Visiting Japan during the winter is an unparalleled nature experience. Japan offers us a snow-covered mountain landscape that not only gives us fantastic opportunities for landscape photography but also gives us a very beautiful background when we photograph animals and birds. On this extension trip, we will experience unique encounters with the Japanese macaques. From Tokyo, we travel to the Japanese Alps to photograph the famous Japanese macaques bathing in hot springs.

In the mountains north of Nagano lies Jigokudani, or ”The valley of Hell”. The Yokoyo River runs through the valley, originating from hot springs. We will be there to photograph the famous Japanese Macaques, also known as Snow Monkeys. With a little luck we will also be witness to snow-ball fights between younger monkeys. There are often good opportunities to photograph young ones sitting with their mothers. The monkeys are quite unafraid and we will be able to get all sorts of images.

During the tour, our photographic leader will constantly give you photographic advise based on your prior knowledge and level. The guidance in the field is completely adapted to you and your needs. In addition to this, we will also have theoretical sessions where we talk about different photo techniques that we will use during the tour.

The photographic education is adapted to the knowledge of the group and the individual, but we will also see to what photographic opportunities may arise during the trip. During our days with the Japanese macaques will we learn about and try out “high-key” techniques among others.

Makalösa makaker, Japan. Fotoresa med Wild Nature fotoresor. Foto: Henrik Karlsson


Day 1 (13/2) (Dinner)
Arrival at Tokyo Haneda International Airport in the morning. We travel by Shinkansen (bullet train) and local train to Yudanaka. Free afternoon. Photo workshop in the evening.

Day 2 – 3 (14 – 15/2) (Breakfast  Dinner)
After breakfast we go to Jigokundani Yaen-koen in order to photograph the Japanese Macaques bathing in hot-springs, playing in the snow etc. We spend both days with the Macaques. In order to get to Jigokundani Yaen-koen we need to walk about 1.5 km along a forest trail.

Day 4 (16/2) (Breakfast)
After breakfast we return to Tokyo and Haneda Airport. In the evening we fly back home or if you’re joining the main tour to Hokkaido.

More information

    On all our tours we have different theoretical photography workshops. These workshops are always related to the specific tour and can be anything from teaching different photography techniques or tips and tricks for image editing to talking about image composition or preparing for special photo opportunities on the trip.

    Throughout the trip, our photography leader provides active photography advice when we are out in the field. Everything for you to develop as a photographer and take fantastic pictures home with you.

    As we will have opportunities for many different types of motifs, everything from close-ups to landscape photos with the monkeys in it, it is appropriate to bring everything from wide-angle lenses to telephoto lenses. We will be able to get very close to the Japanese macaques. This means that a wide-angle zoom lens with e.g. focal lengths of 24-70 mm are excellent.
    Telezoom lens, e.g. 70-200 mm or 80-400mm, provides very good conditions for taking varying pictures of the monkeys.
    Telephoto lenses with fixed focal lengths, e.g. 300 mm or 500 mm, they are also very useful. To increase the focal length if you have a shorter telephoto or a zoom, you can use a teleconverter.
    As there may be heavy snowfall, it is important to have good protection for the camera equipment. The best is a rainproof camera cover. Also remember to have a cover for the camera bag or backpack.
    If you have access to two camera bodies, it is good to have these. Tripods will be useful on many occasions. The alternative is a stable one-legged stand. A stand of one form or another is a must.

    The temperature in northern Japan in February can vary between a few plus degrees to about – 20 degrees. Proper winter clothes and winter boots are a must!

    We will stay in traditional Japanese guesthouses, so-called Ryokans, of simple – medium standard and in hotels of medium standard. Hotels in the Japanese countryside are often older. Elevators are not available in all hotels. At Rykoans, not all rooms have their own toilet. There is usually no shower in the rooms, but all accommodation has a so-called Onsen bath.

    The accommodation has restrictions regarding accessibility as there is no lift. The path leading up to the monkeys is not wheelchair accessible.

    Share in double room, meals according to the itinerary, all entrances, photo lessons, local transport (train and taxi), transfer to and from Haneda airport.

    Round-trip flights Tokyo Haneda international airport Japan, tips, insurance, cancellation protection, drinks, lunch, things of a personal nature.

    Tokyo Haneda Airport. The journey begins and ends here.
    The tour guide meets and leaves the group at the airports.

    The registration fee shall be paid after an invoice from us, right after your booking. The remaining amount shall be paid no later than 30 days before the trip. Payment will be in Swedish crowns (SEK). Amount in Euro and US dollars mentioned above are just reference amounts.

    Swedish citizens do not need a visa to Japan if the stay is less than 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the entire period of time you are in Japan. Passports are required at check-in for flights.

    If you are a citizen of any other country than Sweden please check with your nearest Japaness Embassy.

    We strongly recommend that you carefully review your travel insurance before the tour. Read the terms and conditions about what may and may not be included. It is important to check that compensation is included for travel home / ambulance transport in the event of an accident or serious illness. Often, for example, the travel cover in a regular home insurance needs to be supplemented.

    Contact your doctor for advice on vaccinations. Also check any requirements for medical tests for entry into the country.

    Our tours are open to all nationalities, which means that the group is often international.
    Our tour guides speak both Swedish and English, and sometimes also more languages.

    Terms and conditions

Photographic leader

Henrik Karlsson, born in 1968, is a photographer, writer and conservation biologist.

Henrik is a trained biologist and used to work with water and conservation issues.
He is an ambassador for OM SYSTEM and has been appointed as a National Geographic Explorer and is a member of the Swedish Nature Photographers Association (Naturfotograferna/N) as well as PhotoNatura. In 2003 he was awarded Naturfotografernas/N and Kodak’s scholarship. Henrik has also won awards in several European photo competitions.

Henrik has a wide selection when it comes to subjects to take images of and tell stories about. He will be more than happy to photograph everything from insects to the orchids in the forest or the great wild animals around the world. He has the whole world as his photographic field but is more and more drawn to Africas beauty and wildness.

Previously, Henrik worked as a guide in several Swedish Nature Reserves and National Parks. He is a frequent lecturer and an appreciated guide on photo courses and workshops. He also leads photo tours all over the world.

In 2011 Henrik self-published the book ”Mångfaldens ö – bilder och tankar från Ölands natur”, and the book ”Vilda Norden” was published in 2017. 2020 he published the book Ölands orkidéer and in 2021 Orkidéer på Gotland.

    Registration for waiting list

    Marvelous Macaques, Japan 13th-16th February 2025

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