Top of Japan
TUESDAY, 5th – MONDAY, 18th SEPTEMBER 2023
**TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITING LIST PLEASE EMAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org**
Just visiting Japan is an adventure in its own right! Home to cat cafes, remote-control toilets, sumo wrestling, geishas, sushi, zen gardens, capsule hotels and endless temples….there is so much to see and do!
This Love Her Wild expdedition is part travel, part adventure – seeing the best sights while also attempting a summit of Mt Fuji and a special ‘women’s pilgrimage hike’.
The expedition is suitable for someone who likes to travel on the ground and doesn’t appreciate being shipped from sight-to-sight in a coach. Accommodation varies from traditional ryokans to capsule hotels and you’ll travel with the locals by train (including taking bullet trains). While you’ll always have your team (of 10 women) for company, there’s space in the itinerary for everyone to have a say on the restaurants and sights they pick in the places we visit.
Top of Japan
This is a jam-packed itinerary that will leave you with a real sense of Japan – both its modern and traditional side. Although a busy 2 weeks, there will be pockets of quiet where you can enjoy a relaxing few hours soaking in an Onsen (traditional Japanese bath) or wandering one of the many Japanese gardens.
The expedition will include a hike to the summit of Mt Fuji. This is a tough day but is manageable with a baseline fitness. Day 1 is our longest hike with a 6-7 hour climb to our overnight mountain hut (staying in the hut is a shared and noisy experience but makes for a good story!!). We will wake very early the next morning to cover the final 1.5-2 hours climb to reach the summit for sunrise before descending.
We will also be making the journey to Koyasan. A highlight of the trip. We will be staying at an authentic temple, home to monks, and will have an opportunity to dine in an ancient hall and witness a morning prayer. The cemetery and temples in the area really do have to be seen to be believed. We will be doing a special day hike that was designed specifically for women pilgrims. This gentle trek will take us through thick silent forests and ageing shrines.
The expedition also includes time in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka.
Japan Rail pass
Everyone joining this trip will need to purchase a JR Rail Pass ahead of time. This 14-day pass (although you can extend it if you wish to stay longer) allows unlimited travel on most of Japan’s rail lines, including their famous bullet trains! And costs $336 which is great value as one ride on a bullet train alone can be as much as $150!
The efficient public transport makes it easy to travel around and we will be relying on trains a lot to allow us to see plenty in our 2-week itinerary.
The pass gives you real flexibility during your time off. You can easily fit in a Miyajima Island (and it’s famous ‘floating shrine’) or Nara (with its gigantic buddha and the famous bowing deer) or…..if you are Harry Potter mad then how about a day trip to Universal Studios with
There is no need to decide this in advance as train seats can be reserved easily on the day of travel.
Please note that this itinerary may change but will give you a rough idea of the plan:
Departure: depart from the UK (suggested evening flight)
Day 1 (5th Sep): Tokyo – most of the team will arrive in Tokyo late afternoon and have an evening exploring the city and acclimatising. You’ll probably be quite Jetlagged so will want to take it fairly
Day 2: Tokyo – we will have our first team meeting after breakfast to run through the plan for the next few days and to ensure we are all ready for our upcoming Mt Fuji hike. You are then free to explore this exciting city. There
Day 3 – Mt Fuji – we have a big hike ahead of us to reach the mountain hut near the base of the summit. Japan is a busy place, all over, and Mt Fuji is no exception!! We will be hiking right at the end of the season so although we shouldn’t need to queue to reach the summit we will still be able to take in the atmosphere of being amongst so many like-minded hikers from all over the world. When we arrive at our mountain hut we will be served a hot meal and will find an empty futon (floor bed) to grab a few hours sleep.
Day 4: Hakone – you have a very early start today to reach the summit of Mt Fuji before sunrise. The views above the clouds are breathtaking! It takes about 3-4 hours to hike down. We will then head to our hotel for a much needed shower and a sake to celebrate.
Day 5: Kyoto – we will board our first bullet train to take us to Kyoto. This is a much-loved city and for good reason! Kyoto is jam-packed and you will be reaching for your camera on every corner as there is so much to see. A good place to start is in the Gion region where you might be lucky enough to spot a real Geisha.
Day 6: Kyoto – today will be a chance to get a feel for Kyoto. We will be getting around on electric bike’s. We will aim to visit the famous ‘Golden Temple’, Fushimi (red gates), Kiyomizu-Dera and Philosophers Path.
Day 7: Miyajima & Hiroshima – this is going to be a long travel day as we fit in a visit to the island of Miyajima by first traveling to Hiroshima and then catching a ferry. There is lots to do on Miyajima including seeing the ‘floating shrine’ and climbing or taking a cable car to the view point. After lunch, we will head back to Hiroshima. Here we will visit the Atomic Dome and the Peace Museum. Both hard hitting but a must for anyone visiting. The train journey back to Kyoto will take 2.5 hrs.
Day 8: Kyoto – with over 1600 temples in Kyoto there is a lot to see. There are also some fascinating museums to visit….with a lot of wonderful restaurants and cafes in between. If you are keen to experience a day in Universal Studio theme park then this would be the best day to do it. Speak to us in advance as we’ll need to book your tickets before you arrive.
Day 9: Nara – we’ll spend the morning traveling to Nara visiting the ‘bowing deer’ and the giant golden Buddha, followed by an afternoon in Kyoto visiting the sights that are still yet to see.
Day 10: Koyasan – it’s a bit of an adventure getting to Koyasan involving trains, a cable car and a bus, but it really is worth the effort. After checking into our temple lodging, you will have time to see the famous Okunoin cemetery. It’s beautiful! Tonight will be our first meal with the monks.
Day 11: Koyasan – we have a gentle day hike taking one of the rare women’s pilgrimage hike’s in Japan. This really is going to be a special experience for us walking in the footsteps of all those women before us. Back at Koyasan, the cemetery offers a completely different experience visiting night all lit up by lanterns. Or if you want something more relaxing, you can ease your muscles in the temple’s hot onsen.
Day 12: Osaka – if you are brave enough to get up at the crack of dawn you can witness the monks doing their morning prayer. Once we’ve had breakfast we will then be back on the road. Osaka couldn’t be more different! This bustling city is full of energy. The best way to experience the city is to wander through the centre at night which is lite up by millions of lights. Osaka is best known for its food and there are lots of unusual dishes to try in the markets and streets. Tonight we will be staying in a futurstic capsule hotel! This really is a Japanese experience not to be missed (but don’t worry….they are more spacious than people think. You have plenty of room to sit up and move around)
Day 13 – Tokyo – we will board our final bullet train to take us back to Tokyo where we will be staying in a new district. This area is known for its rickshaws and is a good place to wander the markets picking up some final souvenirs or to take a river cruise if you want to see the city from a new perspective. We will be celebrating our last evening with sake and a final favourite Japanese pastime that can’t be missed
Day 14: Departure day – our team will be saying our final goodbyes before heading home.
Where will we be staying
The expedition is a real mix of accommodation but will be a mix of traditional Japanese guesthouses and western hotels. Usually on a shared twin basis. A lot of the places we stay will involve sleeping on a futon on the floor and may only have shared or public baths
In the cities hotel rooms tend to be smaller than what we are used to.
What is included
- 13 nights accommodation (sharing mostly twin rooms)
- Additional transport to and from KoyaSan, Mt Fuji and Hiroshima not included with the JR rail pass
- Guided mount Fuji hike including a stay at a mountain hut
- Guided women’s pilgrimage hike
- Some meals (8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners – rough estimate)
- Electric bike hire in Kyoto
- Witnessing a morning prayer ceremony
- Expedition leader
What is not
- Japan Rail pass (14 days needed for this trip). This currently costs $336 and can be bought in advance (instructions will be sent to the team on how to do this!)
- Travel to and from the start of the expedition (ie. flights and transfers to/from the start/end hotel)
- Food not in the itinerary and drink
- Activities not on the itinerary. As the rail pass includes unlimited travel this shouldn’t be a huge additional expense unless you intend to visit Universal Studios….mostly it will be entry fees to temples and sights which are usually in the region of $2-10)
- Additional transport not mentioned in the itinerary (i.e. using the subway in Tokyo or getting taxis or busses if you don’t want to walk between attractions)
- Personal travel insurance
A few things to note….
…….As you’ve probably already gathered, this is quite an active itinerary! Because we will be relying on trains to get about, you MUST pack light. You need to be comfortable carrying your bag to and from train stations and our accommodation. The easiest way to carry your gear will be in a medium sized backpack (please don’t bring a hard suitcase….the streets are cobbled!). For the hikes you will only need a day bag as the rest of your stuff can be kept back at the hotel.
…..Japan is busy! There are people everywhere, even on the hikes. Although we are travelling off-season so hopefully it won’t be at its most manic. This really is all part of the experience of Japan though and even in a busy place it can feel surprisingly quiet and calm.
…..Futons (Japanese floor beds) are firmer than the mattresses we are used to. And their pillows very hard! We will also be spending a night in a capsule hotel so be prepared to try something a little different 🙂
…….In some of the traditional places we stay, the showers and baths are public. There are lots of rules in Japan and one of them is that you must be naked in the baths! Sometimes these rules are relaxed to accommodate foreigners but it’s best to go knowing this ahead of time. They can also be strict with a ‘no tattoo’ policy although usually this can be hidden discreetly…unless you have really large artwork!
………You need to have a good base fitness to complete the Mt Fuji hike. You’ve got lots of time to get in shape for this and if you are unsure then just ask. It’s also possible to skip the Mt Fuji hike (you’ll be responsible for additional accommodation for that night)
……Group meals will be vegetarian to meet Love Her Wild’s environmental policy. There’s lots of meals not included if you wish to try fish sushi, etc. If you are vegan, vegetarian or have food preferences then Japan can be tricky. It’s not impossible but does take a bit of planning and patience so make sure we’ve had a chat about this so we can pre-warn the places we’re staying in 🙂
When: 5th – 18th September 2023 (shared room basis)
Where: Tokyo, Japan
You can secure your place on this expedition with a £500 non-refundable deposit. The full balance is due 120 days prior to the departure date. For enquiries or to book, please email us on email@example.com.
Please do not book your flights to Japan until you have received confirmation that we have received minimum numbers for this expedition to go ahead.
We have partnered with Inspired Ventures who specialise in adventure travel to support social and environmental projects around the world. Inspired Ventures is a UK travel company that ensures our trip has all the necessary insurance and complies with the necessary standards and laws in the UK. For full booking terms and condition click here.