Winter is a fantastic season to visit Japan. Winter in Japan offers must-see sites blanketed in snow, savory seasonal dishes, and a list of winter activities for every traveler. Japan's winter season is vast depending on the region, but each are unique in beauty. Snow does not fall often in the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, but if you are lucky enough, being able to see Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion covered by fresh snowfall is a scene that is truly breathtaking. Snow falls deeply further... View More
Winter is a fantastic season to visit Japan. Winter in
Japan offers must-see sites blanketed in snow, savory
seasonal dishes, and a list of winter activities for every
traveler. Japan's winter season is vast depending on
the region, but each are unique in beauty. Snow does
not fall often in the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, but if you
are lucky enough, being able to see Kyoto’s Kinkakuji
Golden Pavilion covered by fresh snowfall is a scene
that is truly breathtaking. Snow falls deeply further
down the mountains and towards the Japan Sea
coast. The winter landscapes of the traditional wooden
villages of Magome and Tsumago against a backdrop
of snowfall is something truly enchanting. Whether it
be rejuvenating yourself in the warmth of a steaming-
hot Japanese bath after a day outside, or sitting in an
outdoor Rotemburo thermal water pool while the
snowflakes flow gently through the air around you,
there are so many reasons to choose winter for your
walking adventure in Japan. There are fewer visitors,
special seasonal foods, the absolutely beautiful
illumination of some gardens, and many temples and
The Nakasendo trial connected Kyoto to Tokyo, formerly known as Edo, during Japan’s feudal period. As opposed to the Tokaido route, which spanned the Pacific coast, the Nakasendo Trail was known as the ‘road through the mountains’ which was traveled by feudal lords along with their retinues, samurai, merchants, and travelers. Along the route were 69 ‘post towns’ where tired travelers would rest before continuing onto their travels. Spending five days walking on the best parts of the trail, we will be able to enjoy the peace and serenity of the winter landscapes. Depending on how deep the snow is, we may use our snowshoes to follow the route. We will walk along quiet village roads as well as unpaved hill trails through the scenic Kiso Valley where we will have the opportunity to see some beautifully preserved old villages. We will stay overnight in traditional country inns and enjoy delectably warming regional cuisine prepared from the freshest ingredients. Soak in natural thermal hot springs and enjoy the warm hospitality of our hosts. There is nothing like ending our day of walking on the snowy trails like ending it with a Japanese bath.
Note: this is an intense rated hiking trip with some steady steep ascents and hikes over 4 hours.
Activity Level: Intense
Our Intense tours generally have dedicated days of trail walking, with some days of over four hours and with some ascent and/or descent.
Who is an Intense tour designed for?
- We recommend our Intense tours for anyone who does regular walking or hiking, and is comfortable walking a full day with some climbing and descending.
- If you do not exercise regularly, please practice walking for three to four hours, about three to six months prior to the tour in order to get the most out of your trip.
This itinerary contains overnight stays at Western Hotels, Ryokans, and Minshukus. Ryokans and Minshukus are more traditional accommodations, with a more casual hospitality than you will find at a hotel. At both a Ryokan and a Minshuku, you will stay in a simply furnished room and sleep on a futon, which is laid on a tatami mat.
Some Ryokans may have private bathrooms attached to your room, but others only have public bathrooms used by all the guests. Minshukus usually offer only a public bathroom – meaning either a smaller bathroom used one guest at a time, or larger bathrooms separated by gender (male & female), and designed to be used by multiple guests at once.