Circumnavigation of Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island: May 19—Jun 03, 2018

Aboard the Caledonian Sky

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Departs: Tokyo
Tour Limit: 18
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (7.8 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


David Wolf

David Wolf is a senior member of the VENT staff and one of our most experienced tour leaders...

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Red-crowned Cranes

Red-crowned Cranes— Photo: Zegrahm Expeditions


Birding and natural history are the primary focus of our first-ever circumnavigation of Hokkaido, Japan’s wild island, home to eagles, Brown Bears, specialty birds, and marvelous scenery.

Celebrated for fascinating culture, luminous history, and beautiful landscapes, Japan ranks among the world’s most captivating travel destinations. For nature enthusiasts, Hokkaido stands out. Here, on the most northerly of Japan’s main islands, are snow-capped volcanoes, dramatic coastlines, specialty birds, and impressive megafauna that includes eagles, Brown Bears, and whales.

In collaboration with trusted partner, Zegrahm Expeditions, we present a full circumnavigation of Hokkaido, Japan’s “wild island.” Cruising aboard the elegant Caledonian Sky, we’ll follow an itinerary custom-designed for maximum birding and nature viewing potential. An exciting activity slate includes navigating scenic waterways while watching for whales and other marine mammals; Zodiac cruising to protected bays and remote, flower-festooned islets; spending a day on Russian-controlled Sakhalin Island; and shore excursions into Hokkaido’s wonderful interior, with birding and sightseeing at a smorgasbord of forest reserves, picture-perfect lakes, and national parks.

WEBINAR: With Victor Emanuel & Barry Lyon, August 16, 2017

The birding will not disappoint. Highlights include witnessing huge colonies of nesting seabirds, seeing the iconic Red-crowned Cranes of Kushiro, and seeking a fabulous variety of other birds like White-tailed Eagle, Spectacled Guillemot, “Japanese” Pygmy-Woodpecker, Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Siberian Thrush, Yellow-breasted Bunting, and Long-tailed Rosefinch. 

Supplementing the trip’s natural history theme are opportunities for experiencing traditional Japanese culture and modern attractions, examples of which include visits to a range of outdoor markets and museums, a trip into Sapporo, the island capital, and an opportunity to ride the Shinkansen, Japan’s high speed train.

All meals and accommodations aboard an excellent ship; activities for birders and non-birders include Zodiac cruises, shore excursions, and sightseeing options; mixed weather expected; mild sea conditions; cool but not cold temperatures.