There are not many places in Japan that afford the luxury of a sea-to-summit hike, but we are lucky enough to have one right here in our backyard. The "Tsugami Shindo"is a legendary trail constructed over 10 years as a labor of love by a local mountaineering club, specifically in order to connect the Sea of Japan to the nearly 3,000 meter peaks at the northern end of the Alps. If you really want a challenge, you could start from the ocean and climb to the peaks, but to maximize the enjoyment we're going the other way. Even still, a typical downhill hike on this "expert" course that was officially completed in 1971, is done over the course of 3 days and 2 nights. We've decided to tack on some distance and shave a day off to add to the challenge and satisfaction. Though indeed tough, we'll ease into the expedition with a relatively 'easy' first day of climbing before opening up the pace and cruising on the day two descent (expect ups and downs). Because of the long, tiring second day of fastpacking, we'll have a relaxing overnight at a hotel at the finish and the tour will wrap-up on the morning of day three, after breakfast.
We begin this two-day fastpacking adventure in the morning at an elevation of 1,230 meters above sea level, and quickly reach our high point for the entire trek around lunchtime - 2,932 meter Mt. Shirouma. The climb up to Shirouma is largely done on a permanent snowfield through a deep valley, bordered on either side by towering peaks, and is one of the most popular and beautiful routes in the Alps. We'll crest above the snowfield and soon find ourselves surrounded by wildflowers before reaching the ridge and taking in incredible panoramic views of the Northern Alps, as well as an awe (and maybe fear) inspiring look at the long, extended ridge that lies before us and our final destination. From the summit of Shirouma we can enjoy a mostly runnable descent before another short climb to an intermediary peak. Next another runnable stretch awaits before the last, gentle climb to our campsite for the evening.
Day two will be a long one, so we'll be up before the sun to give ourselves plenty of time to reach our goal, and to do as much of the course in the cool morning weather as possible. Straight from the campsite we have a decent climb to knock the morning rust off the legs, before we settle into the downhill portion. While day one has us in a popular hiking and trekking area with several staffed mountain huts and escape routes, on day two we will be in a far more remote location, and will likely only cross paths with a handful of ambitious Japanese. There are a few water sources along the way, and two basic, unstaffed huts but don't expect much. We will spend the entire day on a glorious ridge with epic views in all directions. Expect things to get hot and humid as we lose elevation and approach the coast, but ultimately we'll get some relief once we descend below tree line.
Though we start out on snow, and will encounter rocky sections, overall the trail is not especially technical - just long, so it is important to come into the trip with an appropriate level of fitness and experience - especially with extended downhill travel. We can expect to be on the move for up to 10 hours the first day (18 km・+2,500 m / -1,600 m), and up to 12 hours on day two (26 km・+1,600 m / -3,705 m).
IMAGE GALLERY (June/September, 2019)
PICK-UP & DROP-OFF ANYWHERE WITHIN OTARI OR HAKUBA VILLAGES
We can pick you up and drop you off at any location within the villages of Otari or Hakuba, such as your place of lodging, one of the area's Hakuba Valley ski resorts, Otari's main train station - Minami Otari or Hakuba Station (both on the JR Oito Line).
All ground transportation (whether by private car, taxi, train and/or bus) during the hours of the tour is included in the price.
Basic hiking insurance covering personal injury, liability and search and rescue is included in the price.
The climb up to the Mt. Shirouma is steep one on snow, and a pair of basic crampons is highly recommende to ensure your comfort and safety. This service is included in the price of the tour.
CAMPING & LODGING
As is, two nights of lodging during the tour, one at a designated tent site in the mountains, and the other at a hotel at the conclusion of the hike, are included in the price. Bedding will obviously be provided at the hotel, but in true fastpacking style, you will need to carry your own tent or bivy as well as a season-appropriate sleeping bag or quilt for the first night of camping. If you need to borrow or rent equipment, let us know in advance - we may be able to help you in that regard.
If you would like to avoid the hassle of packing and carrying around a tent and sleeping kit, it is possible to arrange a stay inside the mountain hut for an additional fee. Contact us for details.
ONSEN (HOT SPRING)
Our hotel at the conclusion of our epic fastpack, features an onsen overlooking the ocean that will make for a superb grand finale. The bathing fee is included in the price, along with towels and toiletries.
BREAKFASTS & DINNERS
Two dinners and two breakfasts (excluding breakfast on day one and dinner on day three), are included in the price. These meals will be prepared and provided by mountain huts on the first day, and by the hotel on the second and third days. All will be traditional Japanese meals.
*Please let us know if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions before the commencement of the tour. If necessary, we will try to arrange for the mountain huts and hotel to prepare a special meal that meets your needs.
Lunch on day one and day two are included in the tour price. Day one will be an a la carte item of your choice from the lunch menu at a mountain hut along the way, while day two will be two delicious handmade rice balls ordered to-go from the hut we will be staying at. It is possible to order more, but anything beyond this will be at your own expense.
DRINKS & SNACKS
*No snacks or drinks are provided. You will need to bring your own trail snacks and drinks for eating and drinking along the trail for at least the first part of day one. It is possible to refill water bottles and buy several varieties of drinks at the mountain huts along the way on day one, and the hut where we will stay at on night one , and there you can also resupply with some basic snacks. Additionally, there are a few natural water sources on the day two descent.
PICK-UP & DROP-OFF OUTSIDE OF OTARI OR HAKUBA VILLAGES
*If necessary or requested, it is possible to arrange pick-up and/or drop-off from several major hubs outside of Otari or Hakuba, specifically: Itoigawa, Omachi, Nagano & Matsumoto. However, due to the necessary early start time for this tour, pick-up is only available on the day prior to the tour start date. Furthermore, please be aware that this will require extra time and incur additional fees. Please see our downloadable 'Extended Area Pick-Up & Drop-Off Policy' (PDF) for more details.
For this tour to operate at the listed price, we require a minimum of 2 persons.
Group size will be limited to a maximum of 4 persons.
If you are interested in booking as a private tour for one person, or a group larger than four please contact us for a price quote.
WHAT TO BRING
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Alps Summit to sea
An Extreme Fastpacking Adventure Like No Other
July - September
¥57,000 per person
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