The Japanese Alps

Trek the Nakasendo Highway and experience a mountain onsen (natural hot spring) on this 10-day journey into the Japanese Alps

The Japanese Alps

Discover the samurai culture of Matsumoto, the rural folk traditions of Takayama, and the Edo-era heritage of Tsumago on this ten-day journey into the Japanese Alps. This itinerary can be extended to include mountain trekking in Kamikochi.

Outline Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive Tokyo

    You will be met by our airport representative on arrival in Tokyo. They will escort you to the train/shuttle bus that will take you to your hotel in the city centre.

  2. Day 2: Tokyo

    Your guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast to begin your guided tour of Tokyo. Start the tour with a stroll through Hama-Rikyu Teien.

  3. Day 3: Matsumoto

    Say goodbye to Tokyo this morning as you travel by train into the Japanese Alps. Your destination is Matsumoto (2 ½ hours from Tokyo), a lively castle city with a history dating back to the early 8th century.

  4. Day 4: Yudanaka Snow Monkeys

    Take a break from the city sights today as you head into the mountains to visit the snow monkeys of Jigokudani. It’s a short journey of approx. 2 hours by train and bus to Jigokudani Park, situated just outside the highland resort town of Yudanaka.

  5. Day 5: Kiso Valley

    Depart Matsumoto this morning and travel by train into the Kiso Valley. This is a wonderfully scenic ride into the mountains, with beautiful views all the way to Magome.

  6. Day 6: Takayama

    After an early start and a fulsome Japanese breakfast, say goodbye to your hosts in Tsumago and catch the bus to Nagiso. From Nagiso, take the train to Takayama.

  7. Day 7: Ogimachi, Shirakawago

    We recommend waking early today to visit the Miyagawa Morning Market (open from around 7am), where you can browse stores selling traditional Hida crafts and local sweets such as genkotsu ame (“fist candy”), before returning to your ryokan for breakfast.

  8. Day 8: Kyoto

    After breakfast at your ryokan (and a last soak in the hot springs), undertake the 3 hour train journey to Kyoto. This is another scenic rail journey, the first leg of which is on the Ltd Express Hida Wideview, which takes you on a winding course through tall peaks and dramatic mountain gorges to Nagoya. In Nagoya, change to the Shinkansen bound for Kyoto.

  9. Day 9: Kyoto bike tour

    Today you’ll explore some of the stunning temples and gardens for which Kyoto is famous, getting around as the locals do – by bike. Kyoto is a great city for cycling, with largely flat roads and limited traffic.

  10. Day 10: Departure

    Today is at leisure until your shared shuttle bus transfer to Kansai Airport.

Price guide

Price based on twin/double accommodation in mid-range hotels (superior hotels available from £3,195pp; deluxe from £3,890pp). Travel in peak season (i.e. Sakura or koyo seasons) will require a higher budget.

10 days from £2740pp


10 days from £2740pp

Koyo Season in Kamikochi

We were so pleased we travelled to Kamikochi in October. The scenery was wonderful.

Lynn and Alastair

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