This journey will take you to Japan’s far north. Discover pilgrimage trails and sacred temples at the tip of Honshu, before crossing the Sea of Japan onto Hokkaido, to discover mountain peaks, ancient landscapes and a mystical island, and then returning to Tokyo and the iconic finale to this journey, Mount Fuji.
Starting in Japan’s capital, Tokyo, we visit Sensoji Temples, Ueno Park and Ameyoko markets, before leaving the sprawl behind to journey into Honshu’s interior and unspoilt landscapes. Join the pilgrimage trail to the splendid Yama-dera Temple, where we'll ascend stone steps, clad by ancient cedar trees, to reach the mountain temple perched above the valley below.
Continuing north into Miyagi Prefecture and onto Zao, hike Okama crater lake, noted for it’s striking colour, before hiking to the summit of Mount Kumano-dake (1,841 metres). Travel to the quintessential spa town of Ginzan, with its picture-perfect architecture, from where we take to the pilgrim’s trail to walk to Mount Haguro and the impressive five-storey pagoda perched on the mountain.
Continue to Oirase, following the beautiful river trail deep into the gorge, to cascading waterfalls, before taking the bullet train under the sea from Honshu to Hokkaido Islands. Here we will hike to the summit of Mount Asahi-dake, the highest peak found on Hokkaido, and then travel to Rebun Island, known for beautiful scenery, pristine alpine flowers and breathtaking views. Via the walking trails, discover the island's coastal and inland beauty, as well as sampling the regional cuisine. Returning to Tokyo, for the finale, we hike to Mount Hottanjyo for panoramic views of Japan’s most iconic landmark, Mount Fuji.
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Tokyo.
On arrival in Tokyo, you will meet your guide and validate your Japan Rail Pass, before checking into your city centre hotel. From here we will visit the Asakusa and Ueno districts, famous for the sacred Sensoji Temple, the peaceful Ueno Park and Ameyoko shopping street. In the evening, sample some traditional cuisine at tonight’s welcome dinner.
After breakfast, depart Tokyo, by ‘Shinkansen’ or bullet train to Yamagata, and then commence today’s hike on the ancient trail which leads to Yama-dera Temple. This spectacular route follows the ancient step path which is parted by ancient cedar forest, before reaching the main mountain temple, with stunning views into the valley. Here, our guide will explain the significance of the site, before visiting the ‘Treasure House’, home to carved wooden images.
After a picnic lunch with unspoilt views of the valley below, return to Yamagata Station and transfer to the town of Zao, where we overnight in a traditional guesthouse. For first time visitors to Japan, this might be your first time using a traditional onsen (public spa) – enjoy a soothing end to the day, before putting on a kimono and enjoying dinner of local delicacies.
After a traditional breakfast, proceed on foot to Zao ropeway station to enjoy panoramic views of Zao below. Continue past the ‘Okama’ crater lake with its striking appearance, before reaching the summit of Mount Kumano-dake at 1,841 metres. After a full day of hiking, we return to our overnight accommodation in Zao to enjoy the hot spring onsen.
Today, we leave Zao and continue the journey north, by rail. En route, we stop at the town Ginzan Onsen, known for beautifully preserved buildings and thermal springs, where we follow a trail into the valley for picturesque views of the town. After lunch and some free time to explore, we take the local bus to Oishida Station, before taking the train onto Tsurouka.
This morning, we take a short bus journey to a trail start point below Mount Haguro, 414 metres. Haguro is one of the three sacred mountains found in the ancient Dewa province and provides a blend of ancient forest and mountain vistas. A stone step path guides the route through the 600 year old sungi tree forest, before reaching the famous five storey pagoda and the ‘Grandpa Cedar’, a cedar tree dating over 1,000 years old. This mountain and temple is listed as one of Japan's national treasures and rewards any hiker reaching the summit. After exploring the temple and resting for lunch, return to Tsurouka, before taking the late afternoon train to Aomori.
After breakfast, we take the local bus from Aomori to Oirase, passing picturesque valley scenery and traditional landscapes en route. Once inside the Towada-Hachinmantai National Park, we join the trail that follows the Oriase River upstream. Here you will find a beautiful set of cascading waterfalls, cut into the scenic gorge. Stop for lunch overlooking the falls, before returning to Aomri for an overnight stay.
Today we leave Honshu and travel Hokkaido. From Aomri, we join the bullet train, and proceed to Asahikawa, on Hokkaido, via the tunnel that stretches under the Japan Sea. On arrival, proceed to tonight’s accommodation, with free time before dinner to explore the city.
After breakfast, we take the bus to Asahidake-ropeway station and start today's hike. During the summer months, numerous alpine flowers are found and, in the autumn, seasonal colours from trees are in full display. The trail reaches the summit of Mount Asahi-dake, 2,291 metres. In all, today's hike takes around five to six hours, before retuning to Asahikawa in the evening.
Today, leave Asahikawa by train and head further north to Wakkanai. From here catch the ferry to Rebun Island, arriving late in the afternoon. Our guide will arrange a short orientation walk, before a traditional dinner at tonight’s ryokan. Expect freshly caught seafood during your stay on the island.
We spend today exploring the island by foot. Follow the well-maintained hiking path, which stretches from one end of the island to the other. Along the route you will find many species of alpine flowers. The highest point of the island is Mount Rebun, 490 metres; from the summit, the views reach across the sea to Mount Rishiri Fuji and the peaks and cliffs that give the island a stunning natural appearance.
Bidding farewell to Rebun Island, we return by ferry to Wakkanai, before taking a regional flight back to Tokyo, arriving late in the afternoon at our hotel. The rest of the day and evening is free to relax, or further explore the city.
After breakfast, we take the bullet train from Tokyo to Izu-nagaoka station. From here, we take a short bus ride to the trail point and begin the hike to the peak of Mount Hottanjyo. If the weather is clear, we can enjoy panoramic views of Mount Fuji and the Pacific Ocean.
After catching the train back to Tokyo, tonight’s farewell dinner will be at a traditional restaurant in the city.
After breakfast. proceed to Haneda or Naritta International airport for your return overnight flight to the UK.
Day 15: Arrive UK
Price and Other Information
- Duration and price excluding international flights: 13 days from £4,599 per person
- Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 days from £5,699 per person
- Single room supplement: From £950
- Walking grade: Moderate
- Guiding: Guided Group
- Max alt: 2,291m
- Group size: 4-12
When to go: View Dates & Prices
- Hotel x 9 nights, ryokan x 3 nights
- 12 breakfasts & 5 dinners
- Experienced English speaking guide
|Year||Starts||Ends||Price From (Exc. Flights)||Holiday Status||Options|
|All prices are per person. All our guided group trips have the option to be taken as a private guided itinerary. * Available: this holiday is available to book. ** Guaranteed: this holiday is available to book and is guaranteed to run.|
|2019||29 Jun||11 Jul||£4,599||Available*||Book or Enquire|
|2019||12 Sep||24 Sep||£4,599||Available*||Book or Enquire|
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