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Tour details - Central Japan Wilderness & Prehistory Trek


  • Explore the magnificent forest and alpine wilderness of the central Japanese volcanic ranges through an exhilarating 4-day hike

  • Learn about the amazing prehistoric Jōmon culture—the roots of the Japanese culture and psyche—and its relationship with the ever-changing natural environment

  • Experience classic Japanese-style mountain huts deep in forest wilderness, including some with rustic onsen baths (subject to seasonal availability)

  • Discover ancient temples, art, history and local cuisine on country walks in the picturesque foothills

  • Stay in private accommodation in a beautifully restored, historic country house

For the outdoor and adventure-minded travellers who seek a deeper understanding of Japan’s natural environment and prehistory, this trekking-based itinerary’s centrepiece is a 4-day moderate to hard-grade, non-technical hike through a little-known wilderness area of the central Japanese volcanic ranges. The varied scenery includes vast primeval temperate and subarctic forests mantling volcanic plateaus, rugged alpine peaks affording vast vistas across the central Japanese mountains and Mt Fuji, mirror-like forest-fringed lakes and fuming sulphur-stained volcanic terrain. You will be guided by a tour leader with over 20 years of hiking experience in the Japanese mountains and with an environmental science background. Through your wilderness experience and visits to archaeological sites in the foothills, you will also discover Japan’s Jomon culture, an amazing prehistoric civilisation that flourished without warfare, in harmony with nature, and adapting to dramatic environmental change for over 14000 years—and clues on how we ourselves may be able to live sustainably into the future. You will also explore villages and rural landscapes of the foothills, including visits to an art gallery, ancient temples and shrines, and a variety of traditional and European-style cuisines showcasing fresh local produce. Accommodation includes mountain huts with basic shared rooms and facilities during the trek, a restored private historic house, and a choice of a modernised family-run ryokan or a European-style mountain lodge. The 8-day itinerary concludes with a brief stay in the alpine gateway city of Matsumoto, including a visit to the imposing 16th-century Matsumoto Castle.

MAIN DESTINATIONS COVERED: Hokuto and Kiyosato (Yamanashi Prefecture), Saku and Chino areas (Nagano Prefecture), Matsumoto (8-day itinerary only)


TOUR LENGTH: 7–8 days (6–7 nights)




SEASON: early June, mid to late July, early October to early November (depending on weather and snow conditions)


BOOKINGS CLOSE: 90 days before agreed departure date


START LOCATION: JR Shinjuku Station, Tokyo [MAP]


END LOCATION: JR Shinjuku Station, Tokyo [MAP]


FITNESS LEVEL: very high, special conditions apply [PLEASE READ]


CULTURAL TOLERANCE: very high (must be able to sleep on traditional futon bedding on 4 nights; must be able to tolerate basic facilities in mountain huts including sleeping quarters shared with other hikers without locks or soundproofing, shared toilet and washing facilities, and seasonal unavailability of bathing facilities; must be willing to abide by non-negotiable house rules in mountain huts including set times for ‘lights out’ and meals)


COST: from AUD $2600/person (6 persons) to $4500/person (2 persons) for 7 days; from AUD $3100/person (6 persons) to $5100/person (2 persons) for 8 days; including ALL ground transport, accommodation, meals, tour guiding, fees and charges

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