Shin'etsu Trail

The symbiotic relationship between humans and nature

Nestled along the border between Nagano and Niigata prefectures, the Shin'etsu Trail follows the ridge of the Sekida mountain range at an average elevation of 1,000 meters, the first long-distance trail in Japan connecting small towns and villages in a network that allows hikers to visit local attractions.
The 80-kilometer trail passes through scenic old-growth forests of stunning beech trees interspersed with serene villages, allowing visitors to experience the culture and heritage of the Japanese countryside amongst the beautiful greenery. Divided into 6 sections that vary in height and distance, there are courses for everyone.

Section 1

This course runs from the peak of Mt. Madarao, overlooking stunning beauty of the Sekida mountain range, scenic lakes and majestic beech forests. It is suitable for beginning hikers.
You can also enjoy trail running at Madaro Kogen.

Mt. Madarao – Mansaka Pass – Mt. Hakama – Akaike Pond

Approx. 6 hours

Section 2

Section 2 crosses low hills before entering a forest of beech trees covered with marshland flowers such as Mizubasho and Nikko Kisuge that burst into blossom after the winter snow melts. In good weather, the hills near Lake Nozomi offer terrific views of the Sea of Japan in the distance.

Akaike Pond – Numanohara Marshland – Lake Nozomi –

Mt. Kenashi – Wakui Village

Approx. 5 hours

Section 3

This course will take you through historical trails that were traveled by merchants and armies alike. Mt. Kuroiwa is a natural monument interspersed with spectacular views of the protected ecosystem stretching out below.

Wakui Village (R292) – Tomikura Pass – Sobu Pond – Mt. Kuroiwa – Katsura Pond (Hiramaru Pass) – Hotokegamine Trailhead

Approx. 7 hours

Section 4 - 6

The trail ascends through natural beech forests and open fields complete with terrific views of unspoiled nature and native plants of Mt. Nabekura, home to a rich variety of migratory birds. In autumn, you will be rewarded with views of vibrantly colored leaves reflected in its waters. The steep ascents and descents here makes this trail a popular course for advanced hikers.

Hotokegamine Trailhead – Sekida Pass

Approx. 6 hours

Sekida Pass – Busuno Pass

Approx. 6 hours

Busuno Pass – Mt. Amamizu

Approx. 6 hours

Shin'etsu Shizenkyo Activity Center

Satoru Asano

You will be introduced to a wide range of culinary specialties, history and culture shaped by the heavy winter snowfalls in this area. The Shin'etsu Trail will take you not only to the summits, but also through the foothills, or satoyama, where you can enjoy expansive beech forests and the culture of the countryside. The Shin'etsu Shizenkyo Activity Center nearby provides a wealth of information and outdoor equipment for rent, and introduces English-speaking trekking guides that can explain the region's history and nature.