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.