Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island
Before You Go
For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over occasionally rough and often slippery terrain. Average daily temperatures on this voyage range from the 50s°F to the low-70s°F with cooler temperatures in the evening.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
Activity Level & Accommodations
For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You must be able to walk moderate distances of one to three miles over sometimes rough and uneven terrain.
The accommodations at ANA Crown Plaza Hotel Narita are modern and comfortable, and the Hotel Okura Tokyo has a full range of amenities and is located in the heart of Tokyo. The accommodations on board the recently refurbished Caledonian Sky are also comfortable and all suites feature an ocean view, sitting room, en suite bathroom, flat-screen television, and more.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Tokyo, Japan at least three hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and check that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 206.285.4000, or 206.219.1641 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route, and proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of any changes to your arrival into Tokyo so that we may inform our expedition staff.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates and for those who have booked additional night(s) at our group hotels, the Ana Crown Plaza Hotel Narita in Tokyo at the start of the tour and the Hotel Okura Tokyo at the end of the tour.
PLEASE NOTE: Your room will become available to check in at 3:00pm. If you would like to guarantee an earlier check-in time, please contact us and we can reserve an additional night for you at the Ana Crown Plaza Hotel Narita.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions, as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
For your international flights to and from Tokyo, Japan, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider.
PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry essential toiletries and prescription medications on board the plane, as well as a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.
Average daily temperatures on this voyage range from the 50s°F to the low-70s°F with cooler temperatures in the evening.
The following are average high/low temperatures in May for selected locations on our itinerary:
The British pound is the standard currency on board the Caledonian Sky. Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card. The Caledonian Sky will charge your credit card in British pounds, and your bank will convert the charge to the currency it honors.
As of December 2017, the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||113.51 Japanese yen (JPY)|
|$1 US dollar (USD)||.75 British pound (GBP)|
|$1 US dollar (USD)||58.99 Russian ruble (RUB)|
ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency in some countries if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, although access to ATMs varies greatly from region to region. Please carry smaller denominations as most merchants will require local currency. Also, ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs.
You will receive your pre-departure documents via email—attached will be a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be emailed approximately one month prior to your departure.
The electrical current in Japan is:
- 100V/50Hz & 60Hz with types A & B
Electricity on board the Caledonian Sky runs at 110V with American-style 2-prong flat outlets.
PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. If you are bringing electrical appliances that don’t comply with the electrical currents, be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.
Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Tokyo and Tokyo/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
At this time, no inoculations or prophylaxes are required.
Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the Caledonian Sky. However, please note that Internet connections aboard the ship are low-bandwidth and intermittent.
Your final documentation will include contact information for the group hotels and the ship.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00am on the North American west coast:
|7:00am||Seattle, WA (PDT)|
|10:00am||New York, NY (EDT)|
|1:00am||Russia (SAKT) – THE NEXT DAY|
Meals on shore will consist of typical Japanese cuisine, which usually includes meat, seafood, and rice, and it is difficult to accommodate strict dietary needs. Most diets can be catered for on board the ship, but special dietary requests must be made in advance. If you have questions regarding meals on this expedition, please contact your Expedition Advisor; also, please let us know of any special dietary requests on the Personal Information Form. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
Maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.
Clothing on Board
The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable, casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended. For daytime wear, casual clothing is suitable. For evening cocktails and dinner, comfortable, casual clothing is also the norm.
Normally, there are two shipboard occasions when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: The Captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties, followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate attire, and men may choose to dress business casual. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.
Maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. Please keep in mind that mornings and evenings will be cool, and it is best to dress in layers for added comfort and warmth. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats and polarized sunglasses, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two on our excursions.
Shore excursions will involve a fair amount of walking and hiking over uneven trails. Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the often-rough terrain. If you have weak ankles, high-top hiking boots will provide better support than shoes. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program and must be valid for 6 (six) months after you return home, through December 2, 2018. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of one page per country available for entry/exit stamps in your passport. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.
Japan: Visas are not required of US citizens for entry into Japan. However, all foreign nationals entering Japan are required to provide fingerprint scans and be photographed at the port of entry.
Russia: A Russian group visa is required, but will be taken care of by Zegrahm Expeditions for guests of all nationalities. Guests do not have to obtain a personal visa. Please send a color copy of your passport to your Expedition Advisor at your earliest convenience to obtain the group Russian visa.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. A gift certificate to our Zegrahm Store will offer you the opportunity to purchase essential trip gear from our store. The certificate will be emailed to you approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificate for more details.