Japanese Alps


Located in the heart of Japan between Tokyo and Kyoto and stretching to shores of the Sea of Japan, the Japanese Alps offers a scenically stunning area with several mountains over 3000 metres. Traditional villages, world-class skiing, wildlife and hot springs much of which is linked by the convenient and super-efficient rail network.


The Japanese Alps cover a region known as Shinshu, between the north and south coasts of the Chubu Area, on the main Japanese island of Honshu. Initially known as the Hida Range, it was first referred to as the Japanese Alps in the late 19th century.

Takayama is a city in the mountainous Hida Region, which has retained a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. Takayama has been a wealthy and refined city since the late-16th century and many old buildings have survived with some being turned into folk museums. The Floating Festival Museum displays four floats which are several hundred years’ old and beautiful examples of Takayama's legendary craftsmanship. Taking a rickshaw ride or just strolling along the narrow streets gives you an idea of what a pre-modern Japanese city was like.

Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers glimpses into rural Japanese life. A remote, mountainous region in northern Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawago is famous for its old farmhouses, which were built in an architecture style called gasshozukuri, (or joined hands) as the houses' steep roofs resemble two hands folded in prayer. The massive construction is required for the houses to withstand the large amounts of snow falling in the region during winter..

  • Visit Kenroku-en gardens in Kanazawa, ranked as one of the top three in Japan
  • Don your skis in Nagano, host to the 1998 winter Olympics
  • Travel by bullet train and on the Hida Wideview train following a wonderfully scenic route
  • See Snow Monkeys bathing in hot springs, a particularly photogenic spectacle especially during the winter months
  • Follow the Tateyama to Kurobe Alpine route over 90km’s 


From March 2015 there will be a new Shinkansen (bullet train) route. Linking Tokyo to Kanazawa it will mean that much of this mountainous area can be visited in comfort and speed!

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