Rewarding hikes, impressive mountain scenery and cultural treasures in Japan
If you’re looking for rewarding hikes, impressive mountain scenery, and the cultural treasures of Japan, join this small group adventure to Mt Fuji and the Japanese Alps. Mt Fuji and Mt Yarigatake are the two most famous peaks in the county and you’ll ascend both of them during these 15 days. You’ll also experience Japan’s intriguing combination of modern culture and ancient traditions.
The group will stay primarily in Kyoto, complete with peaceful Zen gardens and Shinto temples. There’s also a day to visit futuristic Tokyo and a brief walk on the Nakasendo Way, one of Japan’s ancient trade routes.
- See the sunrise from the top of Mt Fuji
- Explore Kyoto and Tokyo
- Climb the Japanese Matterhorn, Mt Yarigatake
- Sleep in traditional Japanese Ryokan
There will be an English speaking local guide with you at all times, and on the summit days, there will also be a mountain guide. There are four days of walking (and two additional half days), and you’ll trek of 6-8 hours per day. The trails are well marked but sometimes stoney underfoot. A moderate level of fitness is helpful to fully enjoy the trip.
Enquire today to learn more.
Why We Love This Adventure
- Hike up Mt Fuji for sunrise over the Japanese Alps
- Explore the beautiful and fascinating Kyoto
- Climb the Japanese Matterhorn, Mt Yarigatake
Please make an enquiry and we'll send you the full itinerary for each day including meals, activities, travel and accommodation.
The tour starts in Kyoto this evening. With about 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a treasure house of Japan's cultural heritage and remains undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Unlike many other Japanese cities it escaped the ravages of both the Second World War and modern urban development, thereby keeping intact much of the spirit and architecture of traditional Japan. ***Kyoto Tower Hotel or similar*.
Today we have the chance to explore this extraordinary city, perhaps visiting the famous Golden Temple of Kinkakuji, built in 1397 as a summer villa for the shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga and immortalised in Mishima Yukio's novel, 'The Golden Pavilion'. There will be time in the afternoon/evening for further sightseeing including a tour of Gion, Kyoto's entertainment area, for Geisha-spotting, or resting back at the hotel. *Kyoto Tower Hotel or similar*.
We speed our way, by train, out of Kyoto to Nagoya. From Nagoya we transfer by local train/bus to Nagiso and on to Tsumago. Tsumago is situated on the Nakasendo (Central Mountain) Way, and is the best preserved of the many staging posts. This route was used during the Edo period - 1603-1868 - as a main trading route through the mountainous inland area, between the main centres of Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. Today it is not possible to walk the whole route, but some sections have been conserved. We will trek a short 5-mile stretch from the village of Magome, down the Kiso Valley, to Tsumago. *Maruya Ryokan or similar*.
Using the highly efficient Japanese transport system we transfer by road and rail to picturesque Kamikochi, via the city of Matsumoto. Our main luggage will be transported in the morning from Tsumago to the hotel in Matsumoto where we are staying after the Yarigatake hike. Kamikochi (1500m) lies in the Chubu Sangaku National Park, and is an excellent base for explorations into the North Japanese Alps. We set out for the Yarisawa mountain hut, a gentle afternoon walk (about 4 hours in duration) starting along the valley floor, through pine and birch forest, before crossing the river and climbing the Yarisawa Valley at which point the trail becomes steeper and rougher. Through the forest we may be lucky enough to glimpse a sight of some of the resident Japanese macaques. For those not wanting or unable to partake in the Yarigatake Trek, your leader can help organise accommodation in a river lodge or in Matsumoto (at extra expense). The Yarigatake Trek should only be attempted by those in good shape, with strong legs and knees. ***Yarisawa Lodge (Mountain Hut)*.
Continuing up the increasingly steep and rocky Yarisawa Valley we ascend to the Yarigatake mountain hut, before the final pull up onto the summit of the Japanese Matterhorn - Mt. Yarigatake (Japan's fifth highest peak - 3180m). Although this is not technical, there are sections where you will need to scramble over boulders and rocks and there are snowfields that we may need to cross. The short final leg up to the summit is a very steep and challenging scramble using chains and ladders with some exposure to a steep drop - this last stretch is entirely optional and we only recommend experienced scramblers attempt it. This is a popular spot for local hikers with (on a clear day) spectacular views, including Mt Fuji to the southeast. About 6-8 hours challenging hiking. *Yarigatake Sansou (Mountain Hut)*.
We begin the long and steep descent from the Yarigatake mountain hut, back down to Kamikochi (approx. 8-10 hours hiking). This early morning descent can be cold and begins very steep over broken ground but the views of verdant valleys are spectacular. From Kamikochi we transfer to Matsumoto. *Dormy Inn or similar*.
In the morning there is an opportunity, for those who wish, to visit the impressive Matsumoto Castle (optional). Founded in 1504, this castle, otherwise known as 'Crow Castle' due to its black colour, is one of the two best preserved in Japan, most others having been destroyed following the Meiji Restoration. Its imposing six story donjon has been designated a national treasure. Moving on from Matsumoto we transfer to the town of Fujiyoshida, situated near Lake Kawaguchi, one of the five lakes of Mt Fuji. Mt Fuji (or Fuji-san) is Japan's highest peak at 3776m and attracts people from all over Japan and the world, to climb it. Its near perfect volcanic cone has been celebrated by artists and photographers alike over many centuries, with perhaps the most famous representations coming in the form of Katsushika Hokusai's 'Thirty Six views of Mount Fuji'. Although not a tourist town, Fujiyoshida provides a great stopping off point for climbs of Mt Fuji, and gives those on a short visit to Japan a great insight into Japanese tourist culture. *Fuji Mountain Resort Hotel or similar*.
We transfer by road to Station Five (Go-gome), from where we start our trek, on a well-marked track up to Station Eight (Hachi-gome). The walk takes about 4-5 hours, but is hard work as you cross steep volcanic scree and cinder that shifts underfoot as you ascend. ***Fujisan Hotel (Mountain Hut)*.
An early morning start, as we set off before sunrise, for the summit of Mt Fuji. It is only in the last hundred years that people have been regularly climbing Mt Fuji; previously the mountain was considered so sacred that only pilgrims and priests were allowed to climb. The summit is not a single point, but a circular crater rim, and in 'traditional' Japanese style the top features a shrine, weather station, post office, and a noodle bar! After experiencing sunrise, we descend back down to our hotel in Fujiyoshida. ***Fuji Mountain Resort Hotel or similar*.
A free day to explore and relax around the beautiful Fuji Five Lakes area. It is possible to visit Lake Sai, perhaps the quietest and least visited of the Five Lakes, or to take a short trip to Tenjo-zan where you often get a fabulous view of Lake Kawaguchi with Mt Fuji behind. Those who want to enjoy more walking can join the tour leader for an additional optional hike to Mitsutoge, a peak standing at 1786m which offers great views of Mt Fuji and Tokyo on a clear day. *Fuji Mountain Resort Hotel or similar*.
No visit to Japan would be complete without a trip to Tokyo. From Fujiyoshida we travel by bus, arriving around lunchtime in the capital. Situated on the banks of the Sumida River, by Tokyo Bay, Tokyo grew up out of the fishing village of Edo, becoming the centre of power in 1590. This afternoon is free to explore. ***Shinjuku Washington Hotel or similar*.
Today we have a free day to explore the delights of Tokyo. Making use of the city's highly efficient metro system it is possible to visit the early morning fish market in Tsukiji and Asakusa's lively temple of Senso-ji. The possibilities for evening entertainment are almost limitless with Tokyo's nightlife as exciting as anywhere in Asia. *Shinjuku Washington Hotel or similar*.
The trip ends in Tokyo this morning. Those on the group flights to London will be transferred to Tokyo airport this afternoon or early evening (depending on flight schedule) for the flight back to London, which arrives in the UK the following day.
Price£3,049 GBP Land Only - UK return flight option available on request
- All breakfasts and 4 dinners
- All accommodation
- All transport and listed activities
- Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
- Transfers for group flights
Trip Duration13 days
Start LocationKyoto, Japan
End LocationTokyo, Japan
Average Group Sizemin 6, max 16
All breakfasts and 4 dinners are included.
This adventure can also be booked with UK return flights by the operator – to get prices, dates and availability for the flight option please complete an enquiry form today and mention your flight interest in the message section. Thanks!
Dates & Availability
- 22 Jul 2019 – 03 Aug 2019
- 05 Aug 2019 – 17 Aug 2019
- 19 Aug 2019 – 31 Aug 2019
If you’re looking for a company with experience you can’t beat these guys. This operator started life in February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.
For the company, and people who work for them “it’s all about adventure” which is what they were founded on and what they are still about today. Their trips take place all around the world where they help travelers to delve into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to a country’ unique identity.
We love that their groups and guides travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise the impact, to ensure that every holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.
Make a Booking
Get full details to book this trip.
Ask a Question
Ask a question about this trip.
Add this trip to your bucket list.