Japan’s First Helicopter Hiking Tour of Its Southern Alps Launches in Shizuoka

Rebecca Pasha
Authored by Rebecca Pasha
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - 12:04

A brand new helicopter and hiking tour has launched in Shizuoka, exploring Japan’s captivating Southern Alps. Offering exhilarating views of majestic Mt. Fuji and its surrounding peaks, the tour includes stops at a rejuvenating mountain onsen, a traditional ryokan and Japan’s most remote whisky distillery. The 4-day Japan Southern Alps National Park Adventure Tour from destination management company Local Network Service Shizuoka Japan is the first of its kind in the Japan Southern Alps National Park and will welcome its first visitors from September this year. Departing from Shizuoka Station, the tour first travels by private car to the Nihondaira Yume Terrace where guests check in to the nearby Nippondaira Hotel for dinner and an overnight stay, before departing the next morning from the hotel’s heliport to the summit of Mt. Ogochidake. At an elevation of around 2,000m, this area of the mountain range is ordinarily hard to reach taking at least three days to access on foot but is reached in just 20 minutes by helicopter.  After descending by helicopter from Mt. Ogochidake to an elevation of around 1,000m, a private car will transport guests to the photo gallery at Sawarajima Lodge, which showcases artworks depicting the splendour of the Japanese Southern Alps in all four seasons. This is followed by lunch at the lodge before exploring the local Ikawa Distillery where rare whisky is made at a high altitude from the waters of the mountains. The distillery is the most remote in Japan, and not usually open to the public, but the tour's participants will be offered a special visit. After an overnight stay at the lodge, the tour moves on by private car to the Senmai-goya Hut at an elevation of 2,500m, where guests will then ascent by foot together with an English-speaking hiking guide to the summit of Mt. Senmaidake. Here, at an elevation of 2,880m, guests can admire a spectacular view of the Southern Alps with Mt. Fuji seen on clear days. After the climb, a private car will transport guests back down the mountain to rest before they head to the Sumatakyo Onsen nestled within the mountains to soak in the hot springs’ rejuvenating waters. Guests will then enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner and overnight stay at a local ryokan. On the tour’s final day, guests will stroll through the Sumatakyo Valley, where they will visit the spectacular Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge – known as the ‘Bridge of Dreams’ and selected by TripAdvisor as one of the top 10 pedestrian suspension bridges people should cross in their lifetime. After lunch, a taxi will escort guests back to Shizuoka Station to end the tour. Prices start from 920,000 yen per adult including taxes, based on two adults sharing a room, and include the helicopter ride, private car/taxi transfers listed, 3 nights’ accommodation, a local guide, selected meals and an environmental conservation and maintenance donation. An adjusted itinerary of 2 nights/ 3 days is available, or itineraries can be modified to suit specific requirements or needs. The tour will be available annually between early September and late October.

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