Small group and customized tours
We have a great range of trips, many featuring walking and mountain hiking. We also have itineraries which focus more on culture. Enjoying Japan’s amazing food culture is a highlight on all of our tours, along with opportunities to experience and learn about Japanese tea culture, Japanese cooking, the art of the swordsmith, pottery and, naturally, to have many unexpected encounters with folk along the way.
In addition to our carefully crafted itineraries, key to the success of our tours are the excellent local guides we work with and the good relationships we’ve developed over many years with inns, hotels, and other suppliers and friends throughout Japan.
One member on a mountain hiking tour was inspired to write the haiku ‘Walking through the woods, Just me and my endorphins, Japan mountain high’.
If you’d like detailed tour information, including dates and prices, please contact us and we’ll happily send these to you.Get in touch
Imperial Pilgrimage Route
This was the first tour we ran in 2003, and has remained a very popular itinerary.
Although less dramatic than the Japan Alps, the forested mountains of the Kii Peninsula, south of Nara, have for centuries been regarded as sacred. We’ll hike a pilgrimage route to Kumano Sanzan shrines as well as doing other walks, stay at wonderful onsen, enjoy delicious food, and explore Yoshino, Asuka, Nara, and Kyoto.
Mountains of Central Japan
One of our original 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.
National Park Trails in Kyushu
A trip featuring hiking in Kyushu and the Kirishima Yaku National Park. Although not as high as the North or South Alps, the warmer southern island of Kyushu, and the Yakushima island, have opportunities for great hiking. With delicious food and drink, and warm, welcoming locals, Kyushu and the islands are highly recommend if you want to see another side of Japan and get well off-the-beaten track.
Exceptional experiences and a real touch of luxury as you travel through the mountains of central Japan on this plush 7 night autumn tour. Very 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.
Japan Sea Coast
On local trains, starting from Kyoto, along the Japan Sea coast of Western Honshu. The journey explores quieter towns and villages on a side of Japan less visited than along the overly busy ‘bullet train’ route connecting the cities on the Pacific Coast. We’ll explore the Sanin Kaigan National Park, which embraces the pretty coastline, and climb Mount Daisen.
Roof of Japan
This mountain hiking trip is a classic trek, one of the finest long distance hikes in Japan. It’s rated strenuous. You need to be experienced and prepared to hike long, tough mountain days. It’s hut-to-hut, off road. There’s no need to carry food, bedding, or tents, as we’ll use the amazing network of mountain huts in the North Japan Alps. If there’s one challenging, long-distance hike you’d like do in Japan, this is it! Many of our clients have hiked around the world, but not considered Japan or even considered a trek like this here possible.
Walks in the Heart of Japan (2)
A guided walking tour including a wonderful, quite challenging climb up the Osugidani valley to the Odaigahara Plateau, described by LP as a ‘stunning hike’. We then visit some of the culturally and historically most important sites in Japan: Yoshinoyama, Asuka, and Nara and hike the Yamanobe no Michi connecting Miwa Jinja Shrine and Isonokami Jingu Shrine.
It was here that early Japanese culture flourished under a succession of emperors and empresses as their centres of power moved from Fujiwarakyo (today known as Asuka), to Heijoykyo (today known as Nara), and then to Heiankyo (Kyoto).
If you’re interested in a couple of strenuous climbs, but only have a few days during your Japan trip to do them, we’d recommend this plan. The first ascent is of magnificent Kaikomagatake (one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains) and Senjogatake, and the second Mount Fuji. Start and finish in Tokyo, with a night in Matsumoto between the mountain hikes.
You must be experienced and prepared for strenuous mountain hiking.
National Park Hiking on Honshu
A journey in a broad sweep through the mountains west of Tokyo in the centre of Honshu, the main island, with great hikes in the Oze and the Joshin’etsu National Parks. The trip features Nikko, the Oze upland marshes, Minakami Onsen, and Matsumoto, before returning to Tokyo. Superb accommodation en route.
The Old Salt Road
A new itinerary featuring an old road or kaido, a Shio no Michi routes which connected the Sea of Japan to the north, and the Pacific in the south, to the province of Shinano (present-day Nagano Prefecture). Salt for preserving foods was carried along these roads for processing in the Nagano area.
The routes in Northern Nagano are called the Chikuni Kaido.
North Japan Alps
With some of the best mountain hiking routes in Japan, this short trip follows one of the best in the North Japan Alps. Starting from the Kamikochi Valley, the trail climbs steeply to follow ridges and peaks along what the Japanese call the Omote Ginza route.
Accommodation is in mountain huts on trek days.
Walks in the Heart of Japan (1)
A guided walking tour visiting some of the culturally and historically most important sites in Japan: Mount Koya, Yoshinoyama, Asuka, and Nara. Hike the Yamanobe no Michi connecting Miwa Jinja Shrine and Isonokami Jingu Shrine. It was in this area that the state of Yamato was established and culture flourished under a succession of emperors and empresses as their palaces and the centres of power moved from Fujiwarakyo (Asuka), to Heijoykyo (Nara), and then to Heiankyo (Kyoto).
The Deep North
Exploring of the beautiful far north of the main island Honshu. Hiking in forests and on upland marshes, with stays in traditional inns, and little-known natural hot springs. Delicious food!
The Roof of Hokkaido
This trip includes a traverse of the Daisetsu Kogen Plateau in central Hokkaido, Lake Akan and the surrounding volcanic peaks, and the remote Shiretoko Peninsula extending towards Russia in the far northeast. Alpine flower fields around Asahidake (2,291m), the highest peak on Hokkaido, are stunning in summer.
Particularly recommended for those who love hiking and would like to add a few days onto their Japan trip in the summer or autumn.