NORIKURA

Stunning scenery surrounded by the gallant figure of the
Northern Japan Alps

Enjoy the ever-changing scenery from the Highlands expanding at an altitude of 1,500m to the 3,026m summit.

Norikura is roughly divided into the Norikura Highlands (or "Kogen") area that expands at an altitude of about 1,500m, and the summit area which lies at the center of the mountain top (“Tatamidaira”) at an altitude of about 2,700m.

The Highlands area is dotted with many hot springs, grasslands and waterfalls. Travel to the summit area by taking a bus from the Norikura Kogen Tourist Center. On your way to the top, you'll be passing a bus stop named "Elevation 2,716m" which is the highest bus stop in Japan. If you travel a little further from the flower fields, you can climb Mt. Kengamine and enjoy a spectacular view of the Northern Japan Alps.

The Area

Where to Visit
Early
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter
01Norikura Snow Wall
From late April to June, this stunning corridor of snow opens up for visitors to walk or take a bus ride (no private cars allowed) through and admire the towering walls, which can be up to 10~12 meters high. On a sunny day, you can also get a panoramic view of the mountain ranges in the distance.
02Asian Skunk-cabbages Viewing
During the late spring of Norikura Highlands, you can see many Asian skunk-cabbages which begin blooming as the snow starts to melt, growing across various places within the Highlands from the end of April to the middle of May.
The best places to view these flowers are at Dojo Pond, Maime Pond, and besides the wooden path leading to Ushidome Pond.
01Trekking / Walking
About a 50-minute bus ride away, Tatamidaira is the starting point for climbing Mt. Norikura. If you climb up from there for about 300 meters, you can go to Mt. Kengamine - the main peak of Mt. Norikura that lies at an altitude of 3,026m. The expansive scenery with its 360 degrees panoramic view is simply magnificent. Norikura is popular as a mountain that you can climb at your own leisure. There are also several summits that can even be climbed with sneakers such as Mt. Mao, Mt. Daikoku and Mt. Fujimi and will take about 15~30 minutes one way.
02Alpine Flower Field
The flower fields are about a 5-minute walk going down from the last bus stop N-42 Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira). It takes about 30 minutes to go around the fields on an easy to walk on wooden path. While plants will recover from having been stepped on, this takes a long time, so please do not deviate from the wooden path. The sight of flowers blooming across the surface from the middle of July to the beginning of August is amazing and definitely considered a treasure of alpine plants.
03Sunrise Viewing Bus (Goraiko Bus)
Even if you are not typically an early-bird, it's worth getting up early to see the sunrise at Mt. Norikura. Catching a view of the sunlight coming through the sea of clouds surrounding the impressive Japan Alps is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From July to September, the special "Goraiko Bus" (or Sunrise Viewing Bus) runs between Norikura Highlands and the sunrise viewing location.
04Norikura Star and Moon Restaurant
A restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious outdoor dinner in the middle of Norikura's nature that uses Nagano's tasty sake and fresh local produce and includes a Shinshu premium beef tomato sukishabu hot pot. Due to the few light sources in Norikura, when it gets dark and the weather is clear, moonlight and twinkling stars will fill the night sky and you can actually see the Milky Way clearly with the naked eye.
05Waterfalls and Ponds
Norikura Highlands has many waterfalls and ponds that flow from Mt. Norikura. It is recommended to trek or walk to Sanbon Falls, which has been selected as one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls, or to Zengoro Falls, where you can see a rainbow on the waterfall in the morning. In addition to that, you have the beautiful Ushidome Pond and Dojo Pond, on whose surface you can see the inverted reflection of Mt. Norikura. In summer, experience the nature around you fully by walking through the forest and combining this with the powerful waterfalls and calm, serene ponds.
06Cycling
There are several cycling roads within Norikura Highlands, and you can rent a bike and ride along them if you'd like to. From regular bicycles to mountain bikes, get a bike that fits your level and enjoy the courses at your own leisure. Of course, you can choose to either just rent a bike, or you can choose to participate in one of the guided tours where they show you the best spots in Norikura.
01Big Maple Tree
This tree, well-known by its nickname "The Big Maple", stands out from its yellow-colored surroundings, even amongst the many other maple trees that are planted within Norikura Highlands. Due to its location in a place in the back of the Ichinose area where you can get a wonderful view of Mt. Norikura, it makes for the perfect photo spot and many photographers come to visit it during the autumn foliage season. The peak of this season overlaps with the time that the first snow starts to settle on Mt. Norikura and is the perfect chance to enjoy the beautiful three-tiered autumn scenery.
02Autumn Foliages on Echo Line
As the shuttle bus from Norikura Kogen Tourist Center to Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) runs along the Norikura Echo Line, you can gaze out over the three-tiered autumn scenery from the window. While you are able to enjoy the autumn leaves sufficiently just by looking out the window because of the brightly-colored autumn leaves that catch your eye at every turn, it is also recommended to get off at the bus stop N-40 Daisekkei / Path to Katanokoya, take some time photographing at Kuraigahara while you walk down the mountain and then get back on the bus going down from bus stop N-38 Kuraigahara Sanso.
03Trekking / Walking
About a 50-minute bus ride away, Tatamidaira is the starting point for climbing Mt. Norikura. If you climb up from there for about 300 meters, you can go to Mt. Kengamine - the main peak of Mt. Norikura that lies at an altitude of 3,026m. The expansive scenery with its 360 degrees panoramic view is simply magnificent. Norikura is popular as a mountain that you can climb at your own leisure. There are also several summits that can even be climbed with sneakers such as Mt. Mao, Mt. Daikoku and Mt. Fujimi and will take about 15~30 minutes one way.
04Norikura Star and Moon Restaurant
A restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious outdoor dinner in the middle of Norikura's nature that uses Nagano's tasty sake and fresh local produce and includes a Shinshu premium beef tomato sukishabu hot pot. Due to the few light sources in Norikura, when it gets dark and the weather is clear, moonlight and twinkling stars will fill the night sky and you can actually see the Milky Way clearly with the naked eye.
05Waterfalls and Ponds
Norikura Highlands has many waterfalls and ponds that flow from Mt. Norikura. It is recommended to trek or walk from Sanbon Falls, which has been selected as one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls, to Zengoro Falls, where you can see a rainbow on the waterfall in the morning. In addition to that, you have the beautiful Ushidome Pond and Dojo Pond, where you can see the inverted reflection of Mt. Norikura. In autumn, you can enjoy trekking/walking along the waterfalls and ponds among the green, yellow and red-colored forest.
06Cycling
There are several cycling roads within Norikura Highlands, and you can rent a bike and ride along them if you'd like to. From regular bicycles to mountain bikes, get a bike that fits your level and enjoy the courses at your own leisure. Of course, you can choose to either just rent a bike, or you can choose to participate in one of the guided tours where they show you the best spots in Norikura.
01Snowshoeing
Norikura is the perfect place to enjoy snowshoeing. You can rent snowshoes from the lodges around Norikura Highlands and some facilities offer guided tours as well. The most remarkable viewpoints include the Zengoro Falls that turns into a beautiful sculpture of ice, and the completely frozen Ushidome Pond which allows you to walk across its surface.
02Norikura Snow and Ice EV Snack
"Norikura Snow and Ice EV Snack" is a program where you can enjoy eating and drinking inside a tent set up on top of the snow in the area around Norikura Kogen Tourist Center which lies at an altitude of about 1,500m. Get a taste of local sake such as "Daisekkei" and "Mars Whiskey Shinshu", and try local snacks such as "3 types of oyaki" and "Norikura's landlady's special oden" inside a large tent of about 40㎡ with a magical atmosphere, which is lit by using the power source of electric vehicles.
03Mt. Norikura Snow Resort
Mt. Norikura Snow Resort has a total of 8 lifts and 20 courses for beginners to advanced users to choose from. Also, because all kinds of rental items are available, you can come here without bringing anything. Visitors with children can enjoy playing safely in the snow with their kids in the special children’s park "Norikura Land". Be sure to combine this with a visit to the hot springs to enjoy this very special trip.

Transport Routes (Early Spring)Transport Routes (Summer)Transport Routes (Autumn)Transport Routes (Winter)

Timetables and Reservations

1
Tokyo
Matsumoto
2
Kyoto/Osaka
Matsumoto
3
Nagoya
Matsumoto
4
Matsumoto
Norikura Kogen Tourist
Center/Ski Resort
4
Matsumoto
Norikura Kogen
Tourist Center
4
Matsumoto
Norikura Kogen
Tourist Center
5
Norikura Kogen
Tourist Center
Daisekkei/Path to
Katanokoya
(Snow Wall Bus)
5
Norikura Kogen
Tourist Center
Elevation 2,716 m
(Sunrise Viewing Bus)
5
Norikura Kogen
Tourist Center
Mt. Norikura
(Tatamidaira)
6
Norikura Kogen
Tourist Center
Mt. Norikura
(Tatamidaira)
Bus Schedule
*The Snow Wall Bus (Haruyama) is scheduled to operate from the end of April to June 30. The road from N-40 Daisekkei/Path to Katanokoya to N-42 Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) is closed until June 30. Walking on the roadway to N-42 Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) from the Nagano side is prohibited. For the operation dates, please check the timetable page of the Snow Wall Bus.
*The road to Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) is closed from November 1 until the end of April when the Snow Wall Bus (Haruyama) will start running again. For the operation dates, please check the timetable page of the Snow Wall Bus.
*The road to Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) is closed from November 1 until the end of April when the Snow Wall Bus (Haruyama) will start running again. For the operation dates, please check the timetable page of the Snow Wall Bus.
*The road to Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) is closed from November 1 until the end of April when the Snow Wall Bus (Haruyama) will start running again. For the operation dates, please check the timetable page of the Snow Wall Bus.

Q & A

Can I go to Norikura by car?

You can get to Norikura Highlands by car, but cars have been restricted from entering from Norikura Highlands' bus stop N-35 Sanbondaki to the summit, so please use the bus.

Can I travel to the summit of Norikura all year round?

From Nagano Pref., you can enter the mountain area between July 1 until October 31, and from Gifu Pref., you can do so from the middle of May until the end of October. However, due to bad weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind, fog or frost, it may be decided to close the road to traffic.

When is the best time to see the Snow Corridor?

The bus going to the Snow Corridor (Haruyama Bus) is scheduled to operate from the end of April until the end of May (runs until N-38 Kuraigahara Sanso) and from the end of May until June 30 (runs until N-40 Daisekkei / Path to Katanokoya).
The best time to see the Snow Corridor would be at the end of May when you can travel to bus stop N-40 Daisekkei / Path to Katanokoya. Click here for more information on how to best enjoy Norikura's Snow Corridor.

Does the bus to the Snow Corridor (Haruyama Bus) also go to the summit?

No. Depending on the period, the Haruyama bus may only go to bus stop N-38 Kuraigahara Sanso or N-40 Daisekkei / Path to Katanokoya. The road from there on is closed. From Nagano Pref., the bus to the Norikura summit area runs from July 1.

Are there any hot springs in Norikura?

There are no hot spring facilities for day visits around the Norikura summit area, but there is a day visit hot spring facility called "Yukemuri-kan" near the Norikura Kogen Tourist Center.

Can I make a reservation for buses within the Norikura area?

Reservations are not possible on any of the Norikura-bound buses. Boarding will be done on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is there anything I should know before going to Norikura?

Depending on the season, the things to see as well as the bus schedule in Norikura differ, so please check those beforehand. Also, please keep in mind that there are no ATMs or convenience stores within Norikura.

Is there any place to eat in Norikura?

Yes. There are some restaurants and shops in the Mt. Norikura (Tatamidaira) area. There are also many cafeterias, restaurants and cafes in Norikura Highlands.

Is there an English-speaking guided tour available?

Guesthouse Raicho and NORTHSTAR Alpine Lodge offer English-speaking guided tours such as snowshoeing and cycling tours.

Please tell me how to get from Norikura to Kamikochi.
What is the mountain climbing grade in Norikura? I'm not really looking to climb actual mountains, so are there any easy trekking courses?

Mt. Norikura is popular as one of the (3000m class) mountains in Japan where you can easily reach the summit. As you can already go to an altitude of 2,702m by bus, it will only take about 90 minutes one way to Norikura's highest peak Mt. Kengamine (3,026m). There are also mountain climbing courses of about 15~30 minutes one way, so women and even children can be relatively at ease and fully enjoy mountain climbing.

Besides that, there are also plenty of courses along the flower fields of Mt. Norikura’s summit area, and the waterfalls and ponds of Norikura Highlands where you can sufficiently enjoy trekking or walking, even with just regular sneakers on.