Autumn Gold

Exceptional experiences and a real touch of luxury as you travel through the mountains of central Japan on this plush 7-night autumn tour. Most comfortable lodgings at traditional ryokans on natural hot spring onsen, and excellent Japanese food. One night in a Zen temple in the mountains. The itinerary includes several walks.

A haiku poem written by a traveler with us about what she felt – Food fit for a king, Forgetting the techno throne, Five senses delight, ‘ Steve Brown, 2012

Highlights

Beautiful countryside in the Matsumoto Valley with peaceful farming communities and apple orchards.
Ryokans and restaurants in Kanazawa and Kyoto known for their fine food.
Travelling through the North Japan Alps in autumn colour.
Kanazawa, 'Little Kyoto', home to the formerly powerful Maeda Clan, as well as exploring Kyoto itself.
Day 1

You’ll be met in Tokyo. Train to Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. Lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients and dishes.

After lunch there’ll be a walk in the countryside in the Matsumoto Valley, during which we’ll meet locals, getting insights into the farming communities and learn about local rural culture and produce. The Alps provide an inspiring backdrop to simply being in and around Matsumoto.

Overnight ryokan.

Day 2

A longer excursion today to the Kamikochi Valley. There are many hiking trails through the woods in this lovely area dominated by alpine peaks.

Return for onsen hot spring baths before dinner.

Overnight ryokan.

Day 3

A journey over the roof of Japan today as we travel over the amazing Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Connecting Nagano  and Toyama Prefectures, visitors travel through and over the mountains by bus, trolley bus, cable car, ropeway, and on foot. The route was developed around access tunnels to the great Kurobe Dam.

From the TKAR we travel to Kanazawa via Toyama.

Overnight ryokan.

Day 4

A day exploring Kanazawa, including a visit to the Nomura House, an Edo Period residence with traditional garden and tea room in the old samurai quarters, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and Kenrokuen Garden.

Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan, is known for its excellent seafood, a highlight of dining here.

Overnight ryokan.

Day 5

Eiheiji is a temple in the forested mountains near Fukui City. The temple belongs to the Soto Zen School of Buddhism. Following the teaching of Zen master Dogen, sitting meditation is an important part of the spiritual training of monks and other practitioners here. Staying one night, you’ll have an opportunity to touch the no-mind/mindfulness spirit of Zen.

Overnight temple accommodation

Day 6

This morning we travel by train to Kyoto. Private lunch and entertainment with a maiko. A trip out to the Western suburbs in the afternoon to see one of the many beautiful Japanese temple gardens, and quieter bits of Sagano.

Overnight hotel.

Day 7

Today’s plans will depend on whatever interests you may have, be it arts, crafts, gardens, markets, museums, walking … It would take many years to get to know Kyoto well, but we’ll arrange things to that hopefully you’ll get glimpses of what makes it rather a special place. Celebration farewell dinner.

Overnight hotel.

Day 8

Tour ends after breakfast. Onward travel.

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Reviews

"In another life, A colorful kimono, Draped my peaceful soul " - Laurie, USA

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