To the Alps and villages of Japan

Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Changi Airport Terminal 1

This adventure is: #adrenaline pumping, #tastebud tickling, #scenic

Nagano: To the Alps and villages of Japan

Your Organizer

“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

180 Adventures organized
4,899 Friends came along
Total ratings:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Highlights

I guess many people have been to Japan and enjoy their food, culture, onsens, and many other things.  Possibly not many have climbed their Alps, so I have decided to do an easy hike to Japan's most spectacular mountain scenery, the Kamikochi mountain ranges and also visit Tateyama mountain ranges.  It is not all mountains, I will be visiting the quaint famous villages Shirakawa and Takayama and old their towns.  Staying in ryokans with onsen in onsen villages and of course eating the traditional Japanese food.  I hope you will like this trip as much as I do, and I hope to meet you soon.

Highlights of this trip
- Visit Shirakawa, a UNESCO site, the village is home to several dozen well preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses
- Hike Kamikochi, Japan's most spectacular mountain scenery
- Climb an active volcano Mt Yakedake in Kamikochi
- Visit the rural old town, Takayama
- Visit Matsushiro's castles, samurai houses, temples and gardens, and possibly the only underground Imperial Headquarters
- Take a ropeway up to see the magnificent scenic ranges of Tateyama
- Dip into the famous onsens of Okuhida's Valley near to Takayama
- Pass through the metres high snow wall

We will begin our journey to the old city of Matsumoto and Matsushiro.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanMatsumoto castle seen at noon, photo by mzagerp  licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0  

Matsumoto castle is one of Japan's premier historic castles, also a National Treasures of Japan, it is also known as "Crow Castle" due to its black exterior.

We will proceed to Matsushiro.  Matsushiro retains its samurai houses, temples and gardens of its castle town days, some interesting museums, and even a tunnel complex from World War II, Matsushiro Daihonei.  Matsushiro Daihonei an Underground Imperial Headquarters is particularly interesting for me and it is possibly the only Underground Imperial Headquarters.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanEntrance to Matsushiro Daihonei an Underground Imperial Headquarters, photo by Qurren licensed under CC BY 2.0  

Matsushiro Daihonei an Underground Imperial Headquarters - a complex of subterranean tunnels dug by Korean forced-laborers, to provide an invincible hideout for the Emperor and the Imperial Japanese government at the end of World War II. We will visit the 500m-stretch of tunnel and a small museum adjacent to the main entrance detailing the brutality of the treatment meted out to the construction workers on the site.  After which we will head to  Kamikochi, the Alps of Japan.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanKamikochi bridge, the starting point to the Alps

Kamikochi, Japan's most spectacular mountain scenery. It is designated as one of Japan's Special Places of Scenic Beauty and sometimes referred to as the "Japanese Yosemite Valley.  We will start the hike from Kappa-bashi bridge, then to Lake Taisho, Myojin Pond then finally to Takezawa Marsh taking lots of photos along the way.  The Alps rise another 1500 meters from there, creating a stunningly magnificent background with the beautiful aquamarine Azusa River in the foreground.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanAn autumn view of Kamikochi, photo by mendhak licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 


To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanWe will take a walk in Kamikochi Forest this is a scenary during summer

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanMount Yakedate literally, "Burning mountain" is an active volcano in the Hida Mountains photo by knzozi licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0  

We will be climbing Mount Yakedate a 6.4km day hike to 2,444 m.  This hike is not considered difficult, but we will have to climb some ladders to reach the summit. 

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanTakayama, an old town, photo by ankurp  licensed under CC BY 2.0  

After our workout in Kamikochi, let's head to Takayama.  Takayama an old town, the narrow streets of its Sanmachi Suji historic district are lined with wooden merchants’ houses dating to the Edo Period, along with many small museums.The architecture is something to admire, and the story is the best carpenters in Japan are from Takayama. All of the oldest buildings are still in use today, and things are done traditionally.   Staying in the oldest onsen in of Okuhida's Valley.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanAn onsen in Okuhida Onsen Town, photo by きうこ licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0  

We will be staying over at Hirayu one of the the oldest onsen in Okuhida.  Okuhida's Valley near to Takayama is famous for its hot springs, and especially so for its outdoor baths with views of the surrounding Northern Japan Alps.  There are as many as 140 outdoor onsen in Okuhida.

After which we will head to Shirakawa, a UNESCO site, the village is home to several dozen well preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. We will hike to viewpoints, walk around the villages, and visit the well preserved farmhouses.  
To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanVillage scene in Shirakawa, photo by tsuda licensed under CC BY 2.0  

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanTraditional house in Shirakawa,  photo by Esteban Chiner licensed under CC BY 2.0 

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanHilltop view of Shirakawa, photo by Jason licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Finally we will head to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.  The Tateyama Mountain Range, part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. Depending on the season we made this trip we can enjoy the varying scenary during different seasons of the year. In spring, accumulated snow, especially around the upper sections of Midagahara and Murodo, form a majestic snow corridor whose snow walls reach up to 20 meters high.  We will also take the Ropeway that provides great panoramic bird's eye views of the surrounding mountain scenery, and the 186 meter tall Kurobe Dam.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanUp the ropeway an autumn view of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine, photo by hansjohnson licensed under CC BY 2.0 

The single-span Tateyama Ropeway that provides great panoramic bird's eye views of the surrounding mountain scenery, and the 186 meter tall Kurobe Dam.

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanThe majestic snow corridor in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route whose snow walls reach up to 20 meters high during spring time

To the Alps and villages of Japan starting at Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, JapanKurobe Dam of Tateyama, photo by Kabacchi licensed under CC BY 2.0 

We will head back to Tokyo, some may wish to extend their stay and I will highly recommend it as Nagano has many other beautiful and interesting places waiting for us to explore.  But I will leave it to the next time.

Note:
Please take note I am planning this trip for both spring and autumn, therefore some photos are of different seasons, we should not expect a spring scene when we are hiking in autumn and vice versa.  I may also change the sequence of the itinerary so as to optimize for best conditions in our favour.

Itinerary

Day 1 Singapore to Tokyo to Nagano
Day 2 Kamikochi hiking
Day 3 Kamikochi hiking
Day 4 Takayama sightseeing
Day 5 Matsushiro sightseeing
Day 6 Alpine route Tateyama sightseeing
Day 7 Shirakawago sightseeing
Day 8 Free and Easy Tokyo, leave for Singapore