Global Adventure - Hike and Scramble in Japan's Northern Alps


Global Adventure - Hike and Scramble in Japan's Northern Alps

Hike and scramble hut to hut to Mt. Nishihotaka to Mt. Yari and Mt. Tsurugi and experience some of most spectacular mountain sceneries in Japan. Many long and short trails with fixed steel ladders and chains will offer intense physical challenge and will reward you by incredible mountain and ridge views, and great food in mountain huts. Carry only a daypack for multi-day journeys. Please read the leader's note for the qualification.

  • Strenuous 4, Technical 5
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 31.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,850 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,500 ft
  • Pace: 2 mph

Arrive no later than the evening of Monday, July 24, 2023 in Hotel Sunroute Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. We will meet at 8 AM at the lounge in the hotel and start an optional tour (lunch and transportation fees are not included) in Tokyo on July 23. You can participate in this tour or stay in hotel and prepare to pack up all the necessary things in a pack. We will meet at 6 AM at the lounge in the hotel and have a group dinner that night.

Next day, we will meet at 6 AM at the lounge in the hotel and walk to the bus station to go to Kamikochi on Wednesday, July 26, then hike/scramble until Tuesday August 1.  On August 2, we will take a morning buses to Toyama to take a Shinkansen back to Shinjuku. On Thursday August 3, participants can depart back to Seattle, or proceed on their own to other explorations in the area! (meeting places and times subject to change)

Participants must be scrambling or climbing course graduates.  You must have done at least one technical 5 rock scramble trip within 2 years. If the participants have technical level 4 rock scramble experiences, but not level 5, the leader will evaluate the skills  based on which mountains you did.  You must be very comfortable traversing up and down exposed, steep and rocky  terrains. 

This 11-day trip includes a Tokyo tour and exploring Japan’s Northern Alps, the most popular destination for hikers and backpackers. We will stay 3 nights in 3 star hotel in Tokyo and 3 nights in the mountain huts in Kamikochi.  During the Yari – Murodo traverse, we stay 2 nights in the mountain huts. In Murodo, we stay in a host spring lodge for 2 nights. . 

After arriving to the Hotel in shinjuku, we will have a relaxing day or tour to urban Tokyo areas and old and historical areas near Tokyo.  Next 8 days, we will be hiking and scrambling in Northern Alps in Kamiochi and Tateyama.  

We will meet in Hotel Sunroute in Shinjuku,Tokyo evening on July 24. We will stay in this Hotel two nights.  Most of your flight arrives in Tokyo late afternoon. We will have a relaxing day to prepare for 8-day trip in Northern Alps on July 25. Participants will be able to choose to tour Takeshita street where the young people are attracted to go and old town of Asakusa to see a famous temple. Next morning, we will leave our luggage at our hotel and take only a big daypack/small backpack and take an express bus for 5 hours to Kamikochi, Nagano. For the next 8 days, we will hike and scramble the route and traverse from Mt. Nishihotaka to Mt. Okuhotaka to Mt. Yari, and then we will start a trek from Mt.Yari lodge to Murodo, Tateyama where we will scramble Mt. Tsurugi. 

First day we will hike up to Nishihotaka lodge for 3.5 miles and 2278 feet of elevation gain to our first hut. Thursday, July 27, we will traverse the rugged ridges from Mt. Nishihotaka to Mt. Okuhotaka about 4.4 miles and to Mt. Yari for about 3.1 miles on 28th. These two-day traverse trips have very challenging ups and downs and steep and exposed ridges. Some areas are considered as scramble technical 4 and 5. You need to be comfortable with some exposures. It will take about 8 hours for both traverses. During the traverses, you will see spectacular view of surrounding mountains.  We will stay at Hotaka lodge on 27th. On 28th, we will stay at Mt. Yari lodge. On July 29th, we will scramble to Mt. Yari in the early morning and then start our trekking to Murodo. We will stay 2 nights at mountain huts (Kurobe goro hut and Sugo nokkoshi hut) before arriving Murodo.  Here we stay at Mikurigaike Lodge.  Their host spring bath has spectacular view of mountains.  On Tuesday August 1, we plan to scramble up Mt. Tsurugi (2999 m) and on the way back to our lodge we will try to summit several mountains such as Mt. Betsu, Mt. Masago, Mt. Onanji, and Mt. Oyama . Next day, August 2, we will take a bus and train back to Hotel Sunroute in Shinjuku. We will get our luggage and take it to the assigned room.  We will have a farewell dinner together.  On Thursday, August 3, participants can catch a flight back to Seattle or decide to stay more to explore Japan. 

 Almost all the meals are provided except the day we have to move to another destination and the first day you arrive.  Our hotel in Shinjuku includes breakfast. However, on 7/26 since we have to leave Hotel early, we cannot eat breakfast at the hotel so participants need to buy their breakfast and lunch at a convenient store near the Hotel.

At mountain huts and lodges, bedding and all 3 meals are provided so we only need to carry a daypack with a sleep sack, clothing, water, water filter, snacks, poles a helmet, microspikes, an ice axe (depending on the snow condition), scramble gears and our Ten Essentials for emergencies.  We will be able to leave luggage at our hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo and come back to it at the end of our Northern alps trip and stay in the same hotel. The following meals are not included in the trip cost, so the participants need to buy the meals ahead of time of the traveling:   7/24 dinner, 7/25 lunch, 7/26 breakfast and lunch. 

NOTE:  As with any extended travel, but particularly in an area with unpredictable mountain weather and changeable trail conditions, our itinerary can change without notice and sections may be modified or dropped.  The priority will always be on safety for all participants.  

Time of Year: 

We’ll be visiting during mid-July and beginning of August, the warmest month of the year in the region. (However, weather in the Alps is notoriously fickle even in summer, so weather can range from warm and sunny to cold, wet and windy in the span of a day or stay miserable for days.) The temperature in the high valleys ranges from the mid 45s to the low 75s during the day (weather on the high passes and huts can be considerably colder!).  The region also receives its greatest precipitation during the summer months, but days are long, sunbreaks can be expected even on rainy days and the July-to-early-September ‘high season’ is considered to have the best weather to visit.  Some snowfields may remain by late July, so we’ll bring a helmet, trekking poles for stability and microspikes and an ice axe for crossing snow sections.  

Lodging:   Three nights in comfortable 3-star hotels, and 8 nights in mountain huts and rustic lodges with limited amenities. Most nights will be in dormitory style co-ed bunk rooms except the hotel in Tokyo.

Food:   Japanese breakfasts and dinners are included on almost all of our trip days with the exception of the day we leave for Kamikochi because we have a very early departure on July 26.  I recommend that participants buy your own breakfast and lunch at a convenient store near the hotel so that you can eat on the bus.  It will be very difficult to accommodate with your dietary preference/restriction including food allergies in Japan so if you have to have special meals, this trip will be very difficult.

Leader’s Experience:  Atsuko Yamaguchi has led many Mountaineers hikes, scramble and climb trips in U.S. and she has also led many high school oversea trips to Japan. She took mountaineers to the first Global Adventure trip to Japan in the summer of 2019.

Strenuousness or Difficulty rating:   This route is rated strenuous and technical 3 to 5, due to some very rugged terrain, some exposure, and long days with significant elevation gain.    On many parts of this trail, the route ascends, descends or traverses steep rock faces and scree with fixed chains and ladders – those with a fear of heights or who are not confident with their balance will not find this trip a good fit.

 Limit:   Maximum of 8 people, minimum of 6, including the leader.

Participant Requirements:   

Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file. This outing includes strenuous hiking and scrambling on rugged terrain (including some steep moraine and scree slopes) for multiple successive days, so participants need to be in excellent aerobic condition with good balance and confidence traveling on rough, sometimes exposed trail with a pack, and with the experience and willingness to deal with some discomfort, cold and inclement weather for extended periods.  Occasional snowfield crossings may be involved, requiring microspikes, ice axe and trekking poles.  Recent experience with multi-day strenuous backpacking and mountain scrambling with technicality 5, plus a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions, will be very important.   NOTE:  As a Mountaineers group we will operate as interdependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe.  You are responsible for your own safety and that of your fellow travelers.  You must have the ability to navigate on trails with a map and compass.  See daily trip profile, attached.

Trip Price Detail$2800 including all lodging, ground transportation in Japan (buses where part of the main itinerary), and 3 meals along the trek except first day breakfast and lunch and some lunches on traveling days to another destination.  Your airfare (~$1500), travel insurance ($75-350), lunches, drinks and a few other meals in town (~$250) are not included. International medical and emergency evacuation insurance are required.  Cancel for Any Reason insurance is strongly recommended given Covid-19 related uncertainty. Please read this Overview of Travel Insurance document to understand your options.   

Registration Instructions:  Please complete and submit the application form at the link below.   After the leader’s approval, please pay the 50% deposit ($1400) in order to hold your space on the roster. Registration will close on Dec 15, 2022 or whenever the roster fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by March 1, 2023. 


Supplemental Information

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel after the Mountaineers have paid their transportation deposit, you will be eligible for a refund of your payment up to that time less a $460 cancellation fee.   If you cancel less than 7 days in advance of trip departure you will not be eligible for a refund.  The above cancellation penalties may be waived if someone takes your place on the adventure, but the agreed refund would only be paid after the new person is fully registered.  ** If we are not allowed to travel due to continued restrictions by the US state department and/or the government of Japan, or if the Mountaineers determines that it is still not safe to travel, the  Mountaineers retain the option to roll the trip forward another year but if the trip can't be rescheduled or you decide not to join, the above cancellation fees will apply.


Hike and Scramble in Japan's Northern Alps

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of  emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


Trip Reports