Mt. Takazuma (高妻山）
Mt. Takazuma, the tallest peak in the Togakushi (戸隠) range, offers amazing views of Mt. Myoko and the Northern Alps. It’s also one of the only peaks in Japan where cattle can be seen grazing in the foothills.
From the bus stop, walk past the campground and through the cow pasture. The trail follows a small mountain stream and then climbs steeply up to the mountain ridge, where you will find an emergency hut in fairly good condition. It should take about 1-1/2 to 2 hours to reach this hut. From there, turn right and head toward Mt. Gojizo (五地蔵岳). The pyramid-shaped peak of Takazuma will come into view on your left. Follow the trail for about 40 minutes until you reach 八丁ダルミ。There is a lot of up and down before reaching this point. Takazuma will be directly in front of you, and it’s a steep, relentless climb for about an hour, but you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views. Bring a lunch and your camera. The top is very rocky but there are lots of places to sit and enjoy the scenery before going back the way you came. The entire hike should take between 6 and 8 hours.
When to go: I went in May and there was still lots of snow, so bring an ice axe and crampons. All of the snow usually melts by late June, and the fall colors are also beautiful. The first snow usually comes in early November.
Access: Take a Togakushi bound bus from Nagano station and get off at Togokushikyampujo (戸隠キャンプ場）The bus takes about an hour and the first one leaves Nagano at 7:00AM. (Nicely timed for the night buses from Osaka and Tokyo) Click here for the bus schedule.
Map: Click here
Level of difficulty: 4 out of 5 (elevation change: 1183m)