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Nagano's Tateshina Area: Top 6 Spots For Day-Tripping And Nature

Nagano's Tateshina Area: Top 6 Spots For Day-Tripping And Nature

Translated by Greg

Written by yukimoto

Nagano 2020.01.25 Bookmark

Nagano Prefecture's Tateshina is a scenic highland sitting at an altitude of 1,000 meters. Even if you aren't keen on driving, it's only two hours from Tokyo via the limited express train. Today, we'll introduce six spots to soak up Tateshina's nature—all accessible by bus from JR Chino Station.

Top 6 Sightseeing Spots in Tateshina

With its magnificent natural surroundings, Nagano Prefecture is an ideal destination for either a one night stay or a day trip from Tokyo.

Nagano also boasts many excellent hiking spots including Karuizawa and Kamikochi.

We especially recommend Tateshina Highlands. Two hours away from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo by limited express train, you can soak up nature on a day trip here from the city.

This article introduces six attractive spots within the Tateshina Highlands area that are accessible from JR Chino Station by bus. Fortunately, these destinations can also be easily enjoyed by those who don't drive or prefer not to travel by car.

Among these six locations, Mishaka Pond and the Yokoya Gorge Walking Trail (nestled in the Yokoya Gorge) alongside the Otome Falls and the Yokotani Kannon Observation Deck are all connected by nature trails. We recommend visiting these sites on the same trip.

1. Mishaka Pond

Mishaka Pond

Mishaka Pond is known for its highly acidic and transparent waters. In the still waters of the pond, you can see the reflection of the surrounding nature, which creates a mystical atmosphere.

From the seasonal color changes of the forest to the white snow in winter, the pond's mirror-like surface weaves a wondrous scene that enchants many visitors year-round.

Mishaka Pond's crystal clear waters were also the inspiration for the artwork "Green Echoes" (Midori Hibiku) by the famous Japanese painter, Kaii Higashiyama.

Mishaka Pond

Right near the entrance, vegetation is growing at the bottom of the pond. You can see the water and plants sparkling and glistening in the sunshine.

Access from JR Chino Station:
Board a bus (Oku-Tateshina Shibu no Yu Line) at the station and get off at Meiji Onsen Iriguchi (Mishaka Pond) bus stop. Then walk for about three minutes.

Mishaka Pond

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2. Yokoya Gorge Walking Trail

Yokoya Gorge Walking Trail

The Yokoya Gorge Walking Trail extends from Mishaka Pond to the Yokotani Kannon Observation Deck and Otome Falls.

Yokoya Gorge Walking Trail

On days when the weather is nice, the trail is illuminated by sunlight filtering through the trees. Enveloped by the forest, the air is filled with negative ions, so you'll feel very calm walking along this path.

There's also a river flowing alongside this trail. If you take a closer look, you'll see many unique features, including a moss-covered river bed and magnificent rocks.

3. Otome Falls

Otome Falls

Otome Falls vigorously carries a large volume of water. Its cascading waters come crashing down and land just a few meters away, packing a lot of power. The resulting spray is cool and refreshing when it touches your skin.

While the views of each season are exceptional, many come to see the falls surrounded by the beautiful autumn foliage.

Access from JR Chino Station:
Take a bus (Meruhen Kaido) at the station and get off at Yokoyakyo Iriguchi bus stop. Then walk for about 15 minutes.

Otome Falls

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4. Yokotani Kannon Observation Deck

Yokotani Kannon Observation Deck

From Yokotani Kannon Observation Deck, you'll get an all-encompassing view of the Yokoya Gorge. You can even spot the city of Chino far off in the distance. On clear days, the blue sky can be seen spreading out in all directions.

Access from JR Chino Station:
Board a bus (Meruhen Kaido) at the station and get off at Yokoya Kannon Iriguchi bus stop. Then walk for about 15 minutes.

Yokotani Kannon Observation Deck

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5. Tateshina Highland Art Forest Sculpture Park

Tateshina Highland Art Forest Sculpture Park

Tateshina Highland Art Forest Sculpture Park is a nature park located right next to Tateshina Lake.

There's a two-kilometer long walking path on the park grounds. From here, your eyes are treated to a variety of natural scenes, including moss-covered rocks and a large lake.

Dream by Seibo Kitamura

"Dream" by Seibo Kitamura (1970)

Amidst the beautiful natural surroundings, you can enjoy looking at more than 70 works of art by Japanese sculptors, including Seibo Kitamura. It takes about two hours to see the entire artwork.

There are also benches scattered throughout the park, which are convenient when you want to take a rest during your visit.

Access from JR Chino Station:
Board a bus (Kita Yatsugatake Ropeway Line) at the station and get off at Tateshinako-mae bus stop. Then walk for about five minutes.

*Tateshina Highland Art Forest Sculpture Park is open from 8:00 to 18:00.

Tateshina Highland Art Forest Sculpture Park

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museum

6. Tateshina Otaki Falls

Tateshina Otaki Falls

Despite its relatively short drop, Tateshina Otaki Falls is an impressive waterfall with a deep, large basin. It's a truly moving experience when you stand nearby and hear the roaring waters rushing by.

Tateshina Otaki Falls

Near the waterfall, there are moss-covered boulders—some even as large as two people. The highlight of this experience is the water rushing between the rocks, splashing up an endless whir of white-colored spray.

Tateshina Otaki Falls

The trail facing the waterfall, with its moss-covered stones and clusters of trees, emanates a fantasy-like appearance. This fall is situated right in the middle of pristine nature that has been untouched.

Tateshina Otaki Falls

Access from JR Chino Station:
Board a bus (Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway Line) at the station and get off at Pool Taira bus stop. Then walk for about 20 minutes.

Tateshina Otaki Falls

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Access

Chino Station is the starting point for sightseeing in the Tateshina Highlands area. Get to JR Chino Station from JR Shinjuku Station via a limited express train. It takes about two hours and costs 5,000 yen one-way.

The most convenient transportation method is by bus when traveling around Tateshina Highlands.

To access Mishaka Pond and Otome Falls, the buses (Okutateshina Shibu no Yu Line or Meruhen Kaido Bus) depart three times daily from Chino Station. The Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway bus line will take you to Tateshina Highland Art Forest Sculpture Park and Tateshina Otaki Falls, departing more than five times a day from Chino Station.

Please refer to the official bus schedule (Japanese only) for more information.

Just one visit to Nagano's Tateshina area will undoubtedly leave you impressed by the spectacular and colorful natural surroundings. How about taking a short break from Tokyo and venturing out this way for a visit?

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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