Nasu Mountain Range
The Nasu Mountain Range (Nasu-renzan) refers to the mountains straddling the border between Tochigi Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture at the southern tip of the Nasu Volcanic Belt. The mountains are part of Nikko National Park.
The main hiking destinations in the Nasu Mountain Range are Mt. Chausu (Chausu-dake), which billows volcanic gases, Mt. Asahi (Asahi-dake), with its sharp rocky peak, and Mt. Sanbonyari (Sanbonyari-dake), the highest peak in the range. Despite being a 1900-meter-class mountain range, it is possible to hike the range with little elevation gain thanks to the Nasu Ropeway and the Nasu Gondola.
The ridgeline offers good views as it is largely comprised of rocky sections and shrubs zones. Hikers can enjoy a variety of different scenery each season. This includes minezakura (Japanese alpine cherry), shakunage (rhododendron), and other flowers from May to June as well as autumn foliage from September to October.
There are also many scenic spots up and down the sides of the mountains and in the highlands at their feet. A variety of tsutsuji (azalea) bloom in May at Nasu Hachiman. Shiroyashio (Rhododendron quinquefolium) bloom from May to June at the top of the Nasu Gondola. Nikkokisuge (Nikko day lily) bloom in July at Numappara Moor. The fall foliage and Mt. Chausu are beautifully reflected in the ponds of Ubagadaira in October. The spots are popular hiking destinations in their own right.
Due to high volcanic activity the area is blessed with many hot springs. This includes many charming and historic hot springs at the feet of the mountains that been around since the 11th to 17th centuries. This includes Santo-goya Onsen (Japanese-style hotel) on the west side of the Nasu Mountain Range, which can only be accessed on foot by walking, as well as Kita Onsen Ryokan , Omaru Onsen, and Itamuro Onsen.
In addition to hiking, the Nasu Highlands also make a great sightseeing destination thanks to the many tourist attractions, which includes tourist ranches, zoos, art museums, and more.