page top


“Kazafuki Oike” Alpine Lake

The dark, still waters of Kazafuki Oike are encircled by deep forest with abundant wildlife and surrounded by several nearby peaks, namely: Mt. Yokomaekura, Mt. Kazafuki and Mt. Fusuburi. Four main routes access the lake, with the trailhead leaving from in front of the Tsugaike Nature Park leading hikers up past the summit of 1,944 m Mt. Fusuburi, and further along the ridge until the shiny reflection of Kazafuki Oike leaps into view. Descend to the lake and admire the stunning alpine flowers while taking in the panoramic views of the mountains further afield such as Mt. Yukikura and Mt. Takatsuma. To reach Kazafuki Oike via the trail from the Tsugaike Nature Park, allow approximately 3.5 to 4 hours each way. Locally available hiking maps list the alternative routes.

The Legend of Kazafuki Oike

Long, long ago, in the midst of a severe drought, a priest was summoned by local villagers to pray for much-needed rain. The priest was led to Kazafuki Oike, where he crossed a bridge over the lake to reach a large rock standing in the middle. There he prayed and prayed for rain, and just as his lengthy chants were completed, a giant snake appeared from the water and circled the big rock three times. Surprised, the priest hurriedly leaped back to shore, where he quickly fainted from fear. Almost immediately, heavy rain started to beat down on the quiet lake, which rapidly began to rise with the abundant rainfall. The priest was taken home and resuscitated once, but soon after passed away from shock and exertion.

Accessing Kazafuki Oike from the Tsugaike Nature Park
Tsugaike Nature Park 3.8km3hrs Mt. Fusuburi 2km1hr Kazafuki Oike

“Hakuba Oike” Alpine Lake

The large alpine lake of Hakuba Oike sits at an elevation of 2,379 m, not far below the peak of Mt.Hakuba Norikura. Its position roughly halfway along the main trekking route between the Tsugaike Nature Park and Mt. Shirouma, and the spectacular scenery of the lake and its surroundings make it a popular destination for hiking and camping. The trail to the lake climbs steadily from behind the Tsugaike Nature Park Visitor Center and passes the vast marshland known as Tenguhara, before a final steep, rocky climb to the huge cairn signifying Mt. Hakuba Norikura’s 2,450 m summit. The trail passes over the summit, and descends slightly to reach the lake in approximately 3 hours. A further 2 and a half hours trek from Hakuba Oike brings you to the top of Mt. Shirouma.

The Legend of Hakuba Oike

Hakuba Oike was worshipped by local inhabitants as a sacred place where the god of rain dwelled, until the end of the Meiji Period (early 20th Century). Venturing into the area surrounding the lake for leisure activities such as hiking was believed to irritate the god and trigger drought and famine. To prevent such ill fortune from befalling neighboring villages, local people crafted and perpetuated the legend of a half-dragon, half-human creature that resided around Tenguhara and would attack any and all travellers passing through.

Accessing Hakuba Oike from the Tsugaike Nature Park
Tsugaike Nature Park 1.8km80 min Tenguhara 1km60 min Mt. Hakuba Norikura 0.85km30 min Hakuba Oike