as a group we must remain flexible. Those same weather fronts are what make our the locations we visit so amazing, but a sense of adventure and a good sense of humour are essential for all participants of this tour.

Additional Information

Accommodation & Meals

We stay in a mix of Japanese and western style hotels, with great food, sometimes buffet style, though often meals prepared specifically for our group. We’ll note if you have an food preferences (allergies, vegetarian etc.) and make changes as possible to suit your needs. Many of the hotels have relaxing hot springs baths to relax after a day out shooting.

Everyone is automatically booked into a single room, unless you participate as a couple or are traveling with a room mate. No single supplement required, but there is a discount for a shared room. Note though that we will not pair you with another traveler, so if you are traveling alone, please book a single room.

What is included in the Package?

  • All accommodation and meals during your tour
  • Flights from Tokyo Haneda airport to Hokkaido and back
  • A chartered bus with driver (and lots of luggage space) to transport us safely and comfortably around Hokkaido for the entire trip
  • A tour conductor from our tour partner travels with us throughout to ensure all the logistics run smoothly – and enable Martin to give full attention to working with the group

What is NOT included in the Package?

  • Any international flights or travel costs to the meeting points in Tokyo or back home after the tours
  • Hotels while traveling prior to or following the tour/workshops
  • Dinner on the first Sunday. Not everyone will arrive in time so we exclude this from the tour fees
  • Beverages or additional items ordered during meals

Guidebook PDF

After you sign up, you will receive a PDF document to help you with your preparations. This will contain details on recommended camera gear, cold weather clothing, and advice on Japanese etiquette to help make your stay in Japan as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. There is also a detailed itinerary, maps and hotel phone numbers etc. to leave with your loved ones while you’re away.

Cost & Reservation

The total cost for this tour is ¥625,000 (approx. US$5,722) for a single room or ¥587,000 (approx. US$5,375) per person for a double / shared room. Note that you may only select the Double / Shared Room option if you are traveling with a partner or room-mate. We will not match you up with a room-mate otherwise, so if you are traveling alone, please select the Single Room option.

To book your place, please pay a reservation fee of ¥115,000 (approx. US$1,053) by credit card, Paypal or bank transfer, using the button below. The tour fee balance is payable 90 days before the start of the tour. (Current rate used: 1 USD = 109.2183 JPY)

Note that the US dollar amounts displayed here are updated dynamically every hour, for your reference, but may vary slightly from what you pay due to varying rates used by credit cards and paypal during the conversion from Japanese Yen to your local currency.

Notes:

  • Fees are payable in Japanese Yen (¥) and will be automatically converted to your local currency by your credit card company or PayPal, or by your bank if you pay by bank transfer
  • The dollar amounts shown are estimates for reference only and may be changed at any time based on exchange rate fluctuation
  • You may pay in US $ is necessary, but there is a small percentage added to actual exchange rates, which will result in you paying a little more than necessary
  • During checkout if you select to pay by bank transfer when you check out, you will be emailed our business bank account details. Please ensure that you send the balance in Japanese Yen for this tour. If sending in Yen is not possible, ask your bank to calculate the price based on their current exchange rates before sending
  • The tour requires a minimum of ten (10) participants (a maximum of 14) to be signed up to go ahead. We’ll let you know, but please ensure that the tour has reached the minimum number of participants before you purchase any flights that require cancellations fees

Cancellation Policy/Fees

Reservation Fee / Deposit – If you decide to cancel up to three months before the start of the tour, your reservation fee will be refunded if we are able to back-fill your place. If you cancel within three months of the start of the tour, we cannot refund your deposit (see notes below)

Tour Fees / Balance – If you cancel your reservation the following charges will be payable (see notes below)

  • If you cancel more than 61 days before the start of the tour your balance will be refunded in full
  • From 60 to 31 days before the start of the tour, cancellation fees are 25% of your balance
  • From 30 to 8 days before the start of the trip, cancellation fees are 50% of your balance
  • From 7 days to 72 hours before the start of the trip, cancellation fees are 75% of your balance
  • If you cancel less than 72 hours before the start of the trip, we cannot refund your balance

Notes on Cancellation Fees and Notification Timing

  • Any transfer charges and transaction fees incurred on accepting and/or refunding any payments will be deducted from any refund amounts due
  • The number of days to tour start are calculated from 9am Japan Standard Time. Email received after 6pm JST on the previous day will be calculated from 9am JST the following day.

 

A Word on Insurance

Our Tour Operator carries standard insurance necessary by Japanese law but 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 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 too, if you are visiting Japan from another country

Reservation and Balance Payment Buttons

To book your place on this tour, pay the deposit using the button below.

Note that our system manages inventory, so if you can select the number of places required, these places are available to book.

This tour is now full. Please consider joining the 2020 tour and/or contact us if you would like to be added to the 2019 cancellation list.

Please ensure Japanese Yen is selected in the below pull-down before proceeding. You may need to give the page a few seconds to update…

NOTE: The balance payment is payable 3 months before the start date of the tour. Please use the button above to start the payment process, and ensure that you change the currency to Japanese Yen before checking out.

Any Questions?

If you are interested in coming along but want more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We look forward to seeing you in Japan, for the winter landscape photography tour of a lifetime!

— Martin Bailey.

Related Podcasts

Here are a few podcasts to walk you through previous tours.

2018 Tour: Part #1, Part #2, Part #3

2017 Tour: Part #1, Part #2, Part #3, Part #4

2016 Tour: Part #1, Part #2, Part #3

2015 Tour: Part #1, Part #2

Participant Testimonials

Truly, Martin, I have been participating in workshops for many years with some of the world's best, but your commitment to helping your clients realize their full potential as artists...

Truly, Martin, I have been participating in workshops for many years with some of the world's best, but your commitment to helping your clients realize their full potential as artists — in preparation, image capture, and post-capture interpretation — is without equal.

Truly, Martin, I have been participating in workshops for many years with some of the world's best, but your commitment to helping your clients realize their full potential as artists — in preparation, image capture, and post-capture interpretation — is without equal.

Your commitment to helping your clients is without equal!

I am a fine art photographer and I always dreamed about photographing Japanese landscapes in winter. I heard about Martin Bailey and his photography and he is pretty much the only one...

I am a fine art photographer and I always dreamed about photographing Japanese landscapes in winter. I heard about Martin Bailey and his photography and he is pretty much the only one offering this kind of tours in Hokkaido, so I signed up. It was a great experience, beautiful locations and excellent logistics. I came home with a lot of beautiful images and Martin really put a lot of efforts on placing me at the right place at the right time. I would not hesitate to sign up again or to join other Martin Bailey’s tours.

I am a fine art photographer and I always dreamed about photographing Japanese landscapes in winter. I heard about Martin Bailey and his photography and he is pretty much the only one offering this kind of tours in Hokkaido, so I signed up. It was a great experience, beautiful locations and excellent logistics. I came home with a lot of beautiful images and Martin really put a lot of efforts on placing me at the right place at the right time. I would not hesitate to sign up again or to join other Martin Bailey’s tours.

Great experience, beautiful locations and excellent logistics!

I really enjoyed the Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure tour. Not only did I make many nice images, I also appreciated very much the opportunity to get to know Martin and the...

I really enjoyed the Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure tour. Not only did I make many nice images, I also appreciated very much the opportunity to get to know Martin and the other nice participants with whom I spent the 12 incredible days. I came back with photos I could not easily get anywhere else and am very happy with them. I hope I can join another trip that Martin leads in the near future.

I really enjoyed the Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure tour. Not only did I make many nice images, I also appreciated very much the opportunity to get to know Martin and the other nice participants with whom I spent the 12 incredible days. I came back with photos I could not easily get anywhere else and am very happy with them. I hope I can join another trip that Martin leads in the near future.

I really enjoyed the Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure tour!

I was so impressed with the 2014 Hokkaido winter wildlife tour that I also joined the 2015 Hokkaido Winter Landscape tour. Both tours were truly outstanding. On the wildlife tour, the...

I was so impressed with the 2014 Hokkaido winter wildlife tour that I also joined the 2015 Hokkaido Winter Landscape tour. Both tours were truly outstanding. On the wildlife tour, the quantity of cranes, eagles, snow monkeys, etc., far exceeded expectations. The weather presented us with some challenges but plans were quickly adjusted to provide an extremely productive and rewarding photo tour. The tour/workshop was very professionally planned, organized and executed.

Similarly, during the Landscape tour, all efforts were made to provide us with interesting locations that would be appropriate for the existing lighting and snow conditions.  Such planning and execution would not be possible without Martin’s in depth experience in Japan and particularly in Hokkaido. As MB photography podcast listeners would agree, Martin is extremely knowledgeable on the technical and artistic aspects of photography and he is always eager to educate and provide assistance to all participants, regardless of skill levels.  It should also be mentioned that the Japan tour operator support, transportation, lodging, meals, onsen, etc., all contributed to a unique, enjoyable, Hokkaido photographic experience —Highly recommended!

I was so impressed with the 2014 Hokkaido winter wildlife tour that I also joined the 2015 Hokkaido Winter Landscape tour. Both tours were truly outstanding. On the wildlife tour, the quantity of cranes, eagles, snow monkeys, etc., far exceeded expectations. The weather presented us with some challenges but plans were quickly adjusted to provide an extremely productive and rewarding photo tour. The tour/workshop was very professionally planned, organized and executed.

Similarly, during the Landscape tour, all efforts were made to provide us with interesting locations that would be appropriate for the existing lighting and snow conditions.  Such planning and execution would not be possible without Martin’s in depth experience in Japan and particularly in Hokkaido. As MB photography podcast listeners would agree, Martin is extremely knowledgeable on the technical and artistic aspects of photography and he is always eager to educate and provide assistance to all participants, regardless of skill levels.  It should also be mentioned that the Japan tour operator support, transportation, lodging, meals, onsen, etc., all contributed to a unique, enjoyable, Hokkaido photographic experience —Highly recommended!

Very professionally planned, organized and executed!

I have taken photography workshops in Australia, France, USA, the Falkland Islands, the Subantarctic and Japan and Martin Bailey is the best tour leader I have encountered. The organisation...

I have taken photography workshops in Australia, France, USA, the Falkland Islands, the Subantarctic and Japan and Martin Bailey is the best tour leader I have encountered. The organisation of his tour was second to none and Martin makes sure that he maximises the photographic opportunities available to his tour participants.

Not only did we visit the best photographic locations, I also learned new camera and post-processing techniques resulting in images which have won in photography competitions and been included in the Photographic Society of America’s PID Interclub Best of the Best for 2016. I would highly recommend Martin as a tour leader.

I have taken photography workshops in Australia, France, USA, the Falkland Islands, the Subantarctic and Japan and Martin Bailey is the best tour leader I have encountered. The organisation of his tour was second to none and Martin makes sure that he maximises the photographic opportunities available to his tour participants.

Not only did we visit the best photographic locations, I also learned new camera and post-processing techniques resulting in images which have won in photography competitions and been included in the Photographic Society of America’s PID Interclub Best of the Best for 2016. I would highly recommend Martin as a tour leader.

Martin maximises photographic opportunities for participants

In Jan 2017 I had the opportunity to travel with Martin and a group of talented and passionate photographers on the Hokkaido Winter Photography Adventure.  It was a great experience...

In Jan 2017 I had the opportunity to travel with Martin and a group of talented and passionate photographers on the Hokkaido Winter Photography Adventure.  It was a great experience over 12 days of intense immersion in photography.
 
Martin knows this part of the world very well.  What becomes obvious immediately is Martin's love for the island and for making images here.  The adventure is well planned with a clearly crafted itinerary.
 
Martin's logistics team is also superb - getting to locations at the right time, the rest stops, the meal breaks and the hotels - all show very careful planning.  The team are masters at making sure everything is as it should be - from special meals request to individual personal needs.  An excellent experience and definitely recommended!

In Jan 2017 I had the opportunity to travel with Martin and a group of talented and passionate photographers on the Hokkaido Winter Photography Adventure.  It was a great experience over 12 days of intense immersion in photography.
 
Martin knows this part of the world very well.  What becomes obvious immediately is Martin's love for the island and for making images here.  The adventure is well planned with a clearly crafted itinerary.
 
Martin's logistics team is also superb - getting to locations at the right time, the rest stops, the meal breaks and the hotels - all show very careful planning.  The team are masters at making sure everything is as it should be - from special meals request to individual personal needs.  An excellent experience and definitely recommended!

Martin knows this part of the world very well!

The 2017 tour was my second Hokkaido landscape outing with Martin. As before the whole experience was wonderful: the scenery was stunning, both the accommodation and food were perfect...

The 2017 tour was my second Hokkaido landscape outing with Martin. As before the whole experience was wonderful: the scenery was stunning, both the accommodation and food were perfect and the bus gave me ample space to store my gear together my surreptitious purchases from the convenience stores along the way (the custard buns are a particular treat).

Martin’s team knew what we wanted without being asked, and Martin’s knowledge of Hokkaido and the locations he chose gave me some superb photographic opportunities. The group were an interesting mix of backgrounds yet jelled perfectly, probably due to Martin’s ever-present enthusiasm for photography and Japan. I’m already planning a third trip in 2019!

The 2017 tour was my second Hokkaido landscape outing with Martin. As before the whole experience was wonderful: the scenery was stunning, both the accommodation and food were perfect and the bus gave me ample space to store my gear together my surreptitious purchases from the convenience stores along the way (the custard buns are a particular treat).

Martin’s team knew what we wanted without being asked, and Martin’s knowledge of Hokkaido and the locations he chose gave me some superb photographic opportunities. The group were an interesting mix of backgrounds yet jelled perfectly, probably due to Martin’s ever-present enthusiasm for photography and Japan. I’m already planning a third trip in 2019!

The whole experience was wonderful!

I traveled on the January 2017 Hokkaido Winter Photography Adventure with a group of very talented photographers from all over the world. Martin knows Hokkaido very well and his passion...

I traveled on the January 2017 Hokkaido Winter Photography Adventure with a group of very talented photographers from all over the world. Martin knows Hokkaido very well and his passion for the area as well as for photography was reflected in all of our locations and experiences. The itinerary had us at carefully selected locations at the right time of day and time was given to really explore these spots. The photo opportunities were varied and endless.

The logistics of this tour were carefully planned and executed flawlessly. The team anticipated our needs and both the food and accommodation were top notch. A bonus was ample room on the bus to store equipment and winter clothing. I recommend this tour to any serious photographer with a sense of adventure.

I traveled on the January 2017 Hokkaido Winter Photography Adventure with a group of very talented photographers from all over the world. Martin knows Hokkaido very well and his passion for the area as well as for photography was reflected in all of our locations and experiences. The itinerary had us at carefully selected locations at the right time of day and time was given to really explore these spots. The photo opportunities were varied and endless.

The logistics of this tour were carefully planned and executed flawlessly. The team anticipated our needs and both the food and accommodation were top notch. A bonus was ample room on the bus to store equipment and winter clothing. I recommend this tour to any serious photographer with a sense of adventure.

I recommend this tour to any serious photographer with a sense of adventure.

In January 2017 I joined Martin's Hokkaido Winter Landscape Photography Adventure for the second time, and it was at least as enjoyable as the first. Martin runs an excellent operation...

In January 2017 I joined Martin's Hokkaido Winter Landscape Photography Adventure for the second time, and it was at least as enjoyable as the first. Martin runs an excellent operation with the best hotels and oodles of individual space on the bus, from which all activities take place.  The bus itself is expertly driven along narrow lanes packed with snow by one of the finest and safest drivers on type. And a charming and efficient tour administrator takes care of everything else. All this enables Martin to concentrate on looking after our photography; he does this with great enthusiasm and with concern for individual needs. As for the photography, this is a terrific experience and should not to be missed by any landscape photographer!

Will I return for a third visit?  Quite probably, yes!  But if you have yet to experience this Adventure, I strongly recommend you do so soon ... don't delay, book your place on next year's Adventure today!

In January 2017 I joined Martin's Hokkaido Winter Landscape Photography Adventure for the second time, and it was at least as enjoyable as the first. Martin runs an excellent operation with the best hotels and oodles of individual space on the bus, from which all activities take place.  The bus itself is expertly driven along narrow lanes packed with snow by one of the finest and safest drivers on type. And a charming and efficient tour administrator takes care of everything else. All this enables Martin to concentrate on looking after our photography; he does this with great enthusiasm and with concern for individual needs. As for the photography, this is a terrific experience and should not to be missed by any landscape photographer!

Will I return for a third visit?  Quite probably, yes!  But if you have yet to experience this Adventure, I strongly recommend you do so soon ... don't delay, book your place on next year's Adventure today!

Martin runs an excellent operation!

I joined Martin on his January 2017 Landscape Photography tour to Hokkaido, Japan.  What an amazing, extremely well-organized photography tour! Martin’s team of a very experienced coach...

I joined Martin on his January 2017 Landscape Photography tour to Hokkaido, Japan.  What an amazing, extremely well-organized photography tour! Martin’s team of a very experienced coach driver and tour administrator made sure that the holiday went smoothly and hassle-free. The tour administrator; especially went to great lengths to be helpful and to ensure that our energy and enthusiasm was totally directed at our photography. Hokkaido is an amazing photography destination and Martin’s knowledge and expertise of this beautiful part of Japan ensured that we were in the right place at the right time to produce exceptional minimalist images. We had plenty of time to get the images, never rushed and if the weather wasn’t quite right, then we would go back again. If we needed any photography advice, Martin was always on hand.

I just love the trees, they are so beautifully shaped and placed!  We had a lovely, friendly group of people from different parts of the world and I enjoyed the camaraderie of discussing our images (and equipment) whilst thawing out on our spacious, warm coach. We also had great fun getting to know Japanese food and acquiring a taste for Sake! If you want to experience a photographic adventure and come home with some exceptional minimalist images, then I would definitely recommend you book a photography holiday with Martin Bailey Photography.  It was brilliant, I’m still thinking of all the happy memories now!

I joined Martin on his January 2017 Landscape Photography tour to Hokkaido, Japan.  What an amazing, extremely well-organized photography tour! Martin’s team of a very experienced coach driver and tour administrator made sure that the holiday went smoothly and hassle-free. The tour administrator; especially went to great lengths to be helpful and to ensure that our energy and enthusiasm was totally directed at our photography. Hokkaido is an amazing photography destination and Martin’s knowledge and expertise of this beautiful part of Japan ensured that we were in the right place at the right time to produce exceptional minimalist images. We had plenty of time to get the images, never rushed and if the weather wasn’t quite right, then we would go back again. If we needed any photography advice, Martin was always on hand.

I just love the trees, they are so beautifully shaped and placed!  We had a lovely, friendly group of people from different parts of the world and I enjoyed the camaraderie of discussing our images (and equipment) whilst thawing out on our spacious, warm coach. We also had great fun getting to know Japanese food and acquiring a taste for Sake! If you want to experience a photographic adventure and come home with some exceptional minimalist images, then I would definitely recommend you book a photography holiday with Martin Bailey Photography.  It was brilliant, I’m still thinking of all the happy memories now!

Hokkaido is an amazing photography destination!
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