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Hokkaido in Winter - 2025

Join us exploring one of the most magnificent winter islands in the world.

12 - 21 Jan 2025

Price: 8495 EUR


General Information

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Join Andy Mumford and Terra Expeditions in the snowy, minimalist photographic paradise of Hokkaido, Japan. A stark and almost monochromatic landscape, Hokkaido in winter is a place of abstracts and simplicity.

From lone trees standing atop snow covered hills to Torri gates standing next to the ocean, Hokkaido offers winter landscape photography distilled to its absolutely essential elements.

Our journey there is deep in the winter to find pristine winter landscapes, starting our tour in Sapporo and exploring the island in a private bus to take in crystalline lakes, snow covered hills, and fishing villages. We’ll learn how to work with austere winter landscapes to create simple minimal images as well as the big wide scenes, and with Andy Mumford, Terra’s Jonas Paurell and a local photography guide, you’ll have plenty of guidance in the field to work on everything from composition, to exposure and capturing mood, pushing your creativity and ensuring you come home with a unique portfolio of images, as well as some fantastic memories from this incredible place.

This adventure will take you far away from neon-light cities to a realm of pristine landscapes, vibrant cultural pockets,  natural wonders and tranquility.


Jonas Paurell

Creative Guide & Expedition Leader

Jonas is the founder of Terra Photography Expeditions. He has been a photographer for well over 20 years. He is a certified International Mountain Leader (UIMLA) that has spent a lifetime exploring the world's wild areas. Jonas will be leading the expedition.

Jonas loves working with developing photographers to strengthen their technical foundation and support them to unleach their inner creativity. Jonas achieves this through engaging lectures, educative assignments and hands-on teaching in the field.

More info here.

Andy Mumford

Creative Guide

Andy is a Lisbon based professional landscape and travel photographer. He is also a passionate teacher of photography and has been leading groups and one-to-one workshops for over five years, while his images and photography writing have featured in magazines and publications worldwide. As well as workshops and travelling he also produce regular videos about photography and film-making on his Youtube channel.

Andy's YouTube & Website


Day 1 | Sapporo | Arrival Day
Our journey commences in Sapporo, the vibrant heart of Hokkaido. Private airport transfers are available throughout the day from Chitose Airport. After settling into our comfortable hotel, we'll convene for an introductory meeting. Prior to our welcome dinner, we'll immerse ourselves in the urban rhythms of Sapporo, dedicating the afternoon to street photography.

Day 2 | Shosanbetsu 

It's time to embark on our adventure, with our first destination being the coastal village of Shosanbetsu. We'll spend some time capturing the essence of this quaint fishing village before proceeding to the iconic Red Torii gate for a sunset photography session. To capture the essence of this iconic symbol of Japanese culture, we'll experiment with different compositions and long exposures.

Days 3 - 4 | Saroma 

We journey across the island to Saroma, arriving in the afternoon. Over the next two days, we'll be enveloped in the surreal beauty of Lake Saroma, Okhotsk, and its surroundings. Our itinerary includes exploring drift ice fields and fishing ports, with weather permitting, an opportunity for an astrophotography session to take advantage of Saroma’s minimal light pollution. Additionally, we'll venture into the town to capture the tranquil surroundings and distinctive architecture.

Days 5 - 7 | Biei 

Welcome to minimalist landscape heaven, Biei, characterized by snow-covered hills adorned with lines of birch trees, frozen streams, and a backdrop of dark peaks. Here, you can lose yourself in composition, creating intimate portraits of the landscape, focusing on lines and shapes amidst the pristine winter scenery. A visit to the surreal Blue Pond is a must, with its ethereal blue hue created by volcanic mineral water filling the pond.

Days 8 - 9 | Lake Toya 

Our next base is Toyako, a town nestled amidst volcanoes and surreal lagoons. Here, landscapes seamlessly blend minimalism with grandeur, featuring a frozen lake framed by snow-capped mountains of Toyako Island. Vibrant shades of blue juxtapose against the surrounding snow, complemented by smaller, intimate scenes of snow-covered trees and pristine landscapes.

Day 10 | Departure Day 

Before bidding farewell, we'll have one final morning shoot before heading to Chitose Airport, where our tour concludes, and we say our goodbyes.


All Terra Photography Expeditions follow a proven curriculum that aims to teach the theory behind photography in a dynamic way that directly translates into easily actionable processes in the field. As we move through nature we also go through an introduction to the skills and knowledge required to be safe in the great outdoors.

Photography Techniques Covered on the Expedition

  • Storytelling - Telling stories and evoking emotions within the context of landscape photography

  • Composition - A comprehensive introduction to the theory of composition, including the elements of art and principles of design

  • Process - Learning and implementing a process to achieve consistent quality in landscape photography

  • Focusing - A science-based method for focusing to make your images sharp

  • Long exposure and filters - Long exposure and the use of Neutral Density (ND) filters, especially related to moving water and clouds

  • Astro photography - Explore the nighttime skies and landscapes to show the world at a different time

  • Panorama photography - exposing and merging multiple images

  • Multiple exposures and graduate filters - Achieving correctly exposed images in challenging conditions using graduated filters and multiple exposures (exposure bracketing)

  • Finding locations - Using maps, weather services and other tools to identify potential photography locations and times.

Processing Techniques:

  • Using Lightroom to apply contrast

  • Using local adjustments to shape and sculpt the light

  • Using Photoshop layers to build up image adjustments

  • Using luminosity masks in Lightroom

  • Different techniques for blending multiple exposures of the same image

  • Photoshop layers

  • Stitching multiple panoramas together

  • Sharpening images


We'll be staying in a mix of charming Japanese and comfortable Western-style hotels. Some of them offer access to private or communal hot springs (Onsens) for your relaxation. Everyone will be automatically booked into a single occupancy room unless you request to share with your partner.

Additional Information

The Agenda and the Weather

The winter weather on the Hokkaido island is snowy and unpredictable. Just the way we like it! Some areas of Hokkaido get 600cm (19 feet 8 inches) of snowfall annually. While there's a chance we might need to adjust our plans if we get snowed in at the hotel, we'll see it as an opportunity for unexpected adventures. After all, those same weather fronts are what make Hokkaido unique. Each day we will study the charts and the local weather conditions to plan our day. So, pack your gear, and get ready for an unforgettable expedition!


Our hotels feature delicious meals tailored to diverse palates based on Japanese Cuisine. Please let us know if you have any food preferences, allergies, or dietary restrictions, and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs. All breakfasts and dinners are included. 

Getting There and Back Out Again

The tour starts and ends at Chitose Airport. Flights to Sapporo Chitose Airport are generally via Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Osaka.

Leave No Trace Policy

Terra Photography Expeditions has a strict leave no trace policy. This policy is also applied to how we share information about places that we gently and respectfully visit. This means that we have withheld exact locations from the itinerary. This is because we do not want to contribute to large scale tourism. You are welcome to get in touch if you'd like to discuss the itinerary before applying to join. Thank you for your understanding.

How Challenging?

This expedition has a Lowland Workshop effort level.

Our Lowland Workshops are designed to be accessible and enjoyable for a wide range of participants. Most of our locations are situated along roadsides or can be reached by walking a few kilometers on well-maintained trails. For winter workshops the conditions can sometimesm be snowy and on not maintaned paths. 

Price & Details


  • Guided photography sessions in the field with three creative guides

  • Theoretical sessions

  • All accommodation during the expedition: 9 nights in a private room (unless you request to share with your partner)

  • Breakfasts and Dinners on all days (except the first day where we start with dinner and the last day where we say our good bue after brekfast)

  • All transport during the tour


  • Photo equipment

  • Outdoor clothing

  • Transport to the starting point (i.e. flights to Chitose Airport)

  • Insurance. All participants are required to have their insurance appropriate for this expedition, such as health, accident,  repatriation, cancellation, personal liability, etc.

  • Lunches, trail snack to eat on the go and alcoholic beverages

Price: 8495 EUR

30% deposit due to secure your reservation, remaining 70% due 60 days before the start of the tour. Incl. VAT. 300 EUR discount per person if sharing with a friend or partner.

Participants: Minimum 7 - Maximum 10

Start: Chitose Airport, 12 Jan 2025, arrivals before noon

End: Chitose Airport, 21 Jan 2025, 1 PM drop-off at the airport


We reserve the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather conditions, and unforeseeable circumstances.

This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions

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