Mt Fuji and Mt Yarigatake are the most famous Japanese mountains, and on this trip we ascend both of these iconic peaks. As well as climbing Yarigatake, the 'Japanese Matterhorn', and the classic volcanic cone of Fuji, we stay in Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, with its peaceful Zen gardens and Shinto temples, spend a day futuristic Tokyo, and take a short walk on the Nakasendo Way.

Why We Love It

Hike Mount Fuji - Japan's highest peak and view its perfect volcanic cone.

Hike the famous Nakasendo Way - an ancient trading route.

Exploring the beautiful and fascinating ancient city of Kyoto.

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Day by day Itinerary

Mt Fuji and the Japanese Alps

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Day 1

Kyoto

Start Kyoto. The tour starts in Kyoto this evening. Those who have booked land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel.

Day 2

Kyoto

With about 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a treasure house of Japan's cultural heritage and remains, undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Today we have the chance to explore this extraordinary city, perhaps visiting the impressive Imperial Palace grounds on a guided tour, the famous Golden Temple of Kinkakuji and Gion, Kyoto's entertainment area, for Geisha-spotting, or resting back at the hotel.

Day 3

Nakasendo Way

We speed our way, by train, out of Kyoto to Nagoya. From Nagoya we transfer by local train/bus to Nagiso and on to Tsumago. Tsumago is situated on the Nakasendo (Central Mountain) Way, and is the best preserved of the many staging posts. We will trek a short 5-mile stretch from the village of Magome, down the Kiso Valley, back to Tsumago. (D)

Day 4

Yarisawa

Kamikochi (1500m) lies in the Chubu Sangaku National Park, and is an excellent base for explorations into the North Japanese Alps. We set out for the Yarisawa mountain hut, a gentle afternoon walk starting along the valley floor, through pine and birch forest, before crossing the river and climbing the Yarisawa valley at which point the trail becomes steeper and rougher. Through the forest we may be lucky enough to glimpse a sight of some of the resident Japanese macaques.  (B, D)

Day 5

Yarigatake Trek

Continuing up the increasingly steep and rocky Yarisawa Valley we ascend to the Yarigatake mountain hut, before the final pull up onto the summit of the Japanese Matterhorn - Mt. Yarigatake (3180m). This is a popular spot for local hikers with (on a clear day) spectacular views, including Mt Fuji to the southeast.  (B, D)

Day 6

Matsumoto

We begin the long and steep descent from Yarigatake mountain hut, back down to Kamikochi. hopefully with time to soak the muscles in a relaxing outdoor hot spring bath (rotenburo). This early morning descent can be cold and begins very steep over broken ground. From Kamikochi we transfer to Matsumoto.

Day 7

Mount Fuji

In the morning there is an optional visit to the impressive Matsumoto Castle, a unique black castle which is one of the best preserved in Japan. Moving on from Matsumoto we transfer to the town of Fujiyoshida, situated near Lake Kawaguchi, one of the five lakes of Mt Fuji. Fuji-san is Japan's highest peak at 3776m and attracts people from all over Japan and the world to climb it.

Day 8

Mount Fuji hike

We transfer by road to Station Five (Go-gome), from where we start our trek, on a well-marked track up to Station Eight (Hachi-gome). The walk takes about 4-5 hours, but is hard work as you cross steep volcanic scree and cinder that shifts underfoot as you ascend. (D)

Day 9

Mount Fuji hike

An early morning start, as we set off before sunrise, for the summit of Mt Fuji. It is only in the last hundred years that people have been regularly climbing Mt Fuji; previously the mountain was considered so sacred that only pilgrims and priests were allowed to climb. After experiencing sunrise, we descend back down to our hotel in Fujiyoshida. (B)

Day 10

Mount Fuji

A free day to explore and relax around the beautiful Fuji Five Lakes area. It is possible to visit Lake Sai, perhaps the quietest and least visited of the Five Lakes, or to take a short trip to Tenjo-zan where you often get a fabulous view of Lake Kawaguchi with Mt Fuji behind. 

Day 11

Tokyo

From Fujiyoshida we travel by bus, arriving around lunchtime in the capital. Situated on the banks of the Sumida River, by Tokyo Bay, Tokyo grew up out of the fishing village of Edo, becoming the centre of power in 1590. This afternoon is free to explore this bustling metropolis.

Day 12

Tokyo

Today we have a free day to explore the delights of Tokyo. Perhaps start early at the morning fish market in Tsukiji and visit Asakusa's lively temple of Senso-ji. The possibilities for evening entertainment are almost limitless with Tokyo's nightlife as exciting as anywhere in Asia.

Day 13

Tokyo

The trip ends in Tokyo this morning. 

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