Sacred Japan (Getting off the Golden Route)

img-about-02If you have traveled to Japan, you have most likely heard of the “Golden Route”.  The golden route refers to the most common travel route for first-timers to Japan. The route follows the original Tokaido road that linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period taking in some of Japan’s most famous spots along the way, including Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. It is along this route, that the vast majority of tourists spend their time.

However nowadays with the surge in repeat visitors to Japan, especially individual travelers who prefer rural to urban, many trailblazers, are now stepping off the Golden Route to explore Japan’s hidden countryside and unique rural cultures. One of these secretly hidden cultures is the Three Mountains of Dewa (Sewa Sanzan) located in the Shonai region facing the Sea of Japan in Yamagata prefecture.


The pilgrimage through Dewa Sanzan, experiencing the serenity and beauty of the three diverse mountains, is a rare part of Japanese spirituality, that has been a secret for centuries. Dewa Sanzan is the combined name of the three sacred mountains of Mt. Haguro, (419 m) Mt. Gassan (1980 m) and Mt. Yudono (1504 m).


The pilgrim hike of all three mountains is a spiritual journey that has been performed since the beginnings of Shugendo in the eighth century. Shugendo, an ancient mountaineering self-discipline with aspects of Shintoism and Buddhism.


The Yamabushi (Mountain Monks) the followers of Shugendo, still practice their pagan mountain rituals today and have opened their secret ancient discipline to the public. One of the most appealing features of the Yamabushi ascetic mountain life is their Shojin Ryori. Shojin Ryori a vegetarian cuisine that has been passed down since ancient times, prepared without meat or fish Shojin Ryori uses fresh mountain vegetables and mushrooms picked from the Dewa Sanzan mountains.


The triad of Dewa Sanzan mountains represents the past, present, and future. A journey from start to end signifies a passage through life, death, and rebirth. The first mountain Mt. Haguro represents birth, the hike up the 2,446 steps takes you through a rich emerald natural forest with large reddish-brown cedars.


The second mountain Mt. Gassan represents death, the highest peak that connects the other two mountains via a stunning ridge. Due to the high elevation, Mt. Gassan can only be climbed during the summer months (July to Sept).

21762700_10155819424754048_6722574110336146447_oThe third and final mountain, Mt. Yadono, represents rebirth, it is here where you are asked to remove your shoes and purify yourself at the holy hot spring waters at the end of the hike.


Dewa Sanzan is now becoming a popular pilgrimage site for those wanting to explore deeper into Japan’s hidden culture. The Japanese government and some specialty inbound travel agents like us are encouraging this trend by offering tours as well as information on these secluded sites to help revitalise these rural areas.

For information on Dewa Sanzan Hiking Tours please click Here

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Mt. Fuji Fatigue Recovery Treatment

As most visitors who come to Japan, want to maximize their time while exploring Japan and see as much as possible in the limited time they have in Japan.

One unexpected outcome of climbing Mt. Fuji that many forget to take into consideration is the time is takes your body to recover after climbing. Normally, it can take anywhere from 1 ~ 5 days for your body to fully recover from fatigue and muscle soreness after climbing Mt. Fuji, depending on your condition. Simply, this is time that most travelers did not take into consideration while planning their trip.

In an effort to help you recover faster and enjoy more of your time in Japan, we recommend the following Special Mt. Fuji Fatigue Recovery Treatment:

Enjoy a 30-minute Fuji Fatigue Recover Treatment;

This special recovery treatment includes an oxygen bar saloon aromatherapy which helps you regain oxygen levels and lactic acid in your blood that causes fatigue. While breathing in 90% oxygen to restore to oxygen blood levels, rest your feet in a Foot Bath for 10 minutes followed by a relaxing 20-minute reflexology foot massage:

After this 30 minutes’ recovery treatment, you will feel refreshed, new and ready to continue on your Japan adventure:

The 90% Oxygen bar will decompose lactic acid in the blood that causes fatigue. It is also recommended to eliminate swelling. Oxygen will spreads to the red blood cell, cellular metabolism increases and maintains fresh luster and firm skin.
Aroma is “fragrance” · Therapy means “treatment”.  It will make you relaxed and refresh by relaxing your mind and body by smelling scent.  Essential oil used in aromatherapy (essential oil) is a volatile rich liquid with 100% pure aroma taken from plants.

Reflexology, relieves stress, brings deep relaxation, improves flow of blood and lymph, encourages excretion of body waste it also balances the mind and body, increases the natural healing power of the whole body, has the effect of raising immunity power and energy.

For more information about their special Mt. Fuji climb recovery treatment lease contact us at

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Memoirs of a Mt. Fuji Guide


I have a good American friend who lives and works in Japan for the military.

As he knows I work as a Mt. Fuji Guide in the summer, he is always telling me how easy it is to climb Mt. Fuji; however, he has never actually climbed Mt. Fuji himself, and is just describing observations he has heard from others.

As I have climbed Mt. Fuji over 250 times myself using all four trails, I can plainly understand where my American friend’s oversight comes from.

6Certainty climbing Mt. Fuji is not easy, and many that attempt the climb fail to make the summit, however there are many different ways and routes to climb Mt. Fuji and the reality is some routes are easier than others.

There are four principal routes to climb Mt. Fuji: The Yoshida Route, Subashiri Route, Gotemba Route and the Fujinomiya Route. Each route has a paved road to the 5th Station so almost all the people that climb Mt. Fuji start from a 5th station and skip half the climb.

It is possible to start from the base of Mt. Fuji, however due to the lack of use most of the original trails have been overgrown and are difficult to find, with the exception of the Yoshida Route which is well maintained due to the annual July Mt. Fuji Race to the summit that starts from the Fuji-Yoshida city.

Anyway, returning to my friend’s claim about Mt. Fuji. As he works for the military almost all of his Mt. Fuji climb stories, comes from his fellow military co-workers.

There is in fact a US military base called “Camp Fuji” located at the base of the mountain and ever year large groups of military personnel drive up to Mt. Fuji Fujinomiya 5th station early in the morning and climb Mt. Fuji in one day using the Fujinomiya Route.

Camp-FUJII know this because I have seen them climb countless times, year after year; climbing in large groups in their military apparel. As you can expect most of the US military personnel are young and in great shape and have little trouble climbing Mt. Fuji in 1-day using the Fujinomiya route. On the other hand, even from the 5th station, climbing Mt. Fuji can be a challenge and truth be told not all the US military personnel are able to reach the summit in one day using the Fujinomiya Route.

HCHNevertheless, the key point here is they use the Fujinomiya Route, which is in fact the shortest route to the summit, and the only route recommended for a 1-day Mt. Fuji climb. If in fact they tried to climb Mt. Fuji using the Gotemba Route in 1-day, half of them would not make the summit, and I would not be having this conversation.

By far, the most popular route for climbing Mt. Fuji for the civilian population is in fact the Yoshida Route, located on the Yamanashi Prefecture side of the mountain and is about 3km longer than the Fujinomiya route as it starts at a lower altitude. Thus, for the civilian population the Yoshida Route equals climbing Mt. Fuji and on the other hand, for the US military population the Fujinomiya Route equals climbing Mt. Fuji. See what I am getting at here?

The perception you have of your Mt. Fuji climb is based on the climbing route and as each climbing route is different, your opinion of how hard it is to climb Mt. Fuji, 100% depends on which route you take. Therefore, the only real way to know how difficult it is to climb Mt. Fuji, is to climb Mt. Fuji using all the different climbing routes at least once and compare.

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Mt. Fuji Climb & Bullet Train Venture

Why Not! Combine two of Japan’s greatest voyages into one ultimate experience.

Experience nature at its finest by climbing Japan’s unrivalled magnificence highest peak, then experience efficiency and technology at its finest by riding the immaculately clean, comfortable and fast, shinkansen, running at speeds of up to 300kph, more efficient than air travel, and much more comfortable.

BulletClimbing Mt. Fuji is hard enough without having to wait in traffic, the journey to or from Mt. Fuji from Tokyo can take up to 4hrs in peak summer traffic at times. On the other hand, the super-fast bullet train only takes 30mins and there is never traffic. Relax in the perfectly spotless, comfortable bullet train after your Mt. Fuji climb.

Peak-3Your special transport will meet you at the bullet train station and take you direct to Mt. Fuji 5th station, after your climb adventure your transport will return you to the bullet train station so you can continue your journey of exploring Japan.

This plan is ideal for those with a JR Pass and have limited time.

For more information please contact us at HERE:


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Top 5 Winter Activities in Japan

Top 5 Winter Activities in Japan

The secret is out, not only is Japan the place to visit during spring cherry blossom season and the summertime, Japan is a winter wonderland with voluminous activities to enjoy in the winter time as well.

Top Japan Winter Activity # 1: “Skiing in Japan”


Niigata Ski Packages

With some of the most reliable snow any-where, Japan may be the Skiing World’s best-kept secret – the perfect place to combine some world-class skiing with an exotic vacation. Japan offers stunning mountains vistas, kilometres of perfectly groomed runs at all levels of difficulty, along with gnarly mogul runs, snowboard parks, friendly locals and great food.

Top Japan Winter Activity # 2: “Japanese Onsen”


The Japanese are very devoted to their winter comforts when the first frosts arrive: blankets, called kotatsu, steaming teas and season cuisine like sukiyaki. But one of the winter activities you must try, is soaking in an outdoor onsen – rotenburo – relax in the hot water while snow falls all around you – a truly unforgettable experience.

Japan Winter Activity #3: “Snow Monkeys”

Snow Monkey

Snow Monkey

Hundreds of Japanese Snow Monkeies live in the Japanese Alps and the region of Nagano, particularly in Jigokudani Yaen Koen. This park, which is specially dedicated to these monkeys, is an opportunity for a beautiful winter walk through a forest dotted with hot springs, and a meeting with these noisy primates.

Japan Winter Activity # 4: “Sapporo Snow Festival”


In 1950, six students from Sapporo decided to build snow sculptures for fun, and the idea appealed to the local community. Two years later the exhibition became a festival and attracted many participants and visitors. The reputation of the festival crossed borders, and in 1974, it was held along with an international ice carving competition. Since then it has become one of the world’s largest winter events.

The main festival site is located along Odori Park, in the heart of the city. The largest snow sculptures, some over 15 meters high, are exhibited there. Not far away in the lively Susukino, the ice sculpting competition takes place. You can also attend a beauty contest for the annual “Ice Queen”. The Tsu Dome, open from 9am to 5pm and located further out of the city center, offers more snow sculptures, winter sports (luge maze). Inside the dome, you can enjoy a concert, whilst tasting local specialties from food stalls.

Japan Winter Activity # 5: Nara Illuminations


See more than three thousand traditional Japanese lanterns, shining for three days during this festival, which is held every year from February 3rd at Kasuga Taisha Shrine.

The people of Nara have continued this tradition for more than eight hundred years. The lanterns are mostly offered by citizens, but some are nevertheless dedicated to the memory of samurai who battled during the Sengoku period

The lanterns take you back to a time when electricity did not yet exist. A warm glow in the heart of winter evokes Shinto mysticism, flickering flames that partially illuminate the gilding and vermillion color of the temple, a festival tinged with sweet poetry, not to be missed from February 3rd, the day when winter turns into spring, a change called setsubun in Japanese

For more information about the love events please contact us at


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2016 Snow Monkey Tours are here!

Enjoy an exquisite 1 or 2 Day Snow Monkey Tour from Tokyo to view the wild Snow Monkeys soaking in the natural hot springs near the snowy Nagano mountains.

Snow Monkey

Snow Monkey

Take an exciting adventure to Nagano to watch the world-famous “snow monkeys″ relaxing and soaking in the natural hot springs of the Jigokudai Yaen-koen near the snowy Nagano mountains.


Visit Zenko-ji Temple: Zenko-ji is a sacred place that is worshipped for over 1400 years. It enshrines one of the oldest Buddha statues and the main hall is designated a national treasure. It does not belong to any Buddhist sects but has been believed to bring happiness to everyone both in this world and the after world.  Enjoy Japanese Style dinner consisted of various kinds of fresh seafood including tuna, salmons, prawns etc.


Enjoy relaxing in an open-air bath in the snowing surroundings.



Day 1: Tokyo Dep:
– Japanese style Lunch
– Visit Yudanaka Onsen Village
– Enjoy open Air Hot Spring
– Japanese Style Dinner/Stay Onsen Resort Hotel

Day 2: Nagano Dep:
– Breakfast/Yudanaka Shibu Onsen Village
– Jigokudani Yaen-koen (Watch wild monkeys soaking in Onsen hot springs)
– Japanese Style lunch/Zenkoji Temple
– Return to Tokyo

Tour Notes:
* Minimum of 2 Participants required:
* Operated on selected dates only: (Dates from Nov to April)

For more information on Snow Monkey Tours please Contact Us:

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Mt. Fuji – Summit Sunrise

The weather was perfect and the Sunrise was spectatural by far the best of this season!

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Mt. Fuji Climb Season has began!

Yosuke and Richard have already taken several groups to the summit of Mt. Fuji this year: With less snow then previous years the climbing season has started early this year!


For more information about our 2016 Mt. Fuji Climbs please visit our Mt. Fuji Climbing Site:

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2016 Mt. Fuji Climbing Season is Here!

This gallery contains 9 photos.

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1st Mt. Fuji Climb of Season

Started early this year! April 23rd 2016 (Sat) 1st Mt. Fuji Climb of the Season! Officially all the routes are still closed, but if you know the right access doing a 1-day climb is still possible with a professional Guide. Attempted the Gotemba Route which is by far the largest route on Mt. get the to summit from the Gotemba 5th Station need at least 9hours..but coming down the gotemba route the smoothest decrending route on the entire mountain, and with the huge soft sand cushioning your feet you a literally run down the mountain from the 6th station.

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