From there we will return for a night in Tokyo, where we can explore the bright lights of one of the most vibrant cities in the world, before heading north to the clear beauty of the high mountains of central Hokkaido. Daisetsusan National Park, in central Hokkaido is Japan's largest national park and boasts active volcanoes, crystal clear caldera lakes, snow draped peaks, superb wild flowers and stunning alpine views. Of course you have to also factor in the superb Inns we stay in, with their ever present hot spring baths, a great way to soothe the body after a day on the trail.
We have fashioned this part of the walk as the "Haute Route" of central Hokkaido. Although smaller than its European counterpart, you will be traveling across the top of high mountains, with vehicles carrying your luggage from Inn to Inn. This walk is designed for those who are fit and looking to combine the great joys and beauty of the outdoors with the chance to experience and see first hand Japanese culture. The walking throughout will only require a day pack of about 45 liters.
Day 1: Meet Tokyo Narita airport. Transfer to hotel in central Tokyo.
Day 2: Bus to Lake Kawaguchi. Store extra luggage and bus to 5th station, our starting point. After briefing, begin walking up this mighty scree covered mountain to about 3000 m where we will stay in a stone inn for the night.
Day 3: 3:00 a.m. breakfast! Sunrise on mountain Fuji is the goal of our climb so we start early. After resting and spending several hours here we will descend to the 5th station to stay in a famous mountaineering hut.
Day 4: Descend through the old conifer forests to the Sengen Shrine and Lake Kawaguchi. Collect our excess baggage and return to Tokyo by bus to enjoy a night exploring this vibrant city.
Day 5: Today we fly from Tokyo to Hokkaido and transfer by bus and train to the heart of the Daisetsusan National Park.
Day 6: Begin our Japanese "Haute Route" as we descend out of our inn to the Plateau of Lakes and the summit of mountain Nakayama. Today's walk takes us past mountain lakes, classic alpine views and superb wild flowers. Finish the day by descending a cable car to the village of Asahi Dake Onsen where again we spend the night in a superb inn with hot spring baths.
Day 7: After ascending the cable car, we climb the highest peak in Hokkaido, Asahi Dake 2290 M, and explore the central peaks before returning to our inn.
Day 8: We leave Asahi Dake and follow a trail that takes us through the forests of Silver Birch and Hokkaido Red Pine to the small hot spring resort of Tenninkyo, famous for its columnar basalt cliffs, steep gorges and clear mountain streams. Bus to Shirogane Spa.
Day 9: Today we ascend the Tokachi Volcano. The walk takes us over volcanic scree, past tenacious wild flowers, old snow drifts, and past the smoke pouring from the vent of the volcano. From the summit we descend to our next lodge at the base of mountain Furano.
Day 10: Our last day's hiking takes us to the classically shaped mountain Furano, at the southern extremity of the park.
Day 11: Today is our rest day/weather day in the mountains, which can be used for further hiking or to simply relax and enjoy the views from our lodgings.
Day 12: Depart by bus for Sapporo Chitose airport.
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