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Tour details - Japan Alps Panorama Trek


  • Discover Japan’s world-class alpine landscapes in their summer or autumn glory on an introductory 3-day hard-grade wilderness trek

  • Stay in Japanese-style mountain huts on ridge tops and be captivated by the spectacular panorama, sunsets and sunrises

  • Feel invigorated as you traverse beautiful primeval forests and alpine meadows, and windswept ridges with spectacular views

  • Enjoy an uplifting day of cycling on the foothill plains, learning about wasabi growing, visiting rustic country shrines, discovering arts and traditional crafts, and savouring local specialities such as the renowned Shinshu soba noodles or buckwheat galette

  • Walk sections of a historic trail in the alpine foothills and stay in traditional family- and community-run accommodation in picture-perfect non-tourist country villages (for itineraries longer than 6 days)

  • Experience everyday life in a hill village—learn rustic country recipes and/or traditional cloth sandal making from the villagers, during a stay in a community-run accommodation in a lovingly restored 19th-century historic farmhouse (for itineraries longer than 6 days)

For the outdoor-minded travellers and seasoned mountain hikers, this trekking-based itinerary provides a perfect introduction to the Japan Alps, the mountainous interior of central Japan home to most of the highest peaks of Japan. The itineraries are based on a 3-day moderate to hard-grade, non-technical hike that traverses an area of the Northern Alps with spectacular alpine views hardly known outside of Japan. After the steep 6-hour initial ascent through primeval temperate and subarctic forests, you will be rewarded with a full day of ridgeline traverse affording a spectacular view of the Northern Alps Main Range, and featuring a variety of alpine vegetation types—including wildflowers in summer. The final day of the trek consists of a steep descent into the forested valley of Kamikochi and an easy hike along the rushing Azusa River overlooked by the sheer rockfaces of the Mt Hotaka massif. Accommodation during the trek are in mountain huts with basic shared rooms and facilities, and no bathing facilities. 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. The trek will be preceded by a half- to full-day easy cycling tour of the Azumino Plains in the alpine foothills as a ‘warm up’. Itineraries longer than 6 days will also feature easy-grade trail walking along sections of the ‘Salt Road’, an ancient trading route with prehistoric origins, and stays in traditional accommodation (including historic private houses) in picturesque country villages. Some itineraries also conclude with a brief stay in the alpine gateway city of Matsumoto, including a visit to the imposing 16th-century Matsumoto Castle


MAIN DESTINATIONS COVERED: Azumino, Omachi, Hakuba and Otari areas (Nagano Prefecture—itineraries over 6 days only), Matsumoto (some itineraries only)


TOUR LENGTH: 5–10 days (4–9 nights)


MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PERSONS: 5 for itineraries longer than 6 days, 6 for shorter itineraries


SEASON: mid to late July, early to late October (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, JR Matsumoto Station, Nagano Prefecture, or JR Nagano Station, Nagano Prefecture [MAP]


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


CULTURAL TOLERANCE: very high (must be able to sleep on traditional futon bedding on 4–6 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 no 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 $2400/person (6 persons) to $4100/person (2 persons) for 5 days; from AUD $3600/person (5 persons) to $5500/person (2 persons) for 10 days; including ALL ground transport, accommodation, meals, tour guiding, fees and charges

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