Team Travel Kuramoto


Go back

11 Days
Winter Wonderland in Chubu Region

Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 – Depart from Nagoya (or Osaka) and head to Kanazawa

    During the Edo era, Kanazawa was a very powerful samurai town, rivalling Kyoto and even Edo (Tokyo). Luckily, just like Kyoto, Kanazawa escaped the bombing of World War Two. Consequently, parts of the old castle town, such as the Nagamachi Samurai district and Chaya Entertainment district, have survived in pretty good condition.

    Not to be missed is The Kenrokuen Garden. The garden is classified as one of Japan’s “Three most beautiful landscape gardens.” The spacious grounds of Kenrokuen used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle. In winter, the garden, covered in snow, is an impressive sight.

    Next stop on your itinerary today, Higashi Chagai ya district, a traditional area with many 

    Japanese Style houses. The district still has its atmosphere of when Samurais and Geishas walked the streets. 

    Your final stop today will be the Myoruji Ninja Temple

    While not actually associated with ninja, the temple earned its nickname because of its many deceptive defenses. Since the shogun imposed strict building restrictions as one way of weakening his regional lords, the temple was designed to circumvent the restrictions and serve as a disguised military outpost.

    Night: Kanazawa

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 2 – Kanazawa – Day trip to Wajima

    Wajima City is the largest city in the Okunoto region, which makes up the northern half of the Noto Peninsula. The city is centred around a protected harbour on the Sea of Japan coast and is most famous for its morning market and lacquerware.

    Wajima’s Morning Market is the city’s most famous attraction, believed to date back over a thousand years. Daily between 8:00 and 12:00, the pleasant pedestrian street in the city centre is lined with vendors selling various goods, including fresh seafood and produce. Elderly women, who bring in their goods from local farms, contribute a lot to the market’s character.

    The Wajima Nuri Kaikan has two floors, and only the museum on the second floor requires an entrance fee. The first floor is a shopping area, where a large number of lacquer products are on sale. The Wajima Museum of Lacquer Art (Urushi), located a bit outside the city centre, has a wider variety of lacquerware on display in a nice atmosphere conducive to admiring the works.

    The Kiriko Hall is a museum for the massive illuminated festival floats known as Kiriko. The floats are used between July and September during summer and autumn festivals of the Noto Peninsula.

    Finally, you will head to the  Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces.

    Overlooking the Sea of Japan, the scenery of 1,004 small rice paddies on steep slopes along the seaside is splendid and it was also chosen as a “Special Place of Scenic Beauty.

    End of the afternoon, you will return to Kanazawa for the night.

    Night: Kanazawa

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 3 – Transfer from Kanazawa to Takayama

    After breakfast, checkout and take the local train to Takayama. Located in the northern part of Gifu prefecture, Takayama is a beautifully preserved old town that embraces tradition and hospitality. The town is rather small and most sites can be reached on foot.

    Start your exploration with the Sanmachi Main street. Walking along Sanmachi is like going back to the Edo period with traditional style merchant shophouses lined up the street. These buildings are very well maintained. Today, each shop is nicely decorated and hosts restaurants, Sake breweries and much more.

    Next on your list today is the Takayama Jinya, a beautiful traditional Japanese style building. The Takayama Jinya used to serve as Takayama’s government office during the Edo Period, when the city stood under the direct control of the shogun due to its valuable timber resources.

    Finish the day with a visit to the Matsuri no Mori Museum. 

    The Museum showcases the key aspects of the Takayama Festival, which takes place for two days each spring and autumn. The festival is known as one of Japan’s three most beautiful, along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and the Chichibu Yomatsuri.

    Night: Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 4 – Day trip to Shirakawa and Gokayama

    Today you will have a private guide and driver take you to the remote Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, but first, visit Takayama’s famous morning market. Located on the riverbank, the morning market sells a variety of foods, souvenirs and handmade goods.

    Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, the villages are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together. Beautiful during any season, the snow and quietness of winter add an enchanting atmosphere to the already magnificent scenery.

    Mid-afternoon, you will return to Takayama for the night. The evening will be free at your leisure.

    Night: Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 5 – Transfer from Takayama to Toyama

    Toyama means “rich with mountains”, and the name fits perfectly! The city offers stunning views of a series of 3,000-meter peaks belonging to the Northern Japan Alps. Located on the picturesque Japan Sea, Toyama was a powerful castle town and today this thriving city offers visitors splendid ancient festivals, neighborhoods with traditional 19th-century wooden buildings and much more.

    Start your day with a tour of the Toyama Castle park. 

    The park contains a reconstructed castle Keep, an art museum, a nice Japanese garden, spacious lawns and a statue of the former local lord.

    Across the park, the Sato Memorial Art Museum showcases the extensive art collection of Sato Sukekuro, a wealthy entrepreneur from Toyama. In addition to paintings, ornaments and local lacquerware, the museum also exhibits some traditional Japanese tea rooms.

    Night: Toyama

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 6 – Toyama to via the Alpine road Hakuba

    In order to reach Hakuba today, you will travel along one of Japan’s most scenic roads in winter: The Alpine Road.

    Take the different modes of transportation (Cable car, Trolley bus, Ropeway) to the Murodo Plateau. Murodo offers fantastic views of the Tateyama Mountain Range, and to the nearby Jigokudani “Hell Valley”. Volcanic activity can be observed at the valley. The Murodo Station complex includes the Hotel Tateyama, Japan’s highest altitude hotel.

    From the Murodo plateau, you will travel down to the Kurobe Dam. With a height of 186 meters, it is Japan’s tallest dam. From late June to mid-October, up to 15 tons of water per second are spectacularly discharged through the dam.

    Arriving at Oguzawa, you will change transportation and arrive at Hakuba in the late afternoon. After check-in, the evening will be free. 

    Night: Hakuba

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 7 and Day 8– Hakuba- free skiing days

    Hakuba is home to some of Nagano’s best resorts, drawing visitors from all over the world each winter to enjoy Japan’s epic snow and welcoming atmosphere. As one of the main host venues of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba is recognised for its world-class snow conditions, varied terrain, and excellent facilities – in short, there’s lots of reasons it’s so popular.

    Night: Hakuba

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Ski rental, Ski-lift passes and fees

    Day 9 – Hakuba – Day trip to the Snow Monkeys

    Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani – rather dramatically translating to ‘Hell’s Valley’.

    Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience. Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity. Make sure to bring your camera as there are plenty of photo ops!

    Return to Hakuba mid-afternoon, and enjoy the rest of the day at Hakuba resort.

    Night: Hakuba

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 10 – Hakuba to Matsumoto

    Unfortunately, it is time to leave your snow wonderland in the Northern Alps and head south to the city of Matsumoto.

    Formerly known as Fukashi, Nagano Prefecture’s second-largest city has been here since the 8th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries, it was the castle town of the Ogasawara clan and it continued to prosper through the Edo period to the present.

    Arrive in the city and start with a tour of Matsumoto Castle.

    The building is also known as the “Crow Castle” due to its black exterior. Matsumoto Castle is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan’s original castles. It is a “Hirajiro” – a castle built on plains rather than on a hill or mountain. Matsumoto Castle is unique for having both a secondary donjon and a turret adjoined to its main keep.

    Not far from  the castle, walk the Nakamachi-dori, a small section of Matsumoto’s town center with streets lined by nicely preserved, old buildings. The buildings include a number of warehouse-type structures (kura) with large white-painted walls. The area is where the city’s merchants used to live during the Edo Period, and today, the types of buildings here reflect this history. Some of the buildings house small shops, restaurants and ryokan.

    End your day, late afternoon at your accommodation. 

    Night: Matsumoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 11 – End of the trip, return to Nagoya, Osaka or Tokyo.

    Sadly, today marks the end of your stay in Japan’s northern Alps. Depending on your schedule, we will arrange transportation to Nagoya, Osaka or Tokyo if you need to take a flight back home. You can also continue your adventures in another part of Japan.

    Inclusions: Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Go back