Contact Us|1-888-831-7526

Walking Japan

Trip Length 11 days

From $5,595

  • Explore the old imperial city of Kyoto, its ancient temples, the Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji, and the Gion Geisha district
  • Walk in the footsteps of shoguns as you follow ancient trade routes through medieval towns, lush valleys, and misty forests
  • Stay at traditional Japanese inns, soak in hot springs, and eat exquisitely prepared, multi-course Japanese meals every night
  • Experience the electric energy of Tokyo and visit some of its oldest sites, including the Imperial Palace and the Grand Meiji Shrine

This enchanting journey through the Japanese countryside combines stunning hiking with timeless tradition. Beginning in the old imperial city of Kyoto and ending in modern Tokyo, our itinerary follows the Nakasendo, a network of ancient trade routes once used by shogun, samurai, and merchants to travel from Kyoto to the provincial towns of the Kiso Valley. Traveling by way of temples, shrines, and hamlets, you’ll take in ethereal landscapes of cherry blossoms, lush gardens, and misty forests. You’ll enjoy generous Japanese hospitality in a shukubo (temple lodging) and family-run inns, the serenity of soaking in volcanic hot springs, and the contrasts between old and new in this magical land. Your expert, bilingual Japanese guides will share the culture, history, and traditions of their country with both passion and a flawless attention to detail. Come experience Japan, MTS-style.

See spectacular cherry blossoms on our Spring departures or beautiful Fall foliage on our October and November departures!

Day 1: Welcome to Kyoto

We'll meet at our hotel in Kyoto and convene for a welcome dinner at a restaurant in the city center. With over 1,000 Buddhist temples, sublime gardens, and excellent cuisine it's easy to see why Kyoto has been voted Travel+Leisure's "Best Overall City" two years in a row!

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,000 feet.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Day 2: Explore the magnificent temples and gardens of Kyoto

In the morning, we'll head to the extraordinary Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion—so named for its top two stories that are covered in gold leaf. The pavilion was built by Ashikaga Shogun in the late 14th century as a retirement villa, but was later converted by his son into a Zen Buddhist temple. While we're there, we'll have time to explore the temple's magnificent Japanese strolling garden and mirror pond. From here, we’ll walk to nearby Ryoan-ji to see its famous rock garden, which consists of 15 moss-covered boulders—only 14 of which are visible at any time. It is said that the 15th rock can only be seen by those who have attained enlightenment.

We'll transfer to Arashiyama, an area in northwest Kyoto popular with the nobility since the Heian period (794–1185) because of its beautiful natural setting. Here you'll find cherry blossoms in April, dramatic foliage in fall, forested mountains and, the Katsura River with its Togetsukyo Bridge. We'll have lunch, then visit the Tenryu-ji temple and the famous bamboo groves, and there will be free time afterwards so you can explore the area further or shop for crafts.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Day 3: Ride the train to Nara and visit the Todai-ji temple

Enjoy a hearty breakfast before taking a short train ride from Kyoto to Nara. On a much smaller scale than Kyoto, Nara was established in 710 A.D. as Japan’s capital, and is home to the famous Nara Park, where over a thousand semi-tame Sika deer roam. We'll walk to Kasuga-Taisha, a bright vermillion Shinto shrine established in the 8th century. Stone lanterns line the path to the entrance, and hundreds of bronze lanterns hang inside. We'll continue to Mount Wakakusa for a short climb that that gives us a view of Nara City. After lunch, we'll visit the nearby Todai-ji temple, known for two superlatives: it's the world’s largest wooden building, and it houses one of Japan’s largest bronze of Buddha statues! We'll return to Kyoto in the late afternoon.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Day 4: Travel the scenic Nankai railway and follow the Pilgrim’s Trail to Mount Koya

Today, we'll have the unique experience of traveling without our luggage, as it will be transferred by courier. Before we depart, you'll want to pack a small bag to carry your overnight items in.

We'll travel by train along the scenic Nankai railway, which brings us to Mount Koya. At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll find a high valley filled with stands of towering cedar trees surrounded by eight peaks. This has been a center of religious devotion and ceremony since the 9th century, when the monk Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) founded the first temple and the Shingon sect of Buddhism. Today, the valley is home to more than 100 monasteries, many of which host travelers in shukubo (temple lodgings). We'll visit Kongobu-ji Temple before arriving at one of the elegant shukubo, run by the monks, and dine on shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine).

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Shojoshinin Shukubo

Day 5: Explore Mount Koya and head to the Kiso Valley

Early risers are welcome to join a Buddhist service at the temple this morning at 6am. After breakfast, we’ll tour the vast Okuno-in cemetery, with thousands of graves and memorials to feudal lords, shoguns, samurai, politicians, and other luminaries. We'll then say goodbye to Mount Koya and head by train to the Kiso Valley, where we'll join up with the ancient Nakasendo trail that links Kyoto and Edo (medieval Tokyo). During the Edo period, 69 post stations, or shukuba, were built along this route for travelers to rest during their journey. We'll be treated to the unique experience of taking four short trains and a bus to explore the quaint towns and valleys along the Nakasendo, many of which have been preserved through the effort of the local residents. Along the way, we’ll enjoy the hospitality of villagers who have converted their traditional machiya houses into inns. We'll arrive at the post town of Magome-juku in time for dinner.

(Traveling time: 5 hours approx.)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tajimaya Minshuku

Day 6: Discover Magome and hike a forested trail to Tsumago

In the morning, we'll take time to explore the small post town of Magome before we walk over Magome Pass to the village of Tsumago-juku. The trail rises gently, passing through another small village before reaching Magome Pass and then descending on a mixed paved and dirt trail through forest to Tsumago. This small village has many restored machiya houses lining the main street and there are small shops selling local crafts as well as snacks such as gohei-mochi (rice paste covered in a miso sauce).

(Walking time: 3 hours, 5 miles, 700' ascent/1,150' descent)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Daikichi and Matsushiroya Minshuku

Day 7: Follow the trail from Tsumago to Nojiri

We'll continue our journey along the Kiso Valley and Nakasendo today, walking from Tsumago to Nojiri. There will be two options today, a shorter 2-mile walk with a train ride, or a longer 8-mile walk. The trail takes a lovely route along empty country lanes and paths that weave their way beside rice fields and the gardens of village houses.

(Long walking option: 8 miles, 1,975' ascent/750' descent; short walking option: 2.5 miles, 1 hour, 100' ascent/descent)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Komanoyu Ryokan

Day 8: Climb to Torii Pass and explore Narai-juku village

We'll start with a short train ride to Yabuhara, another small post town. From here, we'll climb to Torii Pass, with good views over the Kiso Valley. In early spring, there may traces of snow on the mountaintops, but from mid-April onwards, the scenery is one of lush, green forest. We'll arrive mid-afternoon in the well-preserved village of Narai-juku and stay at the friendly Iseya Ryokan. The present building dates back over 200 years and is typical of the village merchant houses that line the main street of this village. The wooden walls and beams are burnished to a dark brown from the days when they were covered in soot from the irori (raised hearths) and polished by the young women of the household. There will be time to explore the village, and perhaps try one of the local specialties.

Again, we'll travel without our luggage today as it will be transferred by courier to Tokyo. You will need to pack a bag or pack to carry your overnight items.

(Walking time: 3 hours approx., 5 miles, 885' ascent/descent)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Iseya Minshuku

Day 9: Watch artisans at work in Hirasawa and transfer to Tokyo

After breakfast in Narai, we’ll set out for a short walk to Hirasawa, renowned for its lacquer-ware artisans. We’ll stop in at one of their workshops and meet local artisans before transferring to Tokyo, where you'll have free time to explore before dinner.

(Walking time: 1 hour, 2 miles, negligible ascent/descent)

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Park Hotel

Day 10: Tour Tokyo's top sites

Today we will take a tour of Tokyo, including walks around Nihonbashi, the elegant Ginza shopping district, and the spacious park around the Imperial Palace. The present Imperial Palace is the residence of the Japanese Imperial Family and was previously the site of Edo Castle (Edo being the Shogun-era name for Tokyo) during the time of the Shoguns. The contrast of the large palace grounds, deep moat and palace buildings with the surrounding modern office buildings of downtown Tokyo is a reflection of Japan’s twin identities of modernity and tradition.

Next, we'll take the subway to the Harajuku district to have lunch and visit the Grand Meiji Shrine, a beautiful place of quiet reflection located within an evergreen forest. We'll then walk along the fashionable, tree-lined Omotesando Street—called the Champs-Elysees of Tokyo—to the entertainment area of Shibuya, famous for the large and chaotic Shibuya Scramble Crossing, said to be the world's busiest. We'll then return to our hotel before our farewell dinner.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Park Hotel

Day 11: Depart from Tokyo

Your guide will be on hand this morning to help you transfer to Narita Airport for homeward-bound flights.

  • Breakfast

Mar 26, 2017 - Apr 05, 2017 Guaranteed Departure

Apr 09 - 19, 2017 Guaranteed Departure

May 07 - 17, 2017

Oct 08 - 18, 2017

Nov 05 - 15, 2017

Nov 12 - 22, 2017

pricing

2016 Prices

$5,595 (5-12 members)

$700 single supplement (Single only guaranteed in Kyoto and Tokyo)

2017 Prices

$5,695 (5-12 members)

$800 single supplement (Single only guaranteed in Kyoto and Tokyo)

Got your own great photos of this or other MTS trips?
Share them with us on our Facebook page!

Daikichi and Matsushiroya Minshuku — Tsumago

The Minsuku properties in Tsumago are small, so we use two inns: Daikichi and Matsushiroya.

Daikichi is a traditional-style inn, run by a friendly family, with five tatami-mat rooms for guests. The family serve dinner consisting of many small dishes featuring locally-grown ingredients. Guests lay our their own futons in the evening and take it in turns to use the bath privately; the bathtub is made from Kiso cypress.

Matsushiroya is a traditional-style inn established in 1804, offering six tatami-mat rooms for guests, several toilets and wash basins, plus two rooms for bathing. Usually, one bathing room is used communally by men and one is used communally by women, but depending on occupancy levels the inn may suggest that guests bathe privately in turn.

Iseya Minshuku

Iseya (Narai) is a traditional, Minshuku-style Japanese inn established in 1818. During the Edo period it served as one of Narai’s two porter-service offices. The friendly, family-run inn now occupies the original wooden building and a newer annex. There are ten tatami-mat rooms for guests; you lay out your own futon in the evening. There are several guest toilets and wash basins, plus two rooms for bathing. Guests take it in turns to use the baths privately; the bathtubs are made of Kiso umbrella pine. Wi-Fi is available in the rooms. Meals are traditional Japanese style set menus featuring local specialities from the Kiso Valley area.

Komanoyu Ryokan

Komanoyu has lovely, big onsen baths with indoor and outdoor sections (there are separate baths for men and women). Just grab your traditional Japanese towel for modesty and pad down to the bathing space for complete relaxation. Sleep well atop futons in the spacious guest rooms and enjoy traditional Japanese dishes. For those who need to connect digitally, Wi-Fi is available in the lobby area.

Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa — Kyoto

Ideally located near a variety of restaurants, entertainment options and historic sites, The Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa provides easy access to the all that the city has to offer. Rooms are simple and modern, with LCD TV, high-speed internet access, and private bathrooms. There is a spa on-site that offers massages and beauty treatments. The staff is friendly and happy to assist with any requests you might have.

Park Hotel — Tokyo

Park Hotel Tokyo is a luxury hotel that is ideally located in Shiodome, a bustling center of business and culture. The Park Hotel's art theme is reflected in the 17 artist-designed guestrooms, the various art installations and exhibitions the hotel displays, and the creative cuisine that is served in its many restaurants. The Park Hotel Tokyo offers traditional Japanese hospitality in a modern setting.

Shojoshinin Shukubo

Shojoshinin is a Japanese style ‘shukubo’ or lodging in a Buddhist temple, originally meant for pilgrims but now open to the public. This shukubo is, in fact, attached to one of the oldest Buddhist temples on Mount Koya (Koyasan)! Originally built as a thatched hut more than 1,150 years ago, today it boasts attractive 150-year-old buildings, and the property features Japanese style gardens and a pond. Shojoshinin has 22 guest rooms and there are two large communal bathing areas—one for men and one for women. In addition, there is one smaller bathing room which guests can use privately in turn. The bathtubs are all beautifully made of Hinoki cypress wood. Shojoshinin has also preserved an atmospheric old kitchen area, too, and the Shojoshinin Temple offers a unique glimpse into the daily life of a Shingon Buddhist Monk.

Tajimaya Minshuku — Kiso Valley

Experience an authentic Minshuku (Japanese guest house) at charming Tajimaya. Located in Magome along the Nakasendo Road, which was used extensively by travelers during the Edo Period, Tajimaya offers traditional Japanese-style rooms where all bathroom facilities are shared among guests. The Japanese "irori" (hearth) is over 100 years old and it is still in use. The owners of Tajimaya serve fresh, local cuisine in the dining area, and guests can relax in the wooden tubs after a long day's hike.

"Walking through Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan and the Kiso Valley was mesmerizing, saturated with natural and cultural beauty. However, it was our guide Hiroko Kara, and our assistant guide Tetsuyo, whose knowledge, insights and personal warmth made what we saw a much richer experience. I feel indebted to them both." Grace Munakata

"If you want the best, go Sobek." Thomas Sweitzer             

"A finely tuned and brilliantly lead trip that gives the traveler a great take on Japanese culture." John Watson    

"Our 3-generation family had a wonderful experience hiking village to village on the Nakasendo Trail with MTS." Mary and David O'Neill

"This was a wonderful and active adventure. The small group was the perfect size.  I loved that we used only public transportation—it made me feel less like a tourist and more like a native traveler." Nancy McCarthy             

 

  • Explore the old imperial city of Kyoto, its ancient temples, the Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji, and the Gion Geisha district
  • Walk in the footsteps of shoguns as you follow ancient trade routes through medieval towns, lush valleys, and misty forests
  • Stay at traditional Japanese inns, soak in hot springs, and eat exquisitely prepared, multi-course Japanese meals every night
  • Experience the electric energy of Tokyo and visit some of its oldest sites, including the Imperial Palace and the Grand Meiji Shrine

This enchanting journey through the Japanese countryside combines stunning hiking with timeless tradition. Beginning in the old imperial city of Kyoto and ending in modern Tokyo, our itinerary follows the Nakasendo, a network of ancient trade routes once used by shogun, samurai, and merchants to travel from Kyoto to the provincial towns of the Kiso Valley. Traveling by way of temples, shrines, and hamlets, you’ll take in ethereal landscapes of cherry blossoms, lush gardens, and misty forests. You’ll enjoy generous Japanese hospitality in a shukubo (temple lodging) and family-run inns, the serenity of soaking in volcanic hot springs, and the contrasts between old and new in this magical land. Your expert, bilingual Japanese guides will share the culture, history, and traditions of their country with both passion and a flawless attention to detail. Come experience Japan, MTS-style.

See spectacular cherry blossoms on our Spring departures or beautiful Fall foliage on our October and November departures!

review

"Walking through Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan and the Kiso Valley was mesmerizing, saturated with natural and cultural beauty. However, it was our guide Hiroko Kara, and our assistant guide Tetsuyo, whose knowledge, insights and personal warmth made what we saw a much richer experience. I feel indebted to them both." Grace Munakata

"If you want the best, go Sobek." Thomas Sweitzer             

"A finely tuned and brilliantly lead trip that gives the traveler a great take on Japanese culture." John Watson    

"Our 3-generation family had a wonderful experience hiking village to village on the Nakasendo Trail with MTS." Mary and David O'Neill

"This was a wonderful and active adventure. The small group was the perfect size.  I loved that we used only public transportation—it made me feel less like a tourist and more like a native traveler." Nancy McCarthy             

 

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kyoto

We'll meet at our hotel in Kyoto and convene for a welcome dinner at a restaurant in the city center. With over 1,000 Buddhist temples, sublime gardens, and excellent cuisine it's easy to see why Kyoto has been voted Travel+Leisure's "Best Overall City" two years in a row!

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,000 feet.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Day 2: Explore the magnificent temples and gardens of Kyoto

In the morning, we'll head to the extraordinary Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion—so named for its top two stories that are covered in gold leaf. The pavilion was built by Ashikaga Shogun in the late 14th century as a retirement villa, but was later converted by his son into a Zen Buddhist temple. While we're there, we'll have time to explore the temple's magnificent Japanese strolling garden and mirror pond. From here, we’ll walk to nearby Ryoan-ji to see its famous rock garden, which consists of 15 moss-covered boulders—only 14 of which are visible at any time. It is said that the 15th rock can only be seen by those who have attained enlightenment.

We'll transfer to Arashiyama, an area in northwest Kyoto popular with the nobility since the Heian period (794–1185) because of its beautiful natural setting. Here you'll find cherry blossoms in April, dramatic foliage in fall, forested mountains and, the Katsura River with its Togetsukyo Bridge. We'll have lunch, then visit the Tenryu-ji temple and the famous bamboo groves, and there will be free time afterwards so you can explore the area further or shop for crafts.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Day 3: Ride the train to Nara and visit the Todai-ji temple

Enjoy a hearty breakfast before taking a short train ride from Kyoto to Nara. On a much smaller scale than Kyoto, Nara was established in 710 A.D. as Japan’s capital, and is home to the famous Nara Park, where over a thousand semi-tame Sika deer roam. We'll walk to Kasuga-Taisha, a bright vermillion Shinto shrine established in the 8th century. Stone lanterns line the path to the entrance, and hundreds of bronze lanterns hang inside. We'll continue to Mount Wakakusa for a short climb that that gives us a view of Nara City. After lunch, we'll visit the nearby Todai-ji temple, known for two superlatives: it's the world’s largest wooden building, and it houses one of Japan’s largest bronze of Buddha statues! We'll return to Kyoto in the late afternoon.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Day 4: Travel the scenic Nankai railway and follow the Pilgrim’s Trail to Mount Koya

Today, we'll have the unique experience of traveling without our luggage, as it will be transferred by courier. Before we depart, you'll want to pack a small bag to carry your overnight items in.

We'll travel by train along the scenic Nankai railway, which brings us to Mount Koya. At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll find a high valley filled with stands of towering cedar trees surrounded by eight peaks. This has been a center of religious devotion and ceremony since the 9th century, when the monk Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) founded the first temple and the Shingon sect of Buddhism. Today, the valley is home to more than 100 monasteries, many of which host travelers in shukubo (temple lodgings). We'll visit Kongobu-ji Temple before arriving at one of the elegant shukubo, run by the monks, and dine on shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine).

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Shojoshinin Shukubo

Day 5: Explore Mount Koya and head to the Kiso Valley

Early risers are welcome to join a Buddhist service at the temple this morning at 6am. After breakfast, we’ll tour the vast Okuno-in cemetery, with thousands of graves and memorials to feudal lords, shoguns, samurai, politicians, and other luminaries. We'll then say goodbye to Mount Koya and head by train to the Kiso Valley, where we'll join up with the ancient Nakasendo trail that links Kyoto and Edo (medieval Tokyo). During the Edo period, 69 post stations, or shukuba, were built along this route for travelers to rest during their journey. We'll be treated to the unique experience of taking four short trains and a bus to explore the quaint towns and valleys along the Nakasendo, many of which have been preserved through the effort of the local residents. Along the way, we’ll enjoy the hospitality of villagers who have converted their traditional machiya houses into inns. We'll arrive at the post town of Magome-juku in time for dinner.

(Traveling time: 5 hours approx.)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tajimaya Minshuku

Day 6: Discover Magome and hike a forested trail to Tsumago

In the morning, we'll take time to explore the small post town of Magome before we walk over Magome Pass to the village of Tsumago-juku. The trail rises gently, passing through another small village before reaching Magome Pass and then descending on a mixed paved and dirt trail through forest to Tsumago. This small village has many restored machiya houses lining the main street and there are small shops selling local crafts as well as snacks such as gohei-mochi (rice paste covered in a miso sauce).

(Walking time: 3 hours, 5 miles, 700' ascent/1,150' descent)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Daikichi and Matsushiroya Minshuku

Day 7: Follow the trail from Tsumago to Nojiri

We'll continue our journey along the Kiso Valley and Nakasendo today, walking from Tsumago to Nojiri. There will be two options today, a shorter 2-mile walk with a train ride, or a longer 8-mile walk. The trail takes a lovely route along empty country lanes and paths that weave their way beside rice fields and the gardens of village houses.

(Long walking option: 8 miles, 1,975' ascent/750' descent; short walking option: 2.5 miles, 1 hour, 100' ascent/descent)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Komanoyu Ryokan

Day 8: Climb to Torii Pass and explore Narai-juku village

We'll start with a short train ride to Yabuhara, another small post town. From here, we'll climb to Torii Pass, with good views over the Kiso Valley. In early spring, there may traces of snow on the mountaintops, but from mid-April onwards, the scenery is one of lush, green forest. We'll arrive mid-afternoon in the well-preserved village of Narai-juku and stay at the friendly Iseya Ryokan. The present building dates back over 200 years and is typical of the village merchant houses that line the main street of this village. The wooden walls and beams are burnished to a dark brown from the days when they were covered in soot from the irori (raised hearths) and polished by the young women of the household. There will be time to explore the village, and perhaps try one of the local specialties.

Again, we'll travel without our luggage today as it will be transferred by courier to Tokyo. You will need to pack a bag or pack to carry your overnight items.

(Walking time: 3 hours approx., 5 miles, 885' ascent/descent)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Iseya Minshuku

Day 9: Watch artisans at work in Hirasawa and transfer to Tokyo

After breakfast in Narai, we’ll set out for a short walk to Hirasawa, renowned for its lacquer-ware artisans. We’ll stop in at one of their workshops and meet local artisans before transferring to Tokyo, where you'll have free time to explore before dinner.

(Walking time: 1 hour, 2 miles, negligible ascent/descent)

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Park Hotel

Day 10: Tour Tokyo's top sites

Today we will take a tour of Tokyo, including walks around Nihonbashi, the elegant Ginza shopping district, and the spacious park around the Imperial Palace. The present Imperial Palace is the residence of the Japanese Imperial Family and was previously the site of Edo Castle (Edo being the Shogun-era name for Tokyo) during the time of the Shoguns. The contrast of the large palace grounds, deep moat and palace buildings with the surrounding modern office buildings of downtown Tokyo is a reflection of Japan’s twin identities of modernity and tradition.

Next, we'll take the subway to the Harajuku district to have lunch and visit the Grand Meiji Shrine, a beautiful place of quiet reflection located within an evergreen forest. We'll then walk along the fashionable, tree-lined Omotesando Street—called the Champs-Elysees of Tokyo—to the entertainment area of Shibuya, famous for the large and chaotic Shibuya Scramble Crossing, said to be the world's busiest. We'll then return to our hotel before our farewell dinner.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Park Hotel

Day 11: Depart from Tokyo

Your guide will be on hand this morning to help you transfer to Narita Airport for homeward-bound flights.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Daikichi and Matsushiroya Minshuku — Tsumago

The Minsuku properties in Tsumago are small, so we use two inns: Daikichi and Matsushiroya.

Daikichi is a traditional-style inn, run by a friendly family, with five tatami-mat rooms for guests. The family serve dinner consisting of many small dishes featuring locally-grown ingredients. Guests lay our their own futons in the evening and take it in turns to use the bath privately; the bathtub is made from Kiso cypress.

Matsushiroya is a traditional-style inn established in 1804, offering six tatami-mat rooms for guests, several toilets and wash basins, plus two rooms for bathing. Usually, one bathing room is used communally by men and one is used communally by women, but depending on occupancy levels the inn may suggest that guests bathe privately in turn.

Iseya Minshuku

Iseya (Narai) is a traditional, Minshuku-style Japanese inn established in 1818. During the Edo period it served as one of Narai’s two porter-service offices. The friendly, family-run inn now occupies the original wooden building and a newer annex. There are ten tatami-mat rooms for guests; you lay out your own futon in the evening. There are several guest toilets and wash basins, plus two rooms for bathing. Guests take it in turns to use the baths privately; the bathtubs are made of Kiso umbrella pine. Wi-Fi is available in the rooms. Meals are traditional Japanese style set menus featuring local specialities from the Kiso Valley area.

Komanoyu Ryokan

Komanoyu has lovely, big onsen baths with indoor and outdoor sections (there are separate baths for men and women). Just grab your traditional Japanese towel for modesty and pad down to the bathing space for complete relaxation. Sleep well atop futons in the spacious guest rooms and enjoy traditional Japanese dishes. For those who need to connect digitally, Wi-Fi is available in the lobby area.

Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa — Kyoto

Ideally located near a variety of restaurants, entertainment options and historic sites, The Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa provides easy access to the all that the city has to offer. Rooms are simple and modern, with LCD TV, high-speed internet access, and private bathrooms. There is a spa on-site that offers massages and beauty treatments. The staff is friendly and happy to assist with any requests you might have.

Park Hotel — Tokyo

Park Hotel Tokyo is a luxury hotel that is ideally located in Shiodome, a bustling center of business and culture. The Park Hotel's art theme is reflected in the 17 artist-designed guestrooms, the various art installations and exhibitions the hotel displays, and the creative cuisine that is served in its many restaurants. The Park Hotel Tokyo offers traditional Japanese hospitality in a modern setting.

Shojoshinin Shukubo

Shojoshinin is a Japanese style ‘shukubo’ or lodging in a Buddhist temple, originally meant for pilgrims but now open to the public. This shukubo is, in fact, attached to one of the oldest Buddhist temples on Mount Koya (Koyasan)! Originally built as a thatched hut more than 1,150 years ago, today it boasts attractive 150-year-old buildings, and the property features Japanese style gardens and a pond. Shojoshinin has 22 guest rooms and there are two large communal bathing areas—one for men and one for women. In addition, there is one smaller bathing room which guests can use privately in turn. The bathtubs are all beautifully made of Hinoki cypress wood. Shojoshinin has also preserved an atmospheric old kitchen area, too, and the Shojoshinin Temple offers a unique glimpse into the daily life of a Shingon Buddhist Monk.

Tajimaya Minshuku — Kiso Valley

Experience an authentic Minshuku (Japanese guest house) at charming Tajimaya. Located in Magome along the Nakasendo Road, which was used extensively by travelers during the Edo Period, Tajimaya offers traditional Japanese-style rooms where all bathroom facilities are shared among guests. The Japanese "irori" (hearth) is over 100 years old and it is still in use. The owners of Tajimaya serve fresh, local cuisine in the dining area, and guests can relax in the wooden tubs after a long day's hike.

Dates and Pricing

Mar 26, 2017 - Apr 05, 2017 Guaranteed Departure

Apr 09 - 19, 2017 Guaranteed Departure

May 07 - 17, 2017

Oct 08 - 18, 2017

Nov 05 - 15, 2017

Nov 12 - 22, 2017

pricing

2016 Prices

$5,595 (5-12 members)

$700 single supplement (Single only guaranteed in Kyoto and Tokyo)

2017 Prices

$5,695 (5-12 members)

$800 single supplement (Single only guaranteed in Kyoto and Tokyo)

Activity Level Moderate
Trip Length 11 days

From $5,595

Interested in this adventure? Take the next step and book it!

Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
or click here!

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure