Mountains of Central Japan

One of our original and most popular longer tours, one we’ve been running since 2014.

Starting in Tokyo, the tour route is to the North Japan Alps and Hida Mountains to Shirakawago where we stay in a mountain village farmhouse, then on to Kanazawa. One of our most popular itineraries, this trip will appeal to those who enjoy mountain hiking. In addition to great hikes, there is plenty of time to learn about and experience many aspects of Japanese culture along the way.

Highlights

Some of the finest mountain trails in the North Japan Alps.
Excellent onsen.
The rural side of Japan.
Great food - always important on our tours.
Forested Kamikochi Valley.
Kyoto, a city with many contrasting aspects. Overly crowded these days, we seek out the quieter quarters.
Zen.
Day 1

Meet Tokyo. Dinner.

Overnight hotel.

Day 2

Train to Matsumoto. Day sightseeing.

Overnight hotel.

 

Day 3

Travel up to the Kamikochi Valley to start trek. Approach trail is along a relatively flat path on the valley floor. Well-appointed mountain hut with baths tonight.

Overnight mountain hut.

Day 4

From the Yarisawa the path climbs increasingly steeply on the long ascent to the pyramidal Yari peak. Large hut is dramatically sited on a shoulder below just the peak.

Overnight mountain hut

Day 5

Weather permitting, and for those able to do it, a short, steep climb to the peak using the fixed chains and ladders. We’ll then continue the trek, along a route with great views, to Sugoroku for the night.

Overnight mountain hut

Day 6

Turning south, the route now heads towards Shin Hotaka Onsen, descending via Kagamidaira and Wasabidaira. Well-deserved onsen natural hot spring baths!

Overnight mountain lodge.

Day 7

By road to a mountain village with gasshozukuri thatched roof farmhouses characteristic of the Hida Takayama area. Afternoon to relax and look around.

Overnight farmhouse

Day 8

Today we’ll head for Kanazawa on the Sea of Japan coast. Sightseeing in the afternoon.

Overnight hotel.

Day 9

A full 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.

Overnight hotel.

Day 10

Heading south en route to Kyoto we’ll stop at the Soto School of Zen Eiheiji Temple. The temple is strict, emphasizing it is not a tourist attraction but a place to experience meditation and temple life. There are rules to follow!

Overnight temple lodging.

Day 11

Travel by train to Kyoto. Afternoon in Kyoto.

Overnight hotel.

Day 12

A second, full day visiting a number of important Kyoto sites. Farewell dinner.

Overnight hotel.

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Reviews

"We really enjoyed meeting and travelling with you and had a great time. Had a lot of laughs. It was great." - Simon, Australia

"I enjoyed the trip to Japan. A superb walking route, fascinating sightseeing, friendly people, and our introduction to the Japanese way of life all made it a very special holiday. " - Eleanor, Scotland

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