JOURNEY THE JAPANESE ALPS

Castle towns, volcanic lakes, charming local cultures and Mt. Fuji await on this gorgeous tour through the Japanese Alps

12 Days, 11 Nights     FROM JPY 289,373 PER PERS

Travel across the “Roof of Japan” on this gorgeous Japanese Alps tour. You’ll drink in the lush forest scenery from trains and cable cars, and spend the night in beautifully preserved castle towns. Touring Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, famous for its natural hot springs, will offer glimpses of snowcapped Mt. Fuji. With our guided and self-guided bespoke tours, you’ll discover cosmopolitan Tokyo, charming Kyoto, beautifully preserved Takayama and little-seen cultural wonders in the Japanese Alps.

Begin this epic 12-day tour with a visit to Tokyo’s iconic sites and highlights with the aid of a private guide. An additional day of self-guided exploration through Tokyo’s fascinating enclaves or an optional daytrip to Kamakura or Nikko gives you the flexibility to soak in the capital’s cosmopolitan culture or explore its beautiful surroundings.

A journey through craggy peaks and forests to the castle town of Matsumoto will reveal an original, wonderfully preserved 16th-century castle. In nearby Jigokudani Park, the famous snow monkeys will keep you company before you continue by train through mountain passes to Takayama, a remote mountain village with a distinct culture. Here, you’ll indulge in a kaiseki meal and soak in an onsen at a traditional Japanese ryokan. Over the next three days, explore the Roof of Japan, visiting gorgeous and historical towns such as Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Kanazawa, a hidden gem often overlooked by international tourists.

On day 8 of your discovery of the Japanese Alps, a bullet train will whisk you to Kyoto, where you’ll see Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites by bicycle. But before you end your trip, you’ll come to the foot of Mt. Fuji with a trek through Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park’s other-worldly landscape of bubbling, sulfurous pools. If the weather is fine you’ll get some glorious views of the famous volcano before heading back to Tokyo to spend one last night before your onward journey, or your departure from Japan.

 

“The Japanese Alps are home to some very unique cultures and stunning scenery! If you love all things mountainous, you’ll love this insider tour that brings you face to face with Mt. Fuji, historic castle towns, and traditional Japanese culture.”

Tuck, Backyard Travel Japan Specialist

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

Stay in a centuries-old farmhouse in the mountains of Shirakawago
Indulge in kaiseki, a beautifully presented meal of many small courses
Explore the historical and fascinating highlights of Kyoto by bicycle
Spend the night in a traditional Japanese ryokan in the mountain village of Takayama

Daily Itinerary

JOURNEY THE JAPANESE ALPS

  • Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Tokyo

    Welcome to your tour of the Japanese Alps! Upon arrival at the airport in Tokyo, you’ll be welcomed by our representative and transferred either by train or shuttle bus to your hotel. The rest of your day will be free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    No meals included on this day

    1
  • Day 2: Tokyo

    After breakfast today, your guide will meet you at your hotel to embark on a full-day sightseeing tour that utilizes the super-efficient Tokyo train system.

    Your first stop is Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous shrine, which is dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji (1852–1912) and his wife. Perfectly timed to beat the crowds, your early morning visit will allow you to wander peacefully through the impressive park of 120,000 trees of some 365 species.

    Next, stroll through nearby Harajuku, the busy shopping district of Tokyo where the young and fashionable congregate. You’ll end up on Omotesando, commonly called “Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees.” This broad, tree-lined avenue is home to many flagship designer boutiques.

    A short subway ride brings you to Ginza, the city’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment district. You’ll stroll through the nearby East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, where the emperor of Japan currently lives. Finally, wander through the shops and warrens of Asakusa in Tokyo’s atmospheric shitamachi, or “old town.” Asakusa is Tokyo’s oldest geisha district, and this historic part of town is also home to Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji.

    (Please note: The order of this itinerary may change depending on the location of your hotel.)

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    tokyo by night, one of the highlights of japan - Backyard Travel2
  • Day 3: Tokyo - Optional Day Trip

    Explore Tokyo at your leisure today. If you get an early start you can head to Tsukiji Fish Market and spend the morning at the world’s largest fish market. Pop culture fans might want to visit the electronics district of Akihabara—a techie and manga lover’s paradise. Or, for a dose of fine art, go museum and gallery hopping around Tokyo’s world-class art institutions.

    Or you can choose to go on an optional daytrip outside of Tokyo:

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 1: Kamakura
    Kamakura, a delightful seaside town, is one of Japan’s former capitals and home to numerous ancient temples, as well as Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha statue. (Journey time from Tokyo to Kamakura by train is 1 hour.)

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 2: Nikko
    The mountainous region of Nikko National Park is home to the famous Toshogu Shrine complex. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was constructed as a mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan for more than 250 years. The Shinto and Buddhist complex boasts some of Japan’s most ornate religious architecture. (Journey time from Tokyo to Nikko by train is 2 hours.)

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    cherry blossom in Japan - statue at kamakura
  • Day 4: Tokyo - Matsumoto

    Today, enjoy a self-guided day at your own pace. You’ll leave the cosmopolitan capital behind and journey to the picturesque castle town of Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps. Established in the 16th century, Matsumoto is surrounded by mountains that offer amazing views and easy access to hiking and climbing destinations. To the west, the Japanese Alps—or the “Roof of Japan”—rise to an altitude of 3,000 meters.

    This afternoon, take the opportunity to visit Matsumoto Castle, one of the country’s most complete, beautifully preserved original castles. The structure is also known as “Crow Castle” for its black walls and wings that resemble a crow.

    Overnight in Matsumoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Japanese Red Umbrella/Janome
  • Day 5: Matsumoto - Yamanouchi - Matsumoto

    On your self-guided tour today, you’ll first head to Nagano and continue by train (roughly 2.5 hours), bus (9 minutes), and on foot (roughly a 30-minute walk) to the other-worldly Jigokudani Park to visit the famous snow monkeys. These resident macaques love to sit in the baths formed by natural hot springs. The term “Jigokudani” literally translates to “hell’s valley” for the steam and boiling water that bubble out of the ground.

    The monkeys are interesting to watch because they live according to a strict social hierarchy and they are accustomed to humans. You can observe them quite closely all year round, although the monkeys are most numerous here during the winter months.

    Have the rest of the day free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight in Matsumoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Red Parasol and Canal in Japanrickshaw under cherry blossom trees in Japan
  • Day 6: Matsumoto - Takayama

    Today your tour of the Japanese Alps takes you to the mountain village of Takayama, a beautifully preserved town that was once cut off from the rest of Japan due to its remote location in the Hida Alpine region. Thus, Takayama has developed its own unique and distinct regional culture.

    Wandering through the narrow alleys and streets of Takayama is like taking a step back in time. We recommend visiting one of the town’s many sake breweries to taste some of the regional brews. The sake produced in this area is renowned for the purity of the water used to make it.

    Tonight, you’ll stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, which includes tatami mat floors, roll-out futon and onsen (hot spring) baths. In the evening, indulge in a quintessentially Japanese kaiseki dinner, a beautifully presented meal consisting of many small courses. Your meal will no doubt include some of the famous regional fare, such as Hida beef and Takayama’s unique local vegetables. Relax in your yukata (cotton robe) and enjoy an after-dinner soak in the onsen.

    Overnight in Takayama

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

    japan culinary tour: men cooking traditional japanese street food in Osaka, Japan - Backyard TravelGeisha woman in Kyoto that you can see on a japan luxury tour
  • Day 7: Takayama - Shirakawago

    Today is free to further explore charming Takayama. After breakfast, we recommend heading to the Miyagawa morning market, which offers a great opportunity to check out the local crafts and sample the delicious regional produce. Afterward, visit the Takayama Festival Floats Museum, which exhibits an impressive array of floats used during the traditional Takayama Festival. A short ride will bring you to the museum, although it is a bit out of the way from other tourist attractions.

    After taking a moment to rest and refresh at lunch, continue 1 hour by bus to Shirakawago. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Literally meaning “constructed like hands in prayer,” gassho-zukuri farmhouses are designed to withstand the heavy snows. Their steeply pitched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer. Constructed without the use of nails, these roofs also provide spacious attics that were traditionally used for silkworm cultivation.

    Tonight, you’ll dine and stay in one of these farmhouses, which offer a great, immersive experience that will help you understand what it is like to live in the mountains of Japan.

    Overnight in Shirakawago

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

    7Japan visa to go to Shirakawago Village closed to Takayama
  • Day 8: Shirakawago - Kanazawa - Kyoto

    On this self-guided day of your Japanese Alps tour, you’ll rise early to continue your journey by bus, heading south to Kanazawa. In the 17th century, this beautiful castle town was Japan’s wealthiest region and a flourishing center for culture and the arts.

    Hop on and off of the Kanazawa Sightseeing Bus to visit some of the city’s major highlights. The famed Kenroku Garden, which is ranked as one of Japan’s top three gardens, makes a great starting point. The name kenroku-en means “Six Attributes Garden.” It’s believed that a perfect garden comprises the six attributes of artifice, antiquity, panoramas, seclusion, spaciousness and water-courses.

    Next door, you’ll find Kanazawa Castle. Enter through Ishikawa Gate, one of the castle’s main gates. You’ll notice one of the unique characteristics of Kanazawa-jo: its white-colored roof tiles that are made of lead.

    In the late afternoon, catch the famous bullet train to Kyoto. The 2-hour trip will bring you to Japan’s cultural capital, home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s possible to spend years in Kyoto and never run out of things to see, do and marvel at.

    Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    View of a japanese garden from a Ryokan, traditional japanese inn and guesthouse
  • Day 9: Kyoto

    You’ll have the chance to see Kyoto today as the locals do: by bicycle. The perfect city for cycling, Kyoto has no hills and very light traffic. Today’s cycling tour of Kyoto will be suitable for all skill levels.

    Meet your private guide at Kyoto Station and pick up your bike for the day. Then head to the stately Nishi-Hongaji Temple, one of Kyoto’s largest temple complexes. Continue to Nijo Castle, which is famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors and “chirping” nightingale floors. The building, located in the middle of a stunning garden, was completed in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

    Stop for a satisfying lunch, then cycle to Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Built as a retirement villa for the shogun, it was turned into a Buddhist temple at his request after his death. The temple is now one of Kyoto’s most famous structures.

    Finally, cycle west to see the famous and tranquil Zen rock garden of Ryoanji. From there, enjoy a stroll through the atmospheric Arashiyama district and its serene bamboo forest before returning to Kyoto Station.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and lunch

    9Kyoto tour of Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Zen temple
  • Day 10: Kyoto - Hakone/Mt Fuji

    Today, your Japanese Alps tour will continue to the most famous Japanese mountain of all. You’ll depart from Kyoto and take a roughly 2.5-hour train journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mt. Fuji. Famous for its hot springs and natural beauty, this mountainous town is surrounded by thick forests, dramatic ravines and lush glens.

    In Hakone, we recommend an afternoon stroll through the outdoor exhibits of the Hakone Open Air Museum, set amidst stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The museum also boasts a significant Pablo Picasso Collection that showcases some of the legendary artist’s paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramic works.

    Tonight, your accommodations will be a charming ryokan, where you will be served a delicious Japanese-style dinner.

    Overnight in Hakone

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

    Woman Planting Ricebest time to visit Japan - Chureito pagoda during Spring time, with Mount Fuji in background - Bacjyard Travel
  • Day 11: Hakone/Mt Fuji-Tokyo

    Today you’ll have a full self-guided day to explore all the wonders of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. With your included Hakone transport pass, you’ll be free to take advantage of the many modes of transport in this volcanic park. Take the opportunity to ride the world’s second-longest ropeway to Mt. Owakudani, marveling at the scenery of rivers, hot springs and sulfuric fumes. (Please note: Mt. Owakudani may be temporarily closed due to volcanic activities. Please check with our Travel Specialist.)

    On clear days, the park offers superb views of Mt. Fuji—however, please keep in mind that this iconic mountain is notoriously shy and can only be seen when the weather is fine.

    You’ll have the chance to try a kuro-tamago, or “black egg,” a hard-boiled egg prepared in the sulfuric hot springs. This local delicacy is believed to have great health benefits. It’s said that eating one will add seven years to your life!

    Perhaps you’ll choose to be swept across the caldera lake of Ashinoko in a majestic replica pirate ship, or to ride the Hakone Tozan train, which zigzags its way through the mountain switchbacks, offering some stunning views.

    Our Travel Specialists will be happy to offer more information on any of the above activities.

    When you’re sated on mountain scenery, take the 1.5-hour train ride back to Tokyo.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfas

    Flying carps-Koinoborijapanese-autumn-landscape-japan.jpg
  • Day 12: Tokyo

    Spend your last day in Tokyo at your leisure until it’s time for your train transfer to the airport.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    12tokyo private tour of the best urban views in japan's capital

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

This Japanese Alps tour can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)



Talk to us about Your Holiday

Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

join 10,000+ travelers by Subscribing to our Newsletter

Send this to friend

Subscribe for New Tours & Insider Travel Insights
Our regular Newsletters and quarterly web magazine 'Inside Asia', contain the fruits of our explorations around Asia, researching and creating new insider tours in intriguing and spectacular new destinations.
We never share your details
BACKYARD TRAVEL
CONTACT US
Hi there. We have a team of local experts eager and waiting to inspire you about the destinations they call home. Just drop us a line and we'll talk you through where to go and what to do.
Thank You. We will get back to you shortly.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Start Planning your Trip
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.