Arabian horses in Japan
Riding in Yamanshi, Japan
On the Yasugatake mountain trail
Riding through the forests of Japan
Autumn trail Japan
Riding in the Yatsugatake mountains
Autumn coours on the trail
Horseriding in rural Japan
Traditional tea ceremony
Japanese food
Room at the design hotel
Traditional Japanese style room
Western style accommodation
Onsen Hot Spring

Travel north-west from Shinjuku station in Tokyo on the Super Azusa train and arrive 2hrs later in a small rural village where you spend the next four days exploring the surrounding Yatsugatake mountains and foothills on fit, calm Arabian and cross horses before resting any aching muscles in a traditional Onsen hot spring. This holiday would suit intrepid travellers, keen to combine a completely different cultural experience with riding quality, endurance-trained horses through verdant, lush countryside.

Spend each day riding along ancient trails steeped in samurai history and admire the stone buddhas along the way before stopping for lunch at a restaurant offering authentic Japanese cuisines such as sashimi and soba noodles. Follow the trail up this volcanic Yatsugatake mountain range before stopping for a picnic lunch where you can admire the iconic mount Fuji in the distance. This holiday offers plenty; a super knowledgeable guide and the best Japanese cuisine.

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Day 1
The Super Azusa train takes 2hrs from Shinjuku station in Tokyo to a small rural village surrounded by ancient forests with stunning views of the surrounding mountain range. Refuel with lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to your comfortable lodge accommodation or luxury hotel accommdoation. Your host will collect you and you will spend the afternoon meeting the horses and getting to know your mount with a ride around the farm. Dinner will be taken at your hotel where you can discuss the upcoming trail.

Day 2
Today you will set off into the Japanese countryside with a trail ride to the Metori-Yusui fountain. The route takes you on the historic trail of Bo-michi (literally meaning straight road). It was built by Takeda Shingen, feudal lord of the Yamanashi area in the early 16th century, and is a popular hiking trail, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a number of Buddhist carvings along the way. Lunch will be at a local restaurant and in the afternoon guests will be able to ride bareback before dinner at a local Japanese restaurant with your hosts.

Day 3
Today, guests will spend all day riding on the volcanic mountain range of Yatsugatake. Legend has it that this mysterious mountain was once higher than Mount Fuji before Konohanasakuya-hime, the goddess of Mount Fuji, tore it down out of jealousy, leaving the collection of peaks that exist there today. Guests will ride for 2.5 hours from the stables at an altitude of 1000 metres to reach the Kannondaira Lookout (altitude 1560m). A picnic lunch will be taken at the lookout offering breath-taking views of Mount Fuji before riding back to the stables.

Day 4
After breakfast at the lodge, guests will be able to experience some Japanese sights and culture with the option of a tour of the Suntory whisky distillery, a traditional tea ceremony or a class such as pottery making or origami. Finally, guests will catch a lunchtime train back to Tokyo with a bento box lunch provided for the journey.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses used on this trail are calm, endurance-trained Arab or Arab cross. Horses range in size from 14.3 to 15.2hh. The saddles used on this trail are comfortable, McCellan, endurance tack and horses are trained and ridden in bitless bridles. The horses have a calm and easy-going temperament.

Guides are professional and bilingual (fluent in English and Japanese). Groups comprise a minimum of 2 riders and maximum of 4 riders. Some parts of the trail are on steep terrain and includes sections where you will need to dismount to lead your horse downhill for a short period.

Rider requirements

This trail is suitable for riders confident at walk, trot and canter. Riders must be comfortable leading their horse downhill for short periods and able to mount and dismount unaided. Riders mustn't exceed the weight limit of 85 Kg. The minimum age is 12 years old, children must be accompanied by an adult.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Guests have a few accommodation options, choosing either a comfortable lodge (with Western or Japanese style rooms) or alternatively, a luxurious design hotel. Accommodation in the lodge features natural hot spring baths and a tennis court. Guests can choose between Western or Japanese-style rooms. Western-style rooms are en-suite and furnished with works of art and twin beds, while Japanese-style rooms have a shared bathroom and feature traditional futons on a tatami (woven mat) floor. All rooms come with a TV, a mini-fridge and an electric fan. Wifi is available in the  lounge.

For guests who prefer more luxurious accommodation, rooms in an avant-garde design hotel can be booked. These are large, western-style twin rooms with en-suite. All rooms feature Egyptian cotton bedding, refrigerator, kettle, coffee machine, teabags, pyjamas and slippers. The en-suite bathrooms come with a hair-dryer, and luxurious toiletries. The hotel also has access to traditional Onsen hot spring baths.

Breakfast will be provided at the lodge or hotel and again, guests have a choice between a typical western-style buffet breakfast or a traditional Japanese breakfast which could feature steamed rice, miso soup and grilled fish. Lunch and dinner will be taken at local Japanese restaurants, hand-picked by your knowledgeable guide, and guests should expect a range of excellent Japanese food.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If visas are required the conditions for these can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

If you have a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British National (Overseas)’ passport, you can enter Japan as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa. You may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

The use or possession of some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law. This includes Vicks inhalers, medicines for allergies and sinus problems, cold and flu medication containing Pseudoephedrine and even some over-the-counter painkillers like those containing codeine. Foreign nationals have been detained and deported for offences - ignorance may not be considered a defence. You should check the status of your medication with the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate before you travel.

If you’re travelling with prescription medication that is permitted under Japanese law, you’re normally allowed to bring in up to one month’s supply. You’re advised to bring a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating the medical condition that the medication has been prescribed to treat.

British Embassy Tokyo
No 1 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
(+81) (3) 5211-1100

Climate Summary

This region has a humid subtropical climate, though it is less wet than either the south or Sea of Japan coast due to its location in a shielded mountain valley. Temperature ranges are noticeably greater than in coastal regions: in 2004 the region reached a temperature of 40 °C previously almost unknown in Japan, and it has fallen below 0 °C (32 °F) as early as 26th October, which is about a month before the earliest freezing temperatures in such coastal cities as Kanazawa or Tokyo.

Climate Chart

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Medical facilities are good, but the cost of treatment is high. Hospitals and clinics are well equipped and staff highly trained. There are very few British doctors practising in Japan, but some Japanese doctors may speak English. You will be expected to pay the whole cost of any treatment you receive and there have been cases where treatment has been delayed whilst medical facilities check the legitimacy of the insurance. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 119 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.


The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt, which is different from North America (120V), Central Europe (230V) and most other regions of the world. Japanese electrical plugs have two, non-polarized pins.

Film and Camera Equipment

Guests will be able to charge cameras and battery at their accommodation each evening.

Packing List

Waterproof jacket
Pocket money (you can change EUR/£/USD in the airport)
A warm sweater
4 or 5 T-shirts and minimum 2 shirts with long sleeves.
Jodhpurs or jeans to ride in
Riding shoes or boots / riding shoes with mini-chaps or long chaps
A second pair of shoes for the evening
Sun Cream
Water bottle/canteen

Saddle bags are provided.


This is an 4 day/3 night programme with riding on 3 days available on set dates.

Departure Dates

2021: TBC
Other dates available on request

No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.

Single rooms are only available in the hotel accommodation not the lodge.

No of   
Riding days Product item description £
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders1,815
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders2,069
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3single supplement45
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders2,259
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders2,535
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3single supplement605
No of   
Riding days Product item description
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders2,099
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders2,389
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3single supplement52
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders2,615
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders2,929
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3single supplement699
No of   
Riding days Product item description $
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders2,569
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders2,929
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3single supplement63
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders3,199
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders3,585
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3single supplement855
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders21,499
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders24,505
2021 - Lodge4d/3n3single supplement529
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 3 riders26,775
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3double pp for 2 riders30,019
2021 - Hotel4d/3n3single supplement7,139
Recommended Reading

- Lost Japan by Alex Kerr - Part memoir, part exploration of Japanese culture, Lost Japan was written by an American who has lived in Japan since he was a boy.
- Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata - A tale of isolation and indifference, set in a rural region of Japan where the snow falls the heaviest.

Other Activities

As well as horse-riding the region offers a number of other cultural activities. Guests can take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or make a souvenir to remember their trip by, with a class in pottery making or origami. For whisky drinkers, a tour of the Suntory distillery can be arranged, complete with tastings. All guests should take advantage of the natural hot springs in the region, which for centuries have bought vsitors to the region.


The woodlands in this region are comprised primarily of hemlock fir, Japanese cypress, and other evergreen needleleaf trees, yet also contains broadleaf trees such as longstalk holly, Japanese andromeda, Mongolian oak, Fuji cherry, and maple.The forests are home to such living things as bats, small animals such as mice and moles, various birds including the great spotted woodpecker and the Japanese bush warbler, and insects such as ground beetles.

Other Information

This region is off the usual tourist track and is very popular with Japanese tourists due to hot springs, beautiful natural mountain scenery and elevation. It hosts the largest concentration of private horse owners and stables in Japan.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Kobuchizawa Station, Japan
2021: Return train transfer from Shinjuku train station in central Tokyo to Kobuchizawa is 5,000 JPY (approx £36)
Flight Guide:
London (LON) - Tokyo (HND or NRT) return from £660
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