Mt. Norikura 乗鞍岳
A holy mountain that draws hikers, pilgrims and summer skiers from all over Japan
The third-highest peak in the Northern Japan Alps, Mt. Norikura is both a major hiking destination and famous for its summer skiing.
How to Get There
Mt. Norikura is closed to private vehicles, so buses, taxis or bicycles are your only options. The road is closed from November to May or June with the exact dates depending on weather and which prefecture you are traveling from.
From Nagano Prefecture buses leave the Kanko Center in Norikura Kogen every one to two hours. The ride takes 50 minutes.
The great outdoors
Straddling the frontier between Gifu and Nagano , Mt. Norikura is an essential part of any visit to the Okuhida area. There are three main reasons for visiting: leisurely strolling, serious hiking, or summer skiing.
A 30-minute stroll will take you to the Katanogoya mountain hut. From there, the trail leads to Kengamine Peak, about an hour's walk.
The view along the way is spectacular. Vivid wildflowers shift tones throughout the season, and the autumn leaves spread across the Okuhida area are rightly famous.
Feed your mind and body
Other beautiful sights include Ushidomeike, a large pond formed when Norikura last erupted, and Zengoro Falls. If visiting nearby Shirahone Onsen, try the spring water which is said to be good for the digestion.
The hills are alive
For those wanting a more in-depth tour of the mountains here, the trails continue on down to Norikura Kogen on the Nagano side. Even in the height of summer, the weather up here can change in a matter of minutes; cold-weather gear and proper climbing boots are a necessity.
With the road closed in winter, skiing on Mt. Norikura then isn't an option, but the mountain is high enough that snow remains throughout the summer. There's decent traffic in thrillseekers hiking up and sliding down comes to the mountain every summer—and the skiing is free. There are ski chalets in the area.