Aided immensely by the BBC’s recent series Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands, our new travel obsession is Hokkaido in Japan.
Unlike most of Japan, Hokkaido is relatively uninhabited, allowing Mother Nature to do show her most magnificent work unhindered. The island is best known for its volcanoes and natural hot springs, but a new escorted tour by Walk Japan takes in the eastern region of the island: the lusher, greener side of the island, best experienced during the autumn months.
The tour takes in empty lowlands of Hokkaido’s eastern extremity, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Following a path from the shores of the Pacific Ocean it passes through great expanses of rolling meadows, wetland nature reserves where tens of thousands of birds settle to breed, and incredible landscapes formed by volcanoes – some quiet for many an age, and others still dramatically active.
Seeing foxes, deer, seals and dolphins along the way, East Hokkaido also includes the Shiretoko Peninsula – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s last great wildernesses – and the Sea of Okhotsk coast, where Russia is a close neighbour.
And no tour of Hokkaido is complete without thermal hot springs – so bring your bathing suit!
Tour dates are 5, 10 and 17 September 2015. Prices start at £1,922 per person and include seven nights accommodation, breakfast and evening meals, but exclude flights. Visit Walk Japan to book.