This route starts and finishes at Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort using the Tsugaike Panorama Way. From the base you take the 4.1km gondola “Eve” up to Tsuga-no-Mori Station, and then walk the short distance to the Tsugaike Rope-way, which takes you from Tsuga Daimon Station up to the Nature Park at the top.
From the top of the Rope-way there is a road that leads to the entrance of the Nature Park, and a couple of mountain huts for those looking to get an early start.
The trail head is located between the huts on the right. After a very short descent, the trail works it way up through the forest. There are a few glimpses of the hills to the east along the way, but you don’t really break the tree line until you get up to Tenguhara, about 75 minutes after starting out.
Tenguhara is a flat marsh land and a good spot to take a break and hydrate. The walk across the marshland is on wooden bridges. On the far side of the marsh is the steep rock climb up to Mt Norikura. This starts out as a track where you clamber over large rocks, but opens up to a large rock field where you jump from boulder to boulder.
Below the summit of Mt Norikura is also an ice field to traverse, but by summer it is only about 30 -40m wide. Above the ice field, the track flattens, and it is an easy walk to the marker the represents the highest point on this trek. From this summit point you’ll be able to see Hakuba Oike pond and the mountain hut at the far end.
Hakuba Oike Pond
The walk down to the hut is not steep, but as you are jumping from rock to rock, concentration is needed. At the hut you will find a small store selling drinks and snack, as well as a camping site. This is a good lunch spot.
The trek down follows the same route as the climb, but again it is important to get down before the lifts stop operating for the day or you are stuck. If wet, extra care is needed as the rocks do become slippery.
Start: 1,850 masl
Highest Point: 2,436 masl
Route: Tsugaike Nature Park – (1:20) – Tenguhara – (2:00) – Hakuba Ike Pond) – (1:30) – Tenguhara – (1:00) – Tsugaike Nature Park
Difficulty Level ★★★☆☆