|Day 1 Kyoto
Arrive and transfer to our hotel in Kyoto. The imperial capital for over 1,000 years, Kyoto has a wealth of historical
and cultural attractions and after our welcome meeting and dinner we head to the geisha area of Gion to spot
some of these elusive women as they flit between important meetings with well to do clients.
Day 2 Kyoto/Koya San
We ride our bikes through the picturesque backstreets of Kyoto and visit some of the beautiful temples and
gardens, made all the more beautiful by a dusting of snow. Sanjusangendo’s hall with 1,000 statues of the
bodhisattva of compassion, the Zen rock garden of Ryoan-ji and a ride along the Kamo Gawa River. We also
hike up a hill to the northeast of the city to get a view over the ancient capital before transferring to the Buddhist
area of Koya San for a night in a working monastery. Dinner is strict vegetarian and before sitting down to eat we
have the chance to join the monks for their evening prayer.
Day 3 Koya San
After morning meditation and breakfast served by the novice monks we strap on our snow shoes and take an
optional walk through the forests in this sacred area. Okuno-in is the famous cemetery lining the path to the
resting place of Kobo Daishi, the Buddhist saint who founded this Buddhist retreat in the 9th century and we
learn about the many important people who are buried here. Tonight we travel to the island of Shikoku, the
smallest and least populated of Japan’s four main islands and check in to the beautiful ryokan which will be our
base in the area.
Days 4-6 Iya Valley
Tthe steep sided Iya valley was a refuge for fleeing samurai in the 12th century and one of the rope bridges they
used to cross the river is nearby our hotel. Until the last half of the 20th century, all roads out of the Iya valley
were impassible in winter and as a result this isolated region retains many unique cultural traditions. We
explore the area and sample some local sake but the majority of these three days is spent on the easily
accessible slopes nearby. We head to the base of Mt Tsurugi (literally “Sword mountain”) where, if conditions
allow, we make a winter summit of this knife-edged mountain. If not, spend the days on the slopes nearby and
make the most of the amazing conditions. There are also options to hike or snow shoe in the surrounding
forests, do some ice biking on specially designed bikes or do some kayaking in the river at the base of the
mountains. In the evenings we drive through snow covered mountains to our ryokan where you can relax in the
stunningly located outdoor onsen before our amazingly prepared and presented evening meals.
Day 7 Iya Valley/Kyoto
Today we visit Chiiori, a 300 year old farmhouse restored and preserved in it’s original form by the Chiiori trust.
Over a warm cup of green tea we learn about the work that is required to keep these thatched roof houses
maintained and why they are becoming less common in the area. This evening we bid a fond farewell to the Iya
Valley and travel back to Kyoto where we have our final night dinner.
Day 8 Kyoto
Departure day as we say our sayonnara's to the group. A chance to do some last minute souvenir shopping or
more sightseeing in this fascinating city. We can help you book extra accommodation if you wish to extend your
stay including a love hotel or capsule hotel stay for a slightly different accommodation experience!
NOTE: this trip can be extended to 10 days with two extra nights in the Iya valley with 2 days extra on the snow.
Includes 2 extra breakfasts, 2 extra dinners and 2 extra days ski lift passes.
Private tour departs daily
Dependant on number of
people, please contact us
Min 4, max 10
2 days lift passes
Kyoto cycling day tour
Ryoanji Zen garden
Kazurabashi vine bridge
Chiiori Farm house visit
All transport to/from
included activities and
7 breakfasts, 7 dinners
Family run ryokan (6 nts),
Buddhist Monastery (1 nt)
half day AU$80
full day AU$120
half day AU$70
Extra day skiing
with transport and pass