Shin-Etsu Trail walking tour 5 days



The Shin-etsu Trail is the first long-distance trail similar in design to  the Appalachian Trail in the USA in that  travelers can walk through attactions each day and spend the night in a Japanese Village. It runs 80 kilometers along the ridge of the Sekida Mountain range, which marks the boarder of Nagano and Niigata Prefectures. The region is reknownd for tall and majestic beech forests. 

Spring (from mid-June to the end of July) and autumn (from mid-September to the end of October) are especially good times to visit the trail. In spring, the last traces of snow can be seen among new greenery and flowers bursting into bloom. In the fall, hikers can enjoy the brilliant colors of autumn leaves.


Rates starting from 86,000 yen per person twin share



  • 4 nights accommodation
  • 4 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches (drinks not included)
  • 4 dinners
  • luggage storage at Iiyama station on Day 1
  • Shin-Etsu Trail map
  • Guiding for Day 2 (Section 1 & 2)
  • Transfers to/from the walks
  • Baggage transfer on Day 3



  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Transfers to/from JR Iiyama station
  • Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches


Day 1: Arrive at JR Iiyama station

You will arrive at JR Iiyama station and visit the Tourist Information Centre on the ground floor for an orientation. The English seapking staff will instruct your tour details and give you the mountain & city maps. 

After the orientation, you have time to stroll the city. There are traditional temples via Terameguri Path near the train station. The English town map will be provided. The tourist office will store your luggage.

Your accommodation for Day 1 is Madarao Kogen Hotel which is about 30 minutes bus ride from Iiyama station. 

Accommodation: Madarao Kogen Hotel


Day 2: Walk a part of Section 1 & full part of Section 2 Shin-Etsu Trail with a guide

Meet with your guide at the hotel in the morning and your full day trecking will begin!

Section 1 - The Section 1 course usually runs from the peak of Mt. Madarao, at the trail's southern end, to Akaike Pond. But, you will start from Mansaka Pass today. The section between Mansaka Pass and Mt. Hakama is especially pretty, shaded by towering beech and birch trees. 

Walking Time: 2.5 - 3 hours

Section 2 - The course runs from Akaike Pond to Wakui Village. En-routeto the Numanohara Marshland, the trail crosses low hills before entering a forest of beech trees. After the winter snow melts, Asian skunk cabbage and marsh marigold bloom, covering whole fields in white and yellow blossoms. More hills lie between Numanohara Marshland and Lake Nozomiko, offering views of Mt.Madarao, Mt.Hakama and in good weather a glimpse of Mt. Myoko. A roughly 30 minutes walk up a gentle slope brings hikers to the top of Mt.Kenashi. From the peak, a sub-trail leads to a scenic viewing platform, a great place to stop for a lunch break. Heading towards Wakui-Shinike Pond, the trail descentds through a larch tree forest to farm roads. Along the way, water from mountain streams bursts out to form a natural spring.

Walking time: 5 hours
Distance: 10.7 km
Highest elevation: 1,022 m
Lowest elevation: 563 m
Difference in elevation: 459 m

You will be picked up at the end of the Section 2 by the hotel staff.

Accommodation: Madarao Kogen Hotel


Day 3: Walk the Shin-Etsu Trail Section 3 and stay at Togari Onsen

After breakfast, you will be transfered to the starting point of Section 3. 

This course runs from Wakui Village through Togari-Onsen Ski Resort, ending at Hotokegamine Trailhead. Not long into hike,the trail merges into a forest pass, running through groves of cedar trees. A centuries-old stone canal can be found in Tomikura Pass, a relic of trade between Shinano/Nagano and Echigo/Niigata. Further along is the site of warlord Uesugi Kenshin's base camp, used in the Warring States Period campaigns. The spot offers views over Iiyama Basin and of villages on Mt. Kuroiwa's northern ridge. As home to rare species of butterflies and frogs, the mountain has been designated a protected habitat. The trail is surrounded by expansive beech forests, with an arboretum/rest area open to hikers. In Katsuraike Pond area, Asian skunk caggabe flowers bloom bright white in spring, fed by natural spring waters nearby. The trail continues into a national forest, shaded by cedar trees all the way to Hotokegamine Trailhead.

Walking time: 6 hours
Distance: 12.7 km
Highest elevation: 938 m
Lowest elevation: 563 m
Difference in elevation: 375 m

You will be picked up by your accommodation staff from the end point of Section 3. Your luggage has been already transfered from the previous hotel to tonight's accommodation.

Accommodation: Minshuku (Japanese style Guest House) in Togari Onsen


Day 4: Walk the Shin-Etsu Trail Section 4 and stay at Togari Onsen

Your Minshuku staff will drop you off at the start point of Section 4 after breakfast.

Starting at Togari-Onsen Ski Resort and Hotokegamine Trailhead, the trail streches all the way to Sekida Pass. The trail ascends through beech forests and open fields before following the ridge, which allows view of a forest rolling terrain to Kozawa Pass. Continuing along the main trail, 100 year old beech trees stand proudly in line, creating a beautiful backdrop for a lunch greak. Past this point the trail narrows and visibility can be limited during the climb up Mt.Nabekura, so some caution is required. Still, it's worth it for the amazing scenery from the peak, where hikers can look down over Mt. Myoko, Mt. Hiuchi, Iiyama Basin, and Chikuma River and on clear days, all the way to the Sea of Japan. From there, it's all downhill to Sekida Pass. 

Walking time: 6 hours
Distance: 8.2 km
Highest elevation: 1,288 m
Lowest elevation: 830 m
Difference in elevation: 458 m

Accommodation: Minshuku (Japanese style Guest House) in Togari Onsen

You will be picked up by your accommodation staff from the end point of Section 4.

Accommodation: Minshuku (Japanese style Guest House) in Togari Onsen


Day 5: Travel to your next destination from Togari Nozawa-Onsen train station

After checking out, the accommodation staff will transfer you to JR Togari Nozawa-Onsen station. Continue onto your journey!


 Shin-Etsu Trail Map