Ina Valley, Nagano Prefecture

Ina Valley - The Valley of Peace and Harmony

The best way to see true Japan is to get out of the major cities. Go to the places where people live a simpler, traditional way of life, away from established tourism. For this, Ina Valley is the perfect destination. The Ina Valley runs parallel to the Kiso Valley, which is internationally renowned among hikers for the historical Nakasendo Road. The two valleys are like “mother and child”. A unique culture has been nurtured there. The unique terrain makes it an ideal place for adventure. The Ina Valley, nestled between two ranges of the Japanese Alps, will be your ultimate adventure destination in Japan!
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "It is a perfect combination of cycling and trekking mixed with the guide's explanations of culture and history."

Trip from the Kiso Valley to the Ina Valley via the "Phantom Nakasendo"

1-day e-bike and trekking tour with a Tatsuno local, Ryohei Oguchi, an accomplished round-the-world cyclist
  • Activity Duration: About 8.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 22,000JPY~
  • Activity Type: Nature, Culture, Activity
Story: The path out of the Kiso Valley to Okaya, via the Ushikubi Pass, the Ina Valley and the Ono Pass, was the original Nakasendo. The path was initially cleared in 1601, but due to the difficulty of travelling two mountain passes, it closed after just 15 years in favour of the current Nakasendo. In its heyday, many travelers and horses traversed this path, carrying wood from Kiso to Ina, and rice from Ina to Kiso. Now, traces of the path are scarce and it is known by only a handful of people. This “phantom road” program takes in part of the original Nakasendo, starting at Narai-juku in Kiso, going over the Ushikubi Pass, then on to Ono-juku, and concluding at Tatsuno Town in the Ina Valley. The 1-day e-bike and trekking tour allows you to indulge in the history and romance of the original Nakasendo. The journey is lead by a Tatsuno local, Ryohei Oguchi, a round-the-world cyclist. During the trip, you will get off your bike to enjoy a small hike and folk tale about the local area.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "Each stop was wonderful - well-chosen places that the guide had a deep interest in. The trek to the waterfall was particularly beautiful."

1-Day e-Bike and Trekking Tour Off the Beaten Track in the Ina Valley, Tatsuno & Kawashima

Guided by Tatsuno local, Ryohei Oguchi, an accomplished round-the-world cyclist
  • Activity Duration: About 9.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 22,000JPY~
  • Activity Type: Nature, Culture, Activity
Story: A wonderful experience, discovering the northern part of the Ina Valley, located between two alpine regions. It is said that the name “Tatsuno” comes from the dragon (tatsu) that lived in a lake of the area. Since long ago, Tatsuno has been the intersecting point of several roadways. The surrounding areas are blessed with rich resources of water from the Yokokawa River, and tranquil mountain scenery where locals historically foraged for firewood, wood turners and geta (traditional wooden shoes) craftsmen lived, and farmers plowed their rice paddies. In this program, you can enjoy an abundance of nature beneath beautiful mountain scenery, and see the lifestyles of local residents. Along the way, you will also get off your bike and do two short treks: one to the beautiful, 50m-high, three-level Sankyu no Taki Waterfall, through a virgin forest in the Yokokawa Gorge, and to the nationally renowned “Snake Rock”, and the other to a spot known as “Zero Point”. The program is lead by a Tatsuno local, Ryohei Oguchi, a round-the-world cyclist.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "This was an enjoyable tour from beginning to end. The guide was very friendly, which was a great bonus!."

~ Narai Juku (Kiso Valley), Okaya and Tatsuno (Ina Valley) ~

Journey of the “Phantom Nakasendo” from Kiso Valley

1-day e-bike tour with a Tatsuno local, Ryohei Oguchi, an accomplished round-the-world cyclist
  • Activity Duration: About 8.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 22,000JPY~
  • Activity Type: Nature, Culture, Activity
Story: The path out of the Kiso Valley to Okaya, via the Ushikubi Pass, the Ina Valley and the Ono Pass, was the original Nakasendo. The path was initially cleared in 1601, but due to the difficulty of travelling two mountain passes, it closed after just 15 years was was spurned in favour of the current Nakasendo. In its heyday, many travelers and horses traversed this path, carrying wood from Kiso to Ina, and rice from Ina to Kiso. Now, traces of the path are scarce and it is known by only a handful of people. This 1 day e-bike tour allows you to indulge in the history and romance of the original Nakasendo. It starts at Narai-juku in Kiso, goes over the Ushikubi Pass, then to Ono-juku, Okaya (the end point of the original Nakasendo) and finally returns to Tatsuno Town in the Ina Valley. The journey is lead by a Tatsuno local, Ryohei Oguchi, a round-the-world cyclist.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "Excellent program and lunch! Location and facility were just perfect."

Fly in the wind between two Japanese alpine ranges

Paragliding in the Ina Valley

Special program overseen by Yoshiki Kuremoto, Asia’s #1-ranked paraglider for 6 years
  • Activity Duration: About 7 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 23,000JPY~ (including a commemorative photo & an upcycled ASOBINA original windsock gift)
  • Activity Type: Nature, Activity
Story: Ina Valley, the Valley of Wind, lies between Japan’s central alps and southern alps. This program has been specially designed only for this tour by Yoshiki Kuremoto, a hometown paraglider who grew up riding the winds of the Ina Valley. This special plan offers a set of activities that includes a “paragliding self-maneuvering experience” and “tandem paragliding flight”. For the tandem flight, take off and view the Ina Valley and the alps from 300m up in the air while enjoying the scenery with all your senses. Join this program to enjoy the charm of aerial sports in the Valley of Wind!
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "Not only the trail, but the guide and customer support were awesome!"

Play Hard on Japan's Largest Trail!

Guided tour of the Southern Alps MTB

Main Area Course

  • Activity Duration: About 6.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 21,300JPY~ 
  • Activity Type: Nature, Activity
Story: Built by TRAIL CUTTER, a trail-building group that focuses on creating trails in a sustainable way with as little impact on nature as possible, this is the TRAIL CUTTER's Main Area Course, which is one of Japan’s best mountain bike trails, containing more than 10 tracks full of TRAIL CUTTER bumps and berms. The trails are mostly downhill, but a vehicle will transport you back up top, so you can enjoy multiple rides throughout the day. With a wide variety of tracks, visitors can enjoy winding mountain trails that were once paths for the village’s ancestors, but now offer thrills and fun unmatched by other trails.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "Not only the trail, but the guide and customer support were awesome! With uphill as well as downhill sections, this is a great day out for mountain bikers looking for climbing trails."

Play Hard on Japan's Largest Trail!

Guided tour of the Southern Alps MTB

3rd Area Course (limited to one group per day)

  • Activity Duration: About 6.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 19,800JPY~ 
  • Activity Type: Nature, Activity
Story: Built by TRAIL CUTTER, a trail-building group that focuses on creating trails in a sustainable way with as little impact on nature as possible, this is the TRAIL CUTTER's Main Area Course, which is one of Japan’s best mountain bike trails, containing more than 10 tracks full of TRAIL CUTTER bumps and berms. The trails are mostly downhill, but a vehicle will transport you back up top, so you can enjoy multiple rides throughout the day. With a wide variety of tracks, visitors can enjoy winding mountain trails that were once paths for the village’s ancestors, but now offer thrills and fun unmatched by other trails.This trail historically used by local residents to access the mountain was repurposed by TRAIL CUTTER, a trail-building group that focuses on creating trails in a sustainable way with as little impact on nature as possible, to become the 3rd Area Course, one of Japan’s best mountain bike trails. At just over 10 km in length, the first half is an up and down section with hills to climb from 30-100m. The second half is a first-class, downhill trail with a series of wild, natural berms created by nature over many years. This up and down course, surrounded by untrained beauty, is a unique and exhilarating experience.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "The stories of Mr. Sakai, a top Sumo ring craftsman, are splendid!"

Meet a Straw Samurai - Preserving Traditional Handcrafts of the Ina Valley

Shimenawa rope making activity & irori cooking experience with the “straw craftsman” that oversees the making of Japan’s sumo ring rope boundaries
  • Activity Duration: About 4.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 14,200JPY~ 
  • Activity Type: Culture, Activity
Story: Since ancient times, Japan has had a rice farming culture. The straw that comes from the rice after it has been cut is used in a wide variety of ways, including rituals to pray for good health, as well as in everyday life. Straw handcraft is one of Japan’s important traditions. Iijima Town, located between two of Japan’s alpine ranges, has a climate and water supply perfect for rice farming. During the Edo Period , the town was under direct shogunate government control, and was a collection site for taxing rice from surrounding areas. Local straw handcrafts have been passed down through the generations, but in recent years, with Japan’s aging society, less and less people are learning and passing these traditions on. Yuji Sakai, a straw craftsman who makes sumo rings for the national sport, is trying to ensure that these traditional crafts will not be forgotten. During this special activity, you can learn about the techniques of straw crafting while listening to stories from Mr. Sakai himself.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "Although Takato Castle has no remaining buildings (unlike other well-known sites such as Osaka Castle), learning about a ‘real’ aspect of Japanese history was a surprisingly enjoyable experience!"

The Natural Fortress, Takato Castle, and Samurai Lifestyle

“Geo” focused guided tour of castle ruins with no remaining buildings
  • Activity Duration: About 4.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): 11,800JPY~ 
  • Activity Type: Culture, Activity
Story: Takato Castle, one of Japan’s top 100 castles, no longer has any castle buildings. It is a natural fortress chosen because of its topography and location on a river terrace between two tributaries of the Tenryu River. The castle is also known for a renowned battle in 1582, during the warring state period, when samurai were battling over territories. It was a bloody conflict fought in vain, as the defenders were outnumbered 3,000 to 50,000 and the castle was overtaken. The tour looks at the castle from the perspective of its geographical features, such as the steep cliff that protects the castle, and the valley that is used as a moat. Enjoy learning about the castle’s physical features while hearing how it was built by samurais. You will also visit museums that tell tales of the samurai lifestyle, such as their schooling and medical practices.
1 DAY ACTIVITY
Customer Review: "A unique performance and experience that includes traditional arts from not only Ina, but from all over Japan. Wonderful!"

Meet a Vibrant, Traditional Performing Arts Group in the Ina Valley

A traditional arts experience with the professional and passionate performance group, Dengakuza.
  • Activity Duration: About 2.5 hours
  • Price per Person (tax included): Special Private Performance 70,000JPY per group~ / Performing arts experience and interaction 4,000JPY per person~
  • Activity Type: Culture, Activity
Story:Located between two alpine regions, the Ina Valley has long been home to many traditional performing arts, such as Bon Odori, Shishimai, and Kabuki. Dengakuza is a professional performing group that was formed in 1964, dedicated to revitalising and spreading to younger generations the traditional folk culture of not only the Ina Valley, but all of Japan. For this experience, you will visit the training facility of Dengakuza, where you will receive a special private performance and enjoy interacting with their performers.
1 NIGHT 2 DYAS
Customer Review: "Splendid!! This trip was a real adventure!"

Travel a Path of Mountain Worship to the Highest Peak of the Japan Central Alps

Trekking with a panoramic view of Mt. Kiso Komagatake
  • Activity Duration: 1 night 2 days
  • Price per Person (tax included): 48,000JPY
  • Activity Type: Nature, Culture, Activity
Story: Mt. Kiso Komagatake (altitude 2,956m), the main peak of the Central Alps which rises between the Ina Valley and the Kiso Valley, translates as "the mountain where God's horse resides". Like Mt. Kiso Ontake, it has been an object of worship since ancient times. Kiso Komagatake enshrines "Ukemochi" - a god connected to the growth of grains, the wellbeing of cows and horses, and the production of silk. It has long attracted worshipers from all over Japan - especially since the Meiji Era, when mountain climbing began to increase in accessibility. Many remnants of ancient worship can still be seen on the mountain. Legend has it that hundreds of worshipers once ascended Kiso Komagatake en masse. Located in the heart of Japan's largest granite mountain range, Kiso Komagatake is a popular trekking destination with a variety of steep, mysterious trails that provide magnificent views of the peaks of the Central Alps. Guided by professional mountain guides, participants of this full-scale trekking tour of Kiso Komagatake can experience genuine adventure travel, journeying from the Kiso Valley to the Ina Valley.
2 NIGHTS 3 DYAS
Customer Review: Day1: ”The stories of Mr. Sakai, a top Sumo ring craftsman, are splendid!” Day 2: “Excellent program and lunch! Location and facility were just perfect!”Day 3: "Although Takato Castle has no remaining buildings (unlike other well-known sites such as Osaka Castle), learning about a ‘real’ aspect of Japanese history was a surprisingly enjoyable experience."
Welcome to the Ina Valley - a New Adventure Tour Destination!

Ina Valley - Diverse Experience Tour

  • Activity Duration: 2 nights 3 days
  • Price per Person (tax included): 99,000JPY~
  • Activity Type: Nature, Culture, Activity
Story: Enjoy this new adventure tour of the Ina Valley - one of the country’s better-hidden travel destinations, located between Japan’s Central and Southern Alps. Combining outdoor activities with historical local culture, the program has been selected by experts from this beautiful region. Participants of this tour can meet residents of the Ina Valley, paraglide in the area’s breathtaking natural beauty and experience local samurai and wabi-sabi culture. Day 1 of the tour is focused on Japanese straw (wara) handcraft culture. Meet a devoted “wara-samurai,” who has dedicated his time to preserving the legacy of wara culture in this southern part of the valley. On Day 2, take to the skies with a paragliding instructor and marvel at the breathtaking panorama of the Ina Valley around you. On Day 3, visit the ruins of Takato Castle, and learn how the valley’s natural features were utilized for its construction. You can also learn about the lifestyles of local samurai, and the stonemasons who created Buddha statues employing the wabi-sabi philosophy - a fascinating windows into the valley’s people and unique terrain.
3 NIGHTS 4 DYAS
Customer Review: Day1-2: "It is a perfect combination of cycling and trekking mixed with the guide’s explanations of culture and history." Day 3: "Although Takato Castle has no remaining buildings (unlike other well-known sites such as Osaka Castle), learning about a ‘real’ aspect of Japanese history was a surprisingly enjoyable experience." Day 4: "The stories of Mr. Sakai, a top Sumo ring craftsman, are splendid!"
Welcome to the Ina Valley - a New Adventure Tour Destination!

Ina Valley - Diverse Experience Tour

―Travel from the Kiso Valley along the Phantom Nakasendo to the Ina Valley, and then through the fertile lands between Japan’s two alpine regions―

  • Activity Duration: 2 nights 4 days
  • Price per Person (tax included): 14,100JPY~
  • Activity Type: Nature, Culture, Activity
Story: Few people today know that the famous Nakasendo trade passage originally ran along this other, “phantom” route. Participants of this tour can travel this path from the Kiso Valley to the vast Ina Valley, and then journey through this huge area of fertile lands protected by Japan’s two alpine regions. Selected by local experts, this is a unique journey along the Phantom Nakasendo to the Ina Valley, where you can experience and learn about the valley’s historical and cultural features. This nostalgia-flavoured tour starts on Day 1, departing from Narai Juku in Kiso by e-bike. Cycle the Phantom Nakasendo to the Ina Valley. Day 2 is spent e-biking and trekking, including a stroll around the beautiful satoyama areas of the Ina Valley. On Day 3, visit the ruins of Takato Castle and learn how the surrounding natural environment was utilized for the construction of this natural fort. You will also learn about the lifestyles of local samurai, and the stonemasons who created Buddha statues employing the wabi-sabi philosophy - a fascinating window into lifestyles here dating back to the 15th century. Your tour concludes on Day 4 making handcrafts with a devoted “wara-samurai,” who dedicates his life to preserving the legacy of wara (Japanese straw handcraft culture). Participants of this tour can learn how the inhabitants, culture, and unique natural environment in the Ina Valley has been protected by the blessing of its surrounding mountains throughout history.
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