SHINETSU TRAIL

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

11 DAY JAPANESE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

Trip Philosophy

The Shinetsu Trail is our main focus on this trip. However, in addition to the multi-day hike, this full package tour offers a variety of experiences, including Tokyo, the famous bullet train, visiting the Snow Monkey Park, staying in ‘Ryokans’ (Japanese-style inns) and relaxing in a village renowned for its hot springs.

We are committed to offering an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy a unique hiking experience combined with other must-do and must-see attractions in Japan, a fascinating and culturally diverse country.

DAY1

2017 October 15 or October 18


  • Arrival in the Land of the Rising Sun ... Japan.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Dine at Izakaya, a Japanese-style bar, learn dining etiquette and how to use chopsticks!

    You will need to make your own way to the arranged hotel in Tokyo in time for the tour briefing at 6.00pm. Upon arrival at the arranged hotel in Tokyo, you will be met by your tour leader in the lobby. In the evening, we will go for a group dinner at Izakaya, a Japanese-style bar. There, we will get to know each other and experience our first taste of Japanese culture.

    SCHEDULE
    Tokyo » Hotel » Dinner » Hotel
    STAY
    Hotel in Tokyo
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ NA ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY2

2017 October 16 or October 19


  • Explore Tokyo and Hike Mt. Takao.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Mount Takao Hike, Views of Mount. Fuji and Tokyo, Train ride.

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Grab your daypack and leave your suitcase in the hotel. Our objective is a half-day hike on Mount Takao. We will get there by train exploiting one of the best rail systems in the world. Only a 1.5 hour train ride from central Tokyo, this mountain offers stunning views, a long history and a fascinating temple. On a clear day Mount Fuji is visible from the top and an amazing landscape beckons to the north-east with the immensity of Tokyo sprawling out in the distance.

    The trail to the summit is well-maintained and surrounded by natural forest. It's an easy hike (3.1 km, 400 m of elevation gain) and will give us the opportunity to stretch our legs and prepare for the trip ahead. We will take a cable car down the mountain leaving us more time on the summit to relax and soak in the surroundings.
    After returning to Tokyo, you will be able to explore the city on your own.

    SCHEDULE
    Tokyo » Mt.Takao » Tokyo
    STAY
    Hotel in Tokyo
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ NA ]
DAY3

2017 October 17 or October 20


  • Explore Zenko-Ji and blend in with the mountain community.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Bullet Train ride, Zenko-Ji temple, Nakamise Street, Washi making session, dnner at hot springs resort.

    We leave Tokyo behind and travel to Nagano by Shinkansen, the famous bullet train. We will speed through the country to arrive in Nagano in 1.5 hours. After checking our suitcases at the train station, we will take a public bus to the most famous attraction in Nagano: Zenko-Ji, one of the finest temples in Japan. Find out how lucky you are while touring the temple by consulting an oracle, or Omikuji.

    Later, enjoy the prosperous and energetic atmosphere of Nakamise Street while exploring its shops and restaurants on foot. Pick your most enticing option for lunch, or ask your tour leader to recommend and arrange one for you. After lunch, we will make our way via bullet train to the night’s accommodation. In the afternoon we will take part in a traditional craft making session, making Washi and learning about local artisanal specialities at the accommodation.

    Then, we will visit a hot springs resort to kick-off the hiking portion of the trip.

    SCHEDULE
    Tokyo » Nagano, Zenko-ji » Iiyama
    STAY
    Cabin, Iiyama
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ NA ]
DAY4

2017 October 18 or October 21


  • Discovering the wood: Shinetsu Trail Part 1

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Trail highpoint, first glimpse of Japanese beech forests, soak in hot springs, Sasa-sushi, Washoku Kaiseki dinner.

    Starting the trail we will be joined by an additional local guide from the Shinetsu Trail Club. This guide has an intimate knowledge of the area and, in combination with your tour leader, will make your trip even more interesting.

    This trail gets the steep stuff out of the way soon after starting, the first hour's hiking is one of the hardest sections of the entire trail as a fairly sustained climb takes us to the top of Mount Madarao (1382 meters), the highest point of the trail. Resting from the climb we enjoy stunning summit views. Heading on we walk through beautiful beech forests intermingled with Japanese oak, maples and birches.

    As this is a "Satoyama" region there are occasional small roads in the vicinity and we often use these to access our accommodations and nearby towns and villages. At the end of this, and most other hiking days, there will be a ride waiting for us and we head into town to our cozy accommodation.

    We will stary in a traditional ryokan in Togari-Onsen. Enjoy warm welcome and hospitality followed by dinner prepared with local ingredients from their own farm.

    SCHEDULE
    Iiyama » Hiking Part 1 » Togari
    STAY
    Togari
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY5

2017 October 19 or October 22


  • Follow in warlord Kenshin’s footsteps: Shinetsu Trail Part 2

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Taishojin-ato, natural springs, Wakui Village, Ryokan, Dinner is your choice of meat or fish.

    Today, we walk past Wakui, a small village featuring houses especially designed for protection from heavy snow. Later on, we will pass by fascinating historical artifacts, one of which, a stone monument called Taishoujin-ato, reveals that the warlord Kenshin led his men through the area on his way to the battle of Kawanakajima in the 16th century. We will also visit two natural springs where we can fill our water bottles with water flowing from the earth.

    We come back to the same accommodation and dinner will be your choice of meat or fish.

    SCHEDULE
    Togari » Hiking Part 2 » Togari
    STAY
    Togari
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY6

2017 October 20 or October 23


  • Classic ridge hiking: Shinetsu Trail Part 3

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Ridge hiking, Autumn colours, a first class Kaiseki dinner in Ryokan, Japanese-style lodging, soak in hot springs.

    Today we walk through a forest composed almost completely of beech trees. This part of the trail features many very large and majestic trees. On the hike you will also see some distinctive curved beech trees that illustrate how heavy the snowfall can be in this area and explain why only beech trees are soft and strong enough to thrive in this climate.

    Our hike today ends at the Sekita Pass where our host from the Nozawa-Onsen will meet us and take us to a luxury traditional Ryokan in Nozawa-Onsen which is renowned for its hot springs.

    Dinner tonight will be a Washoku Kaiseki which is a first-class Japanese dinner.

    SCHEDULE
    Togari » Hiking Part 3 » Nozawa-Onsen
    STAY
    Traditional Ryokan, Nozawa Onsen
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY7

2017 October 21 or October 24


  • Rest Day! Take today to relax and meet the famous Snow Monkeys

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Snow Monkey Tour, Free time after tour in Nozawa-Onsen, No hiking.

    We will take a half-day tour to visit the famous hot spring snow monkeys. They are a must-see attraction in the area and will be a highlight of your trip. Since making the front page of LIFE magazine in 1970, these monkeys, who bathe in the hot springs in the area, have become one of the biggest attractions for tourists. Although it is a bit early in the season to see the monkeys in full force, it is still a more-than-worthwhile visit.

    After the tour we will return to Nozawa-Onsen and the rest of the day is yours. Enjoy your free time exploring this fascinating village. Dinner is on your own tonight, but your tour leader will be able to recommend several choices for the night.

    SCHEDULE
    Nozawa-Onsen » Snow Monkey » Nozawa-Onsen
    STAY
    Traditional Ryokan, Nozawa Onsen
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ NA ]
DAY8

2017 October 22 or October 25


  • Deeper into the wood: Shinetsu Trail Part 4

    HIGHLIGHTS
    View of the Japan Sea(weather permitting), traditional Japanese BBQ dinner featuring all local ingredients and sake.

    Bolstered by our day off and fitness gained on previous days we tackle another demanding section of trail. Frequent ups and downs are tempered by the gorgeous fall foliage of the surrounding forest as we head into its depths. The trees here often form archways over the trail in an intricate and beautiful assembly. At Maki Pass on a clear day you will be rewarded with an expansive vista of the Japan Sea to the north and raptors soaring through the skies. Throughout the walk today you will notice changes in the forest. Due to the higher snowfall here only the larger trees can survive. The resulting forest has much bigger and more picturesque trees.

    Tonight we enjoy a Japanese-style BBQ, cooking fresh local vegetables, pork and beef over charcoal.

    SCHEDULE
    Nozawa-onsen » Hiking Part 4 » Iiyama
    STAY
    Cabin, Iiyama
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY9

2017 October 23 or October 26


  • Climax of the adventure: Shinetsu Trail Part 5

    HIGHLIGHTS
    The climax of the hike, soak in hot springs, amazing food and drink prepared by a local chef.

    We travel along the oldest part of the entire trail today. Busaka-Pass and Nonoumi-Pass have been in use since the Nara Period (AD 710~) for trade and travel. A fitting last day on the trail, it is the most scenic part of the trail and features some short steep ascents and descents.

    We will visit a hot springs resort for soaking in hot springs. We come back to our accommodation to celebrate our accomplishment of walking the trail with an amazing feast of food and drink prepared by a private chef.

    SCHEDULE
    Iiyama » Hiking Part 5 » Iiyama
    STAY
    Cabin, Iiyama
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY10

2017 October 24 or October 27


  • Return to civilization

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Breakfast at the road station, Great views of Sekita Mountain on clear days , Bullet Train ride, Time to explore Tokyo on your own.

    We leave accommodation for our breakfast at the road station in the area, a perfect location to enjoy a complete view of the Sekita Mountains, scene of our wondrous journey.

    After breakfast it's time to say goodbye to the mountains and people we've met. After returning to Tokyo on the bullet train we check in at our hotel to conclude the guided portion of the tour.
    The rest of the day is yours to enjoy in Tokyo. The tour leader will be more than happy to help you with all the information you need to be able to get around around Tokyo on your own.

    SCHEDULE
    Iiyama » JR Iiyama St. » Tokyo
    STAY
    Hotel in Tokyo
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ NA ]
DAY11

2017 October 25 or October 28


  • Tour conclusion

    Tour concludes after breakfast at hotel.

    SCHEDULE
    breakfast at hotel
    STAY
    Not Included.
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ NA ]
OPTIONAL TOURS

Additional trip before / after the tour

 If you would like to extend your time in this fascinating country we have a selection of short tour options available on-demand.  These are designed to assist you in getting the very most out of your visit. Please do not hesitate to contact us if interested in these or other destinations in Japan.

  • Kyoto & Nara
    3 Day Kyoto & Nara
    from JPY 74,800

    Leave Tokyo on the bullet train for ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara, overnighting in Kyoto. This is a guided 3-day excursion. Visit Nara’s many gorgeous temples and shrines on the first afternoon followed by a full-day tour of Kyoto’s highlights on the second day. The third day is free for you to explore on your own. Return trip by bullet train to Tokyo and hotel transfer is included.

  • Mt.Fuji
    2 Day Mount Fuji & Hakone
    from JPY 40,000

    Departing from Tokyo, you will head towards the Mount Fuji/Hakone area, where you will take a sightseeing bus tour on the first day, staying overnight in hot springs hotel in Hakone. On the second day you have complete freedom to explore the Hakone area on your own with the included Hakone Two-Day Pass until your bullet train departs.

  • Takayama
    3 Day Takayama
    from JPY 106,900

    Departing Tokyo, you will head to the heart of Japan: Tkayama, an unique old town known as Little Kyoto. You will also visit Shirakawa-go, a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, where 110 folk houses with roofs thatched in the gasso or "praying hands" style, stand in this quiet mountain village community. On the last day of the tour you will enjoy a visit to Kenrokuen, one of the three finest gardens in Japan before heading back to Tokyo by train.

      *Prices are subject to change.

Please see links below for more details