Historic footpath into Japan nature. Nagano, Matsumoto, Kamikochi (Apr-Nov)
The first one was the Tokaido road along the river, the second one was the Nakasendo road, crossing the mountains.
At this time, it took travelers about 2 weeks to reach these destinations. Nowadays, we have cars and trains, and it takes only 2 and a half hour by shinkansen to make this distance.
Moreover, if you have a little time left, do not miss the opportunity to make a detour on your trip to Kyoto.
You could enjoy special and unique experiences off the beaten tracks in amazing places. It will remains on your memories forever.
Where to Go
Ideas of activities to enjoy before the day of departure.
Mt. Nokogiri, located south of Boso peninsula in Chiba, was a stone quarry 40 years ago. The work in the quarry has been done for a long period which give the cliff the appearance of a saw-shaped, Nokogiri meaning Mount Saw in Japanese. It is not far from Hamakanaya station, and there is a wide range of hiking trails and a cable car that allow everyone to enjoy it deeply. From the place where the quarry was, you could enjoy both a breathtaking and a scaring view. It is called “Jigoku Nozoki” (the hell peeping in english).
There is plenty of places to visit. For example, you could admire the largest seated Daibutsu in Japan, and Hyakushakukannon, the god or goddess statue 100 feets high.
Ryogoku district is considered as the heart of sumo culture. Here we find a sumo stadium, called Ryogoku-Kokugikan, where sumo fights take place and many restaurants which offer a traditional sumo meal, the chankonabe. The Sumida Hokusai museum is open since 2016, Hokusai Katsushika, the master of Ukiyo-e, having been born and lived in Ryogoku. Moreover, it is near Tokyo Sky Tree. Ryogoku has become a place not to be missed to discover Tokyo popular districts culture.
Ghibli museum is dedicated to the Ghibli studio’s works. It is the first animated movie museum and the most famous in Japan. Open with the assistance of Hayao Miyazaki, renowned director of the Ghibli movies, it is a colourful building with a truly special architecture. At the museum, visitors have the possibility to stroll freely, and get lost in the gardens and corridors of this enjoyable museum. It is highly advisable to book a ticket the 10th of the month preceding the visit.
Day 1 : Tokyo
Overnight in Tokyo
Day 2 : Tokyo - Obuse - Shibu onsen
[Tokyo] ⋙⋙🚅⋙⋙ [Nagano] >>>🚃>>> [Obuse] >>>🚃>>> [Yudanakaonsen] ===🚌=== [Shibu onsen]
Transport Signs used above
Local bus: ===🚌===/ Train : >>>🚃>>> / Bullet train(Shinkansen) : ⋙⋙🚅⋙⋙ / ferry: ~~~🚢~~~ / Cablecar: +++🚠+++ / Ropeway: ***🚟*** / Gondora lift: ***🚡*** / Taxi: ----🚕---- / à pied: ....🚶.... /Nuitée : 🛌💤
Let’s take the shinkansen from Tokyo
The Kanazawa Hokuriku Shinkansen, introduced in 2015, is designed on the connection between the ancient traditional culture and the future, the “Wa future” project. Its appearance is a combination between two important designed structures, the ancient traditional japanese colour in harmony with the landscape along the railroad, and the high speed operation while having a comfortable and elegant motion.
The steadiness of the train is remarkable, and although the train crosses mountainous areas to a speed of 260 k.p.h, it reduces vibrations and makes the travel be as relaxed as possible.
~ The town loved by Hokusai ~
Shibu onsen (Shibu Hot springs)
~ Ryokan listed in the Japan cultural heritage ~
*Room upgrade : you have a possibility to upgrade your room with additional fee ・・・+10,000yen
Japanese style standard room → "Kanaguya" craftman style superior room
Day 3 : Shibu-onsen ~ Jigokudani wild snow monkey park (optional) ~ Zenkoji
Pilgrimage to Zenkoji temple
This temple is located north of Nagano Prefecture, and was founded at the 7th century. It was already established before the separation of buddhism in Japan. This temple accepts everyone without any distinction, including women, unlike least recent temples. Consequently, this temple has always been visited for centuries.
~ Overnight in a temple ~
There is also the opportunity to experience the Sha-Kyo (a soutra transcription) and the Sha-Butsiu. But above all, O-asa-ji is highly recommended. It means the reading of the soutra aloud by the monks in the main part of the temple. It starts between 5 am and 6:30 am. Visitors are down on their knees while receiving the benediction from the main monks, a man and a woman (no discrimination in this temple). While the monks are heading for the main part of the temple, they are praying aloud and visitors are listening to them.
Day 4 : Zenko-ji ~ Kamikochi
Usually, you could start the hike from Taisho-ike (Taisho pond; which appeared after a volcanic eruption), and enjoy a walk on a flat pathway and its stunning scenery along the river.
Day 5 : Kamikochi ~ Daio wasabi farm ~ Matsumoto
Daio wasabi farm
Enjoy night city view in Matsumoto
Day 6 : Matsumoto city sightseeing ~ Narai-juku
During Edo period, Matsumoto was the most affluent town of Nagano Prefecture. Located in an isolated place into the mountains, it was spared from the war and maintains its cultural and historic heritage and above all, its majestic and well preserved castle.
《Matsumoto-jo》 (Matsumoto castle)
《Nakamachi dori》(Nakamachi street)
《Matsumoto-shi Biyutsukan》( Matsumoto art museum)
Matsumoto is the birthplace of the artist Yayoi Kusama, known for his “Naoshima pumpkins” and many others works of art kept in Matsumoto museum. In front of the museum stands the big “Maboroshi no Hana” work of art. You will certainly notice that many of Kusama works are exposed but you will also have the opportunity to admire the work of many other artists who was born in Matsumoto.
Narai-juku (Juku=ancient road station)
-During this journey, we offer you to spend the night at Narai-Juku or Tsumago-Juku and the accommodation would be a minshuku, the ancient style accommodation of Japanese Shukuba, and it is possible not to have a bathroom in your room. It is also possible that it has fusuma (vertical rectangular panels which can slide from side to side to redefine spaces within a room, or act as doors). However, you would find yourself as you were back in time, during the Edo period.
- During your stay at Narai or Tsumago, the group could be separated (including your tour guide) and spent the night in a different accommodation according to the availibity and the reception capacity of each one.
Day 7 《Magome-juku~Tsumago-juku》Hiking ~ Kyoto
Hiking on the ancient road of Nakasendo (Magome-Tsumago)
There are about 9 kilometers of hiking from the 43rd Shukuba, Magome Juku and the 42nd, Tsumago Juku. Once you will have hike the slope from Magome Juku, you will arrive at Magome Touge, the highest point of this road. You will observe a charming mansion a little further away from Magome Touge, dating back to the second third of the Edo period that is nowadays a resting place where you could drink a tea quietly and catch your breath. On the way, you will see a beautiful waterfall and a breathtaking view. Indeed, the hike is surrounded by wonderful nature. Moreover, the paved paths into the lush vegetation make the ambiance mysterious and fascinating. It takes 3 hours to go to Tsumago-juku if you walk slowly and it has only 200 meters difference in height so the hike is suitable for everyone. In addition, the starting point and arrival are beautiful villages full of charm. Consequently, it attracts many foreign visitors and you could met many hikers from everywhere in the world.
Let's go to Kyoto via Nagoya (you have the possibility to leave the group and get off at Nagoya).
Day 8 Kyoto
Ideas of activities to enjoy after the tour
|Important to know|