The Perfect Way to Experience a Massive Snow Valley and the Famous World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go!

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  • If you are visiting Japan and hope to make a trip outside of the Tokyo area, things can be expensive and difficult to plan. The beautiful prefectures of Toyama and Gifu are quite far from Japan’s capital, but what if you had the chance to see wonderful and famous sights along the way to and in these prefectures on a two-day trip? A World Heritage Site, an impressive snow wall valley, and a traditional village known as ‘Little Kyoto’ are all accessible from Tokyo through this exciting tour!

    Departure from Tokyo and Reaching ‘Little Kyoto’

    Alpine Route little kyoto

    Travelers can take a tour bus from Shinjuku on the morning of their departure or the bus can also be booked from Ueno! Once you’ve chosen your departure point, there is no need to worry about where your bus will be. The bus will depart the station and take you directly to each stop on the tour.

    After a short break for shopping, you will head to Hida Takayama, the ‘Little Kyoto’ of Gifu Prefecture. Stretch your legs with a stroll around this small town where you can step back in time to see perfectly preserved traditional Japanese buildings that maintain all of their historical details. There are several traditional shops, coffee houses and sake breweries that you can visit. Some traditional homes are even open to the public so visitors can have a chance to take a look into the lives of Takayama’s residents from years gone by.

    A Fantastic World Heritage Site

    Alpine Route Shirakawa-go

    Continuing the journey through Gifu, you will be able to visit the World Heritage Site of Shirakawago. The famous village is home to 114 of the traditional “gassho-zukuri” houses, which have no doubt been seen by many people in photographs. The village is covered in the traditional houses whose unique design is strong and able to withstand the heavy snowfalls of winter! There is an outdoor museum, Gassho-zukuri Minka-en, where visitors can be further immersed in the traditional style of the village. You can also participate in the making of traditional crafts, learning from the locals who display their talents to visitors. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful view of the entire village from the Shiroyama observation deck!

    After spending the first day of the tour enjoying traditional Japan, board the bus once more. When you reach Toyama, you can check into the hotel and rest overnight.

    Murodo Station and the Snow Wall Valley

    Alpine Route snow valley

    On the second day, you can experience adventure via the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. First going by cable car and then by bus, you will see breathtaking scenery through the windows, with walls of snow gradually rising as you reach higher and higher altitudes.

    You will eventually come to Murodo Station, the train station with the highest altitude in Japan at 2,450 meters. It is near this station that you can begin the Snow Wall Walk! Due to the area receiving over 20 meters of snow in the winter, the route is closed off during that season. Luckily, in the spring, the snow on the roads is cleared away, creating this amazing valley that you can walk through safely. The route will be opened from April 16th to June 22nd, 2016!

    Returning Comfortably

    After your snow adventure and sightseeing, you won’t have to worry about getting back on your own! The tour ensures that you will return to the bus which will take you back to your original departure location (Shinjuku or Ueno).

    If you love traditional Japanese culture, nature and adventure, this tour is for you! The season of the Alpine Route is approaching quickly, so check the details here and book while you still can.

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