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Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

Alexandria, Virginia
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Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

Hi everybody. I'm planning to spend 4 days in the Japanese Alps this November. I definately want to spend two days in Takayama. How would you recommend I spend my other two days, given these three choices?

2 days in Kanazawa, 2 days in Matsumoto, or 1 day in each?

Also, how is the weather in the Japanese Alps in mid-November?


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Brisbane, Australia
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1. Re: Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

Hi Sunwise

We were in the Alps in May this year and June last year. It's a beautiful area - my favourite in Japan so far.

Takayama is definitely a place you need 2 days for the first time. There's a lot to see with the old town,and either a day trip to Shirakawago or the Hida Folk Village.

We spent 2 nights in Kanazawa and didn't see everything - we saw the famous garden, the Samurai area and one of the geisha areas.

Matsumoto has a lovely little authentic castle, but that's about it. We spent one night there on our way to do the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. It's nice because it's quite small and close to the snow-covered mountains, but if I had to choose, I'd say spend your second 2 days in Kanazawa and see Matsumoto another time.

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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2. Re: Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

Kamikochi is in the heart of the Japan Alps, but all the lodges and the park itself will "close" on November 15. It'll get pretty cold, perhaps flurries of snow. The last of the golden colors on the birches are absolutely stunning if you get there in the beginning of November. The road from Kamikochi to Matsumoto with look like a quilted patchwork will all the autumnal colors.

Hope you make it in time!


Alexandria, Virginia
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3. Re: Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

Thanks for the advice. It does seem that Kanazawa would be a better choice than Matsumoto.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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4. Re: Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

If you have 4 full days and don’t have to start from Takayama, consider starting from Kanazawa and devote the first day in Kanazawa. On the second day, take a bus to Shirakawa-go, spend a few hours there and continue by bus to Takayama. Spend the third day in Takayama. On the fourth day, again travel by bus to Matsumoto with an en-route stop in beautiful Kamikochi. Just be sure to go before the access road closes mid Nov.

Palo Alto...
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5. Re: Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

I strongly suggest that you spend some nights at a nice onsen ryokan. There are many of such top notch ryokans in the Alps. You won't find them in the cities of Takayama and Kanazawa. Most are in the countryside, which is yet very accessible.

Kaga Onsen, being very close to Kanazawa, is a small onsen region comprised of a myriad of onsen ryokans. You should in fact stay at an onsen ryokan and explore Kanazawa during the day. After it gets dark, it's quiet in Kanazawa. Takayama is more distant from onsen towns and thus it's ok to stay within the city at night.



Matsumoto is another hub city for onsens. Again, the good onsen ryokans aren't found inside the city boundary, but in the outskirts.


Tateyama Kurobe is picturesque but closes at the end of November.

Just imagine the poetic scenery of watching foliage and sipping sake in an open-air onsen. All ryokan rates should include a gorgeous breakfast+dinner. Be ready to splurge. It's worth it.

6. Re: Japanese Alps: 4 days in November

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