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Snow Country: Winter Adventure

Duration

6 Days , 5 Nights

Physical Level

Start / Finish

Tokyo International Airport / Tokyo International Airport

Technical Level

Snow Country: Winter Adventure is a fully guided trip suitable for anyone who can walk for more than three to four hours in comfort. In general, the route is gently undulating but also includes some short, steeper climbs. Please read more on Tour Levels here.

 

A 6 day, 5 night tour starting and finishing in Tokyo. Walk Japan adapts its trips for group size and age and welcomes groups of any size and students of any age. Currently, for our school trips the groups vary in size from 8 to 60 students and in age from 12 years to post-graduate university students.

 

Japan’s Snow Country is aptly named as it experiences some of the heaviest snowfall to be found anywhere on earth. The abundance of snow, which can reach a depth of 10 metres (33ft), makes the region a beautiful and fascinating place in winter; a veritable winter wonderland. Snow shoeing is one of the modi operandi we use to explore the pristine powder snow found here. Another is tobogganing. We also build snow huts and walk in at night over a landscape made ethereal by the moonlight. The Snow Country school trip also provides insights into the local way of life that has adapted to the extreme winter climate; and experiences of the Japanese Shinto religion, its distinctive food, onsen hot spring culture, and wildlife. Other treats include karaoke singing and shopping in Tokyo, a megalopolis and the antithesis of the rural Snow Country.
The itinerary for the Snow Country: Winter Adventure is ground only beginning and ending in Tokyo International Airport. After finalising details for the trip and receiving a deposit we will provide a pre-trip information pack detailing how the school and students join the trip, clothing checklist, itinerary, etc.

 

Day 1 Tokyo - Nagano - Togakushi


The Walk Japan tour leader meets the tour group at one of Tokyo’s airports. From here we transfer to Nagano where we visit Zenko-ji, a temple that dates back to 7th Century making it one of the oldest in Japan. It is also one of the most popular and has been a major site of pilgrimage for centuries.

 

We continue on to Togakushi, where the snow lies deeply. Togakushi is an ancient Shinto complex of five major shrines set on a 1,200m (3,937ft) high mountain plateau overlooked by Togakushi-yama, a spectacular mountain. Clad with snow shoes, we explore the grounds of Togakushi on foot.

 

Our accommodation for the next two nights is in a nationally-registered cultural property, an impressive thatched-roof building that serves as a lodgings for pilgrims to Togakushi.


 

Accommodation: Japanese pilgrim lodge.
Meals: Lunch and Dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.

 

Day 2 Togakushi


After breakfast, we set off again on our snow shoes for a longer trek through the shrine complex and surrounding countryside. We are likely to be the only people out enjoying the pristine snow. Probably the only other signs of life we see are the footprints of wild animals.

 

Togakushi has for centuries been a centre for esoteric Buddhism and yamabushi mountain ascetics. Our trail takes us through towering torii shrine gates, past giant cedar trees and through snow-silent forests to Lake Kami-ga-ike. Clear weather provides us with spectacular views to the Togakushi mountain range, which is worshipped by the locals as the source of life sustaining water. En route we enjoy lunch at a delightful local ,soba buckwheat restaurant. After returning to our accommodation, we relax and revive ourselves in steaming baths before enjoying dinner together.

 

Accommodation: Japanese pilgrim lodge.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.

 

Day 3 Togakushi - Nabekura


After breakfast and a morning service conducted by the shrine priest, who is also our inn keeper, we journey onto Nabekura. Upon arrival, we once again shod snow shoes, this time traditional kanjikimade from bamboo. Today, we help prepare our lunch by turning our hand to making oyaki, a very popular, local savoury treat.

 

The accommodation for the next two nights is in chalets, which are submerged deep into the snow through which access is possible only via narrow passages dug to the front doors. Time to frolic in the snow here before we go out to a combined onsen and restaurant, where we bathe before being served our evening meal comprising of a spread of delicious local dishes.

 

Accommodation: Log cabins.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.

 

Day 4 Nabekura


Today, we set out on our snow shoes to climb a local peak. The reward for making the effort is a spectacular 360 degree view across delightful winter scenery to the Sea of Japan, which is often tumultuous in winter. Returning to our accommodation we spend the afternoon constructing kamakura snow huts.

 

Accommodation: Log cabins.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.

 

Day 5 Nabekura - Nagano - Tokyo


Our breakfast is followed by transfer to Jigokudani, the home of Japan’s famous snow monkeys. The monkeys, which are really macaques, are the most northerly living non-human primates. We continue on the bus to Nagano where we transfer by the super-fast Shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo. After checking into our hotel, we regroup for a celebratory end to our trip together over dinner and karaoke.

 

Accommodation: Western-style business hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.

 

Day 6 Tokyo - Haneda Airport


After breakfast, we have time to shop for souvenirs before transferring to the airport for our return flight home.

 

Accommodation: N/A.
Meals: Breakfast provided.
Total walking: N/A.


 

This itinerary is subject to change.

 
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