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Discover the Japanese Alps on this 15-night itinerary, with many mountains, valleys, forests and scenic trails to explore. Visit the alpine region of Kamikochi; journey into the Kiso valley; walk the famed Nakasendo Way; and see the historic Unesco-listed site of Shirakawago village, set beneath the peaks of the Hida mountains. Visits are also included to the temples of Kyoto and the busy metropolis of Tokyo, with a hike up Mount Takao nearby, to escape the busy city.
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Arrive and transfer to The Park Hotel in Tokyo for a 3-night stay, located close to the Shiodome subway station and only a 10-minute walk from the peaceful Hamarikyu gardens. (N)
Full-day private guided city tour using public transport, visiting the Asakusa Kannon temple, Tokyo National Museum's Japanese gallery, the Imperial East Garden and the tranquil Meiji shrine. (B)
Today we recommend a self-guided excursion to sacred Mount Takao, part of a range of wooded mountains an hour's journey from Tokyo. Here there are numerous clearly marked hiking trails up to the summit, taking 2-3 hours. On a clear day you can also enjoy views of Mount Fuji. (B)
Morning departure by shinkansen (bullet train) to Kanazawa. Stay 2 nights at the Tokyu Hotel Kanazawa. Spend the following day on a self-guided sightseeing tour, visiting the Kanazawa castle park and the Kenroku-en garden. (B)
Take the bus to Shirakawago to see the Unesco-listed gassho-zukuri houses and their unique architectural style. After some time to explore the area, continue by bus to Takayama. Stay for 2 nights at the traditional Tanabe Ryokan, where the owners Mr & Mrs Tanabe are gracious hosts and will do their very best to ensure you have a fabulous stay. (B, D)
This morning you will be escorted on a food and culture walk around Takayama, an ideal opportunity to sample some of the region's famed Hida beef, various hoba miso-based products, and the delicious mitarashi dango - rice balls dipped in soy sauce and roasted on skewers. End the morning with a visit to the Harada Sake Brewery and browse the lively Miyakawa Morning Market. (B, D)
Travel by bus through the Japanese Alps to Kamikochi, a remote valley carved by the Azusa river with some of Japan's highest peaks rising on up on either side. Stay 2 nights at the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel, a European-style mountain lodge that has been welcoming guests since 1933. Spend the following day walking in the surrounding mountains, which offer numerous walking trails ranging from easy rambles along the valley to more challenging hikes to the tops of the nearest peaks, with the chance to spot a range of flora, birds and monkeys along the way. (B)
Travel by bus and train to Matsumoto, which is home to a fine feudal castle with the oldest existing donjon (keep) in Japan, as well as an outstanding woodblock-print museum. Stay overnight at the Hotel Buena Vista Matsumoto. (B)
Travel by train into the Kiso Valley, an area known for its mountains, forests, hot springs and hiking trails, and also for its position on the historic Nakasendo Way, an ancient highway that once linked Kyoto with Tokyo. Stay 2 nights at Komanoyu, a ryokan-style hotel with its own hot spring baths, known as onsen. (B, D)
Travel by train and bus to the small town of Magome, from where you will begin a gentle hike of 8km along the Nakasendo Way, to Tsumago. The trail is well-signposted and passes through some beautiful countryside. In Tsumago you will have some time to explore the town and wander the flagstone streets lined with traditional buildings, before being met and driven back to your hotel. (B, D)
Take the train to Nagoya, then continue by shinkansen (bullet train), to Kyoto. Stay at the Rihga Royal Kyoto Hotel, located near Kyoto station, for 3 nights. This evening, you will be escorted by a local guide through the Gion, Kyoto's famous Geisha district. (B)
Full-day private guided city tour using public transport. Recommendations include the Ryoanji temple with its famous zen rock garden and Kinkakuji temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. The following day is at leisure - a trip to the Arashiyama district in the north-west of the city is recommended, a peaceful area of gardens, quiet backstreets and bamboo forests. (B)
Take a shuttle bus from your hotel to Kansai airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, then board your flight home. (B)
As per itinerary - B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is led in certain destinations en route by a local tour escort, while in others it is self-guided.
This tour is based in 4-star accommodation, with some nights in traditional Japanese inns known as ryokan.
Available on request.
For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards, to discuss flight options or to tailor this itinerary, please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
Please note that tailor-made travel in Japan is unlike travel in any other country in the Far East due to the high costs of vehicle hire, drivers and guides. This means that engaging the services of a private guide and driver on a tailor-made journey is not always feasible and, as a result, sightseeing and travel between cities may involve public transport or shared services that are not exclusive to Cox & Kings. Furthermore, as English is not always spoken in areas away from the main tourist destinations, a degree of independence and self-guiding may be required. A comprehensive information pack is provided before departure, with transport instructions and bilingual timetables, hotel addresses and maps, and a guide for each destination covering a wide range of topics from eating out to enjoying a hot spring bath.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
JAA2020: 15 Nights
Kyoto was Japan’s capital from the 7th century until around the 11th and it is known...