Mount Ontake Kodo Nature Worship Tour
Long considered sacred, Mount Ontake is Japan’s second tallest volcano – after Mount Fuji – and worshipped by adherents of the Shinto sect ‘Ontake Shinko’, with the most devoted practitioners walking the ‘Ontake Kodo’ pilgrimage trails that run through the forests and past waterways and waterfalls of the mountain. As such, walking the trails of the Kiso Ontake Mountain Range opens-up one of Central Japan’s most beautiful landscapes and takes you deep into the Japanese practice of nature worship.
This immersive day-tour takes you along one of the pilgrimage trails of Ontake, deep into the tradition of Japan’s nature worship. Starting at Kiso-Fukushima Station at 08:45, your guide will meet you and then accompany you by local bus to Otaki Tourist Information Center from where you will ride e-bikes to Ontake Satomiya Shrine.
Your arrival at the shrine begins your journey deep into one of Japan’s most sacred Shinto landscapes, along pilgrimage trails that few international visitors experience walk. Along the trails your guide will explain the principles of the Ontake faith including the importance of nature worship. The circuit avails views of Mount Ontake before stopping for lunch and then onto Shintaki Falls and Kiyotaki Falls where your guide will instruct you (should you wish) through the act of ‘takigyo’ or ‘waterfall meditation’.
Emerging from the forest trail around 16:00, your guide will accompany you back the way you came, first by e-bike and then local bus onto Kiso-Fukushima where the tour will end around 17:15.
At this time, booking enquiries can only be made through a Japanese website however this will soon be updated to include an English information and reservation form. Group rates are: 1 person JPY56,900 / 2 pax JPY68,800 / 3 pax JPY80,700 / 4 pax JPY88,800 / 5 pax JPY100,000*. For further tips and suggestions of things on offer in the area, see our ’25 Things to Do Around the Kiso Valley & Nakasendo’ page.
Please note, Mount Ontake is an active volcano and your personal safety should be your first priority. The Japan Meteorological Agency provides real-time advice and warnings for the entire country. Prior to visiting Ontake, we recommend checking the following website.
*Please note, should you like to rent traditional items such as white pilgrim clothing, a conical hat, a ‘kongozue’ (walking stick), prayer beads or ‘jirei’ (bell), you can do so at the following rates: clothing only JPY2000 / 3 items JPY4000 / 5 items JPY5000.
08:45 - 17:15
By request from April until November
Starting from JPY56,900~
Kiso-Fukushima Station is a stop on all Limited Express Shinano services running between Nagano, Matsumoto and Nagoya. To reach Kiso-Fukushima takes 80-minutes from Nagano Station, 35-minutes from Matsumoto Station and 85-minutes from Nagoya Station