3 Places to Enrich Your Trip among Mountains

3 Places to Enrich Your Trip among Mountains

If you get tired of noisy and busy Tokyo, why don’t you get out of the city and go on a trip to mountain areas? After that, soaking your tired muscles in hot springs sounds nice, doesn’t it? Japan has a lot of picturesque trails and beautiful spots among mountains. You may have unforgettable experiences with breathtaking walks. Let me introduce some of the destinations and accommodations having hot springs to you. I have three places which you can access easily by public transportation from Tokyo. They are one or two-day trips. Actually, It takes a couple of hours to get there from the nearest station or the bus stop. Does it sound a bit tough? No worries. I’m sure you will enjoy  hiking, even if you aren’t into such an activity. Leave it up to me.

I have been into going hiking since 2010. I have been to many mountains around Japan, from casual day-trips to multiple-day hikes including a solo camp. I know well which mountain is the best for beginners, which season is better to visit, and how impressive the hike is.

Here are the places I highly recommend.  I hope my recommendation helps to enrich your time in different ways than life in your city. (photo: Kumono-daira, Nagano and Toyama prefecture)

1. Lake Kirikomi in Nikko切込湖 / 日光

Lake Kirikomi in Nikko(切込湖 / 日光)
It’s Kirikomi-ko. It is better in the morning as there is no wind, so the surface of the water is like a mirror.

Quiet and Peaceful Lake

Place: Lake Kirikomi, called Kirikomi-ko 切込湖 in Nikko, Tochigi prefecture

Day-use hot spring: Onsen-Jinja 温泉神社 in Yumoto-onsen

You can go there on a day trip. If you have time to stay through one night, there are many hotels here in the Nikko area.

Point: It is a place that is off the beaten path. After a two-hour walk, you can find a quiet and beautiful lake, Kirikomi-ko, in front of you. I’ve been there quite a lot. It’s one of my go-to places for hiking. Autumn is perfect, but summer is nice as well.

Some hikers sitting along the lake eating lunch.

Note: It’s for beginners, but if you aren’t confident in your walking, it’s better to start from Yumoto-onsen 湯元温泉 and return there. Going through from Kotoku-bokujo 光徳牧場 to Yumoto-onsen 湯元温泉 is the longer course.

It’s Karikoni-ko 刈込湖, next to Kirikomi-ko. If it’s possible, you should drop by. It’s only a few minutes away from Kirikomi-ko.

Lake Kirikomi in Nikko

2. High Rise Marsh in The Oze national park高層湿原 / 尾瀬国立公園

You can enjoy walking on a well-organized wooden path. This area is strictly protected as a national park.

Beauty of nature covered morning mist

Place: Oze National Park 尾瀬 国立公園, Gunma prefecture

Inn with hot spring: Onsen-goya 温泉小屋

Point: Oze is a national park in Gunma. There are  plenty of small and big ponds called Chito, 池塘 here. You can find unique plants in them. The entire park is likely  covered with morning mist in the early morning. That’s so amazing and fantastic.

You can see two big mountains from the Oze high marsh. Mt. Shibutsu 至仏山 (in this picture) and Hiuchgatake 燧ヶ岳.

Note: Oze has a famous spot to visit, so you can get a lot of information on some websites. Check them out!

High Rise Marsh in The Oze national park

3. Hidden Inn of Mt. Nasu隠れ家 / 那須岳

On the shoulder of Chaus-dake, you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring. 

A Typical Japanese Inn with an open-air bath

Place: Santogoya-onsen 三斗小屋温泉 in the Nasu mountain range 那須連山, Tochigi prefecture

Inn with hot spring: Tabakoya-ryokan 煙草屋旅館 with open air bath 露天風呂

Point: It’s a four-hour hike from the bus stop, but if you take the ropeway and skip the summit, you can get there faster and easier. It’s a two-hour hike. After walking through a forest, all of a sudden some typical Japanese style inns appear in front of you. Tabakoya-ryokan has an open air hot spring. You must feel relaxed among the beauty of nature. You all can use it for men and women at the same time only during nights. Let’s give it a shot!

There are two inns there. Both are nostalgic and typical Japanese inns, and their baths are hot springs. Tabakoya has an open-air one.

Note: It’s windy around here. I had an experience that I couldn’t reach there. The wind was too incredibly  strong for me to walk. I tried to crawl on the trail but I couldn’t make it. Check the weather in advance.

In autumn, there are amazing carpets of red leaves covering the entire mountain.

Hidden Inn of Mt. Nasu

Bonus information

These two are nice hotels below where you enjoy having a panoramic mountain view. It’s easy to approach these hotels by bus. If you want, you can enjoy hiking around starting from a hotel. They are more wonderful than you think for sure.

1. Ougatou Hotel in Utugushigahara美ヶ原 王ヶ頭ホテル

This is a luxury hotel. You can enjoy a breathtaking view from all rooms. Only this place here is no problem to visit in winter. A free shuttle bus runs from the Matsumoto Station all year round.

Ougatou Hotel in Utugushigahara
8964 Iriyamabe, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0222

2. Mikurigaike-onsen in Tateyamaみくりが池温泉

There is a wide and flat camping site in Raicho-zawa 雷鳥沢 surrounded by mountain ranges, which is near Mikurigaike-onsen. Here is like heaven. You must visit there someday.

Murododaira, Tateyama-cho, Nakaniikawa-gun, Toyama, 930-1414

How to get further information

If you are interested in these places I introduce here, you should try to get more information. They are all famous spots, so you can find more details on some websites about them easily. 

The way of searching:
 ”name of the place + hiking”  (ex. Tabakoyaryokan hiking)

Best season to visit

They are at a high altitude from the sea level, so there is a lot of snow in winter. The best seasons to visit are definitely summer and autumn. 

For me personally, I love Autumn. I’d never seen such beautiful panoramic views covered with red and yellow autumn leaves over the mountains until I started mountain climbing.

Anyway, I believe you’ll never get tired of going to mountains because you never see exactly the same scenery even if you go to the same mountains. You can have a different experience depending on the place, season,  weather, and the time of day.

(photo: Adatara-yama, Fukushima prefecture)


Let me give you some notes for hikers. They are important.

  • Some inns may not be open in winter.
  • Make sure to bring stuff with you; drink, food, lights, raincoat, hiking shoes, and a map. Warm wear must be brought even in summer.
  • Leave early and get back early.
(photo: Hohoh-sanzan, Yamanashi prefecture)

Thank you so much for reading this article. I have more mountains I would like to recommend to you. Mountains where you can see Mt. Fuji clearly from the summit. Mountains which you can reach by a ropeway and get magnificent views. More and more. I will update this blog with other themes someday.

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