Shin-etsu Trail

Section Introduction


Wakui – Tomikura Tōge pass – Sobu no Ike pond – Katsura Ike pond – Mt. Hotoke ga Mine Trailhead

Section length: 12.7 kilometers Time required: approx. 6 hours

Section highlights

This section is full of highpoints, including historical sites such as Tomikura Tōge pass and the ruins of Taishojin; Mt. Kuroiwa, a beautiful nature feature and itself a designated natural monument; Katsura Ike pond with beautiful autumn leaves, and more. There are portions of ongoing travel through the forest, but also changing areas of beech and cedar forests and wetlands. There is a small, roofed shelter on Mt. Kuroiwa that offers not only a good spot for a break, but a sweeping view of the Iiyama basin and Chikuma River.

  • 駐車場
Highway 292 to Iiyama City, Myoko City
Tomikura Tōge pass
Taishojin Ato ruins
Sobu no Ike pond
Beautiful autumn colors
Nakajo village, Sekiya village
Long forest trail
Mt. Kuroiwa <911m>
Covered pavilion, good lunch spot. Overview of Iiyama Basin
Taro Shimizu spring (note that this may go dry in summer)
Katsura Ike pond
  • 駐車場
  • トイレ
  • テント
Highway 411 to Iiyama City, Myoko City
Kitafuru Ike pond
  • 駐車場
Sugi (cryptomeria) forest
Hotoke ga Mine Tozanguchi (trailhead)
Walk across ski area
Walk across ski area

Key points

point1 This section is a treasure trove of flora and fauna—but take only your memories back with you!

point2 A long forest segment extends from Wakui to Mt. Kuroiwa. Going north from Wakui is a long, gentle climb, so be sure to take frequent breaks. The portion from Mt. Kuroiwa to the Mt. Hotoke ga Mine trailhead has many tough ups and downs.

point3 There are few places to get water along this section, so be sure to bring plenty pf water. Taro Shimizu (a spring near Katsura Ike pond) may go dry in summer.

point4 Large quantities of snow may remain on the portion of the Trail from Mt. Kuroiwa and Mt. Hotoke ga Mine trailhead, and the course may be unclear. You may have to traverse across the snow; carry a map and mountain equipment for the snow, and walk carefully!



The starting point for Section 2 and 3 is located on highway 292, and can be accessed by car.

Sobu no Ike pond

Access from the Nagano side is possible, but the approach is often in poor condition and should be avoided when making plans.

Katsura Ike pond

Access is possible from both the Nagano and Niigata sides. A toilet is available at the Katsura Ike tent site.


Accessible by car from Togari Onsen. Tent site is available. In the same area is the Togari Onsen Hoshifuru (Starry) campground; the facility’s toilet may be used. From here, walk 30 minutes on the ski area to the Hotoke ga Mine trailhead.

  • Tent site
  • Accommodations

on the trail, within walking distance of the trail

  • Katsura Ike pond
  • Tondaira

Note: In the Tondaira area, the Togari Onsen Hoshifuru (Starry) campground is also available.

off-trail accommodations

  • Shinano-daira
  • Madarao Kōgen
  • Togari Onsen
  • Nozawa Onsen
  • Kijimadaira
  • jōetsu city

information on the trail and nearby facilities