GROUP / pre-organized
  • Brown Bear & Hokkaido
    Autumn Foliage Photography
    with Paul Whitton
  • Hokkaido , Japan
  • This is a spectacular time to photograph the Brown Bears in rich autumn colors.


Observation and photography of Japan's brown bears
Autumn is an interesting season for wildlife photography in Japan! The Brown Bears are actively preparing for winter. We will charter local fishermen's small boat, which allows a better focus on encounters with brown bears compared to a regular big sightseeing boat. By using a small boat, you can approach closer to the shore and observe and photograph at a safe distance, which does not cause stress to the brown bears.
    Strictly limited to only 4 photographers
    This small group size ensures that you will receive maximum attention and photographic tuition during your whole photography trip. However, this is not a fully-fledged photography workshop - participants are expected to be familiar with their photo equipment.
    Photograph Hokkaido's landscapes during the peak of autumn color
    On this tour, besides wildlife, we will also focus on capturing the most iconic landscapes in Hokkaido during the best moments of lights. Located in the center of Hokkaido, Biei, is a small town known for its rich countryside and sprawling hills. The hilly landscapes make for some of the most spectacular views in Japan, especially in Autumn. You will witness magnificent, fairy-tale Hokkaido landscapes that you will remember forever.

Paul Whitton


Paul Whitton was born in Australia and has lived in Japan for the past 20 years. Along with having worked professionally in many photographic genres, he has over 35 years of experience in wildlife and travel photography, humbly boasting achievements that include being published by National Geographic on several occasions. Recently he has spent years studying and gathering knowledge mainly on the wildlife rich Eastern side of Hokkaido. He speaks fluently in two languages and has successfully explored almost every corner of Eastern Hokkaido. His priceless expertise and knowledge are a great plus for customers who travel with Saiyu Travel. Instagram page @kumakafe



  City Summary
1 Memanbetsu
Welcome to beautiful Hokkaido Japan. Meet at Memanbetsu Airport at 13:30 pm. While being transported to Utoro by private car in search of wildlife, we’ll visit lake Notoro to see the beautiful & mysterious deep red “coral grass.” After which, we will check in have a short meet and greet to discuss Day 2.
Recommended flight: ANA-4777 Haneda (HND) 11:15 / Memanbetsu (MMB) 13:00
Accom: Shiretoko Norble or similar | Meals Included: Dinner


We will now spend 2 full days in the wilderness & wildlife rich World Natural Heritage park known as “The Shiretoko Peninsula.” We’ll be immersed in many wildlife and nature photographic opportunities that include, Brown bears, Ezo Sika deers, red foxes, migrating salmon and many kinds of native birdlife, all along a breathtakingly beautiful costal mountain range.
Accom: Shiretoko Norble or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
3 Utoro Same as Day 2.
Accom: Shiretoko Norble or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
4 Utoro
In the early morning, we’ll cross over the high alpine road know as the Shiretoko Pass to reach Rausu on the eastern coast, the pass offers wide and spectacular panoramic views of the Namuro Strait and sea of Okhotsk. Then We’ll board a chartered local fisherman's boat, for an intimate cruise to the Cape of Shiretoko in search of fishing brown bears along pristine & glorious coastline (maximum 5 hour).
Accom: Shiretoko Serai or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
5 Rausu Once again, we board our chartered local boat to look for more brown bears. (maximum 5 hour.) Then, after dinner in Rausu, we will observe and photograph endangered Blakiston's fish owls, (the largest and rarest owl on earth) from an observation hide.
Accom: Shiretoko Serai or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
6 Rausu
Lake Akan
After breakfast, we’ll journey to Akan-Mashu national park, stopping by at the unforgettable Notsuke Peninsula. Here we will be thrilled by large herds of wild Ezo Sika deer, and have possibilities to photograph perching birds of prey and Red foxes as we drive on a thin peninsula reaching out into the Pacific Ocean.

If time allows, we will visit the mysterious lake “Onneto”, lake Masshu viewpoint, or Mt. Iou. (sulfurous steam vents that startle the senses, especially the smell.)
Accom: New Akan or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
7 Lake Akan
Shirogane Onsen
After sunrise we have breakfast, check out & drive to Biei with several stops on the way. Driving time is approx. 4-5 hours from Lake Akan to Shirogane Onsen. We’ll also be on the lookout & stopping for any wildlife or landscape opportunities along the way.
Accom: Shirogane Park Hills or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
8 Shirogane Onsen After breakfast, we will go out to Daisetsu-zan National Park for photographic opportunities with Ezo Northern pika, Ezo chipmunks, Ezo squirrels, and if we’re lucky, Ezo stoat and mountain Hares, who’s fur by this time will have changed to pure white winter coats. A lunar fall landscape will fill your frame & take your breath away. Then, enjoy dinner and a hot spring at your hotel.
Accom: Shirogane Park Hills or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
9 Shirogane Onsen
We’ll visit the famous Shirogane Blue Pond & drive through Biei, a picturesque hilly area famous for its patchwork landscapes, an amazing region for panoramic photography.
Accom: Shirogane Park Hills or similar | Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
10 Shirogane Onsen
After breakfast. relax until check-out time. We head to Asahikawa Airport where the tour ends.
Recommended flight: JL-554 Asahikawa 13:10 / Haneda 15:00
** We offer other tours within Japan and can accommodate customized packages and quotes in combination with this one. Please feel free to inquire for more information from our agent.


  Price per person
From October 2nd till October 11th, 2024
9nights 10days
JPY 750,000
Single room supplement JPY 60,000

Important Notes

** Tour price listed is per person, based on sharing a twin room by two guests.
** This tour requires a minimum number of 3 participansts. Please do NOT book your airline reservations until you receive confirmation that the minimum number of tour participants has been reached.
** Some hotel (Japanese style hotel) only offers futon style bedding, where people will sleep on a mattress laid out on the floor.
** Lunch during the tour is not included. You will have a chance to buy food from the local convenience stores or eateries. Each person should prepare to pay for these individually.
** The purpose of this tour is to observe nature and for wildlife photography. According to weather reports and local information we will adjust your tour schedule as needed; based on recent sightings. However, these are wild animals and there is no guarantee of being able to see everything listed in the itinerary.
** The detailed itinerary will be sent to all participants at the same time two weeks before the tour start.

Included :

English-speaking guide | Accommodation as per above | Private vehicle with driver as per itinerary above | Meals (*) as per above | All activities participation fees as per above

Not Included :

Transportation to/from Japan | Domestic flight in Japan | Travel & Medical Insurance | Daily lunches & additional Snacks | Personal expenses (Souvenirs and beverages, etc.)

Climate :

Maximum temperature: 15℃(59°F), minimum: 5℃ (41°F)

Fitness Level: 1 out of 5 :

Suitable for people of all ages who can spend up to for 5 hours aboard a small boat a few days in a row. If you feel you must take any drug before the boat trips to prevent sea sickness, please consult with your physician and bring it with you to Japan. We won’t be able to offer any pharmacology-related advice.

Luggage :

As we use private van, and luggage space is limited, we allow everyone to bring up to one suitcase per person. If there is not enough space in the trunk for the backpack with photo equipment, you may need to keep it on your lap as we drive.

Dietary Restriction :

Hotels in remote area such as Eastern Hokkaido only accept requests for special meals to medical (such as allergy) and religious needs.

Customize Your Tour?

If you wish to extend your stay or make domestic flight arrangements, contact us to start discussing your custom tour! We'll carefully create an itinerary based on your budget, your choice of destinations, accommodations, and focus it on your interests.
  Contact us about this tour
Travel planning and implementation:SAIYU TRAVEL CO.,LTD.
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