|Area||Rausu, Shibetsu, Betsukai, Nakashibetsu|
|Price||JPY226,000-JPY484,000 per person|
|Season||February - March|
|Meeting point||Nakashibetsu Airport|
|Price includes||4 nights’ accommodation , 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners, All transport as described in the itinerary All activities as described in the itinerary Guides|
|Clothing||Sunglasses Winter hat Gloves and other warm clothing (skiwear, etc.) Scarf and other items to keep you warm Warm shoes (high-cut shoes are recommended)|
|Items to bring||Change of clothes (items that are quick-drying and easy to layer) Backpack Water bottle Sunscreen Snacks for during activities (can be purchased during the tour) Pocket warmers|
Get a panoramic view of the whole area from a hilltop in anticipation of the next day’s adventures.
The season for catching Rausu’s famous sea urchin runs from mid-January to June, and the sight of fishermen heading out into the bitter cold is a typical sight in the town in winter. You will get the opportunity to select a sea urchin from the tank, cut it open, and sample the delicious taste of winter in Rausu. Preparing this local delicacy with your own hands makes the end result all the more delicious.
After your meal, you will hear a talk about the Shiretoko area and head out on a snowshoe expedition to Kumagoe-no-taki Falls. The pure white snow on the rocks and the jet black surface of the water creates a contrast reminiscent of an ink wash painting.
Day three starts with a boat ride amongst the drift ice in search of large birds of prey and other wildlife. Each year, hundreds of Steller’s sea eagles and white-tailed eagles travel from the Kamchatka Peninsula and other areas in search of the rich food sources of Shiretoko to tide them over through the winter. The impressive sight of these magnificent birds engaged in a fierce dance atop the ice as they search for fish attracts photographers from around the world. Led by staff with a deep knowledge of Shiretoko, this boat tour offers an experience found in only a few places around the world.
Next, it’s time to learn about the kelp that forms the basis for the area’s rich marine ecosystem. You will hear a talk from people who work in the local kelp industry and even try cutting some kelp yourself. Finally, you will have the chance to compare the taste of dashi stock to that of the kelp from which it is made and learn the secrets behind the crucial role that kelp plays in traditional Japanese cuisine.
The abundant fishing grounds of Shiretoko have supported human lives for some 10,000 years, and the Po-Gawa Historical Nature Park is built on some of the remains that these people left behind. We will take a snowshoeing tour of the area and discover why people settled here as we walk among the flowing spring water and remains of ancient pit dwellings.
After snowshoeing, we will warm up with some chazuke, a quick and simple Japanese dish prepared using rice and dashi stock. You will learn about the pivotal role that dashi plays in Japanese cuisine and the abundance of ingredients found in the Shiretoko-Nemuro area that can be used to create this stock. While any one of these ingredients alone creates delicious dashi, using them in combination adds a new depth to the flavor.
We will finish the day with a guided tour of Shibetsu, during which you can learn about life in Japanese fishing villages before enjoying a delicious dinner.
O n the final day of the tour, we will head to the fascinating landscape of the Notsuke Peninsula, a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) and Japan’s largest sand spit. The calm waters of the bay are home to expansive tidal flats and eelgrass beds, and the relatively still conditions cause this area to completely freeze over in winter, creating a world of snow that seems to go on forever. We will head out onto the ice with a guide and see how the pure white of the landscape causes all perspective to disappear. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative and enjoy some optical illusion photography.
Next, we will strap on some snowshoes and head out to walk among the peninsula’s iconic withered trees. As we wonder among the sight of decaying plants, the sound-absorbing qualities of the snow create an eerily silent atmosphere.
After enjoying nature to the fullest, it’s time to say goodbye to the Shiretoko-Nemuro area for now, with an abundance of photos and memories as mementos of your tip.