Though the south of Japan’s memorably scenic archipelago experiences a sub-tropical climate the northernmost parts of this island chain have more in common with Siberia. Early spring bulbs bloom where the snows are still receding whilst lower latitudes and elevations host a more exotic flora.
We’ll be immersed immediately in modern Japan as we’ll catch the Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train) to Niigata, before reaching Sado Island by Jetfoil. On Sado Island we’ll walk in woodlands where both Magnolia salicifolia and Magnolia hypoleuca bloom. Rosa rugosa forms shrubberies amongst which we can find Diphylleia grayi and lovely Lilium maculatum and there’s fabulous Hemerocallis middendorffii var. exaltata as well.
Hakuba-jiri’s famous snowy valley holds Glaucidium palmatum with its impressive pink or white blooms as well as Anemone flaccida, Primula jesoana, the tall pink orchid Neolindleya camtschatica, beautiful and delicate Schizocodon soldanelloides, and Paris japonica. At Utsukushigahara we can see both orange-red and pinkish forms of floriferous Rhododendron molle subsp. japonicum. No less than three species of Trillium inhabit the wonderland that is the Ozegahara Marsh and the Numayama Toge Pass - pink Trillium smallii, vinous Trillium apetalon, and the lovely white Trillium tschonoskii. There’s both Paris tetraphylla and Paris verticillata, drifts of Pteridophyllum racemosum topped by sprays of purest white flowers, delicate little Helonias orientalis, the pink urns of Epigaea asiatica, and the even more classically urn-shaped Asarum sieboldii. We’ll pass back through Tokyo en route to Odawara and the famous spa at Hakone-Yumoto. Woodland and meadow here hold Clematis japonica, the gorgeous maroon and yellow Aquilegia buergeriana, and the lovely tubular pinkish-lilac bells of Campanula punctata. Iris ensata also blooms here whilst in the nearby Oyomi Bog deepest blue Iris laevigata is found with Iris sanguinea. This is also a great base to explore the botanically rich Miura Peninsula where Lilium auratum, Arisaema serratum and Astilbe simplicifolia will be among the highlights.
An extension takes us to the northernmost part of Japan’s memorably scenic archipelago, the island of Hokkaido, has more in common with Siberia, and at its very northern tip is the remarkable landscapes of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. This protects two islands and part of the peninsula, an area of spectacular and unique landscapes. The impressive volcanic cone of Rishiri-Fuji dominates the scene from the island of Rebun-to, where we’ll be based. Rebun-to is known in Japan as the ‘Floating Island of Flowers’ an epithet you’ll see well-given when you see meadows coloured yellow with stands of yellow Thermopsis lupinoides, blue with Geranium erianthum, golden with Trollius ledebourii, and orange with the wonderful Siberian Lily Lilium pensylvanicum with their large orange blooms. The stunning creamy pouches of rare Cypripedium macranthos var. rebunense will be a top priority and we’ll also look for Primula farinosa subsp. modesta var. matsumurae, the impressive Cobra Lily Arisaema serratum, and the clustered chocolate bells of Fritillaria camschatcensis. We’ll visit the vast peatbog at Sarobetsu Wetland home to bright blue Iris laevigata, spectacular Veratrum stamineum, and the large yellow daylily Hemerocallis esculenta.
Oron Peri, Shigeto Tsukie
Easy to occasionally moderate. Usually no more than three or four miles a day, maybe up to six or seven on a couple of days, and always at a relaxed pace, ideally suited to photographers.
Included in the Price
All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals in Japan. Tips. Services of your leaders. Please note: items of a personal nature including insurance are not included.
The minimum group size is 5 and the maximum is 15.
The first and last nights of the tour will be in Tokyo/Narita in western-style hotels. For the remainder of the tour we’ll be staying in small Japanese-style hotels which are of a good quality. We’ve three nights on Sado Island, then, after a night in a hotel in Hinoemata Vallage near Fukushima, we’ve a single night at the Daini Chozo Goya Hut before moving to Katashina Village, Gunma, for a night. Then there are three nights in Hakuba, and two nights in Hakone. At all of these locations we’ll be staying in Ryokan, Minshuku or Pension accommodations, except for the Daini Chozo Goya Hut which is rather more basic dormitory style. The first two are both traditional Japanese small family run hotels with elegant spacious rooms and the most notable feature that makes them differ from Western-style rooms is the futon beds. Pensions rooms are more western in style. Though many of the places we will stay at have rooms have private facilities you must be prepared to have shared facilities at some of them, for sure at the Daini Chozo Goya Hut. On the extension we’ve two nights at a hotel on Rebun Island and then we’ll stay at a hotel in Wakkanai.
UK flights are from London Heathrow direct to Tokyo. Indirect routes from other regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Variable but mostly clear and sunny with daytime temperatures at lower elevations between 12°C and 25°C, however you’ll find it much cooler at higher altitudes where it may get close to freezing early or late in the day. Rain is likely at some point and is occasionally prolonged and is likely to fall as snow at higher altitudes.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Flower checklists are available.