Summer in Nagoya is no longer a distant threat but a looming reality, and one that demands a meticulously laid heat-evacuation plan. But what to do and where to go? If you’re sick of sweating for no reason, perhaps a day hike or two is in order, and the very fit and friendly folk at the Chubu Hiking International Club (CHIC) have kindly supplied us with a list of their top trips in the Chubu region, to get you up into the cool mountain air. Let’s hiking!
Tsumago-Juku to Magome-Juku Trail
This trek is along the old Nakasendo postal road that was used during the Edo period for travel between Kyoto and Tokyo. Located in the Kiso Valley on the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures, this cobblestone path guides visitors through peaceful forests and past old Japanese houses, restored to their former appearance after having fallen under disrepair when the Chuo Line was built. This is an easy walk for beginners, and it’s about 8kms between Tsumago and Magome, which should take roughly 2-3 hours.
How to get there: Catch the JR Chuo Line to Nakatsugawa (70 minutes). Transfer to the bus bound for Magome (30 minutes).
Also in the Kiso Valley, this hike takes you to a waterfall and stunning creek with rocks for the foolhardy to dive off into the crystal-clear (and chilly) waters. Take care to check the return train times, as there’s a two hour wait between them. A leisurely walk which could take a few hours depending on how much time you want to spend swimming.
How to get there: Head to Nakatsugawa, then to Jyunikane by train.
Gozaisho-dake is in Mie prefecture, and the highest peak in the Suzuka range. You can challenge yourself and go on foot, but there’s also a ropeway that gets you part of the way from the onsen at the foot of the mountain. Once you hit the peak, you’re afforded stunning views of the surrounding area, which encompasses Lake Biwa, Ise Bay and the Japan Alps. It’s 1210 meters high, and a hike will take around 5 or 6 hours.
How to get there: Take the Kintetsu Line from Nagoya to Yunoyama Onsen Station (about an hour), and from there, catch the bus that takes you to the onsen at the base of Gozaisho.
Oda Nobunaga resided in Gifu Castle atop Mt Kinka, overlooking Gifu City’s Nagara River, and during the reconstruction in the 50s, volunteers trekked up the mountain carrying tiles as they did in the Kamakura Period when it was first constructed. There are a number of hiking paths to take to the summit, and a few strange attractions along the way, including an insect museum and squirrel village. You can also dine at the top overlooking Gifu in a 360° panoramic sweep. There’s a ropeway that can get you to the top in around 5 minutes, but a hike will take an hour.
How to get there: Head to Gifu JR or Meitetsu Station from Nagoya, and catch a Takatomi bus to the Gifu Park Historical Museum. Walk 3 minutes.
Tado is also a very famous shrine that hosts the Age-Uma festival every May. The area is beautiful, and there’s a place to swim, so you can cool off after your trek. Tado is about 400 meters high. The shrine complex is pretty cool – check out the ‘sacred’ horse they keep in the stables.
How to get there: Catch the Kintetsu Line to Kuwana, and change there to the Yoro Line. Get off at Tado – the shrine is a short walk from the station.
This mountain is the tallest in Shiga prefecture, at more than 1300 meters. It offers nice views over Lake Biwa, and an example of Japan’s sometimes self-destructive impulses – the side of the limestone mountain was scooped out by a cement company, leaving a noticeable indentation. Summer means wildflowers cover the face of the mountain, making it a colorful and pleasant walk (though it may take you a good half-day).
How to get there: Take the Tokaido Line to Omi-Nagaoka Station, and take a bus from there.
If you’d like to join CHIC on future hikes, or want more information on other great hikes in the area, you can check out their facebook page:
Chubu Hiking International Club: