Hike One of Japan's Signature Long-Distance Trails

Admire majestic beech trees and charming villages in a multi-day trek of scenic Nagano

The Shinetsu Trail opened in 2008 as one of Japan's first long-distance hiking trails, modeled after the Appalachian Trail in the United States. Walk the 80-km path, which connects the borders of Nagano and Niigata Prefectures, taking in the sights of charming mountain villages where you can sojourn and soak up the local culture. The trail runs deep through a beech forest at an average elevation of around 1000 meters, offering impressive views of the Sea of Japan below with the northern Alps rising majestically in the distance.

The best seasons for hiking are during the spring, when lush greenery sprouts forth and in the autumn when the foliage is at its peak. It takes a full six days and five nights to hike the full course staying in accommodations, or five days and four nights with a tent. If your time is limited, there are also options to hike a smaller segment of the trail in a one-day or overnight trip.

The Shinetsu Trail is accessible from Iiyama Station in Nagano, less than two hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train. From here, take a taxi or bus to the trail, or rent a car and enjoy trekking as you see fit. It's a destination no serious hiker in Japan will want to miss.

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