More the true diversity of Japan’s outdoors with the Shoryudo Nature Route. Your trip begins in mountainous Nagano, the capital of the Chubu region, and concludes in the beachside town of Minamichita in Aichi.
En route you’ll experience the beauty of Biwako, Japan’s largest lake; the spectacular Tojinbo cliffs; one of the biggest Dinosaur museums in the world; a one-of-a-kind viewing of the moon from Unazuki Onsen; as well as numerous beautiful temples along this stunning, memorable alpine route through the heart of Japan.
Ninjas, Shrines and Onsen
2 HRS | 50 MINS
After a shinkansen from Tokyo, begin the Great Nature Route in Nagano City, a temple town that once hosted the Winter Olympic Games. It’s home to Zenko-ji, one of the most popular temples in Japan, where you can witness 7th Century Buddhist splendor. To the northwest lies Togakushi, a village located at the base of two volcanoes that sports beautiful shrines, the legendary Ninja school Togakure and several fascinating museums. A 70-minute bus ride later and you’re in Omachi Onsen village, ready to begin the Alpine Route on Day 2.
Things to see and do
One of the few remaining pilgrimage sites in Japan, this 7th Century temple contains a statue of Binzuru, whom travellers touch to cure their medical woes.
Togakure Ninpo Museum
Showcasing tools, weapons and photographs of ninja techniques, the Ninpo Museum also contains the Ninja House, which has a maze and a shuriken (ninja throwing stars) range.
A 2-kilometre walking path leads from the entrance to two of these shrines, which celebrate the Sun Goddess’ return to the world after hiding in a cave.
Stay overnight in Omachi Onsen village, either in a traditional ryokan or a hotel:
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine has been awarded 2 stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan.
The sunsets over both Lake Biwa and Ise Bay are voted among the best in Japan.
Legend has it that around Yoro Falls, the water can taste like sake …
Five lesser known Japanese dishes
Japanese food is a lot more than just sushi, tempura, or ramen. Give these 5 lesser known but tasty dishes a try.
Japan Ski & Snow Guide
Explore trips for families, couples, and solo-skiing in our 24-page travel brochure covering the ski terrains of Hokkaido, Tohoku, Nagano, and Niigata.
A Guide to Universal Studios Japan
I had honestly forgotten how much I love theme parks until I entered through the front gates of Universal Studios Japan.
Five reasons why Japan is a country of contrasts
From skyscrapers to national parks and high-end dining to casual eats, Japan promises to surprise and delight.
Adventures in Japan
With rich emotive landscapes and vistas that have inspired explorers, artists, warriors, travellers and even Emperors for centuries, Japan is the perfect canvas on which to launch an adventure of endless discovery.
The art of yoshoku: Six popular western dishes reinvented in Japan
Western food (yoshoku) in Japan doesn’t exactly mean hamburgers, spaghetti, and fish and chips – at least, not as we know it.