Water of Life in Oze & Bandai-Asahi National Park





Minakami (Gunma), Oze & Bandai-Asahi National Parks

Main Activity:

Trekking / Cultural Activity



Churning rivers, pristine lakes, volcanic marshes, soothing hot-springs – spend a week (8 days, 7 nights) getting wet in Gunma and Fukushima Prefectures!

Home to both Mt. Oze – a mecca for hikers – and several volcanic peaks in Bandai-Asahi National Park, not only is this area scenically beautiful, it boasts a plethora of attractions which belie its size and relative anonymity.

From canyoning and rafting to bathing in a hot-spring river, jump in the deep-end and discover unique culture and lifestyle buoyed by an unparalleled bounty of water!


What’s Included

• 7 nights accommodation
• 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
• All transport and transfers as listed in itinerary
• Some snacks and refreshments
• Travel insurance
• English speaking guides / interpretation

Not included

• Airfares and transport to/from start and end points.
• Personal expenses
• Alcoholic beverages with meals (unless stated otherwise).
• Anything not included in the above included list.




Gathering at Tokyo Station, you’ll board a bullet train.

On arrival in Minakami (Gunma Prefecture), head straight to Kichijoji Temple, where the head monk will offer a larger-than-life welcome, suitably accompanied by warm green tea & a seasonal Japanese cake. After learning about the temple’s inherent relationship with water, and the nearby source of the Tone River, move on to Nagai Brewery, to discover the importance of water-quality in the making of Japan’s most famous tipple, sake, at a brewery surrounded by rice fields with its own spring water on site .

Next, head west across Minakami to the charming restored settlement of Takumi-no-Sato, where one of the old residences is now home to ‘Takumi-no-Sato Shokudo’, a warm & simple country restaurant offering local fare foraged that morning and then cooked by the owner-chef.

After lunch, work off some calories with a bicycle ride through the lush, expansive countryside around the Takumi-no-Sato Settlement. An energetic, yet inherently relaxing afternoon!

Our first dinner will be a riverside barbecue featuring local produce, and an opportunity to meet with some locals, and learn more about their lifestyle in this unique corner of Tokyo.

Accommodation: : Riverside Oasis Camp / waterfront tents for 2 people
Shared tent / shower, communal bath & toilet (20 metres away in main buildings)


Canyoning is certainly not a traditional Japanese pastime. However, like skiing, Japan’s unique climate and geography offer, in places, an ideal environment for the river sports now so popular around the World. Minakami was the cradle where canyoning & rafting in Japan were born 25 years ago, and continues to be its unquestioned mecca, offering venues encompassing all levels of difficulty, each with its own breathtaking natural landscape. This morning (or afternoon, as weather dictates) enjoy as much, or little, canyoning as you want!


Lunch is a casual energy replenisher at our base by the River.
Few activities capture the raw power of rivers more vividly than rafting, and Minakami, with its northern backdrop of alpine peaks and peaceful verdant rural surroundings presents a perfect environment to experience and enjoy it. Rafting in larger boats of 6-8, get to know companions, see the natural beauty of Minakami from a unique angle, & create adrenaline-packed memories.

This evening, a pre-dinner opportunity to try your hand at soba-noodle-making, under the tuition of a veteran soba chef. After expending energy making noodles, what better than a plate of the chef’s finest soba to put an exclamation mark on a high-energy day!

Accommodation: : Riverside Oasis Camp / waterfront tents for 2 people
Shared tent / shower, communal bath & toilet (20 metres away in main buildings)



Your final hours in Minakami will be spent exploring the upper areas of the town which welcome so many skiers in winter. Sticking to the gentlest inclines, ride through the stunning natural beauty which, while just an hour by train, feels a world away from Tokyo and its 15 million inhabitants. Again, your journey will be punctuated by stops to encounter locals and interact with them, their traditions and culture.

Wasting as little time as possible, nourished by a bento-box lunch, you will head for Oze, and in early afternoon arrive at Hatomachi, the western entrance to the Oze National Park, a superb natural expanse open only to walkers. Disembarking your coach, it’s backpacks on for an energetic 20k afternoon walk through the park,. The first hour will be spent heading north to reach the Ozegahara Marshlands, where we turn east into the heart of the park. Not only is the scenery wonderful & air crisply refreshing, but even the infrastructure in the park, two simple elevated wooden walkways along which hikers travel, is an intrinsically Japanese solution to the question of how to protect the park’s environment while making it an enjoyable place to hike. After checking-in, enjoy a highlight of hiking in Oze – sunset over the western mountains.


Your earliest start of the tour, rising with the sun, and walking just under 3 hours to reach another highlight of the park, picturesque Ozenuma Pond, where we’ll break for an early bento-box lunch, before a 90 min. walk, the last part ascending, to leave Oze via the Numayama Pass.

After meeting at Numayama-toge, your first stop is the charming village of Ouchi-juku, an ancient post-town. The lines of traditional buildings and houses with thatched rooms have earnt the town national recognition as an important cultural property, and will make you feel as though you’ve travelled back in time to the Edo period.


After an active first half of the tour, today is a day for relaxation and recuperation! 

‘Oyakuen’ is an ancient herb garden built by the Aizu feudal lords to save the local people from the plague during the Muromachi period. Currently, it is open to the public as a garden, but the original medicinal plant specimen garden remains from that time. About 400 species of herbs (including about 200 varieties unique to Aizu) are cultivated here.
Today you’ll enjoy a unique recovery experience at ‘Shimizu Yakusoten’, which was founded in 1946, by grating and roasting medicinal herbs using traditional methods to make your own recovery herbal tea!

Heading to Numajiri hot springs, you’ll first hike along a trail looking down at a brilliantly blue-white river. This is no ordinary river, but a river sourced by Numajiri Motoyu, said to be Japan’s most plentiful hot-spring with over 13400 litres of water gushing out of the ground every minute! Not far from the source, visitors can take off their hiking boots and socks and enjoy a relaxing foot spa, surrounded by the dramatic natural scenery. Those feeling extra brave are welcome to jump in further (bathing suits allowed) for the full natural-jacuzzi experience!

In the evening, enjoy the beautiful Numajiri-Kogen Lodge, a newly refurbished lodge that used to belong to Fukushima native Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mt. Everest! The lodge has also historically hosted Sir Edmund Hillary. Indulge in a delicious course meal made with locally sourced ingredients and relax in the cozy lounge after a few days of extremes!



Feeling recharged, it’s time to get back to the action!

In the morning, enjoy a canoeing experience at Lake Hibara while admiring the surrounding beautiful mountain scenery. Be awed at both the beauty and ferocity of nature as you enjoy the magnificent relationship between volcano and water. Lunch will be a tasty meal of local chicken and potatoes cooked in a Dutch oven.

In the afternoon, enjoy a change of pace with a relaxing walk and a spot of ‘forest therapy’ at the ‘five-coloured lakes’ of Goshikinuma behind Mt. Bandai. These lakes were created by the eruption of Bandai in 1888 with the unique composition of minerals in the water giving them brilliant, almost unnaturally blue hues!



Mt. Adatara, known fondly as ‘nipple mountain’ by the locals due to its shape, is one of Japan’s ‘100 Famous Mountains’ and a popular spot for viewing the colourful Autumn foliage. An active volcano, Mt. Adatara is home to several springs that source the baths of various hot-spring villages at its foot, including Dake Onsen.

The highlight of today’s hike is not just the panoramic view from the peak of Adatara, but the journey itself and your unique guide: a local ‘Yumori’.

The ‘Yumori’: Onsen guardians

Have you ever stopped to wonder how it is possible for the mineral-rich hot spring water to continuously flow into the baths of Japanese ryokan inns? At Dake Onsen, the source of the spring is located some 8km deep into the forests of Mt. Adatara. The spring water is so rich in minerals that the pipes from the source of the spring need to be maintained weekly, releasing the build up of sulphur and minerals. A team of local men are entrusted with this laborious task, hiking to the source of the spring every week – sometimes multiple times – even in the height of winter! It is upon the shoulders of the ‘Yumori’ (literally meaning hot spring guardian) that the health of the hot-springs and the livelihood of the town depend.

On the way to the peak of Mt. Adatara, your Yumori guide will show you to the source of the spring and share stories of their experience protecting it. The level of appreciation you’ll have for your relaxing bath at the end of this hike will be second-to-none!


Spend the evening hopping between various local restaurants – including a counter-bar owned by another of the Yumori – just a stone’s throw from your accommodation at Dake Onsen.


After breakfast, transfer to Koriyama staBon by private car (50min)

Suggested transfers: 

【Take bullet train to Tokyo(90min/7800JPY)】(Not included)

【Take bullet train to Sendai City (40min/5000JPY)】(Not included)


Tokyo Station
Eight days, seven nights
Min 04 - max 16 pax
From 680,000
Sign-up Deadline
Bookings by request for departure April - Oct.
Cancellation Policy
• Cancelled more than 21 days prior to departure: Zero fees.
• Cancelled between 20 and 8 days prior to departure: 20% of the Tour Price.
• Cancelled between 7 days and 48 hours prior to departure: 30% of theTour Price.
• Cancelled between 48 and 24 hours prior to departure :40% of the Tour Price.
• Cancelled within 24 hours of departure: 50% of the Tour Price.
• Cancelled on the day of departure: 100% of the Tour Price.
*No refunds will be given after the tour has commenced.*
If the minimum number of participants is not met the event will be cancelled.


Basic Plan

Price From 680,000

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