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Snow Monkeys

The most popular day trip from Hakuba is the famous snow monkey tour which runs daily during peak season leaving at 8am and returning at 5pm. The tour will take you to Jigokudani Monkey Park, home to over 200 wild monkeys amongst the natural Hot Springs. The tour includes lunch at Suzuhana Resturaunt in Obuse. There is a choice of Japanese fish or meat as well as a choice of local Obuse wine or sake You will also visit the Zenkoji Temple, one of the most visited temples in Japan. Zenkoji was founded 1400 years ago and stores, what many believe to be the first Buddhist statue ever brought to Japan.

Cost:
Adults (12yr+): 12000 yen
Child: 8000 yen

Kimono Experience

Held in Shouya Maruhachim, this building was the residence of the Yokosawa family, a local wealthy merchant. It was built at the end of the Edo period and was reconstructed and remodelled several times during the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras. This traditional Japanese family residence with its earthen floors and ‘irori’ hearth is the setting for tourists to interact with local residents and others.

Experience the real Japan kimono dressing. There are lots of colourful and elegant kimono outfits available for you to choose from. The professional kimono teacher will help you choose the best one suitable for you. She will make the ribbon knots with her hands during the activity, letting you experience the real Japan kimono dressing. Following the Kimono dressing will be a origami and tea ceremony.

Shoya Maruhachi restaurant offers a unique Japanese style Obento lunch box for this tour. There are 4 different plates of local traditional cuisine in the lunch box, together with rice, soup and seasonal fruits or sweets. You’ll never know what you get until you open it! Enjoy our delicious cuisine with a great surprise!

The will pick you up for the tour around 9:30am and drop you off again at 1:15pm. This tour is for women only.

Cost:
8000 yen per person

Taiko Drum Tour

Taiko drumming is an indigenous part of Japanese culture dating back more than 1400 years. You not only have chance to experience the awe-inspiring sound of local taiko drumming performed by a local professional team called Otari Daiko Performer, but also play the taiko drum together with them. Enjoy making music and receiving a good physical workout at the same time.

Otari village is situated next to Hakuba and has flourished as one of the popular ski resorts. Otari Daiko performers consist of various members from the elementary school students to the seniors. Their aim is to encourage more people to be happy and smile. It would be a great option to join the tour when you have a day off from the ski slopes of Hakuba.

They will pick you up from your accommodation around 7pm and drop you off around 9pm giving you over an hour watching and playing the Taiko Drums.

Cost:
2000 yen (6yr+)

Gyoza and Sushi Cooking Class

If you enjoy Japanese food and are interested in learning the art of Japanese cooking or in eating true Japanese cuisine, this is the opportunity for you! The cooking expert will teach you how to make Gyoza and traditional hand-rolled sushi. You may enjoy your very own Gyoza and Sushi creations for lunch. Don’t miss the chance to make a cooking class from a professional! The tour will pick you up around 9am and drop you back at 1pm.

Cost:
7000 yen (6yr+)

Local Train and Culture Experience Tour

The tour departs from Hakuba JR Station where you will catch the train to Shinano Omachi. The first event will be the cultural expereince at Chojiya Museum. This building was built in 1890, and was used as a salt wholesale house. It has a traditional structure of pillar, and you can see Japanese traditional facilities such as a fireplace called “Irori”, earthen floor called “Doma”, and a drawing room with tatami. And of course, it has a Japanese style warehouse used for storing salt.

After this you will eat lunch at Wachigai. This transitional house, built with typical Kyofu-Machiya (type of architecture design developed in Kyoto) in Edo period, keeps the good old-days ambiance. The name “Wachigai” is taken after the Yago, the traditional name of the house.

After this is a cultural experience at the traditional old folk house “Shiono-Michi Choji-ya” in Omachi. In such a traditional folk house, you can experience wearing Japanese costumes and having powdered green tea. You can wear Samurai costume or “Yukata” kimono (a light cotton Kimono). You can also partake in Japanese old playing experience such as “Ken-dama” (Japanese bilboquet), “Menko” (game of slapping cards down to overturn opponent’s) and “Ote-dama” (beanbags for juggling).

Cost:
8000yen (6yr+)

Matsumoto City Culture Experience Tour

With 400 years of history, Matsumoto Castle is a National Treasure that every Japan visitor should see. Formerly called Fukashi Castle, it was a branch castle of the Ogasawara family during the long period of the warring states. It is located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture. Matsumoto Castle is a flatland castle (hirajiro) because it is not built on a hilltop or amid rivers, but on a plain. Its complete defences would have included an extensive system of inter-connecting walls, moats and gatehouses. The most interesting part of the castle is the main donjon/keep (tenshukaku) completed in the late 16th century, and which maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework.

The Kametaya brewery is definitely worth a visit. Seeped in history, the brewery occupies one of the original farm houses of the area and if you are prepared to travel a little further, you will find it nestled in the foothills of the mountains and surrounded by trees. The long straight road leading up to the brewery is the original road used by the merchants of yesteryear.

After the tour visitors are invited to try some of the brewery’s sake, and are free to browse the little shop where visitors can purchase gift boxes of various blends to take home to relatives and friends.

Daio Wasabi Farm is Japan’s largest wasabi farm covering 15 hectares. It’s natural water springs 120,000t per day that is to enable their annual yield of 150t of wasabi. It is located in Hotaka, Azumino, 32km north from the center of Matsumoto. It was established in 1915 and is a popular tourist spot due to its beautiful watermills and for the magnificent view of the Alps. Its restaurants offer not only the popular soba noodles along with freshly picked wasabi, but also wasabi-flavored ice cream and lots of other wasabi-themed products.

The tour picks you up at 9am and will drop you back later in the afternoon.

Cost:
2-3 pax: 72000 yen/group
4-8 pax: 105000 yen/group

Itoigawa Seafood Gourmet Tour

No Japan holiday is complete without trying a fresh sashimi or seafood meal. Itoigawa city is just one hour away from Hakuba Valley by bus. You may buy the fresh seafood souvenirs for your beloved one as well. Get ready to experience this gourmet tour like never before!

Let the fresh seafood fill your stomach! The chef will choose the seasonal seafood to make the best lunch for you. You will be served with a warm seafood soup and a blow of rice with various seafood on top. It will make your mouth water.

The tour departs from the Happo Information Centre or Tokyu Hotel at 10:15am and will return at 4:30pm. You will visit the Tanimura Art Museum, eat a seafood lunch, visit Hakusan Shrine and Benten Rock and shop at the fish market.

Cost:
8000 yen per person

Tea Ceremony Lesons

Learn the art of making real Japanese tea and enjoy it with a group of friends in a very cultural Japanese tea ceremony style. With a local guide using local tea you are sure to enjoy everything Nagano has to offer. Beautiful, authentic Japanese modern style Café, you will sit on traditional tatami floors and feel every bit of Japan.

The lessons are run in the morning or late afternoon. They will pick you up at 9am or 4pm and will leave back to your accommodation 1.5 hours later. Groups must be between 2 and 5 guests for this tour.

Cost:
3000 yen (6yr+)

Snow Shoe Adventure

Take a nice wonder through the trees of Iwatake Snow Fields. On fresh untouched snow, find yourself lost in a snow wonderland. A new relaxing way to enjoy the ski fields, a new snow sport away from skiing and snowboarding. With your local guide enjoy a nice tea break in the middle of a white forest.

Snow shoe tours are run in the morning and afternoon at 9am or 1pm and gives you 2.5 hours of snowshoeing. Groups must be between 2 and 6 people.

Cost:
6000 yen per person (10yr +)

Sightseeing in Historical Edo Period Town

Japan's Most Beautiful Garden

Looking for castles, temples, traditional shopping districts, and Japan’s most beautiful garden? Kanazawa is the place for you. Accessible in less than 3 hours from Hakuba train station, Kanazawa boasts some of the most spectacular cultural and historical sights in Japan.

Kenroukuen Garden

We recommend you begin your day in Kanazawa with a long stroll through Kenroukuen Garden. Located in central Kanazawa and adjacent to Kanazawa Castle, this breathtaking garden was originally planned and developed as a private garden in the 17th century by the area’s ruling family, the Maeda Clan. In 1872, the garden became a public park and has since been designated as one of Japan’s 3 most beautiful gardens.

Kanazawa Castle

After enjoying Kenroukuen, it’s time to tour Kanazawa Castle which served as the residence for the Madea Clan as they ruled Japan’s second largest and wealthiest feudal domain for nearly 300 years. Visitors can enter the castle grounds for free and pay 310 yen to access all of the castle buildings. 

Castle Hours: 9:00-16:30 (Entry until 16:00)

Oyama Shrine

From Kanazawa Castle, the 16th century Oyama Shrine honoring the first lord of the Maeda Clan is only a short walk away. The shrine’s gate was designed by a Dutch architect who fused Asian and European styles to create a shrine unlike any other in Japan. You can visit the shrine free of charge and it remains open at all times.

Lunch Time

Ready for fresh sea food? 750 meters away lies Omicho Market, a Japanese style shopping arcade with over 200 shops and restaurants. The market is renowned for its delicious seafood and traditional atmosphere; in fact, it has been in operation since the Edo Period. Not a fish fan? Don’t worry. There are plenty of non-seafood options and even more shops to peruse after eating. It is a must visit in Kanazawa.

Market Hours: 9:00 to 18:00

Last Stop, Edo Higashi Chaya Tea District

This beautifully preserved Edo neighborhood was once the center of nightlife in Kanazawa. People gathered here to spend time in drinking tea with the company of beautiful geishas. Today the area has shopping, restaurants, tea houses, and yes, geisha. Why not take a walk back in time through the Higashi Chaya District?

Access to Kanazawa

Hakuba Station to Itoigawa Station via JR Oito Line (Brown)
Itoigawa Station to Kanazawa Station via JR Shinkansen
Total Time: 2 Hours and 52 Minutes
Total Cost: JPY 12,520 (FREE WITH THE JR PASS)

 

 

 

Onsen, Sake Breweries, Rabbit Feeding, Crafting, and More!

Join the Kaga Bus Tour and Experience the Traditional, Tranquil, and Quirky Culture of Japan

Why not leave the mountains for a day and visit Japan’s premiere onsen destination along the beautiful Japan Sea? The 3+ hour journey is completely covered with the JR Rail pass and transportation in Kaga is provided when buying the  ¥1,500 Blue Passport CAN Bus Ticket.

Blue Passport CAN Bus Ticket

Ticket holders can choose to visit 3 attractions among the 23 available and the ticket is valid for two days. Departing from JR Kaga Onsen Station, the CAN Bus takes you to all major sightseeing destinations allowing you to personalize your Kaga experience. Since there are three lines and all run one way in a circular loop, a bit of planning is required. Here are our favorite spots to visit on the Sea Route and the Mountain Route.

 Sea Route

#16 Tsukiusagi no Sato

At this uniquely Japanese attraction, you can feed, pet, and play with dozens of adorable rabbits. Admission is free and there are conveniently located vending machines selling tasty treats for the rabbits. There are also souvenir shops and restaurants at this stop.

Hours: 9:00- 17:00

#26 Katayamazu Onsen

Designed by one of Japan’s leading architects, Yoshio Taniguchi, Katayamazu Onsen reflects both the modern and ancient aspects of Japanese culture. The two onsen bathing rooms are encased in a stunning glass building, one room looking towards the lake and mountains and the other towards the forest. The rooms are switched between the genders daily.

Hours: 6:00- 22:00

#28 Dainichi-Zakari Sake Brewery Museum

Decedents of samurai, this family has been brewing sake for nearly 260 years! Stop by the brewery museum to learn, taste, and buy Kaga’s finest sake.

Hours: 9:00- 5:00

Mountain Road

#5 Yamashiro Kosoyu

This onsen was rebuilt exactly the way it appeared during the Meiji era and therefore provides one of the most unique bathing experiences in Japan. The interior is adorned with handcrafted tiles and breathtaking stainless glass windows and the water is 100% onsen water. There are not modern shower facilities, so visitors must wash with water in a traditional wooden bucket before entering the baths. 

Hours:  10:00 – 22:00

#8 Yunokuni no Mori

This is the ultimate hands on Japanese cultural experience. At Yunokuni no Mori, you can choose from 17 experiences including glass making, Japanese cooking, bamboo workmanship, pottery, and more!

Hours: 9:00-15:00

#9 Motorcar Museum of Japan

This is the largest automobile museum in Japan and contains 500 models from various counties including Rolls Royces, Japanese sports cars, and other European classics.  The 3 story Meiji-Western building contains 250,000 red bricks and nearly as breathtaking as the collection of antique cars.

Hours: 9:00-16:30

Access

Hakuba Station to Itoigawa Station via JR Oito Line (Brown)
Itoigawa Station to Kanazawa Station via JR Shinkansen
Kanazawa Station to Kaga Onsen Station via  JR Shirasagi (Blue)

Total Cost and Travel Time

Total Travel Cost: ¥15,480 (FREE WITH JR RAIL PASS)

Total Travel TIME (One Way): 3 hours and 15 minutes

First and Last Train

PLEASE CHECK PRIOR TO DEPARTING AS THESE TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

First train from Hakuba: 6:56
Arrival at Kaga Onsen Station: 10:13
Last train from Kaga Onsen Station: 18:28
Arrival at Hakuba Station: 21:44

Japan's Largest Roller Coasters

Breathtaking Mount Fuji Views

Looking for a thrill of a lifetime off the slopes? Fuji-Q Highland might be the perfect place for you. Located on the foot of Mt. Fuji and home to some of the world’s fastest and most innovative rides, Fuji-Q is the adrenaline seekers dream park. The following are our can’t miss coasters. 

Eejyanaika (“Ain’t it good?”)

A 4th dimension coaster, meaning the seats roll forward, backward, and 360 degrees in controlled spins, Eejynaika holds the Guinness Record for most inversions with 14.

The terrifying first drop is 76m tall and drops at an 89 degree angle while the car rotates furiously towards the ground reaching its maximum speed of 126 km/h.

Price: ¥2,000

Max Speed: 126 km/h

Tallest Peak: 76m

Max Angle: 89 degrees

Course Length: 1,153 m

DoDoDonpa

The fastest roller coaster in Japan, DoDoDonpa begins in a dimly let futuristic tunnel where riders are shot out with little notice and reach an amazing 180km/h in 1.56 seconds!  Riders then fly upside down through the largest loop in the world before finishing the coaster 60 seconds later.

Price: ¥2,000

Max Speed: 180 km/h

Tallest Peak: 49m

Course Length: 1,244 m

Takabashi

Do you love steep drops? Takabashi holds the record for steepest drop in the world at 121 degrees. This single car coaster holds 8 riders and has 7 rotations throughout the ride. If you can keep your eyes open throughout the ride, you’ll have spectacular views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day.

Price: ¥2,000

Max Speed: 100 km/h

Max Angle: 121 degrees

Course length: 1,004 m

Fujiyama

Built in 1996, this classic style coaster once held records for both fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world. This behemoth reaches heights of 79m and offers the best views of Mt. Fuji at the park.

Price: ¥2,000

Max Speed: 130 km/h

Max Height: 79m

Total Length: 2,045m

Access

Fuji-Q Highland is 2 hours and 50 minutes from Hakuba Station and you will need a car to access it. Please click enquire for car hire rates.

 

World Heritage Site

Traditional Grasso Style Farmhouses

Looking to experience mountain village life as it existed centuries ago? Shirakawa-go is home to the the best preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses in Japan. These thatched roof homes were fist built in the 18th century and were named gassho-zukuri as the locals believed they resembled hands clasped in prayer. Dozens of the homes are still standing today, and the entire village has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Easily accessible by car, check out Shirakwa-go for an unforgettable Japan experience.

Ogimachi, Shirakawa-go

Ogimachi, the largest and best preserved village in Shiragawa-go, contains dozens of well preserved thatched roof farm houses. Many of the homes have been opened to the public as museums, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts providing visitors with amazing opportunities to explore and interact with Japanese culture, history, and architecture.

Top Three Spots

Wada-ke House

Belonging to the wealthy Wada Family, this residence is the largest and perhaps the most impressive farm houses in Ogimachi.  ¥300

Kanda-ke House

Centrally located in the village, this large 4 story building has great views of the village from the top floor. ¥300

Shiroyama Viewpoint

An excellent vantage point to view the entire village and to take pictures. From the village center, this viewpoint is roughly fifteen minutes on foot. Additionally there is a shuttle bus that leaves from the Wada-ke House.  Free

Ogimachi Illumination

During the following dates, the Ogimachi farmhouses are illuminated from 17:30- 19:30 creating a beautiful winter scene. The village limits the number of visitors permitted to visit during these illuminations and requires reservations months in advance.

January 14, 2019 (Monday, national holiday

January 20, 2019 (Sunday)

January 27, 2019 (Sunday)

February 3, 2019 (Sunday)

February 11, 2019 (Monday, national holiday)

February 17, 2019 (Sunday)

Spending the Night

For the most authentic experience, we recommend staying the night at a local family run farmhouse bed & breakfast. One night starts around ¥10,000 and generally includes dinner and breakfast. Reservations must be made weeks in advance and can be made in English here.

Access

Car

Car hire is the easiest way to access Shirakawa-go. Please contact us for a car hire quote.