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YAMAGATA SNOW & ONSEN TOUR

Estimated Price: $3,000 USD per person double occupancy, +20% for single occupancy

Suggested Activity Level: 7/10 

Trip Includes

  • 8 nights accommodation

  • All breakfasts and dinners

  • All activities, guiding and transportation within tour

  • Snowshoe rentals

Trip Excludes

  • Airfare to/from Japan

  • Alcoholic Beverages

  • Travel insurance, medical coverage, etc.

  • Transportation to Yamagata Station and from Yonezawa Station

  • Winter equipment excluding snowshoes

activities

Snowshoeing

Hiking

​Hot Springs

Suggested dates

January - March

location

Yamagata City, Zao, Yamadera, Hijiori Onsen, Yonezawa, Namegawa Onsen

SUGGESTED ITINERARY


Itineraries listed are recommended by Active Travel Japan but can be customized based on length and fitness level. Price listed is subject to change. Group sizes are a minimum of 4 and maximum of 10.

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN YAMAGATA

We will meet at the hotel near Yamagata Station for dinner. After a brief tour orientation, we will visit a local restaurant near Yamagata Station.

● ​Hotel: Hotel Metropolitan Yamagata Station
● ​Facilities: Western Style Hotel

● ​Meals Provided: Dinner

DAY 2 – ZAO ONSEN

We begin the day by transferring to Zao Onsen Ski Resort and taking the gondola to the top of the mountain. Depending on the recent weather patterns, we will be able to see the famous Snow Monsters, a unique shape that happens when windy conditions cover trees in ice and snow in repeated cycles. We will walk around the top of Mt. Zao for 3-4 hours, before descending via the gondola. We will check into our ryokan in Zao Onsen, where we will have some time to soak in a hot spring or walk around town. Dinner is in a local Izakaya style restaurant.

● ​Distance: 5-6 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Nishiya Shirabu

● ​Facilities: Japanese Style Ryokan

● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 3 – YAMADERA - GINZAN ONSEN

We transfer to Yamadera this morning, a Buddhist temple that is over a thousand years old. Located up the side of a steep mountain, we will need to place ice cleats on our shoes (provided by Active Travel Japan). After taking in the scenery, we descend into Yamadera village and have a Japanese style lunch. From here, we take the train a few minutes up the valley to Omoshiroyama Kogen. There are many hiking trails in the area, and we will go part-way up the mountain before returning by snowshoe and train to the vehicle. From there, we transfer to Ginzan Onsen, a popular hot spring village, especially in Winter. We have some time to soak and walk around, before having dinner at a restaurant in the village.

● ​Distance: 4-5 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Nagasawa Heihachi

● ​Facilities: Japanese Style Ryokan
● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4 – MT. CHOKAISAN

After breakfast, we drive around 2.5 hours to the base of Mt. Chokaisan on the border between Akita and Yamagata Prefectures. Based on the weather conditions, we will visit some frozen lakes or waterfalls in the area and drive around to some scenic spots, having lunch at a local restaurant along the way. We check into Chokai Sanso, a mountain lodge type accommodation and have dinner there.

● ​Distance: 5-6 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Chokai Sanso
● ​Facilities: Mountain Lodge
● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5 – MT. HAGURO - HIJIORI ONSEN

After breakfast, we transfer around 1 hour to Mt. Gassan Visitor Center. Mt. Gassan and Mt. Haguro are part of the scenic and spiritual Dewa Sanzan, historically centers of ascetic mountain worship. Mt. Gassan is one of the snowiest areas of Japan and inaccessible for much of the year. Instead, we will take a walk from the visitor center to the peak of Mt. Haguro and visit the scenic shrine located on top. After descending, we transfer to Hijiori Onsen, another charming hot spring village. Hijiori means broken elbow and legend has it that the local samurai clan used these onsens to heal their battle wounds. Dinner tonight is in the ryokan.

● ​Distance: 5-6 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Motokawarayu
● ​Facilities: Japanese Style Ryokan

● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6 – LAKE SHIROKAWA

After breakfast, we transfer another 2.5 hours this morning to Southern Yamagata Prefecture. Our destination is Lake Shirokawa. In the spring, snowmelt submerges the forest, making for a unique landscape. In the Winter the lake will be partially frozen and snowy though. We explore the lake, rivers and rice paddies on snowshoes, before checking into our boutique hotel for the evening. Dinner is in the local town of Iide.

● ​Distance: 5-6 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Hotel Slow Village

● ​Facilities: Boutique Hotel

● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7 – TENGENDAI - YONEZAWA CITY

We transfer to Tengendai Ski Resort this morning, another highland area known for its powder snow. We walk around and explore the beautiful frozen forest with hopefully spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. In the afternoon, we transfer to Yonezawa City where we have some time to explore. Yonezawa was part of the Uesugi Domain and maintains much of its history and culture. For dinner, we eat at a historic restaurant called Hyakushakutei located in a Japanese garden.

● ​Distance: 4 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Excel Hotel Tokyu 

● ​Facilities: Western Style Hotel

● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8 – NAMEKAWA ONSEN

From Yonezawa Station, we take a local train line 20 minutes to Toge Station. From here, it’s a kilometer hike to Namekawa Onsen Fukushimaya. In the summer there is a road to Namekawa Onsen but it is now plowed in the Winter. The family who owns the ryokan stays for the entire Winter to look after the building and remove snow from the roof. After reaching the ryokan, we have some time to walk around and go for another snowshoe adventure if desired. Dinner is what we bring with us, and we will prepare it together in ryokan’s kitchen. The onsen in the facility is open 24 hours and although the hallways are cold, we can warm up in the onsen and the cozy rooms.

● ​Distance: 4 kilometers

● ​Hotel: Namekawa Onsen Fukushimaya

● ​Facilities: Mountain Ryo

● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9 – DEPARTURE

​We make breakfast together, then make the return journey to Toge Station. From there, we either drive together to Fukushima Station, or you will take the train to your onward destination.

● ​Distance: 4 kilometers

● ​Meals Provided: Breakfast

PACKING LIST

  • ​Enough clothing for the entire tour (laundry facilities are limited)

  • Toiletries

  • Warm waterproof jacket and windbreaker

  • Waterproof hiking pants

  • T-shirts (short and long sleeve) + fleece for layers

  • Water bottle

  • Worn-in waterproof hiking or snow boots

  • Long underwear

  • Warm socks

  • Day pack/backpack and pack cover

  • ​2 sets of gloves (ski gloves + thinner gloves for any kind of weather) 

  • ​Beanie/knit cap and/or ear warmers

  • ​Hand warmers/heat pads

  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses and/or goggles

  • Hiking poles with snow baskets

  • ​Gaiters

Additional Items

  • Passport – Make sure it is not expired and that you do not need a visa to enter Japan! Bring a photocopy of your passport in case the original is lost or stolen

  • Credit Card – Most businesses in Japan accept major credit cards (there may be an international transaction fee)

  • Cash – For the places that don’t, bring at least $300 ~ $500 per person

  • Debit Card – Along with your PIN number for cash withdrawals. Post offices and 7-11s accept all major debit card companies

  • Important Documents – Bring a copy of your travel and medical insurance policies

  • Camera – Don’t forget th charger or extra batteries

  • Medication – Please inform us beforehand of allergies if there is anything we should know regarding your medications

  • ​Reading material - Sometimes there is no wifi or English TV stations

  • ​Snacks - If there is anything specific you want while snowshoeing

CANCELLATION

20% Transferable but Non-Refundable Deposit

60 ~ 31 Days Prior to Arrival: 70% Refund

30 ~ 4 Days Prior to Arrival: 50% refund

72 Hours or Less Prior to Arrival: 0% refund
 

PAYMENT

20% Deposit to Reserve Your Place

90 Days Prior to Departure: 40% Due

​30 Days Prior to Departure: 40% Balance Due

CONDITIONS

5 hours for making reservations, research, changes to the itinerary etc. is included in the price of a custom tour. After 5 hours, ¥5,000 per hour will be added to the tour price.

​Group sizes are between 4 and 10. A 30% and 50% surcharge will be added to custom tours with 3 and 2 people respectively

LIABILITY & INSURANCE

Traveling with Active Travel Japan involves potentially dangerous activities and therefore Active Travel Japan assumes no liability for any loss, theft, damage, personal injury or death resulting from participation in its tours. Active Travel Japan requires all travelers to sign a waiver form prior to participation, in addition to being covered under a medical insurance and travel insurance policy to both minimize the financial and medical associated with high risk activities.