12-Nights Sacred Lakes & Mountains of Northern Japan
OFFER ID 1376670
Japan Sacred Northern Lakes & Mountains Hiking In Japan, mountains are objects of worship where powerful spirits reside. This itinerary explores Northern Honshu's revered mountain destinations, dripping with legend and tradition, bookended with tours of modern Tokyo and historic Nikko. From Nikko National Park's UNESCO-listed temples to the volcanic Hakkoda Mountains and Dewa Sanzan—home to sacred mountains and Shugendo's holiest shrines—experience the connection with nature that infuses Japanese life and culture. Hike along sparkling lakes and mountain streams, and rejuvenate in a charming onsen. Explore northern Japan's beautiful, sacred spaces on this specially crafted adventure!
Escape to northern Japan and hike it's unspoiled lakes, high-altitude wetlands, and lush gorges
Discover Japan's "mountain faith" - Shugendo, with deeply rooted spiritual traditions, in sacred Dewa Sanzan
See Nikko's UNESCO-listed sites, unwind in natural hot springs, and overnight in traditional ryokans
Minimum Age: 13
12 nights from $10,295 per person
Exclusive Amenity: $50 Donation Per Booking Will Be Made on Behalf of Your Clients to One of MT Sobek’s Partnered Foundations
Valid on new bookings deposited now – December 31, 2025 for travel anytime.
Other restrictions may apply. Contact your travel advisor about this Signature Exclusive Amenity.
MT Sobek: Japan Sacred Northern Lakes & Mountains Hiking
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo Welcome to Japan! After arrival at the airport, transfer to your hotel, where you'll enjoy a festive welcome dinner and a well-deserved night's sleep. Accommodation: Park Hotel (D)
Day 2 Go Back in Time in Tokyo 6 hours/5-6 miles hiking After breakfast, head out for a full-day walking tour of Tokyo, beginning with Yanaka, an old quarter of the city that still retains charm from the Edo period, with its traditional wooden houses, narrow streets, and small temples. Continue on to Asakusa and Senso-ji, a large Buddhist temple with a five-story 7th-century pagoda that was rebuilt after World War II. Leading up to the main temple buildings is Nakamise-dori, a pedestrian street lined with craft and souvenir shops capped off by Kaminari-mon, the temple's famous entrance gate. Please see luggage FAQ for more details on this day. Accommodation: Park Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 3 Journey to Historic Nikko 2-hour train ride Travel to historic Nikko, a town set against a stunning backdrop of wooded hills and national parklands. The extravagantly ornate buildings of Nikko's Toshogu Shrine are now on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. The shrine was created in commemoration of Tokugawa Ieyasu, a shogun venerated for uniting feuding lords to create the nation of Japan, and the intricate temple carvings are full of whimsy — including cats and monkeys. Finish your tour with Rinno-ji, with its lacquered pillars and gohonzon shrines, and Futarasan Shrine, dedicated to the Nikko Mountains' spirits. Accommodation: Itaya Ryokan (B, L, D)
Day 4 Explore the Natural Beauty of Oku Nikko 5–6 hours/8 miles hiking with 1,840’ elevation gain & 1,870’ elevation loss This morning set out to explore Oku Nikko, the "hinterland of Nikko," an area of outstanding natural beauty in the mountainous north of Nikko and now a protected national park. Enjoy leisurely trekking in the Karikomi Lake area, famous for its natural sulfur hot springs. Monks have harnessed these waters for their healing properties since their discovery in 788 — and at your ryokan, in the Nikko Yumoto Onsen area, you can experience these waters for yourself! You'll also explore the surrounding marshlands and their wide array of bird life. Accommodation: Itaya Ryokan (B, L, D)
Day 5 See Yamadera’s Temple & the Scenic Ginzan Onsen 4-hour transfer by bus & train 1 mile/2 hours hiking with 738’ elevation gain & loss Travel to Yamagata and hike to Yamadera, the "mountain temple" known as Risshaku-ji. This Tendai sect of Mahayana Buddhism temple is perched atop the mountainside with 1,000 steps leading to it. The upper temple houses a sacred flame that has been burning since the temple was founded in 860! A viewing platform situated slightly farther up the mountain offers impressive views of the neighboring peaks and the valley below. Descend and board the train to scenic Ginzan Onsen, a small hot springs town known for traditional wooden onsen lining the riverfront. Please see luggage FAQ for more details on this day. Accommodation: Takimikan (B, L, D)
Day 6 Hike from Haguro-san 2-hour bullet train ride 2,446 steps/1,375’ downhill & 1-1.5 hours walking with 1,375’ elevation loss After breakfast and perhaps another quick soak in the hot spring, we take a bus to our nearest railway station and catch the shinkansen (bullet train) north, following the Japan Sea's picturesque coastline to Dewa Sanzan — the three sacred peaks of Haguro-san, Gas-san, and Yudono-san. The lowest of these is Haguro-san (1,358'), the spiritual home of the Shugendo, which blends the native Shinto belief system with Buddhism and other forms of mountain worship. Continue to Gyokusen-ji Temple, allegedly founded in 1251 and its garden completed in the 1650s, and now designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty. We'll visit the shrine at the summit of Haguro san, and descend the 2,446 steps to our accommodation for the evening. Accommodation: Sankoin (B, L, D)
Day 7 Discover Shrine Secrets in Dewa Sanzan 4.5 hours/6 miles hiking with 2,000’ elevation gain & loss Transfer to the start of our hike on Mount Gas-san. The highest of the three sacred mountains, Gas-san (or "Moon Mountain," 6,509') is covered in deep snow — up to nearly 20 feet — for much of the year. The mountain is officially opened each year with a ceremony at the summit's Shinto shrine. Here pilgrims in white coats head for the Dewa Sanzan shrine, with its massive thatched roof. Along our walk there are lovely small ponds formed by the melting snow and an abundance of alpine flowers. Accommodation: Sankoin (B, D)
Day 8 Travel to Sukayu Onsen 6-hour train and bus transfer This morning your bag travels ahead of you to Yakeyama while you and your overnight bag journey to Sukayu Onsen, in the far northeast of Honshu. Sukayu Onsen is one of the snowiest inhabited regions on earth, but thankfully the thermals caused by the dormant volcano, with their warm waters, provide an enjoyable counterbalance to the cold of the snow. The onsen is famous for its milky mineral-rich waters of its sen-in-buro, or 1,000-person bath! The bath is mixed gender, and there are also two smaller gender-specific hot springs. Please see luggage FAQ for more details on this day. Accommodation: Sukayu Onsen Ryokan (B, L, D)
Day 9 Hike on Mount Hakkoda 1-hour bus transfer, 10-minute cable car ride 3 hours/3-4 miles hiking with 364' elevation gain and 1,742' loss Mount Hakkoda forms part of a plateau of dormant volcanoes situated between Lake Towada and Aomori, and is known for its high-altitude wetlands. While the volcanoes of Mount Hakkoda are dormant, they do make themselves known in the area's onsen. Ascend to the highlands by cable car and hike the Kenashi Paradise line trail, descending to Sukayu. Travel by bus to tonight's accommodation, where your bag, sent from Haguro, will be waiting for you. Accommodation: Yakeyamasou (B, L, D)
Day 10 Walk in Oirase 4 hours/6 miles hiking & 330’ elevation gain Your bag heads to Tokyo while you enjoy a half-day hike along the Oirase stream. This unspoiled area of Lake Towada is famous for its autumn foliage, but is spectacularly beautiful year-round. The stream follows the floor of the Oirase Gorge and is the only draining river from Lake Towada. During summer, waterfalls and fast-moving rapids punctuate the stream's lush greenery and virgin forests. The cedar, beech, and maple trees along its banks provide a beautiful canopy for your walk. The walk concludes with a scenic lake cruise to your accommodations. Please see luggage FAQ for more details on this day. Accommodation: Shinzantei (B, D)
Day 11 Bullet Train Back to Tokyo 5-hour bus and train transfer This morning, we will enjoy a short and easy walk to Towada shrine. You'll then have lunch before you travel by bus and then shinkansen to make your way back to Tokyo. There is time to pick up additional local delicacies to snack on as you relax on the train journey back to Tokyo. You'll arrive at the hotel in the early evening, where your bag sent from Yakeyama awaits. The rest of the day is free and you can explore Tokyo in the evening on your own. Accommodation: Park Hotel (B, L)
Day 12 Explore Trails in Kamakura 3 hours/4 miles hiking with 708’ elevation gain & 730’ elevation loss Spend today walking in Kamakura, scenically located between the ocean and the wooded hills just southwest of Tokyo. Famous for its temples, some of which you discover today, it also provides great walking along the Ten'en trail, situated in the northern regions of Kamakura. Follow a ridgeline to Kencho-ji Temple, passing tomb caves and jizo statues as we walk through birch, maple, ginkgo, and bamboo groves. This afternoon, return to the hotel and relax. There is time to explore the neighborhood on your own before a festive farewell dinner with the group. Accommodation: Park Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 13 Depart from Tokyo This morning, bid each other farewell and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Huge department stores brim with shoppers, neon flashes from dusk to dawn, and the entire world pays heed to the slightest fluctuation on the Nikkei Index. From the Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine to the fabled Ginza district, 20th-century Tokyo is an intriguing composite of East and West. Yuppies sporting Walkmen bow formally in greeting. Women in kimonos and Dior suits stroll side-by-side. Geishas play samisens while disc jockeys play the Top Forty. Japanese houses of wood and paper stand in the shadow of towering steel and mortar. Not far away, one of the world's most impressive sights soars 12,388 feet to its snow-clad peak: Mount Fuji, the majestic symbol of Japan.
In Nikko, Japan, visit the fabulous Yomeimon Gate and the Toshogu Shrine, the final resting place of the first Tokugawa Shogun.
Valid Date Ranges
* This departure has been designated a guaranteed departure by the operator, meaning that the minimum number of guests has been met, although still subject to weather and other conditions.
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Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability and change without notice. Prices reflect land only accommodations, airfare is additional. Blackout dates/seasonal supplements may apply. Accommodations, inclusions and itinerary subject to change depending upon specific departure date. Please inquire for more information at the time of booking. Prices subject to availability and change without notice. Some restrictions may apply.
All fares are quoted in US Dollars.
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