Take a guided walk on the slopes of Tomeyama, through one of Japan’s most ancient forests, and visit secluded places only accessible with an official guide. Discover a paradise of unspoiled nature on the edge of Shirakami Sanchi.
Shirakami Sanchi is a beautiful mountainous region of unspoiled wilderness spanning Akita and Aomori Prefectures. Thanks to its biodiversity and pristine beauty, much of the area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. On this private walking tour, you can explore one of its hidden wonders: a secret forest at the area’s edge, only accessible with an official licensed guide. Explore a protected woodland, where 300-year-old trees and a tranquil, mystical atmosphere await to remove you from the everyday world. Your guide will take you trekking on Tomeyama, a hill by the Sea of Japan at the edge of Shirakami Sanchi. The name Tomeyama is made of the kanji for ‘stop’ and ‘mountain,’ because they stopped the logging here that was rampant in the area some 400 years ago, to preserve precious water sources. Since the area has been protected since the feudal era, Tomeyama has become a perfect place to retreat from the modern world into the depths of the forest. You'll be introduced to the many faces of the ancient woodland, and learn how it transforms through the seasons. In spring you can see ephemeral, wildflowers that bloom early in these woods, while autumn brings brilliant golden leaves. The trees grow close together and form a canopy with their leaves that shield walkers from any rain — instead you’ll see water flowing gracefully down the tree trunks. After the hike, you’ll return by car to the Hatahata-kan onsen. There you will sample a local tea called 'kuromoji cha' — literally 'black letter tea.' This aromatic herbal infusion pairs perfectly with Japanese ‘wagashi’ sweets, which will be served alongside. Finally, complete your experience with free time to soak in the natural hot spring baths of the Hatahatakan onsen, overlooking the Sea of Japan. The waters of this onsen are naturally heated and mineral-rich, promising a therapeutic soak with incredible ocean views. This package includes towel rental, and access to the sauna plus indoor and outdoor baths. You can also enjoy the ‘ganbanyoku’ hot stone spa for an extra fee, where you’ll lie down on a bed of heated rock and let their heat radiate through you. Your guide will depart after leading you to the onsen, so take as much time here as you like. When you’re fully rejuvenated, you may choose to stay on at the onsen rest area, perhaps enjoying a meal in the restaurant before heading on your way. Book this exclusive guided tour if you’re interested in enchanting ancient forests that cannot be accessed without a guide, and relaxing onsen with unparalleled views! Hatahata-kan’s features include: - Hot spring water direct from the source - Indoor and outdoor baths in wood and stone - Sauna and ‘ganbanyoku’ spa - Restaurant open 11:00–15:00 and 17:00–20:00 - Japanese, Chinese, Western, and children’s menu items - Sea view dining area - Massage chairs - Gift shop - English-speaking staff - Major credit cards accepted - Parking for large vehicles