In the northern corner of Tochigi lies the Nasu Highlands, a quiet mountainous area that is the perfect getaway from the bustle of Tokyo. At the center of the area is Mt. Nasu, actually a cluster of volcanic mountains that is home to some of the region's premier hot springs. When you're finished at the hot springs, enjoy the natural beauty of Mt. Nasu on one of its many hiking trails.
The JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station will get you to Nasushiobara Station in 70 minutes. From Nasushiobara Station, you can use local buses to access various destinations in the Nasu area.
The Nasu area boasts some of the most beautiful forests in the Kanto region. Hiking trails lead you to various waterfalls on Mt. Nasu. Suspension bridges on the lower slopes of the mountain provide an easy way to enjoy the natural scenery. During the fall season, the slopes of Mt. Nasu put on an impressive display of autumn colors.
Nasu is a popular hiking destination, with trails for all experience levels. A ropeway ride followed by a 45-minute hike takes you to the summit of Mt. Nasu. If you're up to the challenge, you can climb Asahi or Chausa peak to see spectacular views of Nikko National Park.
Nasu is known all over Japan for its hot springs. The two most famous hot spring destinations are the Nasu Onsen and Shiobara Onsen villages. Both villages offer an array of premier onsen with stunning mountain views.
The Nasu area produces large amounts of dairy, second only to Hokkaido. Cheese Garden Gohokan is a popular shop and café known for its dairy products. Be sure to try the famous soft-serve ice cream and the special cheesecake.
Nasu Kogen Beer's brewery has put Nasu on the map for craft beers. The brewery was founded by a furniture making family in 1996 who learned their brewing techniques in Germany. Every year at the end of September, a beer festival is held at the brewery. Microbreweries are hard to come by in Japan, so this is a must-visit for any beer enthusiast.
Hunter Mountain Shiobara is a ski area located on the western slopes of Mt. Takahara. From the top of the slopes you get a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains of northern Tochigi. There are slopes for all experience levels and play areas for children. The resort is open all year but the winter sports season is from December to April.