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Friday 3 May 2024

A bucket list helicopter tour experience in Japan

So you plan to visit Japan and want to go beyond standard visits to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.

How about a bucket list helicopter and hiking experience exploring the Southern Alps region from Shizuoka?

Shizuoka Prefecture is a popular destination situated midway between Tokyo and Nagoya, but away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.

A proposed helicopter tour includes views of Mount Fuji and surrounding peaks, as well as stops at a mountain onsen resort, the Travel Mole news portal reports. .

The itinerary also includes a stay in traditional ryokan inn and a visit to Japan’s most remote whisky distillery.

The four-day Japan Southern Alps National Park Adventure Tour from DMC Local Network Service Shizuoka will be the first of its kind in Japan’s Southern Alps National Park when it launches in September.

Starting from Shizuoka Station, the tour begins by private car to the Nihondaira Yume Terrace where guests check in to the spectacular nearby Nipppondaira Hotel (below) for dinner and an overnight stay.

Depart the next morning from the hotel’s heliport to the summit of Mount Ogochidake, which has an elevation of around 2,000 metres.

After descending by helicopter to an elevation of around 1,000 metres, a private car will transport guests to the photo gallery at Sawarajima Lodge.

The gallery showcases the Japanese Southern Alps in images across all four seasons.

Guests will also visit and taste at the local Ikawa Distillery, where whisky is made at a high altitude using mountain water.

The distillery remote and not usually open to the public.

After an overnight stay at the lodge, the tour moves on by private car to the Senmai-goya Hut at an elevation of 2,500 metres, where guests will ascend by foot to the summit of Mount Senmaidake.

Guests then visit the Sumatakyo Onsen - which is nestled in the mountains - to soak in the hot springs.

They will then enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner and an overnight stay at a local ryokan.

On the helicopter tour’s final day, guests will stroll through the Sumatakyo Valley, where they will visit the spectacular Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge - known as the ‘Bridge of Dreams’ (top image).

The experience does not come cheap, however. 

Helicopter tour prices start from ¥920,000 (around $9,000 Aus) per adult including taxes, based on two adults sharing a room. The price is inclusive of the helicopter experience, private car/taxi transfers and three nights’ accommodation.

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