Section length: 12.4 kilometers; Time required: approx. 6 hours
The beech trees here have curved trunks from the great weight of snow pressing on them in winter; it can feel like a competition straddling them and trying to pass over them. This is the habitat of the Forest Green Tree Frog and Japanese black salamander, as well as the native habitat of the rare nabekura zazensoui plant. When the weather is good, the sea of Japan and even distant Sado Island can be seen from Maki Tōge pass.
The starting point of Section 4 and 5, the elevation is roughly 1,000 meters, making it the highest pass on the Shin-etsu Trail. At a crossing on prefectural road 95, there is parking space for about five cars.
The approach route on the Niigata side goes down toward Sugadaira and Kiyotaki in Jōetsu City. The Nagano side is undeveloped.
Parking space or about four cars is available just a short walk away on the Niigata side. It can be accessed from the Niigata side through the Maki ward of Jōetsu City, and from Tsuchikura district of Iiyama City on the Nagano side.
The midpoint between Maki Tōge pass and Utsunomata Tōge pass. The peak is 1,069 meters, and provides good views during the autumn colors. A cairn has been set up here memorializing Noriyoshi Kato, the man who laid down the foundation for the Shin-etsu Trail.
Accessible from the Karayama district of Iiyama City on the Nagano side. The approach route is through a quiet beech forest and is free of obstacles.