3-DAY TAKAYAMA TO TOKYO: SNOW MONKEYS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CENTRAL JAPAN
Every Tues / Apri - Nov
(Day 1) 9:00 - (Day 3) 19:30
3-DAY TAKAYAMA TO TOKYO: SNOW MONKEYS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CENTRAL JAPAN
- Day 1: Explore the stunning alpine valley of Kamikochi, renowned for its pristine natural state and walk its trails and discover its highlights including Asuza River, Taisho Pond, and Kappa Bridge; and visit Matsumoto Castle – one of Japan’s last remaining original castles and a registered National Treasure
- Day 2: Explore Zenko-ji Temple, Nagano’s near-1400 year old spiritual heart and registered National Treasure; enjoy lunch at one of Nagano’s favorite restaurants – Monzen Terrace Enya – including sake tasting; and visit the world-famous Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani – the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs
- Day 3: Tour the Suntory Hakushu Distillery and sample their acclaimed whiskies; explore the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, home to one of the Japan’s most beautiful kimono collections; and witness the majesty of M Fuji, Japan’s tallest and most iconic mountain.
- Accommodation: this tour includes accommodation in Nagano City on Day 1 and Day 2
*This tour is limited to groups of 2 people and more.
Situated between the popular destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto, the mountainous of region of Nagano is the literal heart of Japan. This tour transports you from Takayama to the alpine oasis of Kamikochi in the spectacular Hida Mountains and then onto Matsumoto Castle before reaching Nagano on Day 1, visits to Zenko-ji – one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan – and the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey park on Day 2, before heading south to Mt Fuji, stopping at the Suntory Hakushu Distillery and Itchiku Kubota and onto Tokyo on Day 3. Including accommodation on Day 1 and Day 2 in Nagano City, and all led by a locally-based, English-speaking guide this immersive 3-day tour captures the essence of Central Japan by combining its most unique and stunning destinations in one convenient package.
Your guide will meet you at Takayama Station at 09:00 and quickly have you onboard the tour bus, headed into the beautiful Northern Alps.
Situated 1500 meters above sea level deep within the Chubu Sangaku National Park, Kamikochi is famous for its pristine natural state, beautiful rivers and ponds, lush forests, and dramatic mountain peaks rising to over 3000 meters. Arriving at approximately 10:45, your guide will accompany you into Kamikochi and make you familiar with its many walking trails and highlights, before setting a meet-up point and time and setting you free to enjoy the next few hours for yourself.
Asuza River, Taisho Pond, and the iconic Kappabashi (Kappa Bridge) are among Kamikochi’s most famous sights are easily accessed within the available; and of course, should you prefer to stroll with your guide, they’ll be more than happy to show you these spectacular places.
Boarding the tour bus around 13:45 you begin your journey toward Matsumoto, and route that takes in further stunning alpine scenery as you descend to the valley below. Arriving at Matsumoto Castle around 15:15 you are free to explore the historic grounds and enter the castle itself – one of the last remaining original castles in Japan and a registered National Treasure.
Meeting up with your guide around 16:15 it’s time to head onto Nagano, where the tour concludes with drop-off at your hotel – Hotel Kokusai 21 – around 17:45.
As one of Nagano City’s most established and international hotels, Hotel Kokusai 21 is conveniently located within easy walking distance of the city’s restaurants and entertainment area, and prides itself on its many in-house services and English-speaking staff.
Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 09:10 and from there head to Zenko-ji. As a registered National Treasure, the temple is the most important cultural site in Nagano and one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in the entire country! A place of true historic importance, full of legends and myths, you will be guided around the temple before (time permitting) your guide will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding precinct of smaller temples, shops, and food by yourself.
It`s then time for lunch! Depending on the time of year we use different restaurants, each serving cuisine highlighting the best of Nagano`s renowned food culture. From delicious and warming beef, chicken, or vegetarian hot pot in the winter months, to mixed sushi plates and Nagano-style Fukumidori chicken or seasonal grilled vegetables through spring to autumn, your guide will assure you are well fed and ready to indulge in some ‘sake’.
Home to a huge number of breweries, Nagano is synonymous with sake and no visit to the region is complete without delving into Japan’s most famous beverage. Dip you toes into this seductive world as your guide explains the process, terminology, and appreciation of Nagano’s acclaimed sake (non-alcoholic options also available).
Well-fed and warmed by sake it`s time to head-out of Nagano, as you are transported to the Snow Monkey Park. Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani.
Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.
Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity. Your guide will then accompany back along the trail and soon have you heading back toward Nagano, the perfect time to sit back, relax, and look through all those monkey photos before the tour returns to JR Nagano Station and concludes at approximately 17:30.
The final day begins a little earlier than the last, with pickup at your hotel at 8:20. Central Japan is known for its many mountain ranges, and as you head south you will see peaks rising either side of the valley, building anticipation for your ultimate destination, Mt Fuji.
At approximately 10:45 you will arrive at the Suntory Hakushu Distillery, located in the picturesque Hakushu. Japan is now well-established as one of the world’s premier whisky producers, with the Hakushu Distillery among the best. Blessed with an abundance of underground water, the mineral balance and sharpness in taste lends itself to the production of an acclaimed and wide variety of whiskeys at the distillery.
You are free to tour the distillery and on-site museum – with English audio included in the tour* – followed by a tasting. For guests less interested in whiskey, Hakushu has been chosen for its beautiful location and surrounding walking trails. Known for an abundance of birds and other wildlife, these easy paths are ideal to wander through and really soak in the pristine atmosphere of the region, before joining your guide and other guests for lunch – a seasonal Japanese menu – at the on-site restaurant.
It’s then time to continue your journey. Heading south you will soon have your first view of Mt Fuji, as the stunning slopes of the mountain come into view. While the classic appearance of the volcano is known throughout the world, its size and unquestionable beauty takes visitors by surprise, an effect which only grows stronger as draw nearer.
Around 14:00 the tour will arrive at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Established in 1994, the museum was positioned to afford visitors a spectacular view of Mt Fuji and houses the permanent collection of dyeing artist Itchiku Kubota – including his Fuji-inspired series, ‘Symphony of Light’ – and one of Japan’s most stunning kimono collections.
This is Japan at its best, with the pyramid-shaped main building – constructed with wooden beams over 1000 years old – and Gaudi-esque New Wing imbuing the location with a sense of the serene and surreal.
From the museum, it’s a short journey to your final stop, Arakurayama Sengen Park. Arriving around 15:45, the park is regarded as one of the most advantageous spots to view Mt Fuji and home to Arakura Fuji-Sengen Shrine and pagoda. Positioned halfway up Mt Arakura, this is the perfect location from which to breathe in the beauty of Fuji and a panoramic view of the fabled mountain.
Boarding the tour bus around 17:00, it’s time to relax as you are transported on the final leg of your journey to Tokyo, where the tour concludes at JR Ueno Station at 19:30.
*Use of Suntory Hakushu’s English audio guide requires each guest to have a smart phone with which to connect it.
**Please note that all listed times are estimates of the expected itinerary and can be affected by weather and traffic conditions and peak busy periods.
|Day1 09:00||Meetup with your guide and board the tour bus headed for Kamikochi. Arriving at approximately 10:45, you will be free to explore the beautiful alpine valley for approximately 3 hours, before boarding the tour bus and heading for Matsumoto.|
|15:15||Arrive at Matsumoto Castle and explore the historic grounds including entering the castle itself and climbing to the top of its 6-storys (should you so choose). Around 16:15 you will board the tour bus and head to Nagano City.|
|17:45||The day's tour ends with drop-off at your accommodation.|
|Day2 09:10||Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel and head to Zenko-ji. Arriving at the temple around 10:00, you will explore the precinct with your guide followed by (time permitting) 25-30 minutes of free time, followed by sake tasting and lunch around 12:00.|
|13:00||Depart Nagano City and head toward the monkey park. Arriving near the park around 14:00, your guide will take you along the forest trail and into the park. At the park, you will have one hour to enjoy watching the wild macaques bathing in the onsen and going about their lives.|
|15:40||Depart the park and begin the journey back to Nagano City where the day's tour concludes at JR Nagano Station at 17:30.|
|Day3 08:20||Meet up with your guide at again at the lobby of your accommodation and begin your journey south toward Mt Fuji , arriving at the Suntory Hakushu Distillery and enjoy a tour (including whisky sampling) or free-time before lunch at the on-site restaurant.|
|13:00||Depart the distillery and head toward the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum with Fuji rising into view. Arrive at the museum around 14:30 and explore the collections or beautiful museum settings, including view of Fuji.|
|16:00||Depart the museum and make the short journey to Arakurayama Sengen Park, known for its panoramic views of Fuji along with beauitful Shinto shrine and pagoda.|
|19:30||Tour conludes at JR Ueno Station.|
- Transportation fee from Takayama to Tokyo and all between activities/attractions
- Matsumoto Castle entrance fee on Day 1
- Snow Monkey Park entrance fee on Day 2
- Sake tasting on Day 2
- Suntory Hakushu Distillery entrance fee and tour on Day 3
- Itchiku Kubota Art Museum entrance fee on Day 3
- Lunch on Day 2 and Day 3 (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
- Accommodation in Nagano City on Day 1 and Day 2 (including breakfast on Day 2 and Day 3)
- English-speaking guide on all days
- Lunch on Day 1
- Dinners on Days 1 & 3
- Other food, snacks, and drinks
- Optional entrance fee to the inner sanctuary of Zenko-ji
- Shinkansen/bullet train tickets
- Please wear suitable shoes and clothing for varied terrain including alpine walking in Kamikochi and the Snow Monkey Park.
- Kamikochi is located at 1500 meters above sea level and weather can change quickly. Please ensure you have clothing suitable for changing conditions including rain and cooler temperatures (7 to 22℃). The monkey park is located at 850 meters, with similar outdoor clothing suitable for your visit.
- During the winter it is common to see the Snow Monkeys enjoying the hot spring bath, however from spring up to autumn there will be times where the monkeys play or eat in the water, however please note that the monkeys are wild animals and there is no guarantee that there will be monkeys in the bath.
- There are a few days in the year that the monkeys might not come down to the park. In such case we will provide an alternative activity.
- Views of Mt. Fuji can be affected by weather and there are days of low visibility. This is outside of our control and weather on the mountain can change quickly, therefore tours will proceed even if weather/visibility is forecast to be poor.
- This tour does not actually take guests on to Mt. Fuji. This is intentional and caters to guests who wish to view and photograph the mountain rather than climb it.
- Accommodation in Nagano City is at a full service hotel with rooms including Western-style bedding and private bathrooms.
- The tour application deadline is 2 day before the tour date at 17:00.
MEETING PLACEGoogle Map
To be confirmed at time of booking
Every Tues / Apri - Nov
(Day 1) 9:00 - (Day 3) 19:30