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Mt. Norikura: Round Trip from Tatami-daira

Quick Summit of a 3,000 Meter Peak in the Japanese Alps.
  • Duration
    1Day / 3.5Hours
    Highest Point
    3026m
    Elevation Gain
    322m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level
Located at the southern edge of the Northern Japanese Alps, Mt. Norikura (Norikura-dake) consists of 23 peaks and is one of Japan's 100 most famous mountains. It has a variety of trails that can be enjoyed by everyone from beginners to advanced hikers. There's beautiful scenery whatever the season, with a variety of alpine plants blooming from the beginning of June to the middle of August and colorful foliage from around mid-September. The route described here will let you hike Kengamine, Mt. Norikura's main peak. You travel by bus to Tatami-daira at an elevation of 2,700 meters above sea level and reach the summit within four hours, all with an elevation gain of just 300 meters.

Start by following a well-maintained road bordered by alpine plants. A valley to the left keeps its snow until mid-August. Continuing through a stone pine belt, you'll reach Katano-koya mountain hut. There is a rest area in front, and you can have lunch inside.

The path continuing from there is gravel. Please take care while walking the gentle scree slope. The trail is demarcated with ropes, so it's easy to follow. As you proceed it gradually becomes steeper and covered with large igneous rocks. Once you pass the Norikuradake Chojo-koya shelter hut, you'll start the final ascent to the summit of Kengamine. There is a shrine with a torii gate at the top of the mountain, and you can get amulets and a shrine stamp there.

Mt. Norikura was formed by volcanic activity and a crater lake is visible from the summit. On clear days there's a great view that takes in peaks as spread out as Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san), Mt. Ontake (Ontake-san), and the Northern Japanese Alps.

Return via the same trail you ascended but be careful not to slip on the scree.

Other Info

The trailhead at Tatami-daira is a tourist area with a restaurant and souvenir shop. From there you can also do hikes that are shorter than the route up Kingamine, making it accessible to everyone. Simpler hikes include a walk around the area's flower gardens, Mt. Mao (Maoh-dake), and Mt. Fujimi (Fujimi-dake). Mt. Norikura has long been considered a sacred mountain, and there are shrines at Tatami-daira and the summit.

Norikura Highland on the Nagano Prefecture side of the mountain has plenty of hot spring fed accommodation. There are also lots of hot spring inns at Hirayu Onsen at the foot of the mountain on the Gifu Prefecture side.

Notes

Tatami-daira can only be accessed by shuttle bus due to restrictions on private vehicles. The Tatami-daira Shuttle Bus runs from Norikura Highland on the Nagano side and Hirayu Onsen on the Gifu side.

As the Kengamine summit is not so large, during crowded periods you might not want to linger too long.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
1Day / 3.5Hours
Highest Point
3026m(Mt. Norikura)
Elevation Gain
322m
Horizontal Distance
5Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping

Katano-koya

Eating

Tatami‐daira Bus Terminal

Hot-Springs

Norikura Kogen Onsen, Yukemuri-kan

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Access

This hike is at the southernmost part of the Northern Japanese Alps, on the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures. From Tokyo Station, take the JR Chuo Line and arrive at Shinjuku Station in approximately 15 minutes. Change there to a JR Chuo Line Tokyu express train and you'll arrive Matsumoto Station in roughly 2.5 hours - 3 hours.
From Matsumoto Station, take a Matsumoto Dentetsu train and get off at Shin-shimashima Station (final stop, approx. 30 minutes). From there, take an Alpico route bus to the Norikura Kogen Tourist Center (approx. 1 hour). From there, take the dedicated shuttle bus to the trailhead at Tatami-daira (approx. 1 hour).
There's also a dedicated shuttle bus to Tatami-daira from the Gifu Prefecture approach. You can take a direct bus from either Tokyo or Toyama to the Hirayu Bus Terminal and transfer to the shuttle bus for Tatami-daira. Or you can take a bus from the popular destination of Takayama, arriving at Hounoki-daira in 45 minutes. Tatami-daira is about 1 hour from Hirayu and 45 minutes from Hounoki-daira .

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