We work in conjunction with a Not-For-Profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of Asiatic black bears in Japan. The NPO, the Shinshu Tsukinowaguma Kenkiyu Kai (the Shinshu Asiatic Black Bear Study Group) is based in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture and, with hundreds of bears caught, studied, or saved from nuisance control since 1995 it is one of the most active bear conservation groups in the country. We guide two-day bear-viewing hiking tours in the Northern Japanese Alps in order to reach out to the general public, to raise awareness on bear issues, and to raise much needed funds to donate to the NPO. As long as one knows where to search, the chances of viewing bears in the mountains during the summer are close to 100%, and are very safe. The guiding is ensured by , who obtained his Doctorate while studying Asiatic black bears in Japan, and who is one of the three founding members of the NPO. He is energetic, enthusiastic, and fun, and he sure knows a lot about bears!

Come and join us for a two-day bear viewing summer hike in the Japanese Alps!
Click on any picture to enlarge it.



Day 1 - Meeting in front of the Matsumoto train station at 6AM;
- transfer to the mountains by car (provided by us); the destination will vary depending on bears movements;
- mountain hike up to the alpine zone (4 to 6 hours of uphill mountain trails);
- picnic lunch and rest at a mountain lodge;
- further short hike, looking for bears;
- dinner in a mountain lodge;
- approximately one hour presentation on bear ecology and on bear-human conflicts in Japan;
- Spend the night in the mountain lodge.

Day 2 - Those who want can get up early and watch a beautiful mountain sunrise, with, weather permitting, beautiful views of Mount Fuji;
- Breakfast in the mountain lodge;
- Hike back down to the valley in the morning (picnic lunch on the trail);
- Visit to a site where bear conflicts are happening, or have happened in the past;
- Return to the Matsumoto train station between 4 and 6 PM.


For the summer of 2014, departures for our two-day bear viewing tours are scheduled every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from August 23rd to August 31st, included. Departures with less than two participants will be cancelled. Please contact us to check about availability or to make a reservation.


38,000 yen per person. This price includes, on the first day, the transportation from the Matsumoto train station to the mountains, dinner and evening accommodations, and on the second day, breakfast and transportation back to the Matsumoto train station. Breakfast for the first day and lunches for both days are not included.

Special rates available for teachers and their students.


Please click on the On-line booking button on this page to make a pre-reservation. We will get back to you as soon as possible to let you know about availability, and ask you to wire transfer a 5000 yen deposit per person to our Japanese bank account to confirm your reservation. No reservation will be considered final until this deposit has been received. The balance can be paid by wire transfer prior to the hike or in cash upon arrival. Deposits will be refunded in full, minus the wire transfer fees, for cancellations up to two weeks prior to your scheduled departure. There will be no refunds for cancellations less than two weeks prior to your scheduled departure.


A Release and Assumption of Risk Form must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed release of liability form, with no deposit refund. No modification to the terms of the Release and Assumption of Risk form will be accepted.


You may want to combine your bear viewing trip with other activities in the area. Here are a few suggestions:
- Further hikes in the Northern Japanese Alps, for instance towards Kamikochi; we would be happy to suggest you some nice trails.
- Matsumoto's samurai castle is one of the best preserved in the country.
- Matsumoto's Japan Ukiyoe Museum is probably the largest collection of its kind in the world.
- Zenkoji is a famous temple in Nagano city.
- Narai Jyuku, Magome, and Tsumago are three fairly well preserved post towns of the old Nakasendo, the interior highway which connected Edo and Kyoto.
- Numerous onsen throughout the prefecture.


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