The Japan Alps – Wildlife / Endangered Species (RAICHO) Observation Tour A – 4DAYS PLAN

Master the nature and wildlife of Japan‘s alpine zone, including Ptarmigan RAICHO. The tour starts with a brief on Japanese nature from a foreign university lecturer in Kamikochi, followed by a forest tour in the Norikura mountains, where you will observe the changing nature of Norikura depending on the elevation by moving vertically up from the the middle of the mountain, and climaxing near the summit, where Mr. Kobayashi, the mountain lodge manager, will give you a tour of wildlife, including RAICHO. This is an intense 3-nights/4-days plan that includes an observation tour of Norikura’s wildlife, including RAICHO.

Tour Itinerary for Day 1 on July 25/ 2023

Explore Kamikochi, one of the most popular resorts in Japan, on the first day

Azusa river and Hotaka Mountains

Japanese Macaque
Myojin pond

KAMIKOCHI LEMEIESTA HOTE (First night‘s lodging)

A resort hotel that opened as a hot spring inn in the early 1900s. We are proud of the free-flowing hot spring, traditional French cuisine, and guest rooms with a panoramic view of Azusa River and the mountains. This is the hotel where Walter Weston, the father of Japanese mountain climbing and author of the Climbers’ Book that introduced the Japanese Alps to the world, also stayed. The hotel is a little far from the sightseeing spots, but it is situated in a quiet place where you can experience a quiet resort mood.

Tour Itinerary for Day 2 on July 26/ 2023

The second day will be spent exploring the summit area of the Norikura Mountains. We will move up to nearly elevation of 3,000 m beyond the forest limit, to observe animals and birds in the summit area.

Katano-koya guchi gate

The summit of the Norikura mountains

Norikura Haku-un-so mountain hut(Second night‘s lodging)

It is a mountain hut adjacent to the Tsuru-gaike parking lot where there is a Tatami-daira bus terminal where the shuttle bus stops and arrives.
While the convenience is outstanding, with Mao-dake at its back, it is isolated from the bustling space, and it is welcomed when you can rest slowly in silence.
On clear nights, the high elevations make it possible for you to see the stars in the sky so close to you that you can reach them, and the scenery of the mountains where the unbelievably bright moonlight can be seen is also excellent.

乗鞍白雲荘 – 乗鞍白雲荘 ※Japanese only
Japanese Mountain hut Roule
Mountain Huts and Camping Ground | THE JAPAN ALPS

  • All activities and lodging locations are tentative and subject to change at short notice due to weather and local conditions.
  • All dinners and breakfasts are provided daily. Lunch and side dishes are sourced individually.

Tour Itinerary for Day 3 on July 27/ 2023

The main event on the third day is the early morning ptarmigan observation. After that, leaving Tatami-daira, move to Norikura plateau, where we will observe the rich forest that spreads out at the foot of the Norikura mountains.

Norikura Kogen
Observation tour

Kokumin Kyukamura Hotel

Accommodations are subject to change

Norikura Kogen
Azami Pond and Norikura Mountains

Falls of Norikura-kogen
Wildbird of Norikura-kogen

Norikura Kokumin Kyukamura HOTEL(Third night‘s lodging)

Kyukamura Norikura-Kogen is at 1600m elevation the highest of all Kyukamura hotels. From here you can enjoy a stunning view on Mt. Norikura, one of Japans “100 famous mountains” in the Northern Alps. Please enjoy the hot spring and the rugged mountain nature. You can also try various outdoor sports such as hiking or skiing in our hotel-owned ski resort. The dinner is buffet style and cooked with local ingredients.

Tour Itinerary for Day 4 on July 28/ 2023

On the final day, after strolling in the plateau morning, leave the Norikura, to go to sightseeing Matsumoto city

Leaving Norikura

Matsumoto sightseeing

Accommodations are subject to change

Matsumoto castle

Zengoro Falls
Matsumoto Nakamachi Street

  • All activities and lodging locations are tentative and subject to change at short notice due to weather and local conditions.
  • All dinners and breakfasts are provided daily. Lunch and side dishes are sourced individually.

Ptarmigan RAICHO Short Story

They represent wild birds living high up in the mountains and are recognized as prefectural birds in Gifu, Nagano and Toyama prefectures. 20,000 years ago, during the glacier age, they came to Japan; at the end of the glacier age, most of them returned to the continents, however, some of them stayed in The Alpine Belt in Japan and have bred since then. In Japan, from the Heian era, the Ptarmigan had appeared in poems as “Rai-no-tori” and they were recognized as sacred birds by worship climbers. However, they became targets of hunting in the Meiji era and many of them were killed. Even Walter Weston hunted and ate them according to the records. Hunting was not the only reason for the numbers of the species to have dropped dramatically, however after the Meiji era, and it is said that currently there remain only about 3,000 birds. In addition to that , global warming threatens their existence, and they are facing an even bigger risk of extinction.