Suggested Courses

Theme Destination (, Options) Area Season Days Family-friendly
Wildlife & Nature Photography Snow Monkey, Togakushi (, Kamikochi, Mt. Fuji) Northern
(, Matsumoto)
All year 2 (+ add’l 2 days) Yes (1-hour walk required)
Walking the Samurai Trail (Nakasendo) Tsumago & Narai Post Towns(, Ukiyo-e Museum, etc) Kiso
(, Matsumoto)
All year 2 (+ add’l 1 day) Yes (1-hour walk required)
Samurai & Ninja Togakushi (ninja), Matsumoto & Ueda Castles, etc. Northern, Matsumoto, Eastern All year 2 (+ add’l 1 day) Yes
Castle, Katana Swords & Geisha Matsumoto Castle, Togura Onsen, Iron Museum & Kanazawa Matsumoto, Northern; Kanazawa All year 2
Fun in the Snow! Alpine Route (snow corridor), Kamikochi Matsumoto Northern Alps Apr to early Jun 2 Yes
Iiyama (igloo restaurant, sledding), Snow Monkey Northern late Jan to Feb 2 Yes
Japan Alps Trekking Mt. Yari, Mt. Tsubakuro Matsumoto Northern Alps Jul to Sep 4
Michelin 3-Star Kamikochi, Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Hida-Takayama Matsumoto, Northern; Wide Area All year (Kamikochi closed in winter) 2 Yes
Shoryudo (Dragon-rise Region) Tsumago, Matsumoto Castle, Kamikochi, Hida-Takayama, Kanazawa Kiso, Matsumoto; Wide Area All year (Kamikochi closed in winter) 3 Yes
Ski in Hakuba Hakuba, Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto Northern Alps Dec to Apr 2

Wildlife and Nature Photography

1st Day

Nagano Sta
Bus 0:45
Kanbayashi
Walk 0:30
Walk + bus 0:40

Yudanaka Shibu Onsen (hot springs) (OR on to Nagano Station area)

2nd Day

Yudanaka Shibu Onsen
Train 0:50
Nagano Sta
Bus 1:10 or rental car

Togakushi (Okusha Inner Shrine, Cedar Trees, Forest Reserve, Mirror Pond)

3rd Day (Rental Car Option)

Togakushi
Car 0:30

Kurohime Highlands and Lake Nojiri

Car 2:00 (+ shuttle bus for Kamikochi)

4th Day (Rental Car Option)

Kamikochi or Shirahone
Car (+ shuttle bus) 1:30
Car 2:00

Lake Kawaguchi / Mt. Fuji

Walking the Samurai Trail (Nakasendo)

1st Day

Nakatsugawa Sta
Kitaena Bus 0:25
Walk 2:30
Train 0:45 (Option)

Kiso Fukushima (Option)
Recommended Activity: Hinoki chopstick making

2nd Day

Tsumago (OR Kiso Fukushima)
Bus to Nagiso Sta 0:10 + train 1:00

(OR train 0:20)

Narai
Walking through the Narai-juku post town

Train 1:00
Matsumoto
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06

Recommended activity: shopping at Nawate & Nakamachi Street

Bus 0:15

Asama OR Utsukushigahara Onsen (hot springs) (OR Matsumoto Station area)

3rd Day (Option)

Hotel
Bus 0:15 (OR walk)
Matsumoto Sta
Train / bus and walk or rental cycle 0:15
Train / bus and walk or rental cycle 0:15
Matsumoto Sta
Train 0:40
Shimo-Suwa Sta

Shimo-Suwa Onsen (hot springs)
Recommended activity: Walking around the historic post town and seeing the two Suwa Grand Shrine

Samurai and Ninja

1st Day

Nagano Sta
Bus 0:30

Matsushiro (samurai houses)

Bus 0:10

Kawanakajima Battle Site

Bus 0:20
Nagano Sta
Bus 1:10

Togakushi Chusha (middle shrine)
Recommended food: soba noodles

NOTE: For those interested in more serious ninjutsu training, classes can be arranged with Miyashita-san, a Togakure-do ninjutsu practitioner. See here for details.


Matsushiro

Kawanakajima Battle

2nd Day

Togakushi (OR Nagano Station area)
Bus 1:10 (or walk)
Nagano Sta
Train 1:00
Matsumoto
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06

Recommended activity: shopping at Nawate & Nakamachi Street

Bus + train or bus 1:40
Ueda
Rental cycle 0:10 or walk or bus

Ueda Castle Remains
Recommended activity: shopping at Tourism Center

Rental cycle or walk or bus
Ueda Sta
Train 0:30

3rd Day (Option)

Bessho Onsen
Train 0:30
Ueda Sta
Bus + walk 0:40

Sanada Village (history museum, pre-castle ruins)

Walk + bus 0:30

Ikenami Shotaro Sanada Taiheiki-kan (memorial museum with a ninja corner)

Yanagimachi Historical Street
Recommended activity: shopping

Bus 0:15
Ueda Sta
Train 0:16
Togura
Taxi 0:10
Taxi 0:05

Togura Kamiyamada Onsen (hot springs)
Recommended activity: shopping at Tourism Center


Sanada Village History Museum


Ikenami Shotaro Sanada Taiheiki-kan

Castle, Katana Sword & Geisha

1st Day

Express Bus over the Japan Alps 2:25
Matsumoto
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06
Walk 0:15
Matsumoto Sta
Train 0:50
Obasute Sta
Hotel Shuttle

Togura Kamiyamada Onsen (hot springs)
Recommended Activity: 30-minute geisha show, nighttime yukata walk to a shateki shooting parlor)

2nd Day

Togura Kamiyamada Onsen
Hotel Shuttle
Togura Sta
Train 0:04
Sakaki Sta
Walk 0:03

Museum of Tetsu (iron) (see works of katana sword by late Miyairi, a Living National Treasure

Walk
Sakaki Sta
Train 0:30
Nagano
Bus 0:10
Bus 0:10 OR walk 0:20
Nagano Sta
Bus 0:45 (Option)
Kanbayashi
Walk 0:30
Walk 0:30
Kanbayashi
Bus 0:45
Nagano Sta
Shinkansen 1:05

Kanazawa


Museum of Tetsu (iron)

Kanazawa Castle (photo by Kanazawa City)

Fun in the Snow! (spring)

1st Day

Toyama
Alpine Route (train, cable car, bus) 3:00
Alpine Route (trolley bus, ropeway,
cable car, bus) 2:00

2nd Day

Omachi Onsenkyo
Bus 0:40
Shinano Omachi Sta
Train 0:40
Matsumoto
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06
Walk 0:15
Matsumoto Sta
Train + bus 2:00

Fun in the Snow! (winter)

1st Day

Shirakawago (UNESCO world heritage)

Bus 1:30
Toyama
Shinkansen 1:00
Iiyama
Bus 0:10
Bus 0:10
Iiyama Sta
Bus 0:30
Togari Onsen (hot springs)


Kamakura (igloo) Village

2nd Day

Togari Onsen Ski Resort (sledding and/or skiing)

Bus 0:10
Iiyama Sta
Bus 0:40
Kanbayashi
Walk 0:30
Walk 0:30
Kanbayashi
Bus 0:45
Nagano Sta
Shinkansen 1:50
Tokyo

Japan Alps Trekking

1st Day

Bus 1:30
Trek 4:30
Yarisawa Lodge (mountain hut, with bath)


Wildflowers and Forest Trekking

2nd Day

Yarisawa Lodge
Climb 5:00
Down 0:30
Yarigatake Sanso
(mountain hut, no bath/shower)


Mt. Yari

3rd Day

Yarigatake Sanso
Trek 7:30
Enzanso (mountain hut, no bath/shower)


Yarigatake Sanso

4th Day

Enzanso
Climb 1:30

Mt. Tsubakuro (2,763 m / 9,065 ft)

Trek 2:30

Nakabusa Onsen (open air bathing)

Bus 1:00
Hotaka Sta
Train 0:30


Mt. Tsubakuro

Nakabusa Onsen Open Air Bath

Michelin 3-Star ☆☆☆

1st Day

Kanazawa (Kenrokuen garden ☆☆☆, etc.)

Bus 1:00 OR 1:30

Gokayama OR Shirakawago ☆☆☆(UNESCO world heritage)

Bus 1:30 OR 0:50

Hida-Takayama ☆☆☆

Bus 1:30

Kamikochi ☆☆


Gokayama

2nd Day

Kamikochi
Bus + train 2:00
Matsumoto ☆☆
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06

Matsumoto Castle ☆☆☆

Taxi 0:10 (Option)

The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum ☆☆ (Option)

Matsumoto Sta
Train 1:00
Nagano ☆
Bus 0:10

Shoryudo (Dragon-rise Region, Wide Area)

1st Day

Nagoya
Train 1:00
Nakatsugawa
Kitaena Bus 0:25
Walk 2:30 or Ontake Bus 0:30

2nd Day

Tsumago
Ontake Bus 0:10 or walk 0:50
Nagiso Sta
Train 1:00
Matsumoto
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06
Taxi 0:10
Taxi 0:05
Oniwa
Train + bus 2:00

3rd Day

Kamikochi
Bus 1:30
Bus 0:50

Shirakawago (UNESCO world heritage)

Bus 1:30

Kanazawa


Hida-Takayama

Ski in Hakuba

1st Day

Tokyo
Shinkansen 1:40
Nagano
Bus 0:45 (Option)
Kanbayashi
Walk 0:30
Walk 0:30
Kanbayashi
Bus 0:45
Nagano Sta
Express Bus 1:00

2nd Day

Hakuba
Train 1:30
Matsumoto
Walk 0:15 or bus 0:06
Train
Kofu (Mt. Fuji) / Shinjuku