Modern Japan presents a bustling, high-tech image to the outside world, but away from the soaring tower blocks is an unhurried land of mountains and monasteries linked by winding trails. Our experienced British guide, Bob Heffill, speaks fluent Japanese and has an in-depth knowledge of the country built up since childhood. See page 54 for a map of Japan. Left: Hongu shrine Photo: Seraphina Berry Right: Mountain trekking Photo: Hike Japan Japan This trek features some of the finest mountain hiking trails in Japan. As well as walking in the mountains, we will visit the historically important cities of Kanazawa and Matsumoto, and stay in a traditional thatched minka farmhouse high in the Hida Takayama range. The hiking is balanced with visits to the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto, and a last night in the lively city of Osaka. On arrival in Japan, we head north to Kanazawa, where we stay in a minshuku (family inn) for two nights. The next week is spent hiking over the holy mountain, Haku-san, and then in Kamikochi in the North Alps. Between the two we spend a night in a wonderful gasshozukuri-style minka farmhouse. The Japanese name refers to the high, steeply angled thatched roof, designed to withstand winter snowfalls, and which literally means ‘made in the shape of hands together in prayer’. The ridges and 3,000m/10,000ft peaks offer stunning views, and Mount Fuji can be seen on clear days. Japanese macaque monkeys and deer are common. Travelling out of the mountains we will visit and stay in Matsumoto and see the famous medieval castle. In Nara we will visit Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden structure in the world, and from Kyoto visit one of Japan’s more recent star attractions, the Miho Museum in Shigaraki. There will also be time to shop in Kyoto and Osaka and marvel at the consumer paradise that is urban Japan today. 59 tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com This trek takes you into the spiritual and cultural heartland of Japan. Mountain monasteries, natural hot springs, landscaped gardens, comfortable family-run inns and delicious Japanese food, as well as glimpses of the ultra-modern in the cities of Kyoto and Osaka, feature in this unique introduction to a fascinating society. Between 1020 and 1220, four of Japan’s emperors, after abdicating the throne, undertook a total of nearly one hundred pilgrimages to the Kumano shrines in the southern reaches of the mountainous Kii Peninsula. We spend the first week exploring these sacred mountains, staying in Buddhist temples, before travelling north and visiting the ancient capitals of Asuka, Nara and Kyoto. The Imperial Pilgrimage treks take place in spring, when rhododendrons flower and fresh green foliage cloaks the mountains, and autumn, when the maples turn scarlet. These are the best seasons to visit the lower mountains in Japan. Travel in Japan is a joy as you can look forward to polite yet warm greetings from your hosts. You will eat Japanese food, and sleep in the traditional way on tatami mats. Your British and Japanese guides will make sure the journey is comfortable, and that you experience the true spirit of Japan. The Mountains of Central Japan The Imperial Pilgrimage Route £2,750 £2,310 Dates: Sat 03 May – Sun 18 May, Sat 18 Oct – Sun 02 Nov land only Grade: Moderate On Trek: 7 days European Leader: Bob Heffill Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 4 Lodges/Ryokans/Temples/Minshuku: 10 Optional: Single Room £140 Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 16 days 1–3 Fly to Osaka, transfer to monastery 5–8 Walk the Imperial Pilgrimage Route 9–10 Transfer to Yoshino, sightseeing in Asuka –11 Walk Yamanobe to Michi Route 12–15 Sightseeing in Nara and Kyoto –16 Fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of5clients £2,695 £2,255 Dates: Sat 28 Jun – Sun 13 Jul, Sat 13 Sep – Sun 28 Sep land only Grade: Moderate/Vigorous On Trek: 6 days European Leader: Bob Heffill Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 3 Mountain Huts: 3 Ryokans/Temples/Minshuku: 8 Optional: Single Room £140 Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 16 days 1–4 Fly to Osaka, transfer to Kanazawa, sightseeing 5–9 Trek the mountains of central Japan 10–11 Drive to Kyoto, sightseeing –12 Sightseeing in Nara 13–14 Train to Yoshino and Mount Koya 15–16 Train to Osaka. Fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of5clients
The Andes occupy the same place in the popular imagination as Tibet before the Chinese invasion – a mysterious Shangri-La where utopias and adventures can be found in tropical rainforests and misty mountains. In our imagination South America may conjure pictures of lost cities, El Dorado, cruel Spanish conquistadors, gold-laden galleons, Christopher Columbus and the advanced ancient civilisations of the Incas and the Mayans. However that imagination does not automatically associate the Andes with gigantic peaks rising to nearly 7,000m/23,000ft, or treks that are every bit as exciting and challenging as the Himalaya. We aim to take you where the condors wheel and llamas carry the baggage on the very best routes amongst the highest peaks. South America Our acclimatisation programme Almost all tour operators currently overnight in Cuzco on arrival in the Machu Picchu area. However Cuzco lies at 3,400m (over 11,000ft) and arriving there direct from sea-level can cause altitude problems. All Himalayan Kingdoms treks in the area have been specially designed to descend immediately and spend the first night in the Sacred Valley, visiting Cuzco at the end of the treks. £2,750 £1,995 Fri 04 Apr – Sun 20 Apr* Fri 25 Apr – Sun 11 May* £2,965 £1,995 Fri 25 Jul – Sun 10 Aug † £2,835 £1,995 Fri 22 Aug – Sun 07 Sep † Fri 05 Sep – Sun 21 Sep † Fri 26 Sep – Sun 12 Oct † Price TBC: 2009 dates: Fri 03 Apr – Sun 19 Apr ’09 Fri 24 Apr – Sun 10 May ’09 land only land only land only Grade: Vigorous On Trek: 6 days In-country Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 10 Luxury Lodges: 5 Optional: Single Room £tbc Insurance: £95* (Standard Policy) £145 † (Insurance Plus) Days Itinerary Duration: 17 days 1–2 Fly to Lima and Cuzco, transfer to Sacred Valley 3–5 Acclimatisation, sightseeing, return to Cuzco 6–7 Drive to Soray Pampa, day walks 8–11 Trek through the Andes –12 View Machu Picchu, train to Cuzco 13–15 Visit Lake Titicaca 16–17 Fly to Lima and London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of6clients Humantay mountain behind Wayra Lodge Photo: Mountain Lodges of Peru Download detailed itineraries from www.himalayankingdoms.com e: email@example.com 60 Luxury Mountain Lodges to Machu Picchu We are proud to offer the very first trans-Andean lodgeto- lodge trek to Machu Picchu. The trek itself winds its way through the spectacular Cordillera Vilcabamba, and overnights at four high-quality mountain lodges. The first of these in the valley of Soray Pampa has a sauna, jacuzzi, reading room, fireplace and twelve en-suite double and twin rooms. After our own acclimatisation programme in the Sacred Valley, we move to this lodge for two nights before beginning the trek in earnest. The other three lodges are smaller but still offer first-class Peruvian and international cuisine, Jacuzzis and fireplaces. The trek is every bit as scenic as the more famous Inca Trail but much less travelled. Views from the lodges are of 6,000m/20,000ft snow-capped peaks and lush valleys. After viewing the ruins at Machu Picchu we finish this fantastic trek with a visit to Lake Titicaca.