Chigo-Ike Hike & Access Road

Chigoike Hike Okushiga Kogen Mountain Nagano Japan

Hiking season in Shiga Kogen (Shiga Highlands in english) lasts from late May to early November. In this post, we are covering a trek that starts at the bottom of our hotel, the Okushiga Kogen Hotel, located at the very top of Shiga Kogen Highlands in Nagano, Japan.

Today we went on a neat, only-in-japan, excursion. Where else can you go on a trail that ends with a shinto monument overlooking a lake! The Chigo-Ike (translates to Chigo Lake) trail is a difficult, 2 hour hike, that starts at the bottom of Okushiga Mountain – you gain 500 meters in elevation, starting at 1500 m and ending at 2000 m. The trail goes straight up, pretty much the entire time, but the view at the top makes it worth it. I’m serious. The lake, or Chigo-Ike, at the top is part of a National Preserve and can’t be developed, so when you’re up there, you feel like you’re in another world. If you’re not in great shape or don’t feel like walking all the way up, you can also drive up to the summit.

Okushiga Kogen Hotel in Nagano Japan

Starting from the Okushiga Kogen Hotel, walk straight up to the trailhead past the first chairlift.

Okushiga Kogen Hotel Treehouse in Nagano Japan

Take a slight detour and walk to your right to see this awesome treehouse!

Chigo-Ike Hike Okushiga Kogen Hotel Nagano Japan

Go back to the trailhead and follow the path marked off with green rope.

Okushiga Kogen Mountain Chigo-Ike Trail

You may see some cars driving up, too, but it’s usually a quiet area

Okushiga Kogen Mountain Chigo-Ike Trail

Today, though, we opted for a workout and decide to walk up! Follow the green rope until you hit the gravel road.

Okushiga Kogen Mountain Chigo-Ike Trail

From this point on, you’ll be walking straight up on the paved road. In the winter, these are part of the ski slopes.

Okushiga Kogen Mountain Chigo-Ike Trail Butterflies

Okushiga Kogen Mountain Chigo-Ike Trail Butterflies

On the way, you’ll see some incredible butterflies – they were flying everywhere today!

Okushiga Kogen Mountain Chigo-Ike Trail

At about the halfway point, you’ll be met with this view. Can you spot the hotel?

http://www.okushiga-kougen.com/en/

http://www.okushiga-kougen.com/en/

Walk all the way up, past the chairlift and gondola points that you’ll see on your path. When you’re almost to the top, you’ll see some wooden stairs. Go up these stairs – they’ll take you to the Chigo-Ike summit.

http://www.okushiga-kougen.com/en/

At the top, you’ll see this sign pointing into the woods. Follow it.

Okushiga Kogen Hotel Chigo-Ike Trail

Almost there.

Chigoike Hike Okushiga Kogen Mountain Nagano Japan

Okushiga Kogen Hotel Chigo-Ike Trail

Wow. No words. We stopped here and sat for about 20 minutes. The silence, coupled with this view, really took our breath away.

Okushiga Kogen Hotel Chigo-Ike Trail

Follow the wooden boards back out the to the main trail and go back from where you came, back down the mountain!

Chigoike Hike Okushiga Kogen Mountain Nagano Japan

Now, its time to kick back on the terrace for lunch! Pretty cool view, right?

Overall, this trail was pretty neat. Even though you’re walking up paved roads, which the traditional hiker (including us) doesn’t love to do, the views at the top and along the way make up for it. We would recommend that anyone who isn’t in great shape take the car up to the summit – the hotel would gladly arrange any trips up for you. For those who want to walk, happy hiking!

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