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Japan Winter Photo Tour

Updated February 20th, 2024
Japan winter photo tour with Adam Monk

Japan 2025-Winter Wonders Photo Tour

2025 tour details soon

13 days in Japan’s snow covered mystery

Join Adam Monk, celebrated Japanese photographer Toshiki Nakanishi and our guide Rika Nishimura for 13 days of photo tour adventures in the rich diversity of Japan in Winter.    

We are spending 7 full days in the winter wonderland of Hokkaido, and we will be exploring much further afield to include the iconic Whooper Swans, Steller’s sea eagles and the Red Crowned Japanese Cranes,  before travelling on to the famous snow monkeys of Shibu Onsen.  We will contrast the snow-draped minimalist landscapes in Hokkaido with the amazing wildlife found there, ending in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. This tour is a mix of unique wildlife, stunning landscapes, Japanese culture and fabulous food!

Japan Winter Photo Tour 2025 – Highlights

  • 13 days in Japan, 12 nights on tour.
  • Maximum group of 6 people.
  • Tour begins Sapporo (Hokkaido) and ends in Tokyo.
  • All your meals  on tour (breakfast, lunch & dinner).
  • Travel in trains, planes and private coaches.
  • All your transport on tour included.
  • Native Japanese guide with extensive experience and excellent English.
  • Photo Tuition from 2 full time professional photographers.
  • Itinerary created by photographers, not a travel agent.
  • All locations have been scouted by us.
  • Extensive photography and Lightroom Notes to keep.

Details about our 2025 tour coming soon

  • Dates: 2025 dates coming soon
  • Total Tour Price: TBA PP* Twin Share
  • Booking Deposit: JPY250,000 PP**
  • Single Supplement: TBA***
  • 13 days, 12 nights in Japan.
  • Just 6 places available

Read the Tour Terms & Conditions HERE>>

Creates an email enquiry

* Why only in Japanese Yen (JPY)? We offer this tour in JPY only, as we pay our suppliers in JPY. This ensures our price remains stable, with no additional hidden payments due to currency fluctuations. Click HERE for more information.

** Booking Deposit is to secure your place, it is part of the total price, not additional to it. All payments are refundable subject to the T&Cs which you can read HERE>>

*** The tour price is per person on a Twin Share (or double) room basis. To book the twin share rate you must specify a room partner, as we cannot pair you with others you don’t yet know.  The potential for snoring induced sleep deprivation discord is just too high!


Hokkaido winter landscape.  Japan photo tour with Adam Monk

Winter in Japan

This Photo Tour is 13 days of surreal winter landscapes, history, culture and food in Japan.  The tour will begin in Sapporo, Hokkaido and will end in Tokyo.  The price is inclusive of all meals, breakfast lunch and dinner, transport, accommodation, photography tuition and local Japanese guides.

This tour will be a lovely balance of minimalist snow-covered landscapes, wilderness and wildlife, including the Japanese Cranes, Steller’s sea eagles, Whooper Swans and Snow Monkeys, people, culture, and lots of great Japanese food and sake.  It is a fantastic tour seeing the other Japan, the Japan that exists through the winter.  Keep reading below to see the complete details.

Unique Japan

This tour is an opportunity to experience the visual and cultural richness of Japan at a pace tailored to photographers. You will be creating images as diverse as the minimalist landscapes of Hokkaido, nature up-close with the Whooper Swans and Japanese Cranes in the surreal winter environment, and the snow monkeys in central Honshu. 

Japan Winter photo tour with Adam Monk
Japan, the land of  diversity

Japan is a country of over 400 inhabited islands – four large ones and over 6,000 small uninhabited ones. To the west and north are China, Korea and Russia, yet Japan’s unique culture has evolved over the millennium from prehistoric to feudal to a modern economy.  Fascinating traditional elements live alongside rural and urban community life,  challenging the Japanese and foreigners to interact with the many sub-cultures that exist there.

2025 Japan Winter Itinerary – Full details shortly

  • Day 1:  Meet in our Sapporo Hotel for dinner
  • Day 2-4:  Pick up our van and drive to the Biei region. Lots of stunning minimalist snow covered landscapes. We spend 3 nights in the Biei region.
  • Day 5:  Photograph the Märchen Hill (fairytale Hill) trees and Drift Ice off the coast.
  • Day 6-7:  Photograph the great Sea Eagles, drift Ice off the coast of the Notsuke Penninsula and the Ezo Deer
  • Day 8-10: Photograph Whooper Swans and Red Crowned Cranes (Ito Sanctuary).
  • Day 11:  We return to Sapporo, say goodbye to Toshiki, and fly to Matsumoto. Here we pick up our transport and drive to Shibu Onsen for the Snow Monkeys locations.
  • Day 12: Jigokutani – We have the whole day to photograph the Snow Monkeys. 
  • Day 13: Express train to Tokyo, where the tour ends. Tokyo Extension tour starts.

What’s included.

  • Just 6 Places available.
  • 13 days in Japan, 12 nights on tour.
  • Tour begins in Sapporo and concludes in Tokyo.
  • Comprehensive E-Book of Japan pre trip preparation notes.
  • All transport for the duration of the tour in Japan, including taxis, trains and ferries.
  • Internal flight from Hokkaido to Central Honshu.
  • All entrance fees to Nature reserves, gardens and national parks.
  • All your meals: breakfasts, lunches & dinners, excellent local Japanese cuisine.
  • All your Hotel accommodation in Japan for the duration of the tour.
  • Daily photography tuition & daily on site informal workshops from Adam & Toshiki.
  • 2 Professional photographers to help you get the best photos.
  • Highly experienced local Japanese specialist photo guide, Rika Nishimura.
  • Extensive 21 page Photography Techniques E-Book, with complete shooting workflow.
  • In depth 36 page Lightroom E-Book, with complete post processing workflow.
  • Custom made Japan Lightroom catalogue with all location Keywords & Smart Collections pre-loaded.
  • Concise easy steps to get to our hotel at the start and back to the airport at the end, including maps and locations in Japanese script to give to the taxi driver.
  • AU$500 discount off the price of your next tour with us.

What’s not included

  • Flights to and from Japan.
  • Japan Visa (if you require one, please check with your travel agent).
  • Initial transfer from the airport to the hotel in Sapporo (we give precise written instructions).
  • Transfer to the airport at the conclusion in Tokyo.
  • Travel insurance (required as a condition of booking).
  • Camera Insurance.
  • Alcohol and extra beverages.
  • Any extras you may wish to buy along the way.
  • Adobe Lightroom software subscription fees.

Details about our 2025 tour coming soon

  • Dates: 2025 dates coming soon
  • Total Tour Price: TBA PP* Twin Share
  • Booking Deposit: JPY250,000 PP**
  • Single Supplement: TBA***
  • 13 days, 12 nights in Japan.
  • Just 6 places available

Read the Tour Terms & Conditions HERE>>

Creates an email enquiry

* Why only in Japanese Yen (JPY)? We offer this tour in JPY only, as we pay our suppliers in JPY. This ensures our price remains stable, with no additional hidden payments due to currency fluctuations. Click HERE for more information.

** Booking Deposit is to secure your place, it is part of the total price, not additional to it. All payments are refundable subject to the T&Cs which you can read HERE>>

*** The tour price is per person on a Twin Share (or double) room basis. To book the twin share rate you must specify a room partner, as we cannot pair you with others you don’t yet know.  The potential for snoring induced sleep deprivation discord is just too high!


Small Groups are better

Our group size for this Winter in Japan photo tour is just 6 people, plus Adam & Toshiki as photo guides and Rika, our Japanese guide.  6 is an intimate number for a photo group, so it makes us agile as well as less imposing on the locals.

We can stay in the smaller more boutique Hotels and Ryokans (Japanese traditional Inn), eat in smaller more interesting restaurants and use a small van for our transport, instead of a big bus; in places like Hokkaido having a big bus is a real handicap and you simply can’t get a bus into some of the locations we will visit. This means all the big tourist groups are effectively excluded from most of our locations – great news for us!

The road less travelled –  by trains, planes & automobiles

Our transport for this tour is very diverse.  We have an internal flight to maximise effective time, we try out the astoundingly slick Japanese rail system and we have our own private van in Hokkaido.  

Basically we have chosen the most efficient and most comfortable means of getting around in the vastly different regions we will be exploring.  But you don’t have to worry about any of this, it’s all included in the tour and we make all the arrangements so you can make the most of the adventure.

No hidden extras

There are no hidden extras on this winter photo tour to Japan.  There are no meals that are not covered or nights you have to find your own hotel.  All your transport while on the tour, from the internal flight, express train tickets to local taxis and buses are covered as well as all entrance fees to gardens and National Parks.

This tour begins in Sapporo (Hokkaido) and ends in Tokyo, so you just have to make your way to our Sapporo hotel and back home at the end from our Tokyo hotel (There is even an optional Tokyo extension tour).  Hotel and Airport transfers are very simple in Japan, and we will ensure you know how to get there by sending you complete written instructions before the tour begins, including Hotel names and addresses in Japanese script that you can show to the bus or taxi driver to remove any doubt.

Multiple nights means less time travelling and packing

A common scenario for many tours is to squeeze as much into your time as possible, many destinations with very little time in each, and of course, constantly moving hotels!

We don’t do it that way.

We go to fewer locations, but we give you time to explore them. In most locations we are staying two nights, because getting to know a culture is not just about seeing as many temples as possible, it’s about having time to contemplate the age of the temple and the people who built it, and perhaps to even meet the people who maintain it.

This translates to lots more time actually seeing, experiencing and photographing the unique wildlife, culture and beauty of Japan, and less time seeing it wiz past the window of the train or car.  When the days are full of new sights and great photo opportunities it’s so nice not to have to pack your suitcase every morning.

Should you go on this photo tour?

This winter photo tour of Japan is for anyone with firstly a love of adventure, and secondly a keen interest in photography.  It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned professional or a complete beginner, all levels of photographer are welcome; in fact the diverse experiences of the group are an integral part of what makes these photography tours so much fun.  Experience as a photographer is by no means essential; we expect some participants will be very committed photographers while others will not. We think it’s more important that participants have in common the desire to experience the richness of a place and it’s people.

What about non-photographers?

Non-photographers are also very welcome on this tour, whether as a partner to a keen photographer or people who just love the slower pace of travel that this photography tour provides.  Japan is an intensely beautiful place with deep rich culture in architecture, history, dress, language, religion and food, so there is never a shortage of things to do or explore.  And the great thing about photographers is that we aim to be at the beautiful locations at the absolute best times to see them.

We must warn you though, an obsession with photographing people and beautiful places is highly addictive.  You may begin as a non-photographer, thinking it’s not something for you, but by the end this may have changed…  You have been warned.

Physical fitness

A basic level of walking fitness is essential, but this is not a hiking or trekking tour, so nothing extreme will be required of you.  We have several scenic walks in nature planned, but all have well maintained pathways.  The walk to the snow monkey onsen is about 1km, and some of the hotels do not have lifts, so really the hardest physical test will be to climb some stairs occasionally.

To really experience Japanese culinary culture we will be sitting on the floor at low tables at some restaurants, and some of our hotels are traditional Ryokan style with tatami mat flooring and roll-out futon beds.  Generally if you find the bed a little hard there are plenty of spare futons in the cupboard you can roll out on top to make it softer and many hotels offer a western bed option.  Just let us know if you have any health issues or doubts and we will work around them.

An itinerary created by photographers, not a travel agent

This itinerary has been researched on the ground in Japan by Adam and Toshiki, to ensure the best possible photographic opportunities.  As photographers we want the pace of our travel to allow time to find a suitable composition and whenever possible we want to be there when the light is at its best and stay when things are ‘working’. 

The tour has also been carefully timed to avoid the busiest tourist periods in key locations.  Adam & Toshiki know these locations because Adam has been there and photographed there before, and Toshiki lives there. This tour itinerary has been created for photographers, by photographers… not a travel agent.

Photographic Tuition and priorities

Being a part of such a small group you will always be well looked after, with plenty of personal interaction and photography tuition, whatever your needs.

Some people just like to be taken to the great locations at the right time of day and set free to roam.  Others are looking for more guidance with everything from composition or how to approach locals for portraits, to getting the most out of their camera gear.   Adam will be running brief workshops with Toshiki and teaching presentations on a variety of topics, depending on time and demand, and will be shooting alongside you at each location, but your experiences and your images are always the priority.

With just 6 people in the group and the diverse experience of Adam, Toshiki and Rika, we will ensure you get exactly what you need.

Your camera gear

There is really no limit to what camera gear you take other than your ability to carry it. Everything from Digital SLRs, professional and consumer, simple point-and-shoot cameras, even medium format digital and film to your iPhone.  Whatever level of camera equipment you have, we will ensure you get the most out of it.  After you sign up for the tour we will send out a detailed recommended gear and packing list, and we are very happy to discuss the camera gear you have and how to best make it work for you.  No specialist photographic gear is required and if you are happy with your camera gear, it will work even if it is an iPhone.  Adam is happy to answer any questions you may have.

You should also note that all the images on this webpage were shot at focal lengths between 24mm and 200mm on a full frame camera, so no big lenses are required.


Details about our 2025 tour coming soon

  • Dates: 2025 dates coming soon
  • Total Tour Price: TBA PP* Twin Share
  • Booking Deposit: JPY250,000 PP**
  • Single Supplement: TBA***
  • 13 days, 12 nights in Japan.
  • Just 6 places available

Read the Tour Terms & Conditions HERE>>

Creates an email enquiry

* Why only in Japanese Yen (JPY)? We offer this tour in JPY only, as we pay our suppliers in JPY. This ensures our price remains stable, with no additional hidden payments due to currency fluctuations. Click HERE for more information.

** Booking Deposit is to secure your place, it is part of the total price, not additional to it. All payments are refundable subject to the T&Cs which you can read HERE>>

*** The tour price is per person on a Twin Share (or double) room basis. To book the twin share rate you must specify a room partner, as we cannot pair you with others you don’t yet know.  The potential for snoring induced sleep deprivation discord is just too high!


Your Photo Guide – Adam Monk

Photo tour leader Adam Monk Portrait

Adam is a landscape and travel photographer with a long standing passion for the natural environment, people and culture.  He has been travelling and photographing the worlds wild places and exotic cultures for over 30 years, and the enthusiasm just continues to grow.

Landscape images Gallery

For over 13 years Adam ran his own landscape gallery in the historic port city of Fremantle, Western Australia, and his landscape images now grace the walls of thousands of homes and offices the world over. These images show a small slice of the wonder and beauty of the natural world and hopefully remind viewers where we come from and what’s truly important. 

In 2018 Adam moved the landscape images business completely online and shut the doors to the gallery, allowing him to focus full time on photography tours that had been a growing part of his business for the previous 12 years. Since then he has organised and run many photography workshops and photo tours to some of the worlds most wild and beautiful places such as The Kimberley (Coming again soon), The Pilbara (Karijini NP)TasmaniaIcelandGreenlandJapan Winter, Japan AutumnBhutan and Cambodia. To date Adam has run more than 42 successful dedicated photography tours… and still counting…

Your Guide – Rika Nishimura

Born and raised in Japan, Rika moved to Perth Western Australia In 2006. Through conversations about her homeland Rika ended up designing, organising and booking several unique itineraries to Japan for friends that were a big success. Rika realised she had a passion for showcasing the beauty of Japan and Japanese culture and she had a real flare for creating amazing experiences. She decided to follow her dream, quit her day job and started Kuroko Boutique Tours.

Since then Rika has been designing and leading bespoke ‘one of a kind’ immersion tours. Her dedication to authenticity transforms each tour into a deep exploration of Japanese culture, tradition, landscape, and people. Rika, a former professional interpreter, also holds a bachelor’s degree in International Law.

Your Photo Guide – Toshiki Nakanishi

Born in Osaka, Toshiki moved to Biei in central Hokkaido In 2012 inspired by the amazing photo opportunities he found there, he has been based there ever since. 

While his main shooting field is the Daisetsu mountain range and the rolling hills at its foot, he also enjoys the journey to explore the interactions between nature and the native people of Hokkaido.

You can see more of Toshiki’s work HERE>>


Japan Winter Images Gallery – Click on images for a bigger view

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