SHINETSU TRAIL

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

11 DAY JAPANESE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

Trip Philosophy

Hiking is our main focus on this trip. However, in addition to 5 days of hiking, this full package tour offers a variety of experiences, including Tokyo, the famous bullet train, visiting the Snow Monkey Park, staying in ‘Ryokans’ (Japanese-style inns) and relaxing in a village renowned for its hot springs.

We visit historic sites in Togakushi village along the hike to learn the history of Ninjas of Japan. Our tour concludes in Kanazawa City and this is the perfect place to learn about and experience samurai culture, lifestyle and history.

We are committed to offering an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy a unique hiking experience combined with other must-do and must-see attractions in Japan, a fascinating and culturally diverse country.

DAY1

2021 October 18


  • Meet in Tokyo.

    You will need to make your own way to the arranged hotel in Tokyo in time for the tour briefing at 5.00pm. Upon arrival at the arranged hotel in Tokyo, you will be met by your tour leader in the lobby. In the evening, we will go for a group dinner. There, we will get to know each other and experience our first taste of Japanese culture.

    SCHEDULE
    Meet at Hotel » Dinner in Tokyo
    STAY
    Hotel in Tokyo
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ NA ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]

    A complimentary Short Hike tour in Tokyo.

    If you are planning to arrive in Tokyo a day before the tour departure date, you will have a bit more time to recover from jet lag. And to make the most of your stay in Tokyo, your tour leader offers you a complimentary tour before the briefing at 5:00pm on Day One.

     

DAY2

2021 October 19


  • Learn the history of Ninja in Togakushi.

    We leave Tokyo behind and travel to Nagano via Shinkansen, the famous bullet train. You will speed through the country and arrive in Nagano in 1.5 hours.

    After checking our suitcases at the train station, we will take a public bus to the most famous attraction in Nagano, Zenko-Ji, one of the finest temples in Japan.
    After lunch in Nagano, we will be picked up by private shuttle that will take us to Togakushi village.

    After arriving in Togakushi, we will visit the Ninja Museum.The museum consists of multiple buildings, one of which showcases tools and weapons used by the Togakure Ninja clan and exhibits many interesting photos of them practising various techniques in warfare and infiltration. We learn about and experience Ninja history. Tonight, we stay in a temple lodge.

    SCHEDULE
    Tokyo » Togakushi Village
    STAY
    Temple lodge in Togakushi Village
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY3

2021 October 20


  • Hike the pilgrimage trail in Togakushi. (Hiking day)

    Togakushi is a sacred spiritual spot located on Mt. Togakushi blessed with abundant nature and a rich culture that is thousands of years old.

    Today, we hike the trail that connects sacred sites in Togakushi while enjoying the hike in the natural forest with its bright autumn colors reflect on beautiful lakes.

    We also walk through a primeval forest on a path that is lined with giant cedar trees which are hundreds of years old. At the end of this spiritual hike, we visit Okusha.

    After the hike, we will be picked up by private shuttle to return to our accommodation.

    TRAIL DATA

    Distance: 8.2km

    Elevation gain: + 330m / - 200m

    Time: 5 - 6 hrs

    SCHEDULE
    Togakushi village » Hike in Togakushi » Togakushi Village
    STAY
    Temple lodge in Togakushi Village
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY4

2021 October 21


  • Explore temple town in Iiyama and blend in with the mountain community.

    We leave Togakushi by private shuttle to JR Nagano Station to catch a bullet train to Iiyama City. After checking our suitcases at the train station in Iiyama, we will take a guided walking tour to visit a Teramachi, which means temple town. There are many temples in Iiyama city. These temples were built at the same time when the castle complex was established specifically to protect the castle complex. The castle environs in Japan are called “Teramachi” (Temple town).

    Pick your most enticing option for lunch, or ask your tour leader to recommend and arrange one for you. After lunch, we will continue our tour with visiting a local Sake brewery, Iiyama Castle ruins and a Martial arts gym to learn about Bushido.

    After the tour, we head to our Ryokan with hot springs. Enjoy an amazing feast of food and drink prepared by a chef from our Ryokan.

    SCHEDULE
    Tokyo » Iiyama » Togari
    STAY
    Ryokan, Togari
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY5

2021 October 22


  • Deeper into the wood (Hiking Day)

    We travel along the oldest part of the entire trail today. Busaka-Pass and Nonoumi-Pass have been in use since the Nara Period (AD 710~) for trade and travel. It is one of the most scenic parts of the trail and features some short steep ascents and descents.

    Our hike today ends at the end of the Shinetsu Trail.
    We return to the same accommodation.

    TRAIL DATA

    Distance: 5.8km

    Elevation gain: + 240m / - 470m

    Time: 4 - 5 hrs

    SCHEDULE
    Togari » Shinetsu Trail »Togari
    STAY
    Ryokan, Togari
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY6

2021 October 23


  • Discovering the beech forest (Hiking Day)

    Today we walk through a forest composed almost completely of beech trees. This part of the trail features many very large and majestic trees. On the hike you will also see some distinctive curved beech trees that illustrate how heavy the snowfall can be in this area and explain why only beech trees are soft and strong enough to thrive in this climate.

    At the end of the hike, we will meet our host and they take us to a luxury traditional Ryokan in Onsen village which is renowned for its hot springs.

    Dinner tonight will be a Washoku Kaiseki which is a first-class Japanese dinner.

    TRAIL DATA

    Distance: 5.2km

    Elevation gain: + 450m / - 250m

    Time: 4 - 5 hrs

    SCHEDULE
    Togari» Shinetsu Trail »Nozawa-Onsen
    STAY
    Ryokan, Nozawa Onsen
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY7

2021 October 24


  • Hike through the cedar avenue to Kosuge shrine (Hiking Day)

    We hike historical trail today in Kusuge. We start our hike from the village of Kosuge, previously known as one of northern Nagano’s three sacred places for mountain ascetics.

    We hike through a quiet cedar forest, the trail leads you up to Kosuge Shrine. The shrine relates to Japanese mountain asceticism in the Shugendo sect, which combines elements of Shintoism and Buddhism. The hike starts in a post-temple town, there used to be about 40 temple lodgings for pilgrims to train and stay.

    Walking through the village and hiking up the ancient trail with a local guide who has an extensive knowledge of the area will make your trip even more interesting. The trail to the inner shrine is lined with towering Japanese cedars, said to be 300 years old, and large moss covered boulders. A warlord Kenshin’s rule encompassed the entire Kosuge area and he conducted prayer for victory in his battles against his enemies.

    After the hike we will return to Nozawa-Onsen and the rest of the day is yours. Enjoy your free time exploring this fascinating village. Dinner is on your own tonight, but your tour leader will be able to recommend several choices for the night.

    TRAIL DATA

    Distance: 6.5km

    Elevation gain: + 600m / - 520m

    Time: 4 - 5 hrs

    SCHEDULE
    Nozawa-Onsen » Kosuge Village » Nozawa-Onsen
    STAY
    Ryokan, Nozawa Onsen
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ NA ]
DAY8

2021 October 25


  • Rest Day! Take today to relax and meet the famous Snow Monkeys

    We will take a day tour to visit the famous hot spring snow monkeys and Hokusai Museum in Obuse. They are a must-see attraction in the area and will be a highlight of your trip. For snow monkeys, since making the front page of LIFE magazine in 1970, these monkeys, who bathe in the hot springs in the area, have become one of the biggest attractions for tourists. Although it is a bit early in the season to see the monkeys in full force, it is still a more-than-worthwhile visit.

    On the way to our accommodation, we will make a stop in Obuse city to visit Hokusai Museum. The museum displays the works of famed ukiyo-e woodblock print artist Hokusai. The artist lived out the last years of his life here in the quaint town of Obuse, under the patronage of a local wealthy merchant. Besides woodblock prints, the museum also houses two parade floats that feature artwork by Hokusai on their ceilings.

    SCHEDULE
    Nozawa-Onsen » Snow Monkey » Obuse » Madarao Kogen
    STAY
    Hotel in Madarao Kogen
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY9

2021 October 26


  • Climax of the adventure.(Hiking Day)

    This trail gets the steep stuff out of the way about one hour after starting. It is a fairly sustained climb takes us to the top of Mount Madarao (1382 meters), the highest point of the trail.

    We continue onto another mountain, Mount Daimyojin which is only 10 minutes from Mount Madarao. Resting after the climb, we enjoy stunning summit views. Heading on, we walk through beautiful beech forests intermingled with Japanese oak, maples and birches. We take our time to manage a fairly steep descent to the end.

    We come back to our accommodation to wrap up our hiking portion of the tour with an amazing feast of food and drink.

    TRAIL DATA

    Distance: 7.5km

    Elevation gain: + 650m / - 600m

    Time: 5 - 6 hrs

    SCHEDULE
    Madarao Kogen » Shinetsu Trail » Madarao Kogen
    STAY
    Hotel in Madarao Kogen
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ ✔ ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY10

2021 October 27


  • Kanazawa, the city made by Samurai.

    After breakfast, we leave Iiyama behind and travel to Kanazawa by Shinkansen, arriving in Kanazawa in 1.5 hours. After checking our suitcases at the Hotel in Kanazawa, we will take a public bus to the most famous attraction in Kanazawa, Samurai district, ‘Nagamachi Samurai Yashiki’.

    The city boasts many historical attractions such as Kenrokuen Garden, restored residences, the Nagamachi samurai district and Geisha entertainment districts. Enjoy the city that was built by Samurai.

    Dinner tonight will be a fresh seafood dinner. Given Kanazawa's proximity to the Sea of Japan, the city has access to a diverse variety of some of the best and freshest seafood in the nation.

    SCHEDULE
    Madarao Kogen » JR Iiyama St. » Kanazawa
    STAY
    Hotel, Kanazawa
    MEAL
    Breakfast [ ✔ ]      Lunch [ NA ]      Dinner [ ✔ ]
DAY11

2021 October 28