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Togakushi “Land of Reverence for Mountains” Course

Togakushi “Land of Reverence for Mountains” Courseの写真
Type:
hiking
Time Required:
2 h
Distance:
5.6 km
Take a tour of a lifestyle and landscape alive with reverence for mountains at the “power spot” of Togakushi.

Course Outline

Togakushi, which spreads out 1,200 m above sea level, is a land of mountain reverence going back to the Heian Era (around 800-1200 years ago). It is also known as a “power spot.” This course lets you experience Togakushi Jinja Shrine, a shrine alive with reverence for mountains, and a lifestyle that has made use of the bounty of the mountain and its abundant snow, along with a townscape lined with thatched roof temple dorters.

The highland that spreads across the base of the stern Togakushi Mountain Range is rich in nature, which can be observed at the Togakushi Forest Botanical Garden, nurtured by moisture born of the clean water flowing from the mountain. Looking out at the Togakushi Mountain Range from Kagami-ike Pond, you will pick up hints of history such as the legend of the opening of Ama-no-Iwato cave, and will be soothed by the feelings that people have brought to the mountains.

Take a break during your walk to try the botchimori (served bite size) soba noodles of Togakushi, counted among the three great soba dishes of Japan. Or try your hand at bamboo crafts or a ninja experience, derived from Togakure-ryu ninjutsu (ancient school of martial arts).

Highlights

Zuijin-mon Gate and the Avenue of Cedars at Togakushi Jjinja Okusha Shrine
Zuijin-mon Gate and the Avenue of Cedars at Togakushi Jjinja Okusha Shrine

Pass through Zuijin-mon Gate and on to the Avenue of cedars...

The walk that continues to Okusha Shrine, about 2 km in length, is guarded by natural forest and by an avenue of cedars over 400 years old. It is said that military commanders in the Edo Period (around 1603-1867) donated the trees to this location, which had been devastated by war in the Sengoku Period (around 1467-1572). Passing through Zuijin-mon Gate with its thatched roof, many people are taken aback upon meeting the solemn and gentle rows of cedars. Why not take a deep breath at this spot and experience the span of 400 years?

Togakushi Jjinja Chusha Shrine and Important Preservation Zone for a Group of Traditional Buildings
Togakushi Jjinja Chusha Shrine and Important Preservation Zone for a Group of Traditional Buildings

Thatched roof temple dorter

The area around Togakushi Jjinja Chusha Shrine is lined with thatched roof temple dorters, and is designated a national Important Preservation Zone for a Group of Traditional Buildings. The temple dorters are prepared to accept worshipers coming to Togakushi Jinja Shrine. Each dorter has a shrine priest serving at Togakushi Jinja Shrine. Many are operated as ryokan inns, making a stay a valuable experience. Enjoy a stroll through the historical townscape and take a peek at souvenir shops and soba noodle shops.

Bamboo craft, a traditional craft of Togakushi from the Edo Period
Bamboo craft, a traditional craft of Togakushi from the Edo Period

Bamboo crafts and Togakushi soba noodles

The thin bamboo called nemagaridake (Sasa kurilensis), which grows in the back mountains and bends under the weight of snow, has been used in bamboo crafts for its suppleness. As it is used, it reveals its transparent beauty and is considered the epitome of “wise use.” You can look forward to meeting items that you will use for a lifetime, including soba draining baskets and other finely woven beautiful baskets. To experience bamboo craft, head to the Togakushi Bamboo Craft Center near Okusha Shrine (May to November).

Course Map

Togakushi “Land of Reverence for Mountains” Course

Course Time

Starting Point
1
Hachiju-ni Mori-no-Manabiya
25 min.
1.7 km
2
Zuijin-mon Gate
35 min.
1.4 km
3
Kagami-ike Pond
45 min.
2 km
4
Kotoriga-ike Pond
15 min.
0.5 km
5
Togakushi Jjinja Chusha Shrine
Terminus
*Course time and distance are estimates.