Hiking in Nagano Prefecture! Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza and Azumino Sightseeing



Hiking in Nagano Prefecture! Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza and Azumino Sightseeing


The Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza is a hiking trail that traverses Mount Chogatake, Mount Jonen, Mount Otensho, and Mount Tsubakuro in Azumino city, Nagano Prefecture. With altitudes exceeding 2,000 m this is a perfect mountain climbing route for beginners. It features breathtaking views of the Japanese mountain ranges, seas of clouds and sunrises.
Hiking trail

The city of Azumino itself offers a variety of interesting sightseeing spots. Here you can find Daio Wasabi Farm, the largest wasabi farm in Japan and Hotaka Shrine, where the popular Ofune Matsuri festival is held.
Daio Wasabi Farm
Ofune Matsuri
This is our personal guide to the beginner-friendly Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza and the wonders of Azumino!

Check the link below for hiking information.
Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza Azumino City Hiking Guide & Map ⇒ Click! 

 DAY 1  


Explore the Azumino Town Area by Bicycle

Your Azumino journey begins in Hotaka Station. Put your hiking gear in a locker and set out to do some sightseeing around town. With its peaceful countryside scenery Azumino is ideal for a bicycle tour.
Explore the Azumino Town Area by Bicycle

Local transportation and bicycle rental information ⇒ Click!

Daio Wasabi Farm, the Largest Wasabi Farm in Japan

Take advantage of the free entrance and enjoy the beautiful scenery and gourmet food at Daio Wasabi Farm. This area is blessed by the fresh spring water from the Northern Alps.
Daio Wasabi Farm, the Largest Wasabi Farm in Japan

Among the things you can savor here is a wasabi soft serve ice cream (360 yen). With every bite you'll experience the refreshing taste of wasabi. You can also purchase raw wasabi (price starts at 500 yen, depending on the size).
wasabi soft serve ice cream etc.

The clear stream of the Tatekawa river that flows through Azumino Wasabida Yusuigun was designated as one of Japan’s 100 Remarkable Waters. You can enjoy this incredibly clear stream on a 20 minute row boat ride for 1,200 yen.
Azumino Kisen - Clear boad
Azumino Kisen - Clear boad2

Blissful Moments: Enjoying Azumino at a Slow Pace

After a visit to the Daio Wasabi Farm, you can keep exploring Azumino with your bike. If you like arts, be sure to pay a visit to the town's many art spots such as the Chihiro Art Museum, the Rokuzan Art Museum and the Azumino Art Hills museum.

Another great pastime in Azumino is to eat and compare the bread of its many bakeries.
Azumino is to eat and compare the bread of its many bakeries
Azumino bread1
Azumino bread2

Once you've had your fill of nature and art, what about a break at a local cafe?
At Cafe VARIE you can sample a delicious Fuwatoro Soufflé while admiring the countryside scenery. 

After having enjoyed all the best that Azumino has to offer, it's time to head back towards Hotaka Station.


Hotaka Jinja, the Shrine Dedicated to the Gods of Mountains and Seas

Hotaka Jinja is located right by Hotaka Station. This shrine is known for the Ofune Matsuri festival held on September 26-27 every year.
Hotaka Jinja(Shrine)1

The Azumi were a people of ancient Japan who were known for their skill in navigation. Originally from northern Kyushu, this population moved to this mountainous region. This is why the local festival features boats in an area that is surrounded by mountains.
Ofune Matsuri festival on Hotaka Shrine

It is said that Hotaka Shrine is beneficial for all kinds of road safety (driving, sailing, hiking) and also for prosperous business.
Hotaka Jinja(Shrine)2

If you have more time, definitely enjoy more of Azumino. Take a trip to the river or try the wasabi-themed street food!
Once your Azumino journey comes to an end, you can return your bicycle and head to your accommodation for the night. To get there, take a bus to Nakabusa Onsen.

The Day Before Climbing! Relaxing at Nakabusa Onsen

At the end of the first day, nothing is better than slowing down and relaxing at the Nakabusa Onsen hot spring located near the trailhead of Mount Tsubakuro. The hot spring also offers accommodation, so you can make it your starting point for tomorrow's hike.
Nakabusa Onsen1

The natural spring water of Nakabusa Onsen will leave your skin smooth and shiny. In addition to spending the night here you can also just use the hot spring. The hot spring day ticket is 700 yen and grants you access from 9:30am to 4:00pm.
Nakabusa Onsen2
Nakabusa Onsen3

  DAY 2  


Starting From the Nakabusa/Mt. Tsubakuro Trailhead

The Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza hiking trail starts from the Nakabusa/Mt. Tsubakuro trailhead at an altitude of 1,462 m. Gather all the necessary gear, pack it tightly and hop into your trusty hiking shoes. On each mountain there are mountain huts that offer accommodation. It's also possible to bring your own tent and camp outside.
Starting From the Nakabusa/Mt. Tsubakuro Trailhead

Mount Tsubakuro, "Queen of the Northern Alps"

After about 5 hours of walking from the trailhead, the altitude and looks of the mountain start to change. You will pass the limit of the forest where trees grow and reach the ridgeline, where the view of the Northern Japan Alps will extend in front of you.
Mount Tsubakuro

You will then arrive to the Enzanso Mountain Hut where you can secure your accommodation. This is where you can also set your tent.
If the weather is nice you can take a walk to the summit of Mount Tsubakuro. The journey there and back takes about 1 hour.
Mount Tsubakuro2

Check-in at the hut is possible from around 3:00pm to 4:00pm, before sunset. Dinner is also served early, so make sure to plan your schedule in order to arrive in time.

  DAY 3  


Traversing the Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza!

Your destination for the next day is Mount Otensho. The trail is easy to walk with few ups and downs. On this path you'll have a stunning view on each side. The town of Azumino on the east side and the Northern Alps on the west side.
Traversing the Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza

You will encounter wonderful alpine plants and wildlife while hiking. Please remember that you shouldn't touch or pick them. Keep good manners in mind and help preserve the beautiful environment just as you see it.

Stunning Panorama at 2,922 m, Mount Otensho

Just about 3 hours after leaving the mountain hut in the morning you will arrive at the summit of Mount Otensho, 2,922 m above sea level. This is the highest elevation point of this hiking route. Take a deep breath at the top of the mountain and fill your lungs with the cool air. You will feel immensely refreshed. This spot is perfect to take a break and revel in the scenery!
Mount Otensho

Once you've enjoyed the view from the summit it's time to reach your accommodation for the third day of this trip, the Jonengoya mountain hut. It's located in Jonen-Nokkoshi at 2,466 m, about 3 hours from Mount Otensho. Check in or set up your tent and rest up for the following day.
Mount Otensho2

  DAY 4  


Mount Jonen, the Mountain of Faith

Start the fourth day by watching the sunrise! If you wait outside of the Jonengoya hut when it's still dark, you'll be able to catch the first rays of light and watch the sun rise slowly over the horizon. After this early spectacle you can leave for today's destinations on the Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza: Mount Jonen and Mount Chogatake.

Mount Jonen
Mount Jonen2
Mount Jonen3
Compared to the previous parts this route has a little more ups and downs, but it makes up for it with the amazing view. The scenery on this path will make you enjoy the hike until the end.
 it makes up for it with the amazing view

After about 1 and a half hour from departing you will reach the top of Mount Jonen, at an altitude of 2,875 m. Mount Jonen has been a symbol of the local people since ancient times and is known as a mountain of faith. On the mountain top there are small shrines and signs worshipping the gods that are visited by many people.
Mount Chogatake1

It's time to head for the last stop of this hiking trail, Mount Chogatake. Keep walking and taking small breaks while drinking in your surroundings.
Mount Chogatake2

Mt. Chogatake, the Observation Deck of the Northern Alps

After about 4 hours of walking you will arrive at the top of Mount Chogatake at an altitude of 2,677 m. A gentle ridge continues at the mountain summit. The spectacular view of the Mount Yarigatake and Mount Hotaka mountain ranges extends right in front of you. This magnificent panorama will blow away all your fatigue. Right before the summit is the Chogatake Hutte mountain hut, your accommodation for the last night.
Mount Chogatake3
Mount Chogatake4
Check in at the reception and get your deserved night of rest. Like the previous ones, this hut also allows camping with your tent.
Mount Chogatake5

  DAY 5  


The Final Day at Last. Enjoy the Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza Until the Very End!


Greet the morning of your final day from the top of Mount Chogatake. The morning sun light peaking through a sea of clouds will illuminate the magnificent landscape.

Mount Chogatake5
Mount Chogatake6
Mount Chogatake7
After yet another beautiful view it's time to start descending the mountain. This time you will head to the Mitsumata trailhead in Azumino.
You can have a taxi arranged for you at the mountain hut before descending. That will make the access from the Mitsumata trailhead a lot easier. Getting there will take about 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also descend to the Kamikochi area. The journey takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes and you will arrive to the Kamikochi bus terminal.

When walking downhill, remember not to lean too far back and to take small steps. Watch your step and proceed carefully to avoid slipping.
Walking downhill


We hope you'll find this guide to the Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza and Azumino sightseeing useful. Azumino is an area where you can enjoy nature, art, food, and culture all in one trip. If you liked this 5-day itinerary, definitely give it a try!

Official Travel Guide of Azumino City ⇒ Click!

Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza Azumino City Hiking Guide & Map ⇒ Click! 

Hiking Information  


Tips For Enjoying the Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza in Safety

Before hiking in the mountains it is necessary to check all the preparations, knowledge and information.
The best time for mountain hiking in Japan is from late July to late September. 
Even if you're an expert hiker, be sure you know the proper rules an manners for hiking in Japan.

Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza Azumino City Hiking Guide & Map  Click! 
Source: Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza Azumino City Hiking Guide & Map


Facilities Introduced in This Article:

Daio Wasabi Farm | 大王わさび農場
Address: 3640 Hotaka, Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Hours: 9:00am - 5:20pm (9:00am - 4:30pm from November to February)
Website (Japanese-only):

Clear Boat (Azuminokisen)| クリアボート(安曇野气船)
Hours: 10:00am - 2:00pm (reservations not available, suspended in case of rainy weather or strong wind)
Fee: 1,200 yen (approx. 20 min.)
Website (Japanese-only):

The fragrance of bread and soup in the weekend - Azumino no Asa | 週末のパンとスープの香り『あづみ野の朝』 
Address: 8186-5 Hotaka Ariake, Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm (shop closes when sold out)
Open on Saturdays and Sundays only
Opening period: mid-March to late November

CAFE VARIE | カフェ バリエ
Address: 8177-1 Hotaka Ariake, Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Hours: 11:30am - 5:00pm (L.O. 4:30pm)
Closed on Monday and Tuesday (open if it's a holiday)

Hotaka Jinja Shrine | 穂高神社
Address: 6079 Hotaka, Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Website (Japanese-only):

Nakabusa Onsen | 中房温泉
Address: 7226 Hotaka Ariake, Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Website (Japanese-only):

Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza mountains
Address: within Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture

Northern Japan Alps Panorama-Ginza Azumino City Hiking Guide & Map ⇒ Click! 

*The above article is based on a coverage made in February 2018. Prices and transportation information are subject to change, so please check the official website in advance.


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