Japan Pilgrimage trails: from Modern to Ancient times

Tokyo, Japan

Safarika Travel
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54 reviews
May 22 - Jun 1, 2024
Group size: 8 - 10
Japan Pilgrimage trails: from Modern to Ancient times
Tokyo, Japan

Safarika Travel
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
54 reviews

May 22 - Jun 1, 2024
Group size: 8 - 10

About this trip

Take a journey back in time from the technological wonders of modern Tokyo to the charm of ancient Japan. This trip is for those, who want to spend less time in big cities and experience more of authentic Japan, with its old traditions, and fascinating natural sceneries.

⛩ Capture the astonishing views of Mighty Mt. Fuji

⛩  Visit zen temples and bamboo groves in Kyoto

⛩ Take a cultural walk from village to village in the Central Alps on one of the most scenic historic routes of Japan - Nakasendo Trail (3 days)

⛩ Stay in traditional Ryokans, very charming and clean guesthouses, run by locals. Enjoy freshl home-made Japanese meals, and soak in onsens (hot springs baths)

⛩ Hike the ancient pilgrimage trail to Mt. Koya, Koyasan Monastery - one of the most important temple complexes in Japan, dedicated to the study and practice of esoteric Shingon Buddhism.

Spend a night in the monastery, and taste a monk's everyday lifestyle.  Koyasan is a place to contemplate, 1,200 years of history and natural beauty waiting to envelop you in their calming embrace. You can participate in religious ceremonies and meditation practices. 

⛩ Taste unique flavors of Japanese cuisine, cook your own sushi-lunch

⛩ Dine with Geisha 

⛩ Experiences: traditional kimono dressing

⛩ Feed free-roaming deers in Nara

⛩ Learn to navigate in the maze of Japan's public transportation network, ride bullet trains, and leave back home from Osaka

Things to know about this trip:

- Visa is not required for American passport holders. The passport should be valid for the entire days of stay in Japan

- We meet in Tokyo and leave from Osaka, You can arrive earlier or leave later, if you wish to spend more time exploring Tokyo & Osaka on your own

- Along this route, be ready for traveling by different means of public transportation (bullet trains, public shuttles). Private buses are offered too where possible.

- This trip is a cultural immersion into ancient Japan, its traditions, culture, and cuisine. However, this itinerary involves 3 days of hiking in the rural areas (Nakasendo trail) and a Pilgrimage one-day trail up to Mt. Koya (overnight stay at the monastery). 

- Participants should have previous hiking experience and be in relatively good physical shape. - Total hiking distance ~50km/31 miles in 4 days (MODERATE), plus walking in the cities. 

- There will be 4 days without access to your main luggage, you carry your own belongings (suggested medium-size backpack, up to 7-8kg, with outfit change only, the rest is provided)

At Koyasan Monastery:

- Vegetarian food ONLY is served 

- At Koyasan we stay at 2ppl sharing shukubo rooms with private bathrooms

- No WiFI available


- Level of difficulty- MODERATE

- This trail is considered more of a cultural walk through old Japan than a strenuous hike

- You should have some previous hiking experience and be in relatively good physical shape. 

- Daily hikes range up to 7 miles in length with elevation gains/losses of up to 1,400 feet

- Trails are composed of dirt  & stone-paved trails with some sections of stone steps.

- Nakasendo total hiking distance ~30km/19 miles in 3 days, hiking at low altitudes

Lodging in traditional Ryokans, tatami rooms, 2-3 ppl sharing, with private and semi-private bathrooms (towels, toiletries, and bed sheets are provided)

- WiFi and Laundry service are available at ryokans

- Porter service is not available on a trail, you should take essentials for 3 days and carry your own backpack, your main luggage will be transferred directly to Kyoto. No access to your main luggage is possible while on hiking days.

Trip Cancellation policy

A 25% deposit is required at Registration. 

If the trip is canceled by Participant due to any personal reason, the following cancellation policy will be applied:

Cancellation outside of 121 calendar days before departure - registration deposit is fully refundable.

Cancellation 120 to 60 days before departure - registration deposit is non-refundable

Cancellation 59 to 31 calendar days before departure – 50% of the trip cost is non-refundable

Cancellation 30 to 0 calendar days before departure -  100% of the trip is non-refundable

What’s included

  • Professional assistance
    Russian-speaking guide assistance on historic walks and hikes; Team leader from United States- Karina Safari
  • Lodging in the cities
    Comfortable western-style hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka
  • Lodging Nakasendo Trai
    2 nights in traditional ryokan inns, tatami rooms 2-3 ppl sharing per room (private & common bathrooms)
  • Monastery Lodging
    1 night at the monastery shukubo rooms (pilgrim stay), , 2 ppl sharing, private bathroom
  • ALL Transportation
    Private & public buses, bullet trains tickets and airport shuttles included
  • Admissions
    All places of interest, museums and temples mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals
    Breakfasts in hotels, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Experiences
    Kimono dressing, Sushi-making workshop, Dinner with Geisha, Religious rituals in the Koyasan monastery
  • Luggage transfers
    Btw Tokyo & Kyoto, and btw Kyoto-Nara-Tokyo (1 piece of luggage per person)

What’s not included

  • International flights
    Starts at $1000 direct from SFO to Tokyo round-trip
  • Travel Insurance
    Allow $100 total for entire trip
  • Extra stays
    Hotel nights if early arrival in Tokyo or late departures from Osaka, apart from the group
  • Private transfers
    If you arrive or depart separately from the team
  • Single hotel room
    If you decide to have a single room in hotels for yourself (can be on request in ryokans and shukubo, subject to availability)

Available Packages

Trip Price
Available until December 31, 2023Sold Out
Deposit: $1,300


Day 1 (May 23, Thu)
Konnichiwa, Tokyo!

Arrival in Tokyo should be planned a day before, May 22 (departure from the United States on May 21 due to time difference).

The guided tour in Tokyo with the expert on Japanese culture starts on May 23 morning from our hotel in Tokyo.

Hotel in Tokyo included.

Your Organizer

Safarika Travel
54 reviews
Safarika Adventure Club (Safarika Travel Inc.) was founded in Los Angeles (CA) in the year 2013. Legal travel provider on the territory of United States (California Seller of Travel License # 2112795-40) since 2013. Founder & CEO - Karina Safari, professional adventure travel organizer and team leader since 2011. Specialization: in small group hiking trips in South America and beyond, as well as private eco-adventures for families.


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One of the best trips I've done! I am mainly either a solo traveler or prefer to go with my family But 4 days hiking trip to Montana Glacier NP has changed my preferences :) Thank you very much, it's been a pleasure and FUN Met so many interesting intelligent people, would highly recommend if you enjoy active vacations
By Yelena M on 10 Sep, 2020
I traveled with Karina to Patagonia in 2020 and it was awesome! Perfect planning & organization throughout the trip, including dealing with the unexpected (e.g. lost luggage). I really liked other folks in the group and made several new friends in this trip. I highly recommend Karina's trips to casual and semi-serious hikers, and plan to be a return customer myself.
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