Mount Norikuradake – A trip at 2,700 m above sea level
Mount Norikuradake (乗鞍 岳, Norikuradake) is a volcanic mountain 3026 meters high located along the border between prefectures of Nagano and Gifu. Considered one of Japan’s most famous mountains, it is the third highest peak in the Northern Alps of Japan.
To many a destination for good walks and ease to climb adventure thanks to the buses that run almost to the dome. Located near Kamikochi, the mountain and highlands of Norikura Kogen, are located at its base, together with the Ushidome-ike Lagoon, formed by a volcanic eruption which is surrounded by evergreen trees and its surface reflects its green leaves and the 23 peaks of Mount Norikura. At the peak of the mountain, a plateau surrounded by white birches, plums and wide trees. Fountains with natural drinking hot water said to be a tonic for various ailments, wide scenic spots with beautiful mountain scenery, lush forests, cascading waterfalls and attractive hiking trails a few of the many things you will get to experience in this magical place.
Season and popularity
Mount Norikuradake is a popular spot of autumn colors and one of the first places in the country to see the change happening. Alpine plants around the highest elevations usually change in mid-September, with their peak at the end of the month. The season lasts until October, while the colors slowly approach Norikura Kogen. The elevation also allows the winter snowfields to stay on the slopes until the summer, luring avid skiers after most other places dry out.
From Tokyo: 2h 40 minutes from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to Matsumoto Station by JR Chuo Line (limited express Azusa) and 30 minutes from Matsumoto to Shin-Shimashima Station by the Matsumoto line Dentetsu Kamikochi. 50 minutes from Shin-Shimashima station to Kanko Center, or 55 minutes from Shin-Shimashima station to Shirahone-onsen by bus.
By bus from Norikura Kogen (side of Nagano) (how to get to Norikura Kogen):
From July to October, buses depart every 1-2 hours from the bus stop of the Kanko Center (観光 セ ン タ ー 前) in Norikura Kogen to the Norikura Bus Terminal near the dome (50 minutes, ¥ 1450 one way and ¥ 2500 round trip). Alternatively, you can take a taxi to the mountain which takes about 45 minutes, costing about ¥ 9000 one way).
By bus from Takayama (side of Gifu) (how to get to Nakayama):
In mid-May to October, buses depart every 1-2 hours from Hirayu Onsen through the Honokidaira parking lot to the Norikura bus terminal, near the summit (1 hour, ¥ 1420 one way, ¥ 2,300 round trip). Alternatively you can take a taxi to the mountain (1 hour, about ¥ 8000 one way). Hirayu Onsen can be reached in one hour by ¥ 1570 from Takayama by Nohi Bus.
Private vehicles are not allowed to drive to Mount Norikuradake. Instead, travelers should transfer to a bus at the base of the mountain (see bus details above). On the Nagano side, cars are allowed up to Sanbondaki in Norikura Kogen. There are several free parking lots in the area including at Kanko Center. On the Gifu side, drivers can park their car in Hirayu Onsen or in the Honokidaira car park outside the city.
After finishing your trip to the top, you can explore more of Norikura Highlands which has some nice walks and unique sights including some waterfalls and various hot springs especially in Norikura Kogen and nearby Shirahone Onsen. So don’t miss out, and take your pick for a relaxing dip into an onsen after a long day.