Model Itineraries

  • Nature and Outdoor
  • Food
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Summer

Summer Highlights - explore the Yatsugatake mountains and the villages beneath-

In summer, explore the natural wonders of the Yatsugatake Mountains. Hike a lush mossy forest, drive above the clouds along flowery hills and enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the Japanese Alps and more. On the way, don't forget to stop by one of the rural villages under the Mountains' shadow to taste fresh summer vegetables and experience the pastoral charm of the countryside.

Duration 2 days (1 night)
Price JPY40,000/person 〜
Period From June to early November
Overall level 1

Highlights

  • Hike a fairytale-like mossy forest

    Discover a magical spot deep in the mountains

  • Taste typical local food

    Try traditional agar cakes filled with fresh summer veggies

  • Explore a traditional rural village

    Walk among old kominka and kura storehouses

  • Take a drive above the clouds

    Enjoy the panoramic scenery from Venus Line

  • Hike a fairytale-like mossy forest

    Discover a magical spot deep in the mountains

  • Taste typical local food

    Try traditional agar cakes filled with fresh summer veggies

  • Explore a traditional rural village

    Walk among old kominka and kura storehouses

  • Take a drive above the clouds

    Enjoy the panoramic scenery from Venus Line

Day 1
JR Chino station
Rent a car

First things first: let's rent a car at one of the many shops close to Chino station. *This itinerary can also be done without a car, but if you can drive, we suggest you rent one to make the best of your time.

50 min by car
or
60 min by bus
Meruhen Kaido Bus (Chino Station bus stop → Shirakoma-ike bus stop)
*Pick-up by guide available when the bus does not run

Our adventures
Moss Forest Tour
Discover the secrets of a magical forest

Up in the mountains, at 2100m, there is a fairytale-like forest completely covered in moss which looks like it just came out of Hayao Miyazaki's anime world. Enjoy the "macro" forest of igneous rocks and gnarly trees covered by a deep-green layer, then take a closer look at the "micro" forest of moss and lichens which most people pass by without even realizing. A local guide will accompany you on this adventure to help you unveil the secrets of this mysterious corner of the Yatsugatake Mountains.

more info

20 min by car
or
30 min by bus
Meruhen Kaido Bus (Shirakoma-ike bus stop → Tateshina Village Iriguchi bus stop)
*Drop-off by guide available when the bus does not run

Les Cerisiers
Lunch at Les Cerisiers

Enjoy a French galette made with local ingredients such as Shinshu buckwheat flour, locally grown summer veggies and wild game. *The restaurant is always open on Saturdays, Sundays and festivities, but if you plan to go on a weekday, please call in advance to check.

more info

5min by car
*Pick-up by guide available

Walk around a traditional farming village
A tiny hamlet where time stands still

Explore a tiny rural village standing right under the Yatsugatake Mountains' shadow. Almost all the 90 houses which form Sasahara village are traditional kominka (old folk-houses), each with their own kura storehouse and well-curated Japanese garden. A local guide will show you around and answer all your questions about everyday life in the Japanese countryside. On the way, you will meet many locals working on the rice paddies and farming fields which encircle the village and, maybe, you can visit one of the villager's house for a cup of tea.
(Contact us directly for more info on this activity)

A few steps away

Our adventures
Cook with the village grannies (teatime version)
Have tea with the locals in a village in the mountains

A local grannie will welcome you to her house and introduce you to the variegated and colorful world of summer Yamaura cuisine. Follow her outside to pick some fresh veggies in the field and use them to prepare some delicious traditional teatime snack. You might cut cucumbers and tomatoes into slices to decorate a colorful agar cake, or maybe grind edamame beans to put on top of a bowl of steaming rice. Once everything is ready, have a sit and enjoy a nice cup of tea with the grannie.

more info

3 min by car
or
15 min on foot

Tosenbo
Pottery cafe in a renovated old-folk house

A few steps away from Sasahara village, there is a lovely cafe where you can enjoy a steaming cup of coffee while browsing through a small gallery featuring pottery and wood craftworks. The traditional building which houses the cafe is a spacious kominka with a beautiful Japanese garden. Food and beverages are served in cups and plates made by the owner, who is a pottery craftsman himself.

15 min by car
or
15 min by taxi

Accommodation Suggestions
Shibu Tatsunokan

Traditional onsen ryokan tucked away in the Yatsugatake Mountains, surrounded by a verdant wood. The most impressive feature of this accommodation are its hot spring baths, with their velvety white hot spring waters and antique wooden bathing pools. Many a famous samurai are said to have soaked in these healing waters. Food is also something to look forward to. The Japanese course meal dinner contains many regional delicacies made with plenty of locally grown vegetables.

Meiji Onsen

Meiji Onsen is an onsen ryokan located deep into the mountains, nearby Mishaka pond. The ryokan features unique reddish onsen baths which have relaxing and rejuvenating effects. Some of the rooms have a nice view on Oshidori-gakushi Falls.

Rural Village stay

Spend the night at a local family's house. Experience many fun farming activities, cook some typical Japanese dishes and eat your meals together with your hosts.

Day 2
Mishaka Pond
A water mirror reflecting the seasons

Before you go on to your next destination stop by Mishaka Pond, a tiny pool of crystalline water which reflects the nature all around. In the summer the scene is dominated by a deep emerald color and you can take some great pics.

more info

30 min by car or taxi

Lake Shirakaba Canoe School
Enjoy canoeing at Lake Shirakaba

Participate in a canoe guide tour in Lake Shirakaba, a mountain resort at about 1400m. After learning the basics from the guide, enjoy gliding over the lake water. The air up in the highland is crisp and cool even in the middle of summer and from the center of the lake you have a great view of Mt.Tateshina-yama and Mt.Kurumayama. During the tour you can also stop by a small shrine which stands on a tiny island in the middle of the lake and pray for good luck.

more info

5 min on foot

Asahigaoka
Soba lunch

Asahigaoka is a family-run minshuku and soba restaurant. The soba master is also a farmer who grows and mills buckwheat by himself. Here you can eat some high-quality hand-made soba noodles, crispy tempura made with home-grown veggies or wild herbs and home-made pickles. This restaurant is a hidden gem unknown to most travelers.

more info

10 min by car
or
15 min by bus
Shirakabako~Kurumayama Kogen Line (Tonyagawa bus stop → Kurumayama Kogen bus stop)

Kurumayama Ski Lift
360-degree panoramic view of the Japanese Alps

Take the Kurumayama ski lift to reach the summit of Mt.Kuruma-yama at 1925m. From here, you can enjoy a breath-taking view of the three ranges of the Alps, Mt.Fuji, the Yatsugatake Mountains and Mt. Asama. Kurumayama and Kirigamine plateau are always covered in flowers (red Japanese Azaleas in June, yellow daylilies in July and Pincushion flowers in August and September). You can take a short walk around the summit and go back down with the lift or, if you are a hiker, you can proceed on to Kirigamine and Yashima Wetland on foot.

more info

To Yashima Shitsugen
20 min by car
or
30 min by bus
Shirakabako~Kurumayama Kogen Line
(Kurumayama Kogen bus stop →Yashima Shitsugen bus stop )

Venus Line Drive
Let's go for a drive above the clouds

The road which connects Kurumayama and Kirigamine is called Venus Line and is considered one of Japan's most scenic routes. Just imagine driving up in the mountains, the gentle Hills of Kirigamine Plateau on one side and a spectacular obstructed view on the Alps on the other. You will want to stop and take pics at every turn.

Yashima Wetland
Walk through fields of brightly-colored Alpine flowers

Pay a visit to Yashima Wetland, a scenic peatland encased by the grassland hills of Kirigamine Plateau. Along the wooden trail there are countless variations of Alpine flowers which come in all colors and shapes. It takes 90 min to make one lap around the wetland, but if you have a tight schedule, you can just walk a shorter tract, take a few pics and be back in no time.

more info

60 min by car or 70 min by bus to Chino Station
Shirakaba-ko~Kurumayama Kogen Line
(Yashima Shitsugen bus stop → Chino Station bus stop)
60 min by bus to Kami-suwa Station
- Shirakaba-ko~Kurumayama Kogen Line-
(Yashima Shitsugen bus stop → Kami-Suwa Station bus stop)

JR Chino Station or JR Kami-suwa Station

Other attractions recommended by our team!

  • Tateshina Ootaki Falls

    An enchanting spot which you can reach with a 10-minute walk from Pool Daira bus stop/parking lot. Along the way, you will encounter massive trees perched on
    rocks, their gnarly roots cloaked by moss, and a lively waterfall plunging into a crystalline pool.

  • Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway

    Get on Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway and reach an elevation of 2237m in less than 7min. From the top you can enjoy a superb panoramic view on the three ranges of the Alps. If you have time, walk through Tsuboniwa Natural Park, a lovely garden of igneous rocks and short pines created by the hand of Nature.

  • The Flying Mud Boat

    If you like architecture and design, you will love Fujimori Terunobu's teahouses. These quirky buildings made using only natural materials look like they just came out of Hayao Miyazaki's anime world.

  • Tateshina Ootaki Falls

    An enchanting spot which you can reach with a 10-minute walk from Pool Daira bus stop/parking lot. Along the way, you will encounter massive trees perched on
    rocks, their gnarly roots cloaked by moss, and a lively waterfall plunging into a crystalline pool.

  • Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway

    Get on Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway and reach an elevation of 2237m in less than 7min. From the top you can enjoy a superb panoramic view on the three ranges of the Alps. If you have time, walk through Tsuboniwa Natural Park, a lovely garden of igneous rocks and short pines created by the hand of Nature.

  • The Flying Mud Boat

    If you like architecture and design, you will love Fujimori Terunobu's teahouses. These quirky buildings made using only natural materials look like they just came out of Hayao Miyazaki's anime world.

To create a tailor-made travel
plan based on this itinerary.

*This service comes with no obligations.
Your reservation will not be finalized until you give us confirmation.

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