Day 1: Tokyo – Shibu Onsen (D)
Depart from Tokyo Station for Nagano via the Hokuriku bullet train, which can reach speeds of up to 260 kph. Upon arriving at Nagano Station, transfer to the limited express train that will run to Yudanaka Station, where a complimentary shuttle bus is provided by the night’s ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inn, available between 15:00 and 18:00.
Kokuya is a traditional Japanese-style hotel (ryokan) with a 400-year history. Its present owner is the 16th generation to run the place. The ryokan has six different, 100% natural hot springs, which are rich in health-giving minerals that benefit your muscles, joints, and skin.
The ryokan is located on the Shibu Onsen “spa street,” which has nine public onsen open for use. Take note of the local people strolling down the street in yukata (light robes) as they head for a soak in one of these hot spring baths.
Dinner tonight will be a kaiseki, or Japanese traditional meal, comprised of nine or more dishes. The meal is made up of seasonal dishes using only the freshest of local Nagano ingredients.
Overnight in Shibu Onsen
Day 2: Shibu Onsen (BD)
Today is a self-guided day.
This morning, visit the Jigokudani Park, home to the famous Snow Monkeys. Jigokudani literally means “hell’s valley” due to the steam and boiling water that bubble out of small crevices in the frozen ground. It is in these hot spring baths where the resident Japanese Macaques like to soak. Going to the park from the nearest bus stops and parking lot can only be done on foot, which requires around half an hour of trekking. Comfortable footwear is strongly recommended (and warm clothes especially during the colder months).
The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, they can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests. Although the monkeys live in the area all year round, they are particularly numerous during the colder months (December – April) while less likely to be spotted in Autumn.
In the afternoon, it’s recommended to visit the nearby charming town of Obuse, a small town that features a number of traditional houses and stores. Over 100 houses in the town participate in an ‘Open Garden’ event. If this sign sits in front of a house, it means guests can freely enter the property and enjoy the gardens. A great way to get some insight into Japanese houses.
Obuse is also the home of Hokusai, the famous ukiyo-e (woodblock) painter during the Edo period, and Masuichi-Ichimura, the local sake brewery that produces high quality sake from locally produced rice.
Note: Transportation to/from Jigokudani can only be arranged on spot (at own expense)
Another amazing dinner will be served at the ryokan.
Overnight in Shibu Onsen
Day 3: Shibu Onsen – Tokyo/Kanazawa (B)
The rest of the day is free at leisure until the scheduled departure from Shibu Onsen.
- Hotel accommodation in twin room with daily breakfast (for ryokan, minshuku, and other traditional accommodation, rooms are Japanese-style with futon and meals are half board)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- Bullet train tickets to and from Nagano (coming from and going to stated city in the itinerary; reserved seats, ordinary class)
- Roundtrip limited express train tickets from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station
- PASMO Transport Pass with a value of 1,500 JPY on Day 2
- International airfares
- Optional tours and excursions
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Personal Expenses
- Departure taxes
- Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
- Visas (unless specified)
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
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