Enjoy a half day tour of Kyoto with Riki in his hometown.
Walk two sections of the Nakasendo.
Visit 16th century Matsumoto Castle.
Stay and walk Kamikochi, the roof of Japan.
Visit Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.
Experience traditional indigo dyeing in Asakusa.
Visit the Towada Art Centre.
Take a hot spring baths in three beautiful natural settings.
Stay and walk in the beautiful Oirase Gorge.
Visit the new National Museum for Ainu peoples: Upopoy
Scale the highest mountain of Hokkaido, Asahidake
Transport and entry to all places described
Accommodation and meals described
The services of Riki Inamura, the tour escort
Airport-hotel transfers in Japan
Hotels & Minshuku
Kyoto: Hotel Intergate Kyoto Shijo
Tsumago: Daikichi (post-town inn)
Narai: Shimadaya (post-town inn)
Kamikochi: Nishi-Itoya Sanso (mountain lodge)
Tokyo: Daiwa Roynet Ginza
Oirase: Keiryu Hotel (onsen hotel)
Lake Toya: Nonokaze (onsen hotel)
Asahidake: Hotel Bear Monte (onsen hotel)
Sapporo: Century Royal Hotel
Travel to Kyoto by Sat 21 May or 17 Sep 2022
Arrive Kansai or Itami by own arrangement with transfers provided to Kyoto.
Have a tour of Kyoto with Riki, including the Golden Pavilion. Later, see Japanese performing arts and enjoy a welcome dinner at Wontana, Riki’s family favourite.
Kyoto (Mt Kurama day-walk) B
Enjoy Kyoto as you wish, or join Riki for a day walk of the Mt Kurama temple complex in the northern hills.
Kyoto to Tsumago (Nakasendo day-walk 1) BD
Take the Shinkansen, local train and bus to Magome in Gifu Prefecture. From there, we will commence our leisurely walk on the ancient Nakasendo over Magome Pass (3hr approx). At night enjoy the traditional atmosphere of this historically intact mountain village.
Tsumago to Narai (Nakasendo day-walk 2) BD
After a short walk to Nagiso Station, passing by the castle ruins for spectacular views of Magome Pass, we will take a short train ride, to rejoin the Nakasendo at Yabuhara. This 3hr section of the Nakasendo goes over the Torii Pass through ancient forests before descending into Narai, our post-town stay for the night.
Narai to Kamikochi via Matsumoto Castle BD
Today, we will travel by train and bus to the roof of Japan, Kamikochi. Along the way, we will stop at the 16th Matsumoto Castle, where you can also try some excellent soba if you wish.
Kamikochi day-walk BD
At 1500m, you could just relax in this spectacular setting, or join Riki for a walk to Myojin Pond. Keen hikers can add a 2 hour climb to Dakesawa, which has grand views of the valley.
Kamikochi to Tokyo B
Today, we will return to Matsumoto by bus and local train. And from there, we’ll catch a connecting Shinkansen into Tokyo.
In the morning, join Riki to visit Sensoji Temple in old downtown Tokyo, then try your hand at inidigo dyeing in a community store. In the afternoon, you will be free to explore, then you may want to enjoy people watching or shopping in Ginza, as the streets will be closed to traffic.
Use this day to explore Tokyo as you wish. You could walk up Mt Takao in western Tokyo. Alternatively, you may wish to join a tour of Mt Fuji & Hakone, or Nikko for the Toshogu Shrine in the cedar forests.
Tokyo to Oirase Gorge BD
Catch the Shinkansen north to visit the Towada Art Centre, then Oirase to walk up the verdant gorge to Lake Towada. Take an onsen at the hotel before dinner.
Oirase Gorge (Oirase Gorge day-walk) BD
Today, you can relax as you wish in this pristine environment, or join Riki for an easy but longish walk to Lake Towada along the Oirase Gorge.
Oirase Gorge to Lake Toya BD
Take the Shinkansen and a local train to the lakeside village of Toya. Walk the Mt Usu area, a smouldering volcano, then soothe your feet in the onsen.
Lake Toya BD
Today, we will charter a bus in order to explore the Mt Usu volcanic area, and also the National Museum for Ainu Peoples: Upopoy. If you prefer, you may want to just relax around Lake Toya as you wish.
Lake Toya to Asahidake (Kamui Mintara, Daisetsuzan NP) BD
Travel through diverse scenery to the base village of Asahidake, the highest peak in Hokkaido, which is known as Kamui Mintara in the local Ainu language. Enjoy dinner and an onsen.
Asahidake (Kamui Mintara day-walk) BD
Using the gondola, a range of day-walks is possible from the top of this pristine volcanic mountain to suit your fitness and the weather.
Asahidake to Sapporo BD
We make our way down to Sapporo, where you’re free to explore this cosmopolitan little city. Reward yourself with zangi (Hokkaido style fried chicken) and Sapporo beer.
Sapporo, then travel home on Tue 7 Jun or 4 Oct 2022 B
Sapporo at leisure, then transfer to Chitose for your flight home.