TSUGAIKE NATURE PARK
The Tsugaike Nature Park, located in the village of Otari, sits at an altitude of 1,900 meters and is part of the Chubu-Sangaku National Park. It is one of Japan’s top high alpine plateaus, renowned for its abundance and variety of flowering alpine plants and for offering visitors spectacular panoramic views of the Northern Alps.
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KAZAFUKI OIKE &
HAKUBA OIKE ALPINE LAKES
Kazafuki Oike is a mysterious lake surrounded by a thriving subalpine fir and birch forest, while the deep blue waters of Hakuba Oike lie high above the tree line, reflecting summits and clouds. Both provide the opportunity to relax and enjoy time amongst beautiful, untouched nature.
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THE HISTORIC SALT ROAD
The Salt Road was a historically significant path used for centuries to haul salt from the Sea of Japan, through the mountains, and inland to the area that is now known as Nagano Prefecture. The trail's total length stretches 120 kilometers from Itoigawa to Matsumoto, with a well-preserved section cutting right through the heart of Tsugaike. The trail passes rice fields, skirts forests, and travels through small settlements dotted with ancient stone statues and historical relics, providing fantastic views and plenty of countryside culture.
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Mt. Amakazari, one of Japan’s ‘100 Famous Mountains,’ lies on the border of Nagano and Niigata prefectures. The view from the summit is a stunning 360-degree panorama that includes the towering peaks of the Northern Alps and the Sea of Japan beyond.
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Kama-ike is a peaceful pond surrounded by beech trees that sits at an elevation of 1,190 meters. The pond is famous for breathtaking autumn leaves, which are often reflected in its still waters. With a 2-kilometer trail circling its perimeter, it’s perfect for a light hike with friends and family.
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TSUGAIKE WOODCHIP ROAD
The Tsugaike Woodchip Road is an easy forested loop course totaling 2.5 kilometers in length, with a soft layer of woodchips underfoot that is ideal for walking or jogging.
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The settlement of Maki is a throwback to an older time when life was slow and deliberate, and communities worked together to practice sustainability and self-sufficiency. Accessible only by foot, it takes about one hour to trek up and over two mountain passes and arrive at Maki from JR Minami-Otari Station. Stepping into this idyllic landscape deep in the heart of the foothills feels like stepping back in time. The settlement was abandoned by its original residents several decades ago and now is occupied by members of the non-profit ‘Kyodo Gakusha’ who live in the large traditional farmhouses with thatched rooves while farming and tending to the land.
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