The pristine natural landscapes along “Mitsuboshi Kaidou” Three-star Road are celebrated throughout Japan and are quickly becoming a destination for nature lovers throughout the world. The vast mountainous areas hold countless hiking trails for visitors of all ages and physical abilities, and some areas are strictly controlled to prevent environmental issues created by over-tourism. Take a three day journey into wild Japan and enjoy the fresh air and colors of nature, soaking in natural hot springs, and staying in mountain villages preserving Japan's ancient architecture and culture. Matsumoto is conveniently accessed from Tokyo, taking about 2 hours and half using the JR Limited Express Azusa train. Kanazawa is also conveniently accessed from Tokyo or Osaka/Kyoto by train. From Tokyo, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, which takes about 2 hours and half hours. From Osaka/Kyoto, take the Thunderbird Limited Express train, which takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Norikura Kogen is located at the southern end of Chubu Sangaku National Park in the Japan Northern Alps, a mountain range of 3,000-meter-high peaks. It is considered the best mountain resort area in Japan, stretching throughout the mountainous area of Matsumoto City. It was formed by the ancient eruption of Mt. Norikura, and the lava soil has created a rich environment for plant and animal life. The area hosts many outdoor activities such as trekking during the green season, fall colors, skiing on powder snow and soaking in hot springs with 4 different sources of water, so there is something to enjoy here year-round. One of the highlights of the summer green season is Ichinose Meadow, with its stunning scenery of beautiful ponds and wildflowers. It is a popular hiking spot that can be enjoyed by families due to its convenient access by bus and well maintained wooden paths.Detail
Kamikochi is a pristine mountain area located almost in the middle of the Northern Alps at an elevation of 1,500m. It is adored by a wide variety of travelers from mountaineering enthusiasts to families, as there are hiking courses suitable for beginners and children that can be easily enjoyed, as well as serious mountaineering treks rewarding serious hikers with breathtaking views. Enjoy every bit of magnificent nature during green season by trekking on Mt.Yake-dake, with its superb view of an emerald green crater lake, beautiful Taishoike Pond, and the mysterious atmosphere of Myojinike Pond. The symbolic Kappabashi Bridge is also the best spot for a panoramic view of the Hotaka mountain range.Detail
Shirahone Hot Spring is a famous hot springs located in a deep mountain valley, containing an abundant source of water and absolute tranquility. Although it is said to have more than 600 years of history, since the late 17th century the hot spring has been popular with visitors, as it is said that if you spend 3 days in the hot springs, you will never catch a cold. The milky white hot spring water contains a large amount of carbonic acid, feels as smooth as a silk, and its neutral acidity (slightly acidic) is very gentle on skin from small children to the elderly. After enjoying outdoor activities, enjoy a soak in one of the finest places to relax on the planet to revitalize your body.Detail
From the 1,800-meter Norikura Kogen, continue climbing toward the summit "Tatami Daira." Located at about 2,700 meters, discover a hiking spot called the "Treasure House of Alpine Plants," where 40 to 50 different kinds of flowers bloom. Additionally, you can take in many beautiful views such as Kiezugaike Pond, where the snow does not melt all year round, and Gongenike Pond, a mysterious volcanic lake.Detail
At the foot of Mt. Norikura is Norikura Sanroku Goshikigahara, a vast forest area of 3,000 hectares. It is a uniquely mystical forest created by the volcanic activity of Mt. Norikura. Majestic waterfalls, mountain streams, ponds, and wetlands can be seemingly found everywhere, and stunning vegetation can be seen close up on guided tours that are reserveration-only to protect the natural landscape.Detail
Shirakawa Village, famous for the UNESCO World Heritage recognized "Shirakawa-go" is an area where you can feel surrounded by nature in a landscape of iconic Japanese grass-roofed wooden houses.
TOYOTA Shirakawa-go Eco-Institute offers various nature experience activities, natural hot springs, French meals using carefully selected ingredients, and is highly recommended as an accommodation facility for enjoying the attractions of Shirakawa Village.Detail