Tsugaike Nature Park
A pristine natural paradise above the clouds, with spectacular views of the Northern Alps
The Tsugaike Nature Park is a specially protected nature preserve, located in a pristine subalpine environment at the foot of the Northern Alps. Lying within the bounds of the Chubu Sangaku (Central Mountain) National Park at an average elevation of more than 1,900 m, the area encompasses over 100 hectares of untouched wilderness made accessible by nearly 6 km of wooden boardwalk (80%) and dirt (20%) walking trails. A journey through the park takes you to numerous viewpoints and past various marshes, each characterized by the different colors and varieties of alpine flora that rule that particular section of the landscape. All the while the peaks of the Northern Alps, soaring 1,000 m directly above the Nature Park, complete the picture perfect backdrop for a memorable visit.
The progression of alpine plants that flower and flourish in this unique environment is beautifully synchronized with the seasons. All that grows here must be remarkably resilient to survive the harsh winter that sees accumulations of up to 6 m of snow. Yet as temperatures warm and daylight hours are slowly extended during the spring, pools of snowmelt water provide the necessary environment to foster the growth of the first plants to emerge; “Mizubasho”, or Asian Skunk Cabbage. These vast fields of white flowering Mizubasho that peak in June, herald the arrival of the summer “green” season. As the receding snows reveal more and more of the landscape, summer builds like a symphony of color, with hundreds of other alpine flora, including white cotton-grass, orange daylilies and purple irises blooming across the expanse of the park well into July and August.
Owing to the elevation of the Nature Park, temperatures here average a brisk 12°C cooler than those at sea level. Because of this fall arrives early, ushering in a wholesale transformation of the area yet again. This time, vibrant hues of reds, oranges and yellows sweep across the hills and drape the once green canopy in a warm autumnal blanket. The fall foliage peaks in late September and early October, before winter once again exerts its dominance and the cycle begins again.
|Season||From June 1st to October 31st|
Walking, Hiking & Trekking Routes in and Around the Tsugaike Nature Park
Click here to download the Nature Park map (PDF) (Japanese Only)
Walking & Hiking Routes in the Tsugaike Nature Park
*In order to explore the Nature Park, a minimum of four hours is recommended; including approximately 2 hours for the round trip on the Panorama Way.
1 km Walking Course[Park Entrance to the "Mizubasho" (Asian Skunk Cabbage) Marsh: Approximately 1 hour]
An easy and relaxing walk along an elevated wooden walkway, suitable for small children and the elderly. Visitors exploring this area will have opportunities to spot a variety of alpine flora, glimpse a small river fish known as Japanese Char in the crystal clear creek, feel the cool breeze of the highlands and be treated with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
2 km Walking Course[Park Entrance to the "Watasuge" (Cotton Grass) Marsh: Approximately 1.5 hours]
The “Watasuge” Marsh is located just beyond the “Mizubasho” Marsh. The marsh is characterized by its subalpine vegetation, with the beautiful and rare Paris japonica (known as “Kinugasaso” in Japanese) flowering in abundance in this area. There also is a mysterious rock formation featuring a gap from which refreshingly cool air continually escapes, so much so that snow in the immediate surroundings lingers well into the summer.
3 km Hiking Course[Park Entrance to the "Ukishima" (Floating Island) Marsh: Approximately 2.5 hours]
This area of the park lies beyond the “Watasuge” Marsh, and across the Kusu River from where the trail gradually becomes a little steeper. In spots you will leave the wooden walkway and travel on a dirt and rock trail, so it is best to come prepared with appropriate footwear when heading into the deeper recesses of the park. Day lilies dominate the landscape here in summer, while the vivid color changes of the foliage in autumn attracts many tourists.
Full (5.5 km) Hiking Course[Park Entrance to the "Tenbo" (Observation) Marsh: Approximately 4 hours]
If you have the time and energy, why not slow down and enjoy the entire park at a relaxing pace? The marsh located at the extreme end of the Nature Park features an observation platform, which offers a magnificent view of the large snowy valley of Mt. Shirouma, where snow remains year round. Look closely and you may even be able to see climbers shuffling up the snow, as the valley is a popular hiking route. Several other viewpoints, the fresh, clear spring water flowing from the “Ginmeisui water source and the opporunity to observe the small carnivorous sundew plants growing near the “Mosen” Pond are some of the additional highlights of making the full trip. A word of caution: there are no toilet or other facilities beyond those at the Kusu River.
Trekking Destinations & Distances Around the Tsugaike Nature Park
|Destinations (One-Way)||Time Required (Approx.)|
|“Hiyodori-mine” from the Nature Park||2 hours 30 minutes|
|“Tenguhara” from the Nature Park||1 hour 10 minutes|
|“Hakuba Oike” from “Tenguhara”||1 hour 50 minutes|
|“Kazafuki Oike” from “Tenguhara”||1 hour 50 minutes|
|“Renge Onsen” from “Hakuba Oike”||2 hours 10 minutes|
|Mt. Shirouma from “Hakuba Oike”||3 hours 20 minutes|
Access to Tsugaike Nature Park
|Fees for the Tsugaike Panorama Way||Adult||Child|
|Round-trip (Including gondola, ropeway + park entrance tickets)||¥3,700||¥2,100|
|One-way (Including gondola + ropeway tickets)||¥2,000||¥1,100|
|*Vehicle access to the Tsugaike Nature Park is not allowed, in the interest of wildlife conservation.
*Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.
*Prices for “children” are applicable for elementary school students or younger.
*50% off is available for those with disabilities; ID required.
*Pets are not allowed on the Panorama Way.
Tsugaike Panorama Way Details
Total Length: 5,320 m (Gondola + Ropeway)
|Details||Total length: 4,120m
Max capacity: 6 passengers per carriage
Transport capacity: 1,350 passengers per hour
|Ride time||20 minutes (one-way)|
|Operating section||Tsugaike Kogen Station –> Shirakaba Station –> Tsuga-no-mori Station|
|Details||Total length: 1,200 m
Max capacity: 71 passengers
Transport capacity: 720 passengers per hour
|Ride time||6 minutes (one-way)|
|Operating section||Tsuga-Daimon Station –> Nature Park Station|