Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island

Hokkaido Scouting Report

Zegrahm Contributor|January 18, 2018|Video

Zegrahm: Scouting Report for Hokkaido Circumnavigation Cruise

This May, we'll be embarking on our brand-new expedition to Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island - and we can't wait! Program Manager Sean Koenig recently returned from a scouting trip to the region with Expedition Leader and Ornithologist Mark Brazil. They captured some of the amazing sites you'll see on this trip, including whale-watching; scenes from the spectacular Shikotsu-Toya National Park; visits to the buzzing asaichis, or morning markets; and incredible cultural shows. Find out more at Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island.

 

[FULL TRANSCRIPT]

Sean Koenig, Program Manager: Greetings from Tokyo! This is Sean Koenig, a program manager with Zegrahm Expeditions, and I’m here to scout out our Hokkaido trip, and potentially look for other opportunities here in Japan to bring exciting adventures to our guests. One of the big highlights I’m looking forward to on our May trip to Hokkaido is the circumnavigation of the island, including the Shiretoko Peninsula, here. These areas are incredibly rich with all sorts of sea life, which we are hoping to experience on our tour in this coming May, including a pod of resident killer whales, or orcas. We’ve got dolphins, we’ve got all sorts of possibilities of seeing sea life here, so this is going to be a really special portion of the trip. This is Lake Mashu, one of the highlights of our tour in May, and we’re really hoping you get a day like this because normally this lake is famous for being foggy. In fact there’s a legend, that the island in the middle of the lake is a grandmother who lost her son, and her tears fill up this caldera. The 1972 Winter Olympics featured the Okurayama Ski Jump, which has a nice museum here, you can see behind me, and also the opportunity to ride up to the top and see people still ski jumping today. I’m here at the sulfurous Mount Iwo, which is one of the locations we’re going to visit in May. This place is very famous for its volcanic activity; in fact, they used to use the sulfur from here to make gun powder. Alright, I’m here at the trailhead for Mount Monbetsu-dake, which is the hike we’re planning on doing for birders on the Muroran day. A really nice forest here with a good stream; the trail itself is this kind of gravel road which is wide and will allow the group to travel together easily. I’m here at Porotokotan, which is the Ainu village at the Muroran port of call. I think it’ll be an opportunity to see some of the traditional aspects of Ainu culture, that we can then contrast with what we’ve seen in the museums, and what we’ve seen with living Ainu culture that with the musical performance we’re trying to line up in Abashiri. Mark Brazil was kind enough to spend some time today explaining his experiences; over 25 years?

Mark Brazil, Expedition Leader & Ornithologist: 30 odd years!

Sean: 30 odd years, who can count here in Hokkaido! So that’s the kind of expertise we know you’ll enjoy on this trip, and he’s gone through all the different places we’re going with his insights.

Mark: It’s been great talking through all of Hokkaido with you.

Sean: Yeah, and I think it’s going to be a big success this May!

Mark: A fantastic trip!

Sean: It’s going to be a fantastic trip.

Related Blog Posts

  • Japanese Tea Ceremony
    Infographics

    Basic Japanese Etiquette [Infographic]

    January 23, 2018 | Infographics

    Japan is a warm and welcoming country, but its unique culture can be as daunting as it is captivating for the first-time visitor. To help create a blooper-free journey, ready yourself with a few of these basic etiquette tips before your trip.  

    Read More

    Ultimate Galapagos
    Blog Post

    Top 10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel Destinations for 2018

    January 22, 2018 | Blog Post

    Last year the big news in travel was the negative impacts mass tourism had on beloved destinations such as Barcelona, Venice, and Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

    Read More

    Top 10 Travel Bucket List for 2018
    Blog Post

    2018 Travel Bucket List

    December 19, 2017 | Blog Post

    Where will your travel dreams take you in 2018? Here are just a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences Zegrahm can help you check off your bucket list next year.

     

    Read More

  • Taveuni, Fiji
    Blog Post

    5 Reasons Travel is Among the Best Family Gifts You Can Give

    December 5, 2017 | Blog Post

    Gift-giving is almost always challenging and rewarding in equal measure, but especially around the holidays. There’s an inherent pressure to find the perfect gift for your loved ones—one that will both show them how much we love them and how well we know them.

    Read More

    Raja Ampat, Indonesia
    Infographics

    21 Fascinating Facts About Coral Reefs [Infographic]

    November 30, 2017 | Infographics

    Exploring the underwater world of coral reefs is an extraordinary experience. Snorkeling or scuba diving in places like Australia, the Galápagos Islands, and Polynesia is a must for anyone's travel bucket list!

    Read More

    Milford Sound, New Zealand
    Blog Post

    20 Intriguing Christmas Traditions Around the World

    November 20, 2017 | Blog Post

    Christmas has become an almost ubiquitous celebration found all around the world. Nearly every country—even those not traditionally steeped in Christianity—acknowledges the holiday in some fashion.

    Read More

  • Zebras at Sunset
    Blog Post

    Why Overland Adventures Rock

    November 13, 2017 | Blog Post

    The best travel adventures do not happen in a flash of instant gratification. Instead, they are the long, meandering journeys that give us more immersive, interactive experiences to savor. Sure, jumbo jets might get you to your destination faster; but once you arrive, I believe that overland adventures are the key to truly exploring the heart and soul of a place.

    Read More

    Grimsey Island
    Blog Post

    Tips for Surviving a Long Layover

    November 7, 2017 | Blog Post

    Ah, the dreaded long layover… We all love the convenience of direct flights to our destination. But there are times when long layovers are simply unavoidable, especially when you’re traveling internationally.

    Read More

    Blog Post

    Himalayan Adventure: 9 Reasons Every Traveler Should Visit the Region

    November 1, 2017 | Blog Post

    The Himalayas is a majestic mountain range in every way. One of the youngest mountain ranges, they are home to many of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest.

    Read More

  • Sapporo, Japan
    Blog Post

    Sapporo Beer Socks It to Sake

    October 19, 2017 | Blog Post

    Sake may be Japan’s national drink, but locals left the rice wine behind long ago in favor of an ice-cold brew. Although Japanese beer consumption has been on the decline in the last few years—as modern tastes migrate to grape wines, whiskeys, and crafted cocktails—beer still accounts for more than half of the alcoholic beverages consumed in the country.

    Read More

    Fish Market, Hokkaido, Japan
    Blog Post

    Hokkaido Seafood: The Best Fish Markets on Japan's Wildest Island

    October 17, 2017 | Blog Post

    Welcome to Hokkaido, the wild side of Japan. The northernmost island in the Japanese archipelago is a place where trees outnumber skyscrapers, and you’re more likely to run into a bear than get stuck in a traffic jam. But the island is probably most famous for its delicious Hokkaido seafood, and the many fish markets where you can taste the local catch at its freshest and finest.

    Read More

    Mountain Gorilla, Rwanda
    Blog Post

    The 10 Best Places to See Animals in the Wild

    October 4, 2017 | Blog Post

    I’ve been a nature-lover my whole life, but I began traveling specifically to see animals in the wild back in the early ’90s. Still in my early 20s then, I was fascinated by watching wildlife. My passion grew exponentially as I took up photography and became more adept at spotting hidden animals.

    Read More