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DATE                     21.02 - 29.02.2024 (9 days)

GENRE                  Wildlife and landscapes                  

TOUR LEADER      Michael Westerbjerg Andersen. The language we                                     speak on our tours is either/and English, German                                     and one of the Scandinavian languages.

FEE                       From 4,450 USD pr. person in shared DBL room                                       from Haneda, Tokyo: 2 pax: 7.250 USD pr. person in                                 shared DBL room, 3 pax: 5.395 USD pr. person in                                     shared DBL room, and 4 pax (max.): 4.450 USD                                         pr. person in shared DBL room 

SINGLE SUPPL.   750 USD for a single room           

DEPOSIT             1,000 USD pr. person

VISA                    depending on country of origin. Information when                                   booking the tour

VACCINATION     (pr.03.03.2024; can change): Yes, against COVID-19                                 (If no vaccination PCR-test might be needed).                                          Miksture will keep updating

GROUP SIZE      min. 2, max. 4 participants 

LEVEL               all experience levels, non-photographing partners will                             also love this tour!



This tour offers you unique opportunities to photograph Steller's Sea eagles, White-tailed eagles, Red-crowned Crane, Blakiston's Fish Owl, Whooper Swan, Ezo Red Fox, Sika Deer, etc in the best photographic conditions possible. We travel in a very small group and use private comfortable vehicles.  

Hokkaido is a 'must-visit' destination for the keen photographer. Our 'Winter Photographing' tour explores Hokkaido where more of the world’s most amazing and sought-after birds can be found, whilst enjoying the wonderful winter landscapes, diverse scenery, and splendid local cuisine. The favourite time of the year is winter when the Steller's Sea Eagle migrates to Japan from the Sea of Okhotsk where they breed. In winter, then it’s freezing-cold they ride the pack-ice and feed fish off it which is their natural habitat during the winter months. When the pack-ice reach Hokkaido in late winter, it is possible to get close-up encounters with the magnificent eagle. The Steller’s sea eagles are huge and one of the fiercest birds of prey on our planet. Natively they feed on pack-ice in the rich fishing waters of Japan's north. We will board our chartered vessel to photograph the Steller’s Sea Eagle in their natural feeding ground on pack ice. The White-tailed Eagle which is smaller and native to Japan also feeds on pack ice next to the Steller's Sea-eagle; tensions are high when fishing and the White-tailed eagle hold their own with the much larger and legendary sea eagles. You will have hundreds of spectacular images of eagles clutching fish in their talons in flight and while feasting, and eagles in strife. 

Hokkaido is also home to the Red-crowned Cranes. Although its official binomial name is Grus japonensis, or “Japanese crane,” it has also captured the imaginations of people in China, Mongolia, Russia, and the Korean peninsula. The Red-crowned Crane gets its name for the disc of bare red skin atop its head. Aside from their red crowns, these cranes are often snow white, with black secondary feathers. Their youngs are also white, mixed with shades of brown or gray. Red-crowned cranes are long and tall - some of the world’s largest cranes. The fully-grown adult stands at five feet, with a wingspan that grows to eight feet. Males are slightly larger than females. They often find one partner and mate for life. This may be why they symbolize loyalty in Asian cultures. When a couple is together, they use their long windpipes to vocalize with a unison call, which strengthens their bond. They also mate by dancing, gracefully leaping into the air or even bouncing like a ball. the Red-crowned Cranes also, known as the 'Snow Ballerinas'. Of course, interesting behaviour and fantastic photo opportunities, often seen at close range.

​The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is another of those treasures, and it is so sacred that the First Nation’s People of Japan, the Ainu, consider it a Kamuy or divine being.  The Ainu believe that the Blakiston’s fish owl protects villages and keeps away malevolent spirits. The Blakiston's Fish Owl is an elusive and endangered species, but we have years of experiences and encounters with the elusive owl, so the opportunity you must photograph this amazing avian resident of Hokkaido is excellent. 

The region also is home to large herds of Sika Deer, and we will also photograph the Ezo Red Fox, and many other subarctic species. Perhaps the Steller's Sea Lions and Sea Otters will even make an appearance.

Joining one of our photo tours, you are going to have the very best opportunities to photograph the wildlife and pristine winter landscapes. Sunrises and sunsets are extraordinarily beautiful along with Hokkaido's coastline and glistening snow. Here, you can photograph what is commonly called ‘diamond dust,’ when the light catches the shimmer of the crystalline snow, you will have pictures that shine with the magic that only a Japanese winter can provide, but the natural phenomena do not end there. ‘Sun pillars’ and ‘light pillars' can also be seen when the ice crystals are drifting in the atmosphere above the frozen plains of Hokkaido. A final treat is the ‘snow rollers’ when chunks of snow are blown along the ground by the wind, etching a message into the pristine snow for you to commemorate with your camera.

In Miksture, we enjoy comfortable accommodation and cuisine, but most important: We enjoys the maximum amount of time in the field, while other tour groups are slumbering or in seminars, we will be in the field positioning ourselves for the photo opportunities of a lifetime!


  • ​Red Crowned Cranes roosting spot at sunrise

  • cold winter mornings with the ice crystals sparking on the trees

  • up-close encounters with species such as the Red-Crowned Cranes, Sika Deer, Steller's sea eagles and White-tailed eagles

  • Whopper Swans in winter wonderland Hokkaido landscapes

  • maximum amount of time in the field, positioning ourselves for the photo opportunities of a lifetime!

  •  breathtaking landscapes and Shinto architectural, cultural photo opportunities

  • breathtaking mountainous landscapes of Hokkaido’s northwest. Comprising of Akanko, Kushiroko, and Mashuko Lakes, which are among the clearest and cleanest on our planet

  • winter wonderland landscape Hokkaido, Japan.

  • excellent cuisine

  • onsen - hot-springs

  • hundreds of spectacular images of eagles clutching fish in their talons in flight and while feasting - eagles in strife. 

  • extraordinarily beautiful sunrises and sunsets

  • small group - flexible, with plenty of time and respect for your photographing

  • 3 x boat trips in Rausu for photographing the eagles

  • expert tour leader with 25+ years expedition experience  

KEY BIRDS Whooper Swan Cygnus Cygnus, Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus, Black-eared Kite Milvus lineatus, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, Steller's sea eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus, Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis, Blakiston's Fish Owl Ketupa blakistoni, Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii, etc

HABITATS COVERED coniferous forest, mountainous with volcanic plateaux, frozen freshwater lakes, volcanic caldera lakes, Pacific Ocean coastline and agricultural plains

EXPECTED CLIMATE Humid continental climate zone i.e. icy/snowy winters. Average January temperature ranges from -12 to -4 degrees Celsius (10,4 to 24,8 degrees F)


TOUR PACE & WALKING moderate to easy

ACCOMMODATION comfortable minshukus (guesthouses) and hotels

OTHER ATTRACTIONS spectacular scenery, hot baths in onsens at various accommodations, fabulous cuisine and fantastic wildlife


SCHEDULED 2024 DEPARTURE 21.02 - 29.02 2024

Tour Leader: Michael Westerbjerg Andersen

Tour price (Per person): from USD 4.925

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We advise participants to arrive a day earlier in Japan before the tour date and leave the day after the tour concludes. For hotels recommendations, we will advise participants on request.

Day 1.         Meeting point Tokyo, Haneda Airport International Terminal. Place                        and time to be announced to participants. After meeting, we travel                      by flight to Kushiro, Hokkaido. Overnight and dinner at local                                  establishment in Kushiro, Hokkaido. BD

Day 2.        In the am (until afternoon) we will photograph Red-Crowned Cranes.                    Back to hotel in Kushiro. BD

Day 3.        Kushiro - Nemuro; landscape and wildlife photographing. BD

Day 4.        Nemuro - lodgings near Whooper Swans. Accommodation for two                        nights in comfortable lodging known for its Onsen. BD

Day 5.        Photographing Whooper Swans in amazing landscapes. BD 

Day 6.        Transfer to Rausu. BD

Day 7.        Rausu, boat trip. Photographing Steller's Sea Eagle and White-tailed                    eagles. In the evening Blakiston's Fish Owl. BD

Day 8.       Rausu, boat trip. BD

Day 9.       Rausu - Kushiro airport - Tokyo. Tour concludes. B


Costs: From 2 to 4 participants: From 4.450 USD pr. person in shared DBL room. 2 pax: 7,250 USD pr. person in shared DBL room, 3 pax: 5,395 USD pr. person in shared DBL room or 4 pax (max.): 4,450 USD pr. person in shared DBL room 

Single supplement:   750 USD

Deposit: : 1,000 USD

Group size: minimum 2 and maximum 4   

Availability: Spaces available for 2024    

Leader:   Michael Westerbjerg Andersen, owner and founder of Miksture Expeditions

Tour dates, prices, single supplement rates, approximate flight costs and spaces available for this tour are displayed on our website. Please see under IMPORTANT NOTES below.


The tour fee includes:

  • Guiding by Miksture/Michael Westerbjerg Andersen;

  • Transportation according to program in Hokkaido in private comfortable chartered vehicles with driver-guide (flexible and comfortable);

  • Domestic flights: Haneda, Tokyo - Kushiro, Hokkaido // Kushiro, Hokkaido - Haneda, Tokyo (Day 9) 

  • Accommodation in Hokkaido (8 nights);

  • All breakfast and dinners in Hokkaido from Day 1 to breakfast Day 9;

  • Necessary permits sites and other paperwork;

  • Services of tour leader;

  • 3 boat trips for photographing eagles in Rausu;

  • 1 evening with Blakiston's Fish Owl;

  • Administration from Miksture;

  • Field instructions and assistance;

  • Park entrance fees

  • The tour fee does not include:

  • International flights to/from Haneda, Tokyo, Japan;

  • Beverages & drinks;

  • Lunches;

  • Visa fees;

  • Personal expenses for eventual extra arrangements not mentioned in the program;

  • Travel and cancellation insurance – mandatory!; 

  • Money for own expenses and anything strictly personal (e g laundry, phone calls, any excess luggage charges, snacks).

  • Single Supplement: The single supplement cost for this tour will be charged if you wish to have single accommodation. Pls contact Miksture. If we cannot provide you with a rooming partner for these nights although you choose to share, the single supplement will become applicable. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.

  • IMPORTANT NOTES: a) Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we quote our tours in USD. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold, and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 4 months before the tour.) The same applies to approximate flight and single supplement rates, which are also quoted in the respective fixed currency. b) Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration a small party supplement will have to be charged. c) Furthermore, these costs are subject to unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result. d) Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary and / or the designated Miksture leader/s at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.

  • Special Notes:  It is important for the comfort and domestic airport transfers of your fellow travellers that you do not over-pack. Kindly, if possible, stick to 20kg (44lb) for check-in luggage and 8kg (+-18lb) for hand luggage.

  • Warm clothes, including gloves, woollen hat, warm boots and thermals will come in handy.

  • Fitness: In general this tour does not require a high level of fitness, but participants should be in good general health. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of departure.

  • Japanese cuisine is excellent. The traditional cuisine of Japan (Japanese: washoku) is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes; there is an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Seafood is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Five traditional dishes from Japan. Sushi - a popular dish in Japan; also well loved in the Western world. Tempura - commonly made by deep-frying seafood, vegetables, or prawns in vegetable oil after applying a coating of egg, water, and wheat flour. Sashimi - fresh raw fish or meat sliced into thin pieces and often eaten with soy sauce. Miso soup - traditional umami-rich stock made from dried seaweed and dried fish. Miso paste, meanwhile, is a paste made by soybeans, salt and koji-rice. Soba and Udon Noodles; Hokkaido is known for it's ramen-noodle soup. We will have opportunities to try regional specialities at various locations on the tour.


    This tour departs from Haneda Airport, Tokyo (ATA: HND) in the early morning of day 1. It is thus imperative to arrive the day before the tour begins. The tour will conclude after arrival to Haneda Airport (Day 9). If arriving or departing from Tokyo's Narita Airport there is a shuttle (express) bus that can be used to transfer between airports. Easy to find in the arrival hall of resp. Narita and Haneda Airport. The cost is approximately USD 50. The information in respect of arrival and departures is a guide only. Precise arrival and departure information will be send to you in your Tour Confirmation package once the tour has been officially confirmed. if you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assi
    stance in this regard, kindly contact the Miksture office.

  • Visa requirements differ by country, nationality of the traveller and duration and purpose of your intended stay. It may be necessary to obtain a visa or electronic travel authorisation in advance of your travel. It is therefore vitally important that you check with your travel agent/consulate/embassy for exact visa requirements.

  • This tour does not include any International airfares. The main tour will commence and conclude in Haneda, Tokyo. Please DO NOT book any flights until you have consulted the Miksture office for confirmation on the status of the tour.

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