Three exhilarating adventures in Japan
Japan is more than just big cities, billboards, bullet trains and blossom trees. For clients looking for adventure, it offers some of the most exciting and exhilarating activities in the world. Here are just a handful of inspiring activities our we can arrange.
1 SKIING IN NISEKO
In recent years, skiing has become one of Japan’s biggest draws, with guaranteed great snow making for some of the very best conditions in the world. Niseko is now one of the world’s hottest ski resorts, offering a luxury experience alongside perfect powder. This is what inspired Destination Expert Venetia to visit. “My trip was packed full of surreal experiences. such as skiing with the backdrop of an active volcano, Mount Yotei, and stopping for lunch at a mountain-top shack where they served the freshest sushi I have ever tried.”
Luxury apartments and chalets have been available for a few years, but recently our clients have a new option to stay in more boutique hotels such as Mokunosho, which is decorated in traditional Japanese style and has suites with open-air hot spring baths. For more experienced skiers, Niseko offers heli-skiing and off-piste adventures travelling by Snow Cat (robust vehicles than can access untouched slopes).
For clients looking for skiing closer to Tokyo, we recommend a few days in Hakuba or Nozawa Onsen, which are easily accessed from the capital (2-3 hours’ drive). These resorts also offer natural hot spring bath experiences, and away from the slopes, we can organise a day trip to the nearby Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park, which is home to 200 wild snow monkeys who spend their days bounding around in the powder and soaking in the natural hot springs.
2 TREKKING IN THE ALPS OF THE EAST
The mountainous highland valley of Kamikochi is the crown jewel of the Japanese Alps in the Nagano Prefecture, which offers some of the country’s most spectacular mountain scenery. The best way to enjoy a day in Kamikochi is by hiking, and for a relaxing afternoon we recommend the easy trails along the Azusa River, which has such impossibly crystal clear water, it’ll be a challenge not to jump right in. The climbs to the surrounding peaks, however, are more challenging and should only be attempted between June and September. Those trekking in spring and summer will be surrounded by alpine flora, but our favourite time of year in this region is October, when the autumn foliage means even more vivid colours. All year round, there is plenty of wildlife to be spotted, including monkeys and various birds nesting in the trees.
3 MOUNTAIN BIKING IN HAKONE
Set in one of Japan’s most popular national parks, Hakone is located less than 100km away from Tokyo and is where city dwellers come for a blast of fresh air. Clients can immerse themselves in the splendour of Hakone’s forests, enjoying the beauty of the surrounding nature with a mountain-bike tour through the hills and past the azure lakes. This experience was a highlight for a recent client who reported that “the bikes were excellent quality and our guide took us on a varied route through the national park, along pretty paths and through stunning forests. We stopped for a traditional lunch outdoors, looking out at the most beautiful views and at the end of the day, our guide surprised us with a visit to the hot-spring baths – a perfect cure for our weary muscles!”