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Ancient Trails of Japan / Group Tour

14 days | From £3999 | Guided fixed group departures

The journey begins in the metropolis of Tokyo, before swiftly transitioning to the remote and sparse mountain regions that dominate the spine of Japan. After you have traversed the sacred Togakushi Mountains, explored the history and picture-perfect scenery of Kamikochi and taken the ancient Kumanokodo Pilgrimage Route you will return to the city, this time Kyoto. Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Japan, and the historic capital of the nation,this is a fitting end to your trip across this majestic nation.

14 days | From £3999 | Guided fixed group departures

This journey takes you through the incredible landscapes of Japan, home of some of the most stunning ancient trails in the world. Hike up Mount Kintoki to get a chance to glimpse the finest views of Mount Fuji in the distance. Experience ancient Japanese customs and lifestyles as you trek the Sacred Mountains of Togakushi. Experience the history and culture of historic cities such as Kyoto and the beautiful Matsumoto Castle and pass vast swathes of Japanese countryside and towns as you take different trains and buses across the country.

Across this itinerary you will get to explore some of the seldom-seen corners of Japan, visit the most impressive attractions, embrace cultural customs such as onsens, and discover a unique and thriving culture in one of the greatest landscapes in Asia.

  • Walk along ancient trails
  • Experience traditional Japanese life untouched by modernity
  • Encounter exquisite peaks and pristine forests
  • Stay in traditional ryokans to sample local customs and food
Ancient Trails of Japan Route Map
Days 1/2. Overnight flight to Tokyo
From Tokyo airport, take the train to your hotel in the heart of Tokyo. This afternoon, your guide will take you the Asakusa and Ueno areas where the atmosphere of Tokyo's past still survives.
Day 3. Hike Mount Kintoki
This afternoon, after taking t bullet train to Odawara, there will be an easy hike to the summit of Mt Kintoki for splendid views of one of Japan's most iconic landmarks - Mount Fuji.
Day 4. Visit the Japanese Alps
Travel to Nagano in the heart of the Japanese Alps. Here you will visit the Zenkoji temple famous for being the centre of Japan's Buddhist faith. Later this afternoon, you will take the bus deep into the sacred mountains of the Togakushi area.
Day 5. The Sacred Mountains of Togakushi
Today you will be hiking in the sacred mountains of Togakushi. Walk through birch forest and stop at serene ponds reflecting the mountain landscape. Continue along a trail lined with giant cedar trees and through a forest boardwalk before returning back to the Chusha shrine. In the late afternoon, you will take the bus to Matsumoto city and visit the famous Matsumoto castle.
Day 6. Hiking the Kamikochi Trail
Walk along the trail through the stunning valley surrounded by some of Japan's highest mountains before continuing alongside the Azusa River.
Day 7. Hike the Nakasendo Trail
Hike along the best preserved part of the Nakasendo Trail which used to be one of the main transportation routes between Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period 500 years ago. The trail passes through Tsumago, a well preserved post-town. Take some time here for sightseeing before returning to Kiso.
Day 8. Travel to Shirahama
Today you will take the bullet train west to the Kii peninsula. On arrival, go for a short walk along the coast line of Shirahama, a typical onsen resort facing the Pacific Ocean.
Days 9/10. The Kumanokodo Pilgrimage Route
Take a train in the morning to Takijiri which will be the starting point of your 2 day trek. The first part of your walk takes you through the unique cultural landscape of Kumano's countryside. After an overnight stop in a ryokan or hotel deep in the sacred mountains, you will continue your walk through giant cedar and cypress trees to the Kuamno Hongu shrine. In the afternoon, take a traditional wooden boat down the Kumano Gawa River, as the pilgrims did centuries ago, to the center of the Kii Peninsula.
Day 11. Full day in Wakayama Kumanokodo
This morning, visit the Nachi Taisha shrine as well as the Nachi fall, the tallest waterfall in Japan. Return to Katsuura to catch the scenic train through the mountains and along the coast to reach your final destination, Kyoto.
Day 12. Full day in Kyoto
Start you day with a visit to two small villages outside Kyoto; Kurama and Kifune. From Kurama you will take a short hike up to the Kuramadera temple and continue through the calm forest leading up to the ancient shrine. Later in the afternoon, return to Kyoto City and spend the rest of the day visiting some of the other iconic temples and shrines.
Day 13. Fushimiinari Shrine
This morning you will visit the UNESCO world heritage site, famous for it's thousands of torii gates which wind through the hills behind the head shrine. The afternoon is at leisure for some final sight-seeing or souvenir shopping.
Day 14. Departure
Proceed to Osaka by train in time for your return flight to the UK.
  • Trip Grade: B - Moderate
  • Duration: 14 days
  • Trip Code: TJAT
  • Group Size: 4-12 pax
  • Max Altitude: 1200m
  • Accommodation: Hotel x 9, Ryokan x 3
  • Meals: 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Departs: May, October
  • Overseas Joining Point: Tokyo
  • Important: Make sure your chosen holiday is guaranteed to run before you purchase your air tickets and make any other travel arrangements.