Inside Japan Tours Offer Winter Japanese Holiday - Snow Monkeys, Sapporo Ice Festival, Skiing and More

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With Britain's excuse for a summer rapidly coming to an end, the idea of going somewhere icy may be the furthest thing from many Brits' imaginations. However, Inside Japan Tours are busy organising a holiday that allows its customers to tour Japan at one of its most beautiful times of year: with opportunity to examine immaculately crafted sculptures at the Sapporo Ice Festival, ski on some fabulous slopes and watch the world famous snow monkeys enjoying the hot spring baths of Yudanaka. The 14 night tour costs £1500 per person (not including flights) and includes 14 breakfasts, 7 evening meals, accommodation, transport between destinations and an expert who accompanies the group. For more information on this Japanese holiday, please visit http://www.insidejapantours.com/index.php?content=tours&include=yes&tour=66&page=overview

When you think of winter in Britain, the mind conjures up a smattering of snow and a sorry looking snowman or two. About as far removed as possible from this image is the Sapporo Ice Festival, where immaculately sculpted baseball stars mingle with polar bears and icy reconstructions of Horyuji Temple. Inside Japan Tours' 'Winter Highlights' offers Japan holiday-makers the chance to take in these wonderful sculptures, enjoy some winter sports at one of the finest ski resorts in Japan and warm up in a hot spring bath - if the snow monkeys don't beat them to it.

The "Winter Highlights" tour of Japan costs £1500 per person and includes 14 breakfasts, 7 evening meals, accommodation, the constant advice and expertise of a 'tour buddy' and transport between the destinations. It isn't just the winter sights that this package takes in however - starting and finishing in Tokyo allows Japanese holiday-makers the chance to take in some of the more traditional highlights of this great country.

The main highlight of the tour is without doubt the Sapporo Ice Festival: From February 5th to February 11th 2008 Japan's northern capital city will be transformed into a winter wonderland - giant snow statues lining the boulevards and some 2 million visitors cramming the streets, bars and restaurants of this cosmopolitan metropolis. The Sapporo Ice Festival, now in its 59th year, started life as a training exercise for the under-worked Japanese self-defence force but has now become one of the biggest showcases of snow sculpture in the world. It's an international affair with countries across Asia sending teams of snow carvers to compete for the best sculpture prize - some of the statues requiring thousands of workers and a good deal of money to reach completion making this a real highlight of this winter tour of Japan.

Of course all of this snow means that Japan is also a fantastic winter sports destination - home in fact to some of the best powder snow runs in the World. The jewel in the crown is Furano - the finest ski resort in Japan - which offers a fantastic variety of runs for skiing and snowboarding as well as numerous other activities including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, dog sledding and ballooning…or you can just relax over a rice vodka on ice in the igloo bar.

As well as winter sports and the Sapporo Ice Festival, the winter season is a great time to explore some of the more fascinating areas of Japan. The tour includes a great opportunity for nature lovers to see some rare birds in Hokkaido - the Red-crowned Crane, Steller's Sea Eagle, Whooper Swans and the rather shy Blakiston's Fish Owl have all been known to make appearances around the area.

The picturesque winter conditions also allows Japanese holiday-makers the chance to see classic World Heritage sights in a whole new light, including Kyoto's Golden Pavilion and the original Samurai castle of Himeji without the crowds usually associated with them. The clearer skies of the season also allow some fantastic views from the Kiyomizu temple on Kyoto's hillsides, and it is sometimes possible to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from atop a Tokyo skyscraper.

Delve deeper inland and you'll reach the mountains of the small village of Yudanaka in the Japan Alps. This spa resort is home not only to skiers and hot spring aficionados but also to the famous Japanese snow monkeys who like nothing better than to take a hot spring bath themselves. Properly known as Japanese Macaques, these hardy animals are the most northerly living monkeys in the world - but while the hot springs gush forth they are happy as can be.

This winter holiday in Japan is due to take place from Saturday 2nd February until Saturday 16th February, and costs £1500 per person excluding flights.

About Inside Japan Tours:
Inside Japan Tours is an independent travel company that offers a wide choice of Japan holidays designed by real Japan experts. Now in their 7th year they remain committed to ensuring all their customers have a unique and personal experience of this amazing country. Choose any of their Japan tours or just grab the adventure with a Japan Rail Pass: travel with us and you will discover a whole new world.

For more details, please contact Celia Green

Tel. 44 (0)870 120 5600
Web: http://www.insidejapantours.com

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