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Travel to Japan the way you always dreamed. Session Japan provides trip consultation, custom itineraries, and completely guided trips through Japan. We’re here to ensure you have the experience of a lifetime.

Outdoor Adventure and Culture Trip to Japan

May 8-15, 2017

Day 1 (05.08) - Arrival

Dinner is included

Welcome to Japan!

Once you've cleared customs and gathered your baggage in Narita, you'll be met by a Session Japan representative who will greet you with train tickets and help you get comfortable on the Narita Express.

We'll transfer trains at Tokyo Station, and board a bullet train bound for Nagano. Once we reach Nagano Station, we'll check in to our accommodations for the evening, Hostel Aibiya, and then head out for dinner at one of our favorite places in town.

Hostel Aibiya is a beautiful new concept hostel in a renovated traditional Japanese house. It's located in the heart of Yudanaka Onsen - a small town in the mountains with a wealth of hot springs, and easy access to the famous snow monkeys. The rooms are comfortable, with tatami mat floors and western style beds. The owners wanted the space to be as convenient and relaxing as possible, so they did away with the bunk beds that you find in most hostels. For an extra charge you can opt for a private room (provided that the private rooms are available at the time of your booking).

Day 2 (05.09) - The Japanese Alps

All Meals Included

Today is your first full day in Japan! Yay!

We'll start the day with breakfast at Hostel Aibiya, and then head out for a hike in the Japanese Alps. Nagano has some of Japan's most spectacular scenery - a fact you'll find to be true today. More than 70% of Japan is mountainous! There will be two different levels of hikes - one will be more strenuous than the other so that we can accommodate a variety of ability levels.

We'll cap the day with dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3 (05.10) - Stand Up Paddle Boarding

All Meals Included

We'll have breakfast at Hostel Aibiya and head straight out for our full day of stand up paddle boarding on the longest river in Japan - the Chikuma River.

We'll break for lunch on the river, and then get back to it!

Following our time on the river, we'll check out a local craft brewery before heading back to Aibiya.

After some time to rest, or independent exploration of the town, we'll check out another local spot for dinner.

Day 4 (05.11) - Monkey Around

All Meals Included

We'll start today by walking to the snow monkey park. One of the reasons people travel to Nagano from all over the world is to visit the famous snow monkeys bathing in hot springs in the Jigokudani Yaenkoen. The monkeys in this park are wild Japanese Macaque. The hot spring was built for them in 1964 when a nearby ryokan was having issues with monkeys getting into the baths with customers. There are approximately 160 monkeys living in the area now. 

Today we'll be visiting the monkeys, which involves a 15-20 minute walk through the woods to reach the hot spring. Even though there is no snow in May there will still be plenty of monkeys hanging out and doing things monkeys do. 

Following a fair amount of monkey business, we'll have lunch at Enza Cafe, located near the entrance to the monkey park.

We'll then continue our walking tour for the day through Shibu Onsen - a hot spring town more than 1,300 years old. It's a beautifully quaint town, with its narrow streets lined with wooden shops and public hot springs. There are a couple of footbaths along the way as well!

After returning to Aibiya you'll have the option to relax for the afternoon, or head back out for a half-day canyoning trip. Canyoning involves donning a wetsuit, floating down a river, and jumping off waterfalls.

We'll have sushi for dinner at a new restaurant in town.

Day 5 (05.12) - Soba Making, Hot Spring Dipping

All Meals Included

Today we're heading deeper into the mountains! 

On our way we'll be making a stop in Hachinoko to learn how to make soba! Soba is a noodle dish made from buckwheat, and is one of the most popular dishes in Nagano. It is usually served with a dipping sauce, green onions, and wasabi. Our soba teacher has been making soba for many years out of a traditional Japanese house. You'll experience the process all the way from grinding the buckwheat, to making the dough, to cutting the noodles. We'll eat the soba we make for lunch.

Next we'll head out for an afternoon of tasting! First stop, a 200 year old miso factory. You'll see how miso is made, and you'll have a chance to sample the different types.

We'll make one more stop to taste a variety of local sake.

On our way to our new accommodations, we'll take a detour for a proper Japanese hot spring experience at Maguse Onsen. Maguse is a picturesque open air onsen with a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains.

Next stop, Nabekura Kogen Mori No Ie (literally Forest House), a collection of ten comfortable A-frame cottages, and our home for the next three nights.

Day 6 (05.13) - Mountain Biking

All Meals Included

Today we'll take in the area around our cabins on mountain bikes. We'll bring a picnic lunch with us to enjoy midday.

Following our time mountain biking there will be time to hang out on the cabin grounds before heading out to another hot spring nearby.

After giving our muscles some time to recuperate in the healing waters of the hot spring, we'll visit a nearby ski town for dinner and exploration.

Day 7 (05.14) - Farm Experience and a BBQ

All Meals Included

Today will begin with a short hike following breakfast. 

Then we'll meet up with Kiuchi San, a local farmer. He works alongside his daughter who tends an herb garden, which we'll have a chance to see as well. Kiuchi San will show us his farm, and we'll have the opportunity to pick vegetables for a BBQ lunch back at the cabins. We'll have local meat and sauces to add to our fresh vegetable picks.

In the evening we'll make a dinner of nabe (hot pot) if people are hungry after our huge BBQ lunch. 

And finally, we'll break out a few bottles of local sake and toast to an incredible trip!

Day 8 (05.15) - Heading Home

Breakfast Included

It's time to head home!

We'll drive down the mountain and be dropped off at the train station. Depending on when you fly out of Tokyo, we'll make sure you get on the right train at the right time and you'll be on your way!

$3650 Early Bird Price! $3900 after February 10th

Airfare is not included

Meals listed on the day to day breakdown are included, others are not. Drinks are not included. Transportation to all activities listed is included; transportation costs due to exploration on your own is not included. Activities listed are included. Any extra activities are not included.

Sign-up now to get the early bird price!
Sign-up now to get the early bird price!

Join us for a week of hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, sake tasting, exploring, and experiencing Japanese culture in the mountains of Nagano!