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Introducing Our New Tours in the Tenryu Riverlands for 2023!

Introducing Our New Tours in the Tenryu Riverlands for 2023!

In 2023 we are proud to again partner with our friends in the Tenryu Riverlands in offering tours that help you discover the beauty and culture of southern Nagano. On this page you will find the following information:

Our New Tenryu Riverlands Tours for 2023!

Where are the ‘Tenryu Riverlands’?

How to Get There?

Lying around 4 hours / 270km to the west of Tokyo, the Tenryu Riverlands are a world away from the hustle and hum of the city. It may take a little extra effort to get there, but those who do discover a place of natural beauty, traditional culture and lots of adventure on and around the river.

OUR NEW TENRYU RIVERLANDS TOURS FOR 2023!


minami-shinshu-tenryu-shimabata

Nestled in the south of Nagano Prefecture, the Tenryu Riverlands are defined by the river from which it takes its name and a unique blend of tradition and adventure. For centuries, the Tenryu River served as a water road to the coast, stretching over 200km to the Pacific Ocean and in doing so, offering an alternate route into the mountainous heart of Japan. As such, life revolved around the river and distinct local industries and craft emerged.

While traffic on the river is much reduced in modern times, very quietly, it is now emerging as a place of adventure with whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities establishing the Tenryu Riverlands as a place where tradition meets adventure. In 2023 we are proud introduce the following tours:

[SPECIAL EVENT] 1-DAY TOUR: ‘TOKIMATA HASUUMA HADAKA MATSURI’ & ‘TENRYU FUNAKUDARI’ RIVER BOAT EXPERIENCE

Highlights

— Join the fun of the ‘Tokimata Hasuuma Hadaka Matsuri’ – one of Central Japan’s most memorable festivals

— Enjoy the thrill and tradition of a ‘Tenryu Funakudari’ riverboat experience as move along the river road to the festival grounds

— Visit the region’s largest and most famous ‘sake’ brewery, Kikusai for a guided tasting

— Including lunch and all led by a local, English-speaking guide

Taking place each March, this special event tour takes you to the heart of the Tenryu Riverlands to join one of Japan’s most memorable festivals, the ‘Tokimata Hasuuma Hadaka Matsuri’. Starting with a traditional ‘Ternyu Funakudari’ riverboat experience, you’ll move along the traditional river road to join the festival parade before watching participants enter the river with their floats. Including lunch and afternoon visit to Kikusai Sake Brewery, this fun and engaging tour is sure to be a highlight of your travels in Japan – see the tour page for full details.


2-DAY TOUR: TENRYU RIVER-RAFTING, LOCAL BBQ & TEA-PICKING EXPERIENCE INC. HOT SPRING HOTEL

tenryu-rafting

Highlights

— Start your tour with the excitement with an afternoon of rafting on Tenryu River including the fun of white water and other activities led by a qualified instructor followed by a tempting local BBQ dinner to round-out a day of fun!

— Indulge in a tempting local BBQ dinner to round-out a day of fun!

— Enjoy an overnight stay at a traditional ‘onsen’ (hot spring) guesthouse including breakfast

— Follow the river deep into the heart of the region on your second day with a Tenryu Rhine-Kudari boat ride followed by tea-picking in the beautiful terraced fields of Nakaisamurai – one of Nagano’s most beautiful yet least visited landscapes

Operating from April until September, this engaging two-day tour takes you along the Tenryu River deep into the Tenryu Riverlands starting with river-rafting and barbeque dinner on the first day, followed by a traditional river boat and tea-picking on the second day in one of Nagano’s most scenic locations, the terraced tea fields of Nakaisamurai. All guided by a local guide and including accommodation a hot spring hotel overlooking Tenryu Gorge, this is one tour that is fun for all ages – see the tour page for full details.


[AUG 16-17 ONLY] 2-DAY TOUR: TENRYU RIVER RAFTING, TEA-PICKING & TOKIMATA FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

ryukyoutei-tenryukyo

Highlights

— Enjoy an overnight stay at a traditional ‘onsen’ (hot spring) guesthouse including traditional ‘kaiseki’ (multi-course) dinner menu and breakfast

— Start your tour with the excitement with an afternoon of rafting on Tenryu River including the fun of white water and other activities led by a qualified instructor

— Experience the local fun and beauty of Tenryu’s Tokimata Fireworks Festival

— Follow the river deep into the heart of the region on your second day with a Tenryu Rhine-Kudari boat ride followed by tea-picking in the beautiful terraced fields of Nakaisamurai – one of Nagano’s most beautiful yet least visited landscapes

Descending from high above in Japan’s South Alps, Tenryu River runs more than two hundred kilometres through the mountainous heart of the country – a river road all the way to the Pacific coast that forges the local identity and feeds the riverlands. This immersive two-day tour takes on an exploration of the river in combination with its most popular summer festival, the Tokimata Fireworks including river-rafting on the first day followed by a traditional river boat and tea-picking on the second day in one of Nagano’s most scenic locations, the terraced tea fields of Nakaisamurai. All guided by a local guide and including accommodation a hot spring hotel overlooking Tenryu Gorge – see the tour page for full details.


[SPECIAL EVENT] 2-DAY TOUR: ‘SHIMOTSUKU’ WINTER FESTIVAL, TRADITIONAL FOOD & SAKE EXPERIENCE

Highlights

— Attend the raucous and unforgettable ‘Shimotsuki Matsuri’, an intimate festival said to be the inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed and much-loved film, ‘Spirited Away’

— Follow the Toyama River into the mountains and discover a traditional food culture over two days including one of the region’s best winter ‘gibier’ (wild meat) dinner courses at Shimabata and lunch on both days

— Be spirited high into the mountains above to the floating village of Shimoguri, one of the region’s most iconic destinations – a place of myth and fable – before visiting the region’s most famous sake brewery, Kikusui

— Including accommodation on Day 1 – with dinner and breakfast included- along transport to and from all destinations and led by a locally-based guide

Be spirited-away deep into Central Japan on this immersive two-day tour including attendance at the winter ‘Shimotsuki Matsuri’ and overnight stay at Shimabata Ryokan – a local inn renowned for its traditional ‘gibier’ (wild meat) menu. Along with visits to the floating village of Shimoguri-no-sato and Kikusui Sake Brewery and all led by a locally-based guide, this intimate and unique tour reveals a side of Japan that few international visitors experience – see the tour page for full details.

WHERE ARE THE ‘TENRYU RIVERLANDS’?


The name ‘Tenryu Riverlands’ refers to a scenic and culturally-rich region in the south of Nagano Prefecture – a region dominated by the Tenryu River, subsidiary waterways, farmlands, forests and mountains. Iida is the largest city in the riverlands, lying approximately 4-hours / 270km to the west of Tokyo, 2-hours / 120km to the north-east of Nagoya, and 2.5-hours / 165km to the south of Nagano City. For visitors heading to the region using the train network from locations including Tokyo and Nagoya – or further afield from Kyoto or Osaka – it will be easiest to take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Toyohashi Station and transfer to the JR Iida Line for the onward journey to Iida Station via Tenryukyo Station. One of Central Japan’s most scenic train journeys, the line follows the Tenryu River for much of the way, taking you deep into the heart of country and back to a place of tradition and adventure.

HOW TO GET THERE?


tenryu-river

While Tenryu Riverlands take time to get to, the journey is simple from starting points as far away as Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. The Tokaido Shinkansen runs from Tokyo Station in the east to Shin-Osaka Station in the west. Among the stops along the line including Kyoto and Nagoya, Toyohashi Station acts as your gateway to the Riverlands. Running north from Toyohashi, the JR Iida Line runs almost 200km to Iida Station – the largest city in the Riverlands – along with stops at Hiraoka Station and Tenryukyo Station, and for much of that distance, follows the beautiful Tenryu River. Considered one of Japan’s most beautiful rail lines, it is best enjoyed using the Limited Express ‘Inaji’ service from Toyohashi. For example, for visitors coming from Tokyo to join our 2-Day Tenryu River Rafting, Tea-Picking & Tokimata Fireworks Festival Tour, the following service would get you to Tenryukyo Station in-time:

Tokyo: 08:33 – Toyohashi: 09:53 – Tokaido Shinkansen ‘Hikari’ service

Toyohashi: 10:08 – Tenryukyo: 12:24 – Limited Express ‘Inaji’ service

When coming from Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya, this service would also get you to Tenryukyo in-time:

Shin-Osaka: 08:15 – Kyoto: 08:30 – Nagoya: 09:08 – Toyohashi: 09:36 – Tokaido Shinkansen ‘Kodama’ service

Toyohashi: 10:08 – Tenryukyo: 12:24 – Limited Express ‘Inaji’ service

One of Japan’s most beautiful rail journeys but largely unknown by international visitors, travelling the Iida Line is an experience unto itself and just another reason to go that little bit further to discover a deeper part of Japan.