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IJT eXplorer Historic Mountain Trails

13 Nights: from US$3570 (excluding international flights)
The pulsating buzz of Japan's metropolis and the serene beauty of its gardens and temples is a staple image of the country. However, to get a true, balanced picture of this extraordinary land, the best way is to stretch the muscles and absorb Japan's natural beauty in its glorious mountains.

Long the domain of pilgrims and spiritual leaders, hiking has in the past century become an increasingly popular leisure activity among the locals. The Japanese always cheerfully interact with foreign hikers who are lucky enough to access the beautiful alpine hinterlands, which match many a region across the globe in terms of natural beauty.

This hiking tour offers you the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of samurai and pilgrims as you wind your way along the ancient Nakasendo Highway, cooling off under the glorious Metaki Otaki waterfalls; scale the towering craggy peaks of the Chubu Sangaku National Park, where you will stay in wonderfully-organised lodges in Kamikochi and high on Mt Hotaka - Japan's 3rd highest. And, of course, you will be eager to scale one of the most majestic peaks in the world - Mt Fuji. We run our trip to coincide with the short season for summiting this iconic creation of volcanic perfection. Reaching our hut before sundown will allow us to marvel at the huge shadow cast across the Kanto Plain, stretching to the Pacific, and an early morning final ascent will be timed for a heartwarming welcome by the rising sun.

Of course, there will be a mix of cultural delights to revel in as we lead you through the neon-drenched mazes of Tokyo, where fashion centres, Harajuku and Shibuya, back onto serene spiritual sights such as the Meiji Imperial Shrine, nestled in its own green oasis. The energy of the capital alone is enough to sweep you along for days and is sure to leave its indelible mark as simply one of the coolest, most vibrant and friendly world-class cities.

We will similarly wind our way through exquisite temple-lined backstreets of Kyoto, always keeping a keen eye out for the enigmatic grace of the famous Geisha, who to this day still perform centuries-old cultural activities to mesmerised admirers, such as tea ceremony and traditional dance. The northern outer limits of the city conceal an abundance of nature which we can explore as we follow forest trail through to the relaxing spas of Kurama.

Natural hot spring baths, Japanese Ryokan accommodation, karaoke, astounding rail travel and exquisite cuisine will all be interwoven into this trip to create an unforgettable experience that offers you deeper absorption into both rural and urban Japan. After 2 weeks on our Historic Mountain Trails tour, you will return home invigorated - physically, spiritually and mentally. Come join us!

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Jacqueline - Historic Mountain Trails, Jul 2014   starRating
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Price

Tour Price from US$3570
Full Price Details
The price shown here is for the land arrangements only and does not include international flights. If you would like a quote for your flights, please ask.

 
What’s Included:
  • 13 nights accommodation ranging from city hotels to mountain lodges
  • All transport between destinations in Japan including airport transfer on arrival and departure
  • Meet and Greet upon arrival at Narita Airport
  • Tokyo transport pass
  • A mix of Western and traditional Japanese style breakfasts everyday
  • 8 evening meals & breakfast every day
  • Cycling tour of Kyoto
  • Mt. Fuji mountain hut and transport arrangements
  • Luggage forwarding from Tokyo to Matsumoto and from Kyoto to Hakone
  • Full time services of your expert IJT Tour Leader
  • InsideJapan Tours' complimentary Info-Pack
What’s NOT Included:
  • International flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) unless otherwise specified
  • Any entrance fees including those for shrines,temples and museums unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip except where specified

Important Practical Information

Maximum Group Size: 14

Please note that this is a challenging hiking tour - you will need to be of good fitness to take part.

Single Supplement: This tour does not have a single supplement. Single travellers will have their own single room at the western style accommodation (7 nights) but will be asked to share at all other night stops.  

Transport & Luggage: This is a hiking tour and transfers are made by public transport or on foot. You will need one main bag which can be either a ruck-sack or a moderately sized suitcase. We will be sending this main bag from Tokyo to Matsumoto. For our 4 nights in Magome and Kamikochi you will need to have a 50L~ rucksack (with space to hold containers for at leadt 2 litres of water and the essentials listed below) that you are comfortable hiking with.  Note: a simple day pack is not sufficient. 

Weather and clothing: The tour takes place in the summer and it will be hot in Tokyo and Kyoto. Temperatures in the Japanese Alps and on Mt. Fuji however can still drop to below zero degrees centigrade. You will need good outdoor clothing made up of layers to stay warm and dry. You will also need to bring hiking boots with you.

Accommodation: The western style hotels all have full en-suite facilities. Mountain huts and lodges have limited washing facilities. The other stays have shared (single sex) facilities. Rooming will be twin or single rooms at the western style hotels but at the mountain huts and lodges we will be using multi-person rooms.

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo Narita Airport.

Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available up to 2 days in advance of the tour and if you are staying extra nights pre-tour it is only available if those nights are booked through InsideJapan Tours.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 12 noon. (You can however securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

 

Day by Day Itinerary


Day 1 Tokyo

Meals: Dinner

The tour begins in Tokyo. You can use the included IC transport card for the airport transfer in to the city. Our hotel is located in the Tokyo’s central Shiba Park district. Close by you will find Tokyo Tower and Zojoji Temple and you have easy subway and overground links to the whole city. Plenty to keep you occupied if you arrive early. We will have a group meeting in the evening, giving you the chance to meet your fellow group members and Tour Leader. After the meeting, your Tour Leader will head out for an amazing meal at one of the many great restaurants nearby.

Day 2 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

Today your Tour Leader will take you on a day tour. We will be sure to take in visits to Meiji shrine and Harajuku, Hamarikyu Gardens and Asakusa’s Sensoji temple as well as take a ride on the river bus. Of course, feel free if you want to head out and do your own thing – there are so many fantastic things to do and see in this amazing city; museums, gardens, and shrines. Your Tour Leader will organise an itinerary for the day to suit everyone’s tastes but will also be happy to assist with any plans.

Day 3 Tsumago

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

We leave Tokyo as early as possible catching our first Bullet Train ride to Nagoya, where we transfer to an express train up to the rural Kiso Valley. Our afternoon activity will include a steady 4-hour hike between the old post towns of Tsumago and Magome, on the ancient Nakasendo highway. En-route we can cool off under the refreshing Otaki waterfall. (3-4 hour leisurely hike, undulating trail, hot conditions)

Magome and Tsumago are both wonderfully preserved villages with fascinating craft shops and historic buildings of interest, so we will be sure to spend a little time ducking in and out of the charming rural shops and inns to savour the atmosphere of a place truly lost in time. Our evening accommodation will be traditional style, so we can be sure of a sumptuous dinner and soothing spring baths.

Day 4 Kamikochi

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

A short train ride and then a glorious bus trip up into the hills following the Azusa river ends in Kamikochi, gateway to some of the most spectacular hiking in the country. Looking out for the famous Japanese macaque monkeys en-route, we start our trail through the national park by following the pristine river through the forest to Yokoo Lodge, where we stay the night, dwarfed by the towering granite spires above.

Day 5 Kamikochi

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Our exhilarating day ahead starts early, allowing plenty of time for our challenging 6-hour hike up to Hotaka Dake, hopefully enjoying stunning vistas of the park below and the surrounding peaks. There will likely still be a considerable snowfield to negotiate so crampons and poles will be required, although specialist technical ability is not. A final scramble to the Hotaka Sansou hut will definitely add to the sense of adventure in the incredible Karasawa Valley. Our tough hike will be rewarded with the comforts of Japanese mountain hut hospitality at 3000m. Great food and warmth awaits us! (8+ hour challenging hike, 1500m of ascent, snow, scrambling, drastically variable weather)

Day 6 Kamikochi

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Up for sunrise and another early start, we rise in no time to the highpoint of the hike, atop Mt Oku-Hotaka (3190m), Japan’s 3rd highest. We follow the ridgeline to Mae-Hotaka Peak, before dropping steeply down into the Dakesawa Valley, renowned for its glorious views of the lush forest trail below which winds back down to the Azusa river, where a hot bath and warm futon await us at our accommodation by the river. (8-10 hours challenging hike, steep descent, snow, scrambling, drastically variable weather)

Day 7 Matsumoto

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast we will leave the park at a liesurely pace and head by bus and local line train to the castle town of Matsumoto. Highlights of this friendly, spacious city include the wonderfully preserved castle with its picturesque grounds and interesting museum, and the old merchants’ quarter, all just 5 minutes’ walk from our hotel.

For art lovers, there is the option of heading a little out of town to the Ukiyoe Museum, which features works by many of the great woodblock print artists such as Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kitagawa. This private collection is the world’s largest but you don’t get the crowds to match, making this a highly recommended visit. Tonight we can head into town to a restaurant and mingle with Matsumoto’s very hospitable local people.

Day 8 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

We whiz our way, by express then bullet train to Kyoto. We can use the afternoon to explore this great city’s huge station complex before heading to the east side’s World Heritage Site of Kiyomizu Temple, dating as it stands back to 1633. The setting for this stilted place of worship is high above the city. It is therefore the perfect place to people-watch, enjoy the greenery and scan the cityscape, before we head through the traditional back streets which take us back in time to the era of Geisha and Samurai clans.

In the early evening, we can wander the Gion district and learn about the lives, historic and present, of the world-famous Geisha, before heading out for an included meal in a vibrant part of this great city. Nightlife awaits those with excess energy!

Day 9 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

A morning in the saddle for those who fancy it. A local guide and cycling enthusiast is at your service to lead you to some of the famous and lesser-trodden haunts of Kyoto.

Day 10 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

The luxury of a 3rd day in Kyoto gives you a number of great options. Further sightseeing in the city may include the famous Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji Temple or the incredible gardens of Ginkakuji’s Silver Pavilion. Alternatively, you may want to head for a ride by boat down the Hozugawa River or mingle with the locals at Nishiki Food Market and the Teramachi district. There is also an optional hike in the secluded northern tip of the city, between the verdant areas of Kibune and Kurama spa. Whatever you decide, you are sure to find more than enough to fill your day in what is arguably the finest historic city in the Far East.

Day 11 Hakone

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

We leave the ancient capital and head east to the Fuji Hakone National Park. After dropping our bags at our accommodation, we will head out with our hiking kits to start our ascent of Mt Fuji, on the lesser-trodden, greener Subashiri Trail. As we climb we will take in the surrounding scenery and marvel at Fuji’s enormous shadow. Tonight’s dinner will be in one of Mt. Fuji’s mountain huts, giving us a chance for a well-deserved rest before the early morning final push to the summit. (5-6 hour hike, loose scree/solidified lava trail, considerable altitude gain, drastically variable weather)

Day 12 Hakone

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Joining the other hikers, our remaining ascent will be completed in the dark of night but your tour leader will time things so that you arrive at the summit just before sunrise, ensuring a spectacular start to the day. We then descend back along the Subashiri Trail (3-4 hours) and bus back to our accommodation in Hakone. If you have the energy, an afternoon visit to the world class Hakone Open Air Museum is highly recommended, where works by Miro, Picasso, Moore and Rodin can be marvelled at in the wonderful mountainous and forested surroundings of Fuji Hakone National Park. Alternatively soak away any aches and pains in the hot spring baths available for your use. Dinner is included at our hotel tonight.

Day 13 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

Back to Tokyo for last minute shopping and sightseeing before you head out for a last dinner with your tour leader in the electric Shinjuku district of the city - a great place to reflect and chat about the highlights of what will be an unforgettable 2 weeks of adventure, personal challenge and a memorable team-oriented immersion in Japan’s urban and rural landscapes.

Day 14 Depart

Meals: Breakfast

Sadly, it is time to bid sayonara – for now! You can take the direct airport train from Shinjuku station, located a short walk from our hotel, to Narita Airport.

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Photos


No photos currently available.

Pricing Information

2014
Tour Price: US$3570
Extra Nights  
Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$85     Single pp US$102 
Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$119    Single pp US$187
2015
Tour Price: US$3570
Extra Nights  
Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$85     Single pp US$102 
Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$119    Single pp US$187
 

Accommodation


Shiba Park Hotel

Tokyo

Moderate Hotel

The Shiba Park hotel is located in the centre of Tokyo, with Tokyo Tower and Zozo-ji Temple a short walk west and Hama Rikyu Gardens a pleasant stroll away to the east. The hotel has friendly English speaking staff and is well used to looking after foreign guests. The lobby has plenty of space and seating and the rooms are of a reasonable size for Tokyo. There are numerous subway and overland stations nearby and the hotel also has its own restaurants, including a French restaurant operated by a Michelin starred chef!

Hotel Fuki-no-Mori

Tsumago

Japanese Style

You will be staying at the Hotel Fuki-no-Mori which is a Japanese style hotel located just outside Tsumago village. Unlike the inns in Tsumago, the rooms here all have full en-suite facilities. It is still a traditional style accommodation with nice Japanese style rooms. Hot spring baths are also available both outdoor and indoor and also ones available for private use. The hotel offers a free pick up service from Nagiso station. A great bases for enjoying this beautiful area of Japan!

Kamikochi Yokoo Sanso

Kamikochi

Hostel

Yokoo Sanso is located deep within the Kamikochi national park about a 3 hour walk from the visitor centre. Accommodation here is in shared rooms with 8 people maximum in each room. There is a large Japanese style bath house to enjoy. This recently refurbished lodge is an ideal base for mountain climbers and trekkers who are destined for Yarigatake Peak and the Hotaka Mountain Range.

Kamikochi Hotaka Dake Sanso

Kamikochi

Hostel

The Hotaka Dake Sanso is located amidst the stunning Hotaka-dake mountain range in the Kamikochi national park. See if you can spot the red building amongst the magnificent mountains! Lodging is in shared rooms with fellow climbers and dinner is included. A fantastic experience in a dramatic setting.

Hotel Shirakabaso

Kamikochi

Ryokan (JP)

In Kamikochi we will be staying in a Japanese style room at the Hotel Shirakabaso. You will be able to enjoy some lovely Japanese hot spring baths here and the ryokan is located right by the famous Kappa bridge. This is a lovely base for exploring this beautiful area.

Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

Matsumoto

Pension

The Hotel Kagetsu has been a part of the fabric of Matsumoto for over a hundred years. It is located just a short walk from Matsumoto castle and has a lovely Meiji-era atmosphere with lots of folk-craft furniture and turn of the century style decor. The restaurant and cafe are very good and the hotel has its own bath house as well as fully en-suite rooms.

Hotel Sunroute Kyoto

Kyoto

Moderate Hotel

The Sunroute in Kyoto is a welcoming western style hotel in a great spot just a short walk from the Gion geisha district and the Minamiza theatre. Rooms are compact but have everything you need and the hotel has a particularly good buffet breakfast. There is a nice cafe downstairs and free internet is available throughout the hotel.

Hotel Resorpia Hakone

Hakone

Resort (JP)

Hotel Resorpia Hakone is a Japanese style resort hotel based in the Gora area of Hakone, just a short walk away from Nakagora funicular station, the start of the ropeway at Sounzan and the Hakone Museum of Art. The hotel has hot spring baths, two restaurants, a swimming pool (summer only) and a games room, and is a great place to enjoy your stay in the area.

Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku

Tokyo

Moderate Hotel

The Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku is in an unbeatable location in the heart of Shinjuku, just minutes on foot from the station and with numerous restaurants and shops on its doorstep. The hotel has its own bar, cafe and restaurant and offers compact but clean and comfortable rooms. A handy coin laundry is available and there is an internet computer in the lobby. A great base from which to do some last minute sightseeing, shopping and eating before heading home.

Tour Dates
Tour Starts Tour Disbands Price Status
2014
Currently there are no departures available for this year. Please contact us using the enquiry form or call us - UK (0)117 370 9740 / USA 303 952 0379 / AUS 028 011 3229
2015
12 Jul 2015 25 Jul 2015 US$3570 NOW BOOKING
2016
Currently there are no departures available for this year. Please contact us using the enquiry form or call us - UK (0)117 370 9740 / USA 303 952 0379 / AUS 028 011 3229

What’s Included:
  • 13 nights accommodation ranging from city hotels to mountain lodges
  • All transport between destinations in Japan including airport transfer on arrival and departure
  • Meet and Greet upon arrival at Narita Airport
  • Tokyo transport pass
  • A mix of Western and traditional Japanese style breakfasts everyday
  • 8 evening meals & breakfast every day
  • Cycling tour of Kyoto
  • Mt. Fuji mountain hut and transport arrangements
  • Luggage forwarding from Tokyo to Matsumoto and from Kyoto to Hakone
  • Full time services of your expert IJT Tour Leader
  • InsideJapan Tours' complimentary Info-Pack
What’s NOT Included:
  • International flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) unless otherwise specified
  • Any entrance fees including those for shrines,temples and museums unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip except where specified

Important Practical Information

Maximum Group Size: 14

Please note that this is a challenging hiking tour - you will need to be of good fitness to take part.

Single Supplement: This tour does not have a single supplement. Single travellers will have their own single room at the western style accommodation (7 nights) but will be asked to share at all other night stops.  

Transport & Luggage: This is a hiking tour and transfers are made by public transport or on foot. You will need one main bag which can be either a ruck-sack or a moderately sized suitcase. We will be sending this main bag from Tokyo to Matsumoto. For our 4 nights in Magome and Kamikochi you will need to have a 50L~ rucksack (with space to hold containers for at leadt 2 litres of water and the essentials listed below) that you are comfortable hiking with.  Note: a simple day pack is not sufficient. 

Weather and clothing: The tour takes place in the summer and it will be hot in Tokyo and Kyoto. Temperatures in the Japanese Alps and on Mt. Fuji however can still drop to below zero degrees centigrade. You will need good outdoor clothing made up of layers to stay warm and dry. You will also need to bring hiking boots with you.

Accommodation: The western style hotels all have full en-suite facilities. Mountain huts and lodges have limited washing facilities. The other stays have shared (single sex) facilities. Rooming will be twin or single rooms at the western style hotels but at the mountain huts and lodges we will be using multi-person rooms.

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo Narita Airport.

Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available up to 2 days in advance of the tour and if you are staying extra nights pre-tour it is only available if those nights are booked through InsideJapan Tours.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 12 noon. (You can however securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

 
Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009