Japan Northern Alps Tour - Fall 2022

Best for

8 people

Duration

21 Days

Prices from

USD 13,800 per person

Japan Northern Alps Tour – Fall 2022

Enjoy a fascinating and unique journey through Japan’s Northern Alps peaks and their surrounding countryside village with our Northern Alps Escape tour. Although the fall foliage is still 4-6 weeks away in the surrounding areas, the mountains will start to change colors during your journey!

While this adventure does have you starting in Tokyo and ending in Kyoto, the bulk of your time will be in and around the mountains.

Starting Out

Your tour starts in Tokyo, taking in as much of the city (and food!) as possible in two days.

From there, you’ll move to to the Nakasendo area. In ancient times, there were limited roads connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, and much of one of the main roads still remains to this day. Here you’ll enjoy Tsumago, Magome, and Naraijuku before moving to Matsumoto.

Matsumoto is a charming town famous for its stunning castle and surrounding beauty. Here you’ll spend a couple of days exploring the town, its people, and its history.

First Challenge – Hotakadake

Your first major challenge will be Hotakadake, located on the borders of Nagano and Gifu Prefectures. While the initial hike through Kamikochi is scenic and relaxing, you’ll quickly gain elevation as you approach the Karasawa Cirque and are surrounded by the commanding Hotaka peaks. Your climb will include the use of chains, ladders, and rock scrambling.

After Hotakadake you’ll relax in luxury while touring Takayama and moving to the Toyama area. Takayama is a town famous for its furniture making and traditional crafts. Like the Nakasendo, there’s no shortage of photogenic traditional buildings as well.

Second Challenge – Tateyama

Your next challenge will be Tateyama. Starting from the Murodo Terminal at 2400m you’ll move to Raichozaka, traverse the ridge right in front of the majestic Tsurugidake, then make your way back down towards Murodo via Oyama. While not as challenging as Hotakadake, there are spots of rock scrambling as you descend back to Murodo.

After Tateyama, it’s on to the seaside city of Kanazawa. Kanazawa is a city historically known for its art and cuisine as the region was once one of Japan’s most powerful and wealthiest.

Final Challenge – Hakusan

Your final hiking challenge will be Hakusan, just south of Kanazawa. Perhaps the easiest of your three hikes, Hakusan makes up for lack of difficulty with trail length and temperamental weather. A clear day on Hakusan is a special treat indeed!

After Hakusan, you’ll move to the famous Yamanaka Onsen area to enjoy one of Japan’s finest ryokans and a town revitalized by its long history in crafts.

Finally, move to Kyoto to finish up your amazing Japan Northern Alps Escape tour.

Inquire Today!

Currently 8 out of 10 slots are available for this mountain tour.

Itinerary

Day 1

Trip Notes & Essential Gear

Trip Notes & Essential Gear

While many associate Japan with the ocean, the truth is most of the country is rugged mountain terrain.

The Japanese Alps, split into northern and southern parts, make up the backbone of the main island and are filled with nearly endless alpine adventures. There are routes available for every level of mountaineering, from beginner to advanced.

The routes in this itinerary are aimed towards the beginner looking to enjoy a unique and memorable trip to Japan. Some portions of your hiking utilize chains, ropes, ladders, and include steep, rocky terrain to navigate. However, under the guidance of a Union Internationale des Associations de Guides de Montagnes certified guide you can enjoy these climbs safely.

Please be prepared for your adventures by bringing/preparing the following:

-Hiking boots
-Rain jacket and pants
-Gloves for chains
-Overcoat (mornings can reach 5c or lower even in the middle of summer)
-First aid kit, including sunblock
-Helmet
-Spare battery pack for phones/GPS device
-Travel insurance to cover any accidents

Day 2

Palace Hotel Tokyo

Palace Hotel Tokyo (2 nights)

Location - Center of Tokyo adjacent to the Imperial palace gardens, in the heart of the financial and business district Marunouchi - 10-minute walk to Tokyo Station with 12 railways and bullet trains - Direct underground access to Otemachi Station with 5 metro lines - 30 minutes to Haneda Airport by taxi -60-90 minutes to Narita Airport by taxi - 10 minute taxi ride to famous Ginza shopping district - Free-standing hotel - Spacious guest rooms from 45sq.m./485sq.ft, most futuring balconies - Very first evian SPA in Japan - State of the art fitness facilities with indoor pool - 7 unique restaurants - 3 bars and lounges Services - Complimentary wireless/wired in-room Internet - Complimentary use of fitness center for staying guests - Complimentary mineral water - Complimentary daily newspaper

Welcome to Japan

Welcome to Japan

Welcome to Japan!

We hope that you will enjoy your time in Japan and with us.

Narita Arrival Transfer

Narita Arrival Transfer

Meet your driver in the arrival area and move to Tokyo. It is about a 90 minute drive.

Day 3

Private vehicle, full day

Private vehicle, full day

Tour in the comfort of your own private luxury minivan (Toyota Alphard).

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace East Gardens are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist. It is a sight to see.

Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market

Even though the tuna auction and some of the inner markets shops have moved to the new Toyosu Market, Tsukiji Market still remains vibrant and a place not to be missed. While the inner market has many shops that sell business to business, the outer market in Tsukiji is a wonderful chance to to sample a wide variety of some of Japan's finest seafood and various fresh, hot snacks.

Your brief tour today will take you to the outer market to experience some of Tsukiji’s best eating (and drinking). We recommend the yaki-tamago - a sweet, custard like scrambled egg pan fried in layers and served fresh out of the pan.

(food is included in your outer market tour!)

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple

Sensōji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo, having been built in 645AD.

Unfortunately, after remaining relatively unscathed for 13 centuries, it was destroyed during WWII. Sensoji was rebuilt after the war and has become a symbol of rebirth of the city and the nation.

Nowadays, millions of people step through the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate, famous for its huge lantern, and stroll along Nakamisedori, the street leading to the temple, filled with small shops selling all manners of goods.

Akihabara

Akihabara

Akihabara (or Akiba for short) is well known as a game lover's paradise.

It is here that one can browse countless electronics shops, video game parlors, themed cafes (maid cafes are especially popular) and also enjoy delicious treats.

One of our favorite experiences is the virtual reality first person shooter at the Sega Building!

Goma Fire Ritual

Goma Fire Ritual

The Goma Fire Ritual is one of Japan's most enchanting and fascinating experiences. Fire is believed to have many cleansing properties in the Shingon sect of Buddhism and is often used in prayers and requests. The ritual is powerfully hypnotic with the monks’ chants accompanying the intense and purifying fire.

Golden Gai Food Tour

Golden Gai Food Tour

During World War II Tokyo sustained heavy damage, with most neighborhoods being completely destroyed. While Shinjuku Station was spared most of the destruction of war, the surrounding neighborhoods were not as fortunate. Shortly after the war during reconstruction, small eating stalls popped up in the West Gate area of Shinjuku to serve commuters.

Time marched on, and the area saw continued development, redevelopment and further modernization. Despite Shinjuku's current vibe of being modern and hip, there is a small area that time has forgotten, providing visitors a chance to step back into the Showa post-war period.

We recommend enjoying the yakitori and motsu (entrails) for an authentic post-war eating experience.

With the world’s highest number of bars per square meter, Tokyo’s Shinjuku Golden Gai neighbourhood is a must-visit. Shinjuku Golden Gai showcases the best bars, restaurants, and food stalls the compact enclave has to offer. Feast on four Japanese dishes, including Tonkotsu Ramen, and char grilled chicken, and delve into the area’s rich history with your guide. This is also where Anthony Bourdain did his food tour during his visit to Japan.

Day 4

Shinkansen - Tokyo to Nagoya

Shinkansen - Tokyo to Nagoya

Private vehicle transfer, hotel to station

Private vehicle transfer, hotel to station

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel and move to the station. Your driver will assist you in boarding your train.

Tsumago

Tsumago

The town and its residents go to great lengths to recreate the ambiance of the Edo Period. Cars are prohibited on the main street during the day and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed, allowing visitors to imagine they have slipped back to an earlier time.

Tsumago also recreates the post town atmosphere by maintaining its Honjin and Wakihonjin. In all post towns, the Honjin was the principal inn and served government officials who were traveling through. When more lodging was required, the Wakihonjin served to accommodate the travelers of lower status. Tsumago also maintains the office where laborers and horses were rented to aid in travel.

Rekishi Shiryokan is a rather extensive historical museum on Tsumago and the Kiso Valley. Most of the museum is translated into English, and many models and artifacts are on display.

Private vehicle, full day

Private vehicle, full day

Tour in the comfort of your own private luxury minivan (Toyota Alphard).

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Luggage Transfer

Luggage Transfer

Leave your luggage in the lobby at the front desk or baggage desk in the morning. It will be taken to your next hotel. This is an overnight service so we ask that you back an overnight bag to take with you or enough clothing for whatever activity for how many days you will be away from your luggage.

Magome

Magome

The town has been beautifully restored with a broad stone walkway lined with carefully tended foliage. Magome's embellished preservation contrasts with the rugged authenticity of neighboring Tsumago.

While exploring Magome, visitors will surely come across the name Shimazaki Toson. Born in Magome in 1872, Toson is a highly regarded figure in Japanese literature. In his novel Yoakemae (Before the Dawn), he famously describes life in the area during the early years of the Meiji Restoration.

Honjin/Toson Memorial Museum

Toson's father was the last person to oversee Magome's Honjin, and Toson himself was born there. Today, it serves as a memorial to the artist.

Magome-Tsumago Trail

Magome-Tsumago Trail

The trail between Magome and Tsumago is a well maintained section of the former Nakasendo. The trail is not difficult and is well marked in English and Japanese. It is about 8 km long and should take two to three hours to complete at a leisurely pace.

The trail leads through the countryside and passes right alongside the houses and fields of local residents.

It also intersects with the road and hikers must tread along asphalt for some portions. Despite this, a walk along the Magome-Tsumago trail is a highly enjoyable part of visiting the Kiso Valley.

Forest Hotel Fuki

Forest Hotel Fuki (1 night)

Fukinomori is a Japanese-style hotel located near the Nakasendo, the traditional route between Kyoto and Tokyo.

Its location allows guests to explore the mountainous area and immerse themselves in the local culture.

It is well-known for its cypress wood baths and amazing views from the outside bath.

Forest Hotel Fuki

Forest Hotel Fuki (1 night)

Fukinomori is a Japanese-style hotel located near the Nakasendo, the traditional route between Kyoto and Tokyo.

Its location allows guests to explore the mountainous area and immerse themselves in the local culture.

It is well-known for its cypress wood baths and amazing views from the outside bath.

Day 5

Kiso Fukushima Town

Kiso Fukushima Town

This town was once the halfway point between Tokyo and Kyoto on the Nakasendo, one of the two roads that linked the Shogunate and Imperial capitals.

While the town is not as famous as it once was, it still a wonderful place to see Japan as it once was.

Visitors can visit the reconstructed Fukushima Checkpoint, where travelers had to wait and present their passes for travel and be searched by soldiers of the Tokugawa regime for weapons or letters that might be used for rebellion. There is a museum attached that has documents, handcuffs. torture implements and wooden passes used in the Edo Era.

Other points of interest are the former residence of the governor of the ovary clan who controlled the area for the Tokugawas and the Kiso Fukushima Historical Museum, which contains items from the area and a traditional farmhouse that was transported from a nearby village.

The most important aspect is simply the atmosphere of the town, both relaxing and energizing.

Narai-juku

Narai-juku

Narai of a Thousand Houses. Once the most prosperous post town on the Nakasendo, Narai still retains some of its former glory.

Located at the base of Torii Pass, the town is a great place to enjoy a stay at a rokan, have a bath or simply take a break with excellent local cuisine and locally brewed beer.

Some sites include the Nakamura Residence, former home of a wealthy wooden comb craftsman, and the Kiso Shashi, a wooden bridge constructed of 300-hundred-year-old cypress wood.

The main street is lined with traditional houses filled with shops that sell local delicacies, lacquerware, hand-woven baskets, woodwork, local beer and the famous local sake, Nanawarai (Seven Smiles).

This town is a must-see for those interested in traditional Japanese life and history.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Matsumoto

Matsumoto

Matsumoto is the second largest city in Nagano Prefecture. It is most famous for Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's most beautiful original castles.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Atera Valley

Atera Valley

The valley is located a short hike from Nojiri Station. There are many places of interest here such as Kiso-go-boku (Five Trees of Kiso) and Senjo Rock. The Five Trees of Kiso are groupings of trees that were protected by the local samurai lord to counter the over-foresting of the early shipbuilding boom right before the Edo Era. The Senjo Rocks are a series of natural rock formations that attract visitors to the valley. There is a trail that follows along the former forest railway with spots that allow for fishing and leads to the Bigansui (Water of Pretty Face) Spring. According to legend, if you wash your face in the spring's waters, your face will become smooth and your skin fair.

Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu (2 nights)

Kiso-Hirasawa

Kiso-Hirasawa

Kiso-Hirasawa is the center of lacquerware in the central area of the Japan Alps.

The town is over 400 years old and the streets are lined with traditional houses. Many housing lacquerware shops, including those of living national treasures. Visits to workshops to see the process of this amazing craft can be arranged and travelers can see the centuries-old techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Day 6

Japan Ukiyoe Museum

Japan Ukiyoe Museum

Here is ,displayed but a small percentage of the wealthy merchant family's collection of more than 100,000 pieces. They have been collecting wood block prints for over 300 years.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Nakamachi

Nakamachi

Nakamachi-dori is a small portion of Matsumoto's town center with streets lined by nicely preserved, old buildings. The buildings include a number of warehouse-type buildings (kura) with large white-painted walls. The area is where the city's merchants used to live during the Edo Period, and today, the types of buildings here reflect this history. Some of the buildings house small shops, restaurants and ryokan.

Running parallel to Nakamachi across the river lies "Frog Street", a pedestrian-only lane of shops and cafes housed in small, traditional-style buildings. The street got its nickname in the Meiji Period after the construction of Yohashira Shrine for which it serves as the main approach. Businesses sprung up, allowing people to buy items and return home after worshipping. The two acts sound phonetically identical to the word for frog (kaeru) in Japanese, thus spawning the street's colloquial label. Today, a frog statue stands at the entrance to the street to protect the businesses.

Yohashira Shrine, well-known for its impressive wooden architecture, is on the way to Matsumoto Castle. This small, well-kept Shinto shrine, surrounded by the main shopping area in town, offers access via a picturesque stone bridge and features numerous strange stone sculptures, such as sword-wielding warrior frog deities and guardian lions keeping watch over the area. The temple houses four deities, which is unusual for shrines.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan's most complete and beautiful original castles.

The wooden interior is especially interesting compared with concrete reconstructions. The surrounding grounds are a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.

Agetsuchi-machi

Agetsuchi-machi

South of the castle moat is an area called Agetsuchi-machi, a name meaning ‘to put or pile dirt’. There is no evidence of dirt from the construction of the castle and moat ever being piled here, The neighborhood definitely has its charms. In the past, it was a bustling entertainment district, taking care of crowds from Nawate-dori and Yohashira Shrine. The theaters and other houses of entertainment are now long gone, but, in their place, there are a large number of shops and restaurants. bakeries and sake shops.

The streets themselves are a reminder of a past Japan and are quite charming. The architecture is a mix of Japanese and Western, as are the shops in them. The very face of the neighborhood itself is enough to make a walk around Agetsuchi-machi a pleasant experience.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Day 7

Luggage Transfer

Luggage Transfer

Leave your luggage in the lobby at the front desk or baggage desk in the morning. It will be taken to your next hotel. This is an overnight service so we ask that you back an overnight bag to take with you or enough clothing for whatever activity for how many days you will be away from your luggage.

Private Vehicle Transfer to the Mountains

Private Vehicle Transfer to the Mountains

Karasawa Hutte

Karasawa Hutte (1 night)

Situated at approximately 2300m and 3 hours from Yoko-o is Karasawa Hutte.

Situated at the bottom of the Karasawa cirque with commanding views of the surrounding peaks, the hut is the perfect place to rest for the night, kick back a few, and prepare for the next day's ascent to Hotakadake Hut.

*Please note: this is a mountain hut. There is no running water available for showers. There are charging outlets for electronic devices, however, electrical supply and lights are cut off at 9pm sharp. Sleeping arrangements are shared, with single space sleeping units for each person. Please bring your own hygienic goods such as toothbrush and toothpaste, body wipes, contact lens solution, etc. Dinner and breakfast are served at fixed times (generally 5pm and sunrise), but can be flexible with advance notice.

Private Mountain Guide

Private Mountain Guide (2 days)

Hotakadake Hike (3 days)

Hotakadake Hike (3 days)

A challenging hike in both length and technicality, Hotakadake is often considered one of Japan's prime mountaineering locations.

Your adventure begins with relative ease in the Kamikochi area - a beautiful nature reserve with stunning views and spectacular walking trails. Your trek will take you along the pristine and icy Azusa river as it flows from Yarigatake through Kamikochi. After about 15km and three hours, you'll reach Yoko-o and the entrance to the northern Alps mountain trails. From Yoko-o to your first stop, Karasawa, it's about a 3 hour, 6km climb, gaining 800m. The trails are ideal for casual, enjoyable hiking, and heavily perfumed with aromatic evergreens.

Your first night will be spent in the Karasawa Cirque - a stunning alpine amphitheater surrounded by the tower peaks of Hotakadake. If you're still up for some more activity today, the Karasawa panorama course will take you around the bottom of the cirque through its rocky terrain and lower alpine vegetation. This is a great way to relax for the rest of the day - just be mindful of sunset as the area gets relatively quickly.

Waking up early for sunrise on day 2 is highly recommended as the area is known for spectacular sunrises that fill the entire cirque with light. After breakfast you'll embark on the more difficult portion of your hike - the Seitengrat.

A scree approximately 1km in length and 650m of gain, the Seitengrat can be at times treacherous due to lose rocks, rain, and/or snow. This path is not the time to lose your focus or be careless with your steps. Our recommendation is to take your time, be mindful of each step, and appreciate the stunning views as your approach your second destination - the Hotakadake Hut.

Once at the hut, you have the choice of summiting Okuhotakadake (3190m), Karasawadake (3110m), or simply resting up. A quick summit up to Okuhotakadake will be approximately a one hour round trip, with the first part being steep and utilizing ladders. Karasawadake is an easier summit attempt at approximately 30 minutes of gentler terrain. Both provide amazing views of the northern alps.

Your final morning will treat you to one of the most incredible sunrises in Japan. Once again, those who wish can summit to Okuhotakadake or Karasawadake to enjoy these views, or simply enjoy them from the front of the hut. Should you chose either, head torches are mandatory.

After a quick breakfast, it's time to do the entire route in reverse, taking approximately 6.5 to 7 hours to return to Kamikochi.

This route is a photographer's and nature lover's dream come true. The area has stunning, pristine ponds, beautiful flowing waters, wildlife (monkeys and bears - follow your guide's instructions with these!), sweeping landscapes, and beautiful alpine vegetation. The sunrises are unmatched in Japan.

Note: it is advised to have sturdy alpine boots for this hike as the route from Karasawa to Hotakadake can be rugged and unstable. Helmets are mandatory as rock slides are common in the area, as are earthquakes.

For more advanced climbers: please let us know if you wish to try a more challenging route and we can certainly arrange it!

Day 8

Hotakadake Sanso Hut

Hotakadake Sanso Hut (1 night)

One of Japan's most stunning mountain huts, Hotakadake Sanso is situated between the intimidating Okuhotakadake summit route and the treacherous path to Kitahotakadake.

The hut is perched on top of the Karasawa Cirque with commanding views facing eastwards towards Mt. Asama and, in our opinion, one of Japan's most amazing sunrises.

*Please note: this is a mountain hut. There is no running water available for showers. There are charging outlets for electronic devices, however, electrical supply and lights are cut off at 9pm sharp. Sleeping arrangements are shared, with single space sleeping units for each person. Please bring your own hygienic goods such as toothbrush and toothpaste, body wipes, contact lens solution, etc. Dinner and breakfast are served at fixed times (generally 5pm and sunrise), but can be flexible with advance notice.

Hotakadake Hike (3 days)

Hotakadake Hike (3 days)

A challenging hike in both length and technicality, Hotakadake is often considered one of Japan's prime mountaineering locations.

Your adventure begins with relative ease in the Kamikochi area - a beautiful nature reserve with stunning views and spectacular walking trails. Your trek will take you along the pristine and icy Azusa river as it flows from Yarigatake through Kamikochi. After about 15km and three hours, you'll reach Yoko-o and the entrance to the northern Alps mountain trails. From Yoko-o to your first stop, Karasawa, it's about a 3 hour, 6km climb, gaining 800m. The trails are ideal for casual, enjoyable hiking, and heavily perfumed with aromatic evergreens.

Your first night will be spent in the Karasawa Cirque - a stunning alpine amphitheater surrounded by the tower peaks of Hotakadake. If you're still up for some more activity today, the Karasawa panorama course will take you around the bottom of the cirque through its rocky terrain and lower alpine vegetation. This is a great way to relax for the rest of the day - just be mindful of sunset as the area gets relatively quickly.

Waking up early for sunrise on day 2 is highly recommended as the area is known for spectacular sunrises that fill the entire cirque with light. After breakfast you'll embark on the more difficult portion of your hike - the Seitengrat.

A scree approximately 1km in length and 650m of gain, the Seitengrat can be at times treacherous due to lose rocks, rain, and/or snow. This path is not the time to lose your focus or be careless with your steps. Our recommendation is to take your time, be mindful of each step, and appreciate the stunning views as your approach your second destination - the Hotakadake Hut.

Once at the hut, you have the choice of summiting Okuhotakadake (3190m), Karasawadake (3110m), or simply resting up. A quick summit up to Okuhotakadake will be approximately a one hour round trip, with the first part being steep and utilizing ladders. Karasawadake is an easier summit attempt at approximately 30 minutes of gentler terrain. Both provide amazing views of the northern alps.

Your final morning will treat you to one of the most incredible sunrises in Japan. Once again, those who wish can summit to Okuhotakadake or Karasawadake to enjoy these views, or simply enjoy them from the front of the hut. Should you chose either, head torches are mandatory.

After a quick breakfast, it's time to do the entire route in reverse, taking approximately 6.5 to 7 hours to return to Kamikochi.

This route is a photographer's and nature lover's dream come true. The area has stunning, pristine ponds, beautiful flowing waters, wildlife (monkeys and bears - follow your guide's instructions with these!), sweeping landscapes, and beautiful alpine vegetation. The sunrises are unmatched in Japan.

Note: it is advised to have sturdy alpine boots for this hike as the route from Karasawa to Hotakadake can be rugged and unstable. Helmets are mandatory as rock slides are common in the area, as are earthquakes.

For more advanced climbers: please let us know if you wish to try a more challenging route and we can certainly arrange it!

Day 9

Takayama

Takayama

Nestled deep in the mountains of Gifu is Takayama, one of the largest cities in Japan by land area.

The city is well known for its quality - amazingly delicious Hida beef, super fresh locally grown vegetables, and expertly produced woodworking.

The center of town is also a pleasant strolling area - we recommend walking by the old castle ruins, temples, and old town for a chance to step back in history for a few hours.

飛騨亭 花扇 Hidatei Hanaougi

飛騨亭 花扇 Hidatei Hanaougi (3 nights)

Hidatei Hanaougi is located in the tranquil, nature rich area of Takayama, surrounded by fantastic seasonal views.

Hanaougi's architecture features using Japanese famous timbers such as Jindai sugi Japanese Cedar, Jjindai keyaki Japanese Zelkova,

and Yoshino sugi Japanese Cedar.

It is said that trees have a natural relaxing "fluctuation effect" like breeze and sun light.

Please enjoy staying at our glamorous traditional Japanese style inn.

This room offers the experience of your own open air bath.

The bath tub materials vary such as stone, ceramic,

and Japanese Keyaki timber depending on your room.

Appreciate the local season, and enjoy private natural hot springs.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Hotakadake Hike (3 days)

Hotakadake Hike (3 days)

A challenging hike in both length and technicality, Hotakadake is often considered one of Japan's prime mountaineering locations.

Your adventure begins with relative ease in the Kamikochi area - a beautiful nature reserve with stunning views and spectacular walking trails. Your trek will take you along the pristine and icy Azusa river as it flows from Yarigatake through Kamikochi. After about 15km and three hours, you'll reach Yoko-o and the entrance to the northern Alps mountain trails. From Yoko-o to your first stop, Karasawa, it's about a 3 hour, 6km climb, gaining 800m. The trails are ideal for casual, enjoyable hiking, and heavily perfumed with aromatic evergreens.

Your first night will be spent in the Karasawa Cirque - a stunning alpine amphitheater surrounded by the tower peaks of Hotakadake. If you're still up for some more activity today, the Karasawa panorama course will take you around the bottom of the cirque through its rocky terrain and lower alpine vegetation. This is a great way to relax for the rest of the day - just be mindful of sunset as the area gets relatively quickly.

Waking up early for sunrise on day 2 is highly recommended as the area is known for spectacular sunrises that fill the entire cirque with light. After breakfast you'll embark on the more difficult portion of your hike - the Seitengrat.

A scree approximately 1km in length and 650m of gain, the Seitengrat can be at times treacherous due to lose rocks, rain, and/or snow. This path is not the time to lose your focus or be careless with your steps. Our recommendation is to take your time, be mindful of each step, and appreciate the stunning views as your approach your second destination - the Hotakadake Hut.

Once at the hut, you have the choice of summiting Okuhotakadake (3190m), Karasawadake (3110m), or simply resting up. A quick summit up to Okuhotakadake will be approximately a one hour round trip, with the first part being steep and utilizing ladders. Karasawadake is an easier summit attempt at approximately 30 minutes of gentler terrain. Both provide amazing views of the northern alps.

Your final morning will treat you to one of the most incredible sunrises in Japan. Once again, those who wish can summit to Okuhotakadake or Karasawadake to enjoy these views, or simply enjoy them from the front of the hut. Should you chose either, head torches are mandatory.

After a quick breakfast, it's time to do the entire route in reverse, taking approximately 6.5 to 7 hours to return to Kamikochi.

This route is a photographer's and nature lover's dream come true. The area has stunning, pristine ponds, beautiful flowing waters, wildlife (monkeys and bears - follow your guide's instructions with these!), sweeping landscapes, and beautiful alpine vegetation. The sunrises are unmatched in Japan.

Note: it is advised to have sturdy alpine boots for this hike as the route from Karasawa to Hotakadake can be rugged and unstable. Helmets are mandatory as rock slides are common in the area, as are earthquakes.

For more advanced climbers: please let us know if you wish to try a more challenging route and we can certainly arrange it!

Day 10

Higashiyama Walking Course

Higashiyama Walking Course

The Higashiyama Walking Course is a pleasant walking route through Takayama's temple area, the countryside satoyama and Shiroyama Park, a wooded hill and former site of Takayama Castle.

Along the 3.5 kilometer long course, you will pass more than a dozen common temples and shrines, the ruins of Takayama's former castle and ordinary scenes of a rural Japanese town. The course is not full of breathtaking sites, but is a great way to spend a relaxing hour or so and see the relaxed side of Japan.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Takayama Morning Markets

Takayama Morning Markets

Stop by the Takayama Morning Market for an amazing chance to meet locals and try some delicious food!

Takayama Old Town

Takayama Old Town

Takayama's old town has been beautifully preserved. Many of its buildings and even whole streets of houses were constructed in the Edo Period (1600-1868). At this time, the city was a center of trade and known as a wealthy town of merchants.

The southern half of the old town, especially the Sannomachi Street, survives in a particularly pretty state with many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries.

Places to visit:

Fujii Art Gallery

The Fujii Art Gallery is housed in an old building with a beautiful gate along Sannomachi Street. The small museum exhibits various household items and art objects to give visitors a feel for life in past times.

Hida Minzoku Kokokan

Also known as the Hida Archeology Museum, the Hida Minzoku Kokokan is one of the old buildings along Sannomachi Street. Its architecture, including an old well in the courtyard, have barely changed since the Edo Period. It is a spot of interest for those interested in old architecture.

Takayama Museum of History and Art

The Museum of Local History is an interesting museum about the history and culture of Takayama City. It is housed in an old, restored building.

Hachiman Shrine

Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine (Sakurayama Hachimangu) stands in the northeastern area of Takayama's old town. The shrine's festival, the Takayama Autumn Festival, is celebrated annually on October 9-10.

Karakuri Museum

Also located at Hachiman Shrine, the Karakuri Museum (mechanical doll museum) displays mechanical dolls (karakuri ningyo) which get mounted onto festival floats. The museum also shows over 200 shishimai (lion dance) masks from around Japan. It is a good place to see the tradition and ingenuity of Japanese artisans.

Kusakabe Heritage House

The Kusakabe Heritage House (Kusakabe Mingeikan) is one of Takayama's oldest merchant homes open to the public. Its former residents, the Kusakabe family, used to be successful money lenders.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Day 11

Hida Satoyama Cycling

Hida Satoyama Cycling

The Hida Satoyama area (Takayama) is well known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and slower paced life.

Traveling around the area with an experienced guide, you will learn more about the history of this area, take in its lush, natural greenery, and explore a large number of areas that are hidden to the average tourist.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Hida-Furukawa

Hida-Furukawa

Furukawa is a small town in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture and the center of the rural municipality of Hida City. It is a 15-minute train ride north of Takayama. To separate it from identically named places in other prefectures in Japan, the town is commonly referred to as Hida Furukawa.

Furukawa is smaller and calmer than Takayama. The town is famous for the high quality timber found in the region and the high level craftsmanship skills of the local carpenters. Furukawa has a nicely preserved old town and a famous festival.

Canal Area

Canal Area

A walk along this small, carp-filled Canal that runs through the center of the city is a magical way to start the day.

The Mishima Candle Shop

The Mishima Candle Shop

The Mishima Candle Shop in Hida-Furukawa has been creating and selling traditional Japanese candles for two and a half centuries. The shop is in a traditional building in the old section of the town. The process of candle making is demonstrated by a jolly craftsmen who laughs and talks with visitors in the store at certain times of the day.

Takumikan Craft Museum

Takumikan Craft Museum

The Hida Region is the mountainous area of Gifu Prefecture. The region is famous for its high quality timber and the skills of the local carpenters.

The Takumikan Craft Museum was built in 1989 and is dedicated to traditional Hida craftsmanship. The building was constructed by local carpenters using local lumber and traditional building techniques that do not utilize nails.

The museum exhibits traditional carpenter tools and various types of wood used. In an experience corner visitors try to put together 3-D, wooden puzzles and joints, which is a surprisingly challenging task.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Day 12

Private Mountain Guide

Private Mountain Guide (1 day)

Luggage Transfer

Luggage Transfer

Leave your luggage in the lobby at the front desk or baggage desk in the morning. It will be taken to your next hotel. This is an overnight service so we ask that you back an overnight bag to take with you or enough clothing for whatever activity for how many days you will be away from your luggage.

Tateyama Alpine Adventure - 2 day

Tateyama Alpine Adventure - 2 day

The Tateyama alpine area is one of Japan's most famous winter sights, with towering snowwalls on either side as you drive to the starting point of the hike. Remarkably, these snowwalls remain for some time, even as the lower elevation turns hot and humid.

Your adventure begins at 2400m elevation at the Tateyama Murodo Terminal. After preparing to set out, you'll depart for your first area, the Raichosawa campgrounds, where you'll pick up and follow the trail up the Raicho slope.

This is a steep-at-times path, so use caution as you climb. Once you reach the top, it's an easy ridge stroll until you arrive at your hut for the night with plenty of time to rest up, enjoy some beverages, and catch some stunning sunset photos.

For day two, wake up and catch the sunrise (which are often spectacular!), down some breakfast, and head out once more. Your hike today will take you to Tateyama's highest point, Oonanji (3015m) and Tateyama's famous mountain-top shrine, Oyama Shrine (2992m). While the bulk of the elevation gain was done the previous day, some parts of this path are steep, so once again use caution.

After that, you'll head back down to the Murodo Terminal. For those looking to climb a bit more, we suggest a trek up Kita-mine, which provides stunning sweeping views of the Tateyama caldera.

For photographers: your journey will take you past some of Japan's most beautiful alpine ponds, flowers, birds (raicho - thunderbird), as well as beautiful views of the surrounding alps.

Raichoso (1 night)

Just a short walk off the Murodo Terminal is Raicho So. This mountain hut is conveniently located at the start of the Raicho Zaka route, as well as the famed Mikuri Pond.

*Please note: this is a mountain hut. There is no running water available for showers. There are charging outlets for electronic devices, however, electrical supply and lights are cut off at 9pm sharp. Sleeping arrangements are shared in a private room, 3 guests to a room. Please bring your own hygienic goods such as toothbrush and toothpaste, body wipes, contact lens solution, etc. Dinner and breakfast are served at fixed times (generally 5pm and sunrise), but can be flexible with advance notice.

Private Vehicle Transfer to the Mountains

Private Vehicle Transfer to the Mountains

Day 13

Hyatt Centric Kanazawa

Hyatt Centric Kanazawa (3 nights)

Situated just seconds from the Kanazawa station, Hyatt Centric Kanazawa is the perfect spot in which to explore the authentic art, shops, restaurants and culture of Kanazawa. Experience this well-preserved historical city; renowned for its geisha and samurai districts as well as wonderful cuisine.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Tateyama Alpine Adventure - 2 day

Tateyama Alpine Adventure - 2 day

The Tateyama alpine area is one of Japan's most famous winter sights, with towering snowwalls on either side as you drive to the starting point of the hike. Remarkably, these snowwalls remain for some time, even as the lower elevation turn hot and humid.

Your adventure begins at 2400m elevation at the Tateyama Murodo Terminal. After preparing to set out, you'll depart for your first area, the Raichosawa campgrounds, where you'll pick up and follow the trail up the Raicho slope.

This is a steep-at-times path, so use caution as you climb. Once you reach the top, it's an easy ridge stroll until you arrive at your hut for the night with plenty of time to rest up, enjoy some beverages, and catch some stunning sunset photos.

For day two, wake up and catch the sunrise (which are often spectacular!), down some breakfast, and head out once more. Your hike today will take you to Tateyama's highest point, Oonanji (3015m) and Tateyama's famous mountain-top shrine, Oyama Shrine (2992m). While the bulk of the elevation gain was done the previous day, some parts of this path are steep, so once again use caution.

After that, you'll head back down to the Murodo Terminal. For those looking to climb a bit more, we suggest a trek up Kita-mine, which provides stunning sweeping views of the Tateyama caldera.

For photographers: your journey will take you past some of Japan's most beautiful alpine ponds, flowers, birds (raicho - thunderbird), as well as beautiful views of the surrounding alps.

Day 14

Kenroku-en and Kanazawa Castle

Kenroku-en and Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle, which is most commonly associated with the powerful feudal lord Maeda Toshiie, was first built in the 16th century. Although it has suffered many devastating fires throughout history, an accurate reconstruction of castle grounds gives visitors a glimpse of what was once the seat of power for this region of Japan. Your introduction to Kanazawa will continue with a tour of Kenroku Garden.

The history of Kenroku Garden dates back to 1676 when Maeda Tsunanori began constructing a garden around his villa. For almost 200 years, the garden was private, until 1871 (the fourth year of the Meiji period) when the garden was first made available to the public. It has since been a favorite among visitors, ranking as one of the top three gardens in Japan.

Omicho Market

Omicho Market

Situated on the west coast of Japan, hugging the Sea of Japan, is the coastal city of Kanazawa.

Although well known for its artistic heritage, people from all over Japan come to Kanazawa for one major reason: food.

Widely regarded as Japan's kitchen, Kanazawa cuisine offers a wide variety of modern fusion, traditional Japanese, a variety of international cuisine from American to some of the best Indian dining to be found anywhere.

The secret to Kanazawa's delicious eating lies in the seafood from the sea of Japan, incredible local vegetables, and a culture focused on making natural ingredients shine.

Guide for Geisha Dinner

Guide for Geisha Dinner

Often, geisha speak some simple English, but it is seldom enough to hold a conversation. A guide will enhance your experience and allow you to talk on as deep of a level that you like.

Nomura-ke

Nomura-ke

Nagamachi was a samurai district at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai and their families used to live. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai r residences, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canals. One of the main attractions of the district is the centrally located Nomura-ke, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artifacts of the time when samurai were prosperous.

Dinner with Geisha

Dinner with Geisha

For the evening, enjoy a special dinner with a private geisha performance. During your Japanese course meal, you’ll enjoy a shamisen/dance performance by geisha, and the chance to play some games and interact with the ladies as well. Be careful though – these ladies are masters of their craft and should you lose you’ll need to down a drink.

Nagamachi

Nagamachi

Nagamachi was a samurai district located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle. This is where samurai and their families used to reside. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai residences, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canals.

One of the main attractions of the district is the centrally located Nomura-ke, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artifacts of the era when samurai were prosperous. In contrast is the Shinise Kinenkan Museum, a restored pharmacy displaying the lives of the merchant class which rose in prosperity as the samurai declined. It now is a museum that also shows local Kanazawa crafts.

The district has a few other museums and restored structures scattered throughout it.

Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan Museum is a museum dedicated to the Maeda family who once ruled over the region around Kanazawa. The museum features samurai armor and other relics of the Maeda Clan.

Ashigaru Shiryokan Museum shows the life of the ashigaru, or footsoldiers, who were the lowest ranked soldiers of the samurai class. This small museum consists of two reconstructed homes, which illustrate the relatively austere lifestyle of the ashigaru.

Higashichayagai

Higashichayagai

Perhaps the most photogenic area in all of Kanazawa, Higashichayagai is an old style street lined with tea houses (higashi means "eastern", chaya means "tea houses", and gai means "neighborhood"). While some of these tea houses are now residences, many of them have been repurposed as boutique shops. The area offers an abundance of unique tasting opportunities and arts and crafts.

For a less crowded stroll, we recommend moving across the street to Kazue-machi. While the area doesn't offer as many options for eating and shopping, it does allow you to enjoy the unique architecture and street design at a more leisurely pace.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Day 15

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Noto Winery Tour & Tasting

Noto Winery Tour & Tasting

Perched on cliffs along the Sea of Japan on the Noto Peninsula, this winery is a chance to enjoy the majestic natural beauty of the area while enjoying the wine produced in small batches here. Your tour today will take you around the vineyard and brewing facility, allow you to sample various wines, and finish with a delicious food pairing.

Wajima Morning Market

Wajima Morning Market

Upon your arrival in Wajima stop by the morning market to check out locally made crafts and bites to eat.

It's no secret that Ishikawa has some of the best eating in Japan, and the folks in Noto know how to do food well. One of our favorite items to enjoy is deep fried pufferfish riceballs!

In addition to food, you'll have the chance to purchase some of the areas famous, black Suzuyaki pottery and lacquerware.

Noto Senmaida Rice Fields

Noto Senmaida Rice Fields

The most famous sight along the northern coast of the Noto Peninsula is Senmaida, a hillside of terraced rice fields looking out over the Sea of Japan. There are actually over 2000 (not the 1000 that name implies. Senmaida means a thousand rice fields.) small rice fields that must be worked by hand. Located beside the main road, Senmaida is easy to reach and there is a parking lot and visitor center.

Noto Salt Making

Noto Salt Making

Sea salt is commonly produced in coastal areas around the world, each with a distinctive flavor based on the processing method and minerals found on the salt. Your stop to a traditional salt production area will show you how salt has been made here for generations, you'll get to participate in some of the production, and afterwards have the chance to purchase unique and delicious salt to enjoy.

Sojiji

Sojiji

Tucked away in the Noto Peninsula along the jagged coast of the Sea of Japan is one of Japan's most historically significant temples.

As Buddhism spread to Japan and became widely practice, various sects emerged, with the Soto Sect being one of the more dominant sects.

The Soto Sect of Buddhism had its headquarters in Eiheiji (Fukui Prefecture) and Sojiji (Ishikawa Prefecture). For over almost 600 years, Sojiji was the center of Buddhist thought and practice for the Soto Sect, until a fire devastated the temple in 1898. The headquarters was moved to Sojiji in Yokohama and the temple in Ishikawa was rebuilt.

The current day temple provides visitors with a chance to learn about its past, the Soto Sect of Buddhism, and enjoy the serene natural surroundings of the Noto Peninsula.

Day 16

Luggage Transfer

Luggage Transfer

Leave your luggage in the lobby at the front desk or baggage desk in the morning. It will be taken to your next hotel. This is an overnight service so we ask that you back an overnight bag to take with you or enough clothing for whatever activity for how many days you will be away from your luggage.

Hakusan Hike (2 days)

Hakusan Hike (2 days)

Hakusan is a dormant volcano and one of Japan's three holy mountains (the others being Tateyama and Mt. Fuji), situated on the edge of Ishikawa Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture.

Your hike today will take you up the challenging Kanko-Shindo towards your mountain hut. This is a steep-at-times trail that provides sweeping views of the beautiful Hakusan National Park. The first part is characterized by rocks interwoven with light streams and heavy foliage. The bulk of today's altitude gains come during this first part, and you'll quickly move from 1260m to 2300m, breaking free of the treeline and warmer temperatures.

After a brief rest to take in the scenery at Kuroboko Rock, you'll make your way towards your hut for the evening, another 45 minutes or so up the trail.

For those who wish, a quick summit is possible to take in the sunset, or alternatively, head out to enjoy a late afternoon enjoying alpine ponds that dot the mountain top.

We highly recommend a pre-sunrise summit as well - the views from Hakusan on a clear morning are simply stunning and rival other peaks in the northern alps.

After returning for breakfast, you'll head back down the Sabo-Shindo, a more knee-friendly and casual walking route.

For photographers: Along your hike you'll find a wide variety of foliage as the elevation changes rapidly, moving from low mountain to alpine. Be prepared for wildlife such as birds, monkeys, and the (very, very rarely) bears. Hakusan has multiple alpine ponds towards the top that provide almost endless photo opportunities. And of course, there's always sunrises and sunsets!

Note: The Hakusan hike is a great, non-intense hike that can be done by most, even as a day trip if desired. However there are a couple of important points -

1) The weather in the Hakusan area is highly erratic, so be prepared for precipitation even with a clear forecast. This goes for cloud cover as well - a clear summit attempt is far from guaranteed.

2) Hakusan, while dormant, is still an active volcano, so it is necessary to check seismic activity before climbing.

Private Mountain Guide

Private Mountain Guide (1 day)

Hakusan Murodo Visitors Center & Lodge

Hakusan Murodo Visitors Center & Lodge (1 night)

Located just below the main summit of Hakusan and shrine is the Murodo Lodge.

Perfectly situated, the lodge is a great base to use to explore the summit area's ponds and scenery.

*Please note: this is a mountain hut. There is no running water available for showers. There are charging outlets for electronic devices, however, electrical supply and lights are cut off at 9pm sharp. Sleeping arrangements are shared, with single space sleeping units for each person. Please bring your own hygienic goods such as toothbrush and toothpaste, body wipes, contact lens solution, etc. Dinner and breakfast are served at fixed times (generally 5pm and sunrise), but can be flexible with advance notice.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Day 17

Kayotei

Kayotei (2 nights)

Nestled in the southern region of Ishikawa Prefecture is Kayotei ryokan. A nearly flawless example of what a ryokan should be - seasonal, delicious food, warm hospitality, and revitalizing hot springs - Kayotei is your Japanese home away from home.

In addition to being well looked after by the staff, Kayotei is conveniently located next to the town of Yamanaka. This charming little town has plenty to see and do for those looking to explore local arts and crafts, natural beauty, and delicious food and drink.

Hakusan Hike (2 days)

Hakusan Hike (2 days)

Hakusan is a dormant volcano and one of Japan's three holy mountains (the others being Tateyama and Mt. Fuji), situated on the edge of Ishikawa Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture.

Your hike today will take you up the challenging Kanko-Shindo towards your mountain hut. This is a steep-at-times trail that provides sweeping views of the beautiful Hakusan National Park. The first part is characterized by rocks interwoven with light streams and heavy foliage. The bulk of today's altitude gains come during this first part, and you'll quickly move from 1260m to 2300m, breaking free of the treeline and warmer temperatures.

After a brief rest to take in the scenery at Kuroboko Rock, you'll make your way towards your hut for the evening, another 45 minutes or so up the trail.

For those who wish, a quick summit is possible to take in the sunset, or alternatively, head out to enjoy a late afternoon enjoying alpine ponds that dot the mountain top.

We highly recommend a pre-sunrise summit as well - the views from Hakusan on a clear morning are simply stunning and rival other peaks in the northern alps.

After returning for breakfast, you'll head back down the Sabo-Shindo, a more knee-friendly and casual walking route.

Note: The Hakusan hike is a great, non-intense hike that can be done by most, even as a day trip if desired. However there are a couple of important points -

1) The weather in the Hakusan area is highly erratic, so be prepared for precipitation even with a clear forecast. This goes for cloud cover as well - a clear summit attempt is far from guaranteed.

2) Hakusan, while dormant, is still an active volcano, so it is necessary to check seismic activity before climbing.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Half Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Half Day

Day 18

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Yamanaka Onsen

Yamanaka Onsen

Yamanaka Onsen, along the Kakusenkei Gorge, is one of four small onsen towns that comprise Kaga Onsen. The hot springs have been believed to be the best waters in Hokuriku since they were discovered over 1300 years ago. The famous traveling poet, Matsuo Basho, considered Yamanaka to be in the top three of Japan's hot springs.

The town's main street is modern, but has been remodeled and has traditional storefronts and the area's power lines have been buried adding to the ambiance. However, the side streets give a pleasant view of an old Japanese town.

The Kakusenkei Gorge is just a few blocks away from the town center. It is crossed by several bridges.

- Ayatori Bridge is named after the traditional Japanese game called "Ayatori" (Cat's Cradle). It was designed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, a Japanese film maker and son of the founder of the Sogetsu school of Ikebana. The bridge is 80 meters long and its "S" shape is said to resemble a dragon rising into the sky. At night, the bridge is lit up.

-Kurotani Bridge is an arched stone bridge built in the early-20th-century Taisho Era style. It has been considered the gateway into the Yamanaka area.

- Kohrogi Bridge is a gorgeous cypress bridge with beautiful views in every season. It is a must-see spot for visitors to Yamanaka Onsen.

Nearby Ayatori Bridge is Kakusenkei Kawadoko, a popular spot to sit next to the river and enjoy sweets created by Rokusaburo Michiba, a veteran from Iron Chef and enjoy the flowing waters and the brilliant colors of the gorge.

Yamanaka Craft Tour

Yamanaka Craft Tour

The Yamanaka area lies at the foothills of Mt Haku, one of Japan's 3 holy mountains.

Surrounded by lush greenery with a virbrant river flowing through it, a gorgeous gorge to enjoy daily walks, Yamanaka Onsen is home to some of Japan's finest ryokans and hotsprings in Japan.

The area is also famous for its crafts - boosting a proud heritage of woodworking and lacqureware. This tour is deisgned to be a leaping point for you to enjoy the local crafts and upon completion, there can be an optional hands on activity added, giving you the chance to learn under one of the local masters.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Day 19

Eiheiji Temple

Eiheiji is a large temple complex and active monastery in Fukui Prefecture. It stands on a cedar-covered slope in the foothills of the Japan Alps. Founded in 1244 by the Buddhist scholar, Dogen who brought Soto Zen to Japan from China in 1228, the temple is one of two head temples of the Soto Sect of Zen Buddhism.

The complex contains over 70 buildings and structures. The warmer months bring lush vegetation to the temple grounds, which are especially beautiful from late October to early November when the autumn colors typically peak. The winter months bring heavy snow, which is why the buildings are connected by covered pathways.

The buildings include the main reception hall, a modern construction, and the more historically important buildings, such as the Sanmon Gate, The Buddha's Hall, the main lecture hall and the founder's hall, which contains some of Dogen's ashes and images of all the temple's head monks.

LTD Express: Fukui-Kyoto

LTD Express: Fukui-Kyoto

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private vehicle transfer, station to hotel

Private vehicle transfer, station to hotel

Meet your driver upon your arrival and move to your hotel by private vehicle.

Tojinbo

Tojinbo

Tojinbo is a stretch of basalt cliffs along the Sea of Japan in Fukui Prefecture. The rocky coastline has been cut and shaped by the ocean's water and waves that have left deep crevasses and fissures and cliffs that rise up almost 30 meters from the water below. The rough-edged five-and six-sided basalt pillars are a geologically unique formation that can only be seen in two other locations in the world.

Tojinbo can be explored along trails that follow the cliff's edge to various chasms and outcroppings. Visitors can walk right to the unmarked edges of the bluffs. Visitors need to be careful as to not fall as the namesake of the cliffs, which are named after a monk who supposedly died falling from these cliffs. Also, a slightly darker note, locals consider the area creepy or scary, because of the number of people who have died from leaping from the cliffs.

We do need to warn guests that the way to cliffs is lined by restaurants, food and souvenir shops many of which offer local crabs and other seafood. Along the way, guests will come to the old Tojinbo Tower, which gives a 360-degree view of the area, but the cliffs are not visible. There is an additional 500 yen entrance fee for the tower.

There are trails that follow the coast trails north and offer wonderful views of the seaside scenery and wildlife from a number of lookout points and rest huts. At the other end of the trail is a small fishing village and a red pedestrian bridge to Oshima Island. Visitors can hike around the small island to a shrine and additional rock formations.

HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa (3 nights)

Since ancient times, visitors to Japan have sensed and seen the exquisite beauty of Kyoto's natural world, where four seasons come and go in balanced succession. Our luxury hotel harmonizes with nature, climate and history while harnessing our guests' pleasures as our own. This ideal, and the ties to traditional Japanese aesthetics and beliefs, is a part of our brand concept: “EMBRACING JAPAN’S BEAUTY.” From architecture and crafts to food and service, Kyoto culture and local customs shine through everything we do and emphasizes our meticulous, inviting hospitality. Experience the natural spring water of our on-site, full-service thermal spa or our contemporary fitness center open 24-hours a day. Delight in views of Kyoto or the garden from your luxury hotel room or suite with evening turndown, 24-hour room service and iconic, latticed shōji room dividers. At HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, authenticity is at the forefront of our service.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Maruoka Castle

Maruoka Castle

Maruoka Castle is only twelve castles in Japan that survived the post Shogunate times with their keeps intact. The very small, 3-story keep was constructed in the early 1600s. The castle is also known by the nickname "mist castle" which is based on a legend about a thick mist hid the castle from approaching enemies.

The honestly not-so-impressive Maruoka Castle is on a small hill in the plains of northern Fukui Prefecture. The wooden interior of the structure is preserved and is almost completely unfurnished except for information displays and a diorama of the castle on its lowest floor. A set of traditional extremely steep wooden stairs lead up to the floors above.

The former castle grounds surrounding the keep are a public park with a small museum that displays some arms, armor, and household items related to the former lords of Maruoka Castle. The castle is here on your itinerary not for its majesty or beauty, but for its historical and cultural importance.

Assistant for transfer

Assistant for transfer

Luggage Transfer

Luggage Transfer

Leave your luggage in the lobby at the front desk or baggage desk in the morning. It will be taken to your next hotel. This is an overnight service so we ask that you back an overnight bag to take with you or enough clothing for whatever activity for how many days you will be away from your luggage.

Day 20

Nijō Castle

Nijō Castle

Known for its nightingale floors that chirp with every step, the castle provides a stunning example of architecture and interior decorations. After you explore inside the castle, enjoy the stroll around the castle grounds with its beautiful gardens.

Golden Pavilion

Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion, is one of Japan’s iconic sites. The temple grounds first began as a small villa in 1224 and was converted to a Zen temple shortly after. Like so many other historical landmarks in Japan, the temple has unfortunately suffered destruction from fires in its history. The building, as it stands today, is a historically accurate reconstruction of the temple before it burned down from arson in 1950.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market

Today’s tour will begin at Nishiki Market in the heart of the city. A long, narrow street, this market sells everything from pickles, to countless green tea varieties, and lots of Kyoto typical delicacies. As you stroll through the market, you’ll have plenty of chances to sample treats and pick up some unique items to bring home.

Daitokuji Walk and Tea Tour

Daitokuji Walk and Tea Tour

The Way of Tea or Japanese Tea Ceremony comes hand in hand with Zen.

Let us walk you through the quiet grounds of Daitokuji Temple, where historical Tea Masters practiced this living Art under Buddhist monks. After the walk, you are invited to the tea practitioner’s house for a simple bowl of Matcha (powdered green tea). The traditional townhouse has a charming atmosphere which will further evoke discussions on how the style of Zen and taste of Tea are one.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Tour in the comfort of your own private luxury minivan (Toyota Alphard).

Day 21

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermillion gates that line this sacred mountainside, is the most important shrine in Japan dedicated to the Shinto god Inari, with a history dating back over 1,200 years.

As you make your approach to the shrine, you’ll notice the ever-present statues of foxes. Although it seems a bit strange to associate foxes with healthy rice crops, it’s actually quite logical – foxes eat mice, thus protecting the crops from rodent damage. There are an estimated 30,000 sub shrines that belong to Fushimi Inari across Japan.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The bamboo forest offers paths for walking or biking. It is a must see for those visiting Arashiyama. The bamboo grown here has been used for centuries for creating crafts, such as tea whisks, sake cups, baskets and many others.

Shojin Ryori

Shojin Ryori

A traditional Buddhist meal, shojin ryori is made without the use of any animal ingredients. This meal is the perfect chance to taste the exquisite flavor of Japan's vegetables while refueling for your touring.

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

While many religious sites have a somber tone, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a fun twist on the Japanese temple experience. Here you'll find well over 1,000 small stone statues, called rakan, often depicting humorous and lighthearted disciples of the Buddha.

Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street

Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street

Much of this street along the way from the Otaji Nenbutsuji Temple has been preserved in the style of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Many of the buildings are traditional machiya that were once private residences but have been changed into shops and restaurants.

Jojakkoji Temple

Founded in 1596, this mountainside temple is filled with small, attractive buildings, gates and a quiet atmosphere. Its many maple trees and moss are located next to the paths and stairs all around the grounds.

Nisonin Temple

Slightly larger and more imposing than Jojakkoji, Nisonin Temple is another hillside temple. The reflective atmosphere of the grounds are enhanced by the trees that create an almost tunnel-like entrance to the temple. It was founded in the 1000s and offers excellent views of Kyoto.

Gioji Temple

More off the road and hidden into the hills, Gioji Temple is a personal favorite. Its moss garden offers a great alternative to the more famous Kokedera and is usually less crowded and thus more peaceful. Many of the temple buildings still have thatched roofs, contributing to a feeling of times gone by.

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Tour in the comfort of your own private luxury minivan (Toyota Alphard).

Day 22

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you for traveling with us.

We hope that we were able to help you build lasting memories of your time in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Assistant for transfer

Assistant for transfer

Private Vehicle Transfer, Hotel to Kansai International Airport

Private Vehicle Transfer, Hotel to Kansai International Airport

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel and move to Kansai International Airport by private vehicle.

Want to take a journey like this?

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