HIKING IN JAPAN
What to Expect
There is no other country quite like Japan. Japan is a fascinating mix of ultra-modern, blended with ancient traditions, of futuristic cities melded with beautiful nature. The stereotypes ring true of an efficient, clean society, steeped in tradition but with a fascinating homegrown culture that makes Japan stand out. The people are approachable and friendly. And the cuisine is complex and vast making each meal an adventure in itself.
Once we are out of the big cities and in the mountains, there will still be many Japanese we will meet along the way. They enjoy nature and getting out into it. Mountain huts are usually very full and ryokan are certainly not similar to Western hotels, think futons on the floor and Japanese baths.
The trails on the mountains as you would expect are well marked and maintained and facilities along the way are excellent.
We are sure you will love Japan and this adventure out into the Japanese Alps. Please pack a good sense of adventure and an open mind and by doing so you will become aware of everything Jpan has to offer.
This tour will include 3 types of accommodations: Western-style hotels, Ryokans or traditional Japanese Inns, and mountain huts.
Ryokans do not always run along the same lines as western hotels. Rooms do not generally have private facilities and bedding is generally in the Japanese style with thick futon mattresses placed on tatami mats on the floor – actually very comfortable! Bathrooms are generally communal (one for men and one for women).
On occasion, it may be necessary for more than two clients to share a room at the ryokan.
The mountain huts have shared washing facilities and can be very busy in peak trekking season, particularly on Mt Fuji, when an average of 5000 people climb to the top for sunrise each day. Sleeping in the huts will be at close quarters, and should be treated more as an opportunity for a rest during the hike than a relaxing night’s sleep!
Single rooms can be requested for Tokyo (and in Kyoto for those who opt for the extension) but these are subject to availability. Due to the nature of the ryokans and mountain huts, it is not possible to secure single rooms outside the cities.
Getting There And Away
The main airport for this trip is through Narita Airport in Tokyo. Our tour leader will meet with the group at the airport, and will lead you immediately to the first destination by a combination of trains via Tokyo and a short bus ride at the end. The combined travel time from the airport will exceed 5 hours on Day 1.
Packing for Trekking
Rain gear can vary from $20 to $1000 for a jacket alone. There is no need to spend silly amounts of money, but if you’re looking to invest for future trips as well, it is highly recommended to get good quality, breathable and windproof rain gear! We suggest any brand of waterproof breathable textile, over a plastic or nylon laminated type that won’t breathe or be as durable. But as said, there’s no need to go overboard with anything too expensive if you only plan to use it this one trip.
Personal First Aid kit
You should bring and carry with you a small personal first aid kit. This kit should be designed to take care of the small maintenance type things that most people will need to address during a long trek. This includes items such as blister dressings, bandaids (plasters), tube compression bandage (or knee/ankle brace if you’re prone to joint problems), sunscreen, lip balm, throat lozenges, antiseptic cream, etc. Your guide will be carrying an expedition first aid kit that is designed to handle any accidents or emergencies we encounter, therefore your personal kit doesn’t need to be over the top!
For this trek, we’ve endeavoured to take care of a lot of things for you, minimising how much you’ll need to carry but you’ll need to carry your own personal belongings. There is a list below to help work out exactly what you’ll need. Ideally, you won’t need to carry more than about 8-10 kgs and you should be able to fit everything into a backpack of between 45-84L in size. If you’re buying a backpack, make sure you get one with a decent frame and harness so you don’t carry the weight on your shoulders!
- Hiking boots or sturdy trail runners
- 3-4 pairs of hiking socks
- Pair of sandals or crocs for nighttime in camp (optional)
- Gaitors are good for the descent of Mt Fuji
- 1 set of clothing to hike in (shirt and shorts/pants)
- 1 set of clothes for nighttime (pants and thermal top)
- Warm jacket. (something warm and light/packable – heavy fleece or light down jacket)
- Waterproof rain jacket and pants
- 5 pairs of jocks
Head and hands
- Sun hat
- baseball cap or wide brim if you don’t have a collar
- Warm beanie (optional)
- A neck warmer or ‘buff’ type multipurpose headband (optional)
- UV resistant and polarised are recommended
- Sunglasses strap. Too many pairs of sunglasses have been donated to the mountain gods on treks to not recommend these strongly!
- Warm gloves (optional)
Health and hygiene
- Personal toiletries
- Wet wipes or antiseptic hand gel
- small facecloth
- Feminine hygiene (if required)
- Sunscreen (min UPF 30+)
- Lip Balm (or paw paw cream from your first aid kit)
- Personal Medications
- Pain killers (whatever works for you)
- Gastro-stop (or similar)
- Throat lozenges
- Anything else you think you might need
- Personal first aid kit
- This is for general first aid maintenance and doesn’t need to be huge. Blister dressings, bandaids, paw paw cream, your above medications, burn/bite/antiseptic cream etc.
- Waterless hand sanitiser
- Toilet paper
- Hiking Backpack 45-85L, comfortable, ideally with a frame for support
- Trekking poles (optional)
- Ability to carry 2L of water
- Lightweight quick-drying towel (optional)
- A few small accessory carabiners (handy to clip drink bottles etc)
- Head Torch with spare batteries
- Waterproofing system
- Dry bags, large heavy-duty garbage bags (bring a few spares!)
- Camera! (optional)
- 1 x awesome attitude (this cannot be hired, must be brought from home)
Note: If you have any questions regarding the above list or any other items that you want to ask about please do not hesitate to contact us. We can provide you with additional information at any time.
Our Local Guide Team
Our Japanese Alps trek is guided by one of our well trained, engaging and informative local guides. He or she will give you a greater appreciation of the landscape you are walking through, provide a historical context at certain sites and point out culturally significant areas as well.
Our guides are also great companions, ensuring that your welfare is taken care of. They will ensure that trekking conditions are safe, provide alternatives if need be, understand the weather and the terrain and how they interact and generally make sure you have a safe and rewarding journey.
Without a guide you are only seeing and understanding a fraction of the significance of Japan, its landscape and its culture. With a guide you will not only be safe, but you will have all your questions answered.
Note: That’s TOMO in the picture above, one of our Japanese Guides. He loves the outdoors and showing Japan to visitors. But the mountain, that’s not Japan, we thought we would point that out.
Map Of The Omote Ginza Trail
High Heart Rate Holiday
The Omote Ginza Trail is considered on our own expedition scale as a High Heart Rate Holiday. Whether you are pushing up a mountain or doing other physical activities, this holiday is primarily focused on challenging yourself physically. There are sections that will certainly get your heart rate going and other sections that are quite easy. Balance this with well-maintained trails and excellent food and this trek fits perfectly into an active holiday category. You need to be of average to high fitness for this expedition or willing to commit to training to take part. Call us if you are unsure of your fitness level and we talk you through what you need to do to be ready.
Physical: For this trek, you will require an above-average level of fitness. We cover on average about 10-13 kilometres each day, with some days having large altitude gains or losses. Like any trip, the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it!
Mental: Mental preparation is as important as physical preparation. For this trip, you must be aware of the terrain and height challenges! Ideally, you will be fairly confident on your feet, and be able to judge when to slow down and concentrate.
We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group – patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone’s travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don’t keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well – this takes just a little effort on your part.
All guests are required to be full vaccinated against COVID-19
We Are Here To Help!
We have tried hard to provide you with a greater insight into this expedition but we ain’t perfect!
If you do have further questions please contact our expert team members through one of the below channels.
No Roads Expeditions Support Hub
Australia HQ: +61 (03) 95988581