Walk Japan, the pioneering operator of seasonal walking tours, is delighted to announce its upcoming tours for the enchanting snow-covered northern winter. It is truly one of the best times of year to explore the lesser-known areas of Japan, as fairytale-like landscapes feature vast wonderlands of immaculate white snow.
Select tours have been curated to take travellers through the snow-laden and most stunningly pristine regions of the country, from the Central Alps, known as Japan’s ‘Snow Country’, to snowshoe tours through Hokkaido’s less-visited East and the rugged Tohoku region in North Honshu, and to the top of the breathtaking Kaida Plateau.
Expertly led small group tours – each accommodating a maximum of just 12 people – traverse the islands of the archipelago, and immerse guests in cultural and authentic sides of Japan not often experienced by tourists.
Travellers who wish to gain an understanding of Japanese society, customs, history and food walk
at a comfortable pace and stay each night in charming Japanese traditional inns, or ryokans, dotted across the countryside.
Walk Japan’s tours of the country’s snow-covered regions this coming winter include:
Snow Country Trek
A 7-day snowshoe tour through Japan’s famed ‘Snow Country’ in the central Alps region, where pure powder snow is metres deep. This tour provides an intimate experience of life in a winter wonderland that can only be accessed using snowshoes. Travellers visit a spectacular shinto shrine complex, stay
in charming villages deep within valleys, and cross spectacular remote landscapes where the only other footprints have been left by the local wildlife. A highlight is a night walk through a beech forest.
Price: From JPY332,000 (AUD$3835) per person.
Winter dates: January 15-21; February 5-11; 25-March 3.
Tohoku Hot Spring Snow Tour
A 9-day snowshoe tour through the winter landscape of Tohoku in north Honshu. A ruggedly beautiful and mysterious land, Tohoku is dominated by mountains, remote valleys, vast forests and rugged coasts. Squeezed in between are communities where the inhabitants have toiled for generations to live in harmony with their environment; no more so than when snow envelopes the landscape. Travellers gain insights into their lives, still largely based on age-old traditions. The deep snows of winter pair delightfully with the warm onsen hot springs visited throughout the tour.
Price: From JPY480,000 (AUD$5540) per person.
Winter dates: February 24-March 4.
Hokkaido Snow Tour
An 8-day tour starting in Kushiro and finishing in Utoro, this adventurous journey takes in the little-visited, snowy northern territory of the country in snowshoes. This walk showcases Eastern Hokkaido’s pristine snow-covered winter landscape, wildlife up close in natural habitats, spectacular crater lakes and active volcanoes, as well as top-class local cuisine and soothing onsen thermal hot spring baths.
Price: From JPY448,000 (AUD$5175) per person.
Winter dates: January 30-February 6; February 12-19.
Winter Nakasendo Way
A 7-day tour starting in Nagoya and finishing in Matsumoto, this is the winter version of Walk Japan’s original walk, the signature Nakasendo Way. En route, travellers explore high snowy passes and plateaus with stunning views, farming communities, stepped fields and bamboo groves, picturesque towns, and ancient forests. At the end of the walking day, travellers enjoy excellent meals of locally sourced produce and a soak in the onsen thermal hot spring baths.
Price: From JPY304,000 (AUD$3510) per person.
Winter dates: December 7-13; 20-26; 21-27; January 4-10; 10-16; 28-February 3; February 7-13;
21-27; 28-March 6.
Led by enthusiastic and well-informed guides, the walking tours vary not only in location and theme, but also in levels of activity; beginning with the easiest at Level 1 (walkers must be able to handle their own luggage, climb a few flights of stairs and walk less than 5km a day) to the most challenging Level 6 (in which there could be up to eight hours of activity per day over varied, mountainous terrain).