Photography Workshop - Hokkaido - Winter Landscapes of Japan

Day 1

The photography adventure begins upon your arrival at Asahikawa Airport at about noon. Our bus will whisk you northwards towards a seaside village in Shosanbetsu. Situated adjacent to Toyokashi Fishing Port is the famous Torii Gate that guards the Konpira Shrine. We will reach this in time to capture the famous structure at sunset before resting for the night at a nearby hotel.

Day 2

Wake up early to capture the sunrise at the Torii Gate. After breakfast, we journey northwards to Otoineppu, a village ringed in by snow-covered forested mountains. Besides these beautiful landscape photography opportunities, there is also the speckled ice covers that flow along the Teshio River. We then head east to Okhotsk seaside to experience the breathtaking drift ice breaking and floating across the Okhotsk Sea. We then move southwards along the coast to Cape Hinode to capture the setting sun. We settle in for the night at Hinode Hotel.

Day 3

Off to an early start to capture the ice flows in the morning light at Cape Hinode. After breakfast we continue our journey along the coast to Lake Saroma and the Tomoro district famous for its snow covered landscape and frozen harbour. We head towards Abashiri to capture the sunset at Cape Notoro that overlooks the Sea of Okhotsk before settling for the night at Abashiri Central.

Day 4

Today is reserved to explore the Abashiri district. Our local guide will usher you to the first location to shoot the infamous Kurosawa Trees dotting the rolling and hilly landscape providing a graphic contrast against the white snowy canvas. We head back to Cape Notoro, the location of the lighthouse and the fence that Michael Kenna frequently captures. We travel towards Futatsuiwa district to capture the picturesque landscape with Mt Shari in the background.

Day 5

After breakfast, we head 2 km north west of Abashiri?to Futatsu Iwa, to shoot the spiky twin outcrop rising above the waters called Futatsui Rocks. We proceed southward along the coastline to view drift ice with the ice-capped Mount Shari in the background. From the coastal road, we head to the nearby Oshinkoshin Falls, one of Japan's best 100 waterfalls. Here we will photograph the frozen shafts of water amidst the stark trees with spindly branches. We head towards Utoro at sunset for dinner and a night's stay.

Day 6

After sunrise, we head back to the coast of Abashiri to experience the breathtaking drift ice breaking and floating across the Okhotsk Sea. If you are lucky you can catch Steller's sea eagles and spotted seals. We then travel east to Hamakoshimizu to capture the stark winter tree line contrasting against the white snow. We head south to the Lake Kussharo in Teshikaga District. We return to Kawayu Spa for dinner and rest for the night.

Day 7

We rise early to catch the morning mist creating ghostly images around the wintry trees at the nearby Kawayu Forest. We continue our exploration at Lake Kussharo to find whooper swans that return to the Lake every winter. In addition, you may be able to catch a glimpse of other wildlife like the Sika deer, Siberian chipmunks and white-tailed eagles. Located nearby is Mount Io, famous for its hot springs and sulphur filled mountain. In winter, the white steam cuts the mountain to create a breathtaking photo opportunity. We head south to another of Michael's iconic spot - the hillside fence that guards the snowy hills of Teshikaga.

Day 8

We venture to Lake Mashu a caldera lake in Akan National Park. It has the reputation to be the clearest lake in the world and the most beautiful in Japan. You can enjoy unobstructed views from two observation decks. Photographers will have to look out for the volcanic peak on the western side of the lake and the infamous fog that blankets the lake. For more angles, enjoy the hiking trail that rims the lake. We travel west to Lake Akan resort for the night.

Day 9

We spend a day at Lake Akan to absorb and capture the scenic hilltop trees around the lake. In winter, the lake freezes over and the mist adds a bit of mystic to the place. We visit two more locations made famous by Michael Kenna, the minimalistic 'Inclined Posts' and the 'Windblown Flags', both of which are in the vicinity of Lake Akan. Avid wildlife shooters can head southwards to Akan Tancho Crane National Park to catch the red-crested cranes that are the official birds of Hokkaido.

Day 10

After breakfast, proceed south to the Airport.

For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or call us on 0345 505 1455.

Residential 10 day workshop
DateThu 1st Feb - Sat 10th Feb 2018
LocationHokkaido, Japan
LeadersPaul Gallagher
and Michael Pilkington

3 places left

HotelVarious Hotels
Web Site


The price includes extensive one to one tuition by Paul Gallagher and Michael Pilkington during the workshop, local guide and driver, accommodation (including breakfast). No single occupancy supplement. Travel during the workshop.


Travel to and from the location and personal bills such as bar bills, meals not listed. Travel and camera Insurance.


At this time of the year the outside temperature can very cold. The snow can also be very deep making moving around difficult and tiring. You should be certain that you are able to accommodate these conditions. If in doubt please get in contact.

When booking you can pay by the following:
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