The tour starts with a hike through a beautiful forest with several ponds. Highlights of the morning are discovering various types of wild plants/flowers as we walk along the hiking trail with a stop by Kagami-ike Lake. Here you can see the stunning view of Mt. Togakushi (1904M) reflected on the surface of the lake. The hiking path also passes by a scenic spot where you can enjoy a view of the Japanese Alps and the valley below.
After hiking for approximately 2 hours, it is time for an authentic Japanese lunch: Soba, or buckwheat noodles in English. It is a traditional dish for people in Nagano, and Togakushi especially is famous for the distinctive taste of their soba because of the region’s clean water used in the dish. Lunch comes with a side of tempura of shrimp and seasonal vegetables.
After lunch, you will take the bus to the entrance of Togakushi Okusha Shrine (upper shrine) where you will walk along the pilgrimage path. While the entire Togakushi area is regarded as a sacred place in Shintoism, Togakushi Okusha Shrine is the most important place within the region and the very end of pilgrimage. Approximately 300 cryptomeria trees are lined beautifully along the pilgrimage path. It is more than impressive enough to make visitors ponder about the sacredness of Japanese Shintoism.
After walking back from the Okusha Shrine, it is time for some recreation and learning at the Ninja Folklore Museum. At the museum, you not only learn about the history and techniques used by the Togakushi ninja, but also give escaping a ninja house filled with hidden doors and tricks a go.
Meet at Nagano station directly in front of the Shinkansen exit at the information board towards the East Exit.
Take the bus towards Togakushi.
Start the hike through the forest trail with several ponds and mountain views.
Eat lunch at a local soba restaurant
Take the bus to Togakushi Shrine and walk past the Japanese cedars.
Go to the Ninja House that also holds a Ninja Folklore Museum.
Go back by bus to Nagano Station.
Arrive back at Nagano Station.