DAY 3 Wakui - Hotokegamine Tozanguchi
Self guided walk. Walking distance: approx. 12.7 km, 7 hours. Highest point: 938m, lowest point: 563m above sea level.
You will be transferred to section 3 of Shin-Etsu Trail after breakfast. Today you will walk the most historic trail and there's a memorial to the samurai warrior Uesugi Kenshin, who made a camp here during one of his campaigns in the Warring States Period centuries ago.
The trail starts in Wakui and climb up to Tomikura Gap through a mixture of native forest and cedar plantation. It is a pleasant route, some of which is used by local people foraging for mushrooms and mountain vegetables. Tomikura Gap was once a well-used point of trade and commerce between Shinano and Echigo, and you can see stone remnants of the road where it crosses the Shinetsu Trail. You will find the historical site and small shrine along the way.
Further up, there is a historical site called Taishojin, where Kenshin Uesugi (The warlord of Echigo in the 16th century) set up a lookout to keep an eye over Iiyama and Kita Gap territories. If you scramble up to the ridge above the trail, you will find a small shrine dedicated to the horses and cows that passed away helping Usesugi's samurai army.
The trail leads you to the Lake Sobu towards Mt Kuroiwa that there is viewpoint to stop for a break. The whole mountain is listed with natural monument and variation of wildlife in Japan. Within the beautiful Japanese beech forest, there is a vista that overlooks the Iiyama Basin. In the area surrounding Lake Katsura, where skunk cabbages bloom during springtime.
From Hiramaru Gap, walk along the western bank of Lake Nakafuruike. Walk past the Kitafuruike Wetlands on the forestry road, coming to an open space where you will find a Shinetsu Trail signboard. From this point, you will walk through the national forest, cedar forest and a few muddy gullies.
Eventually arrive at the last steep ascent up to Hotokegamine Tozanguchi. A beautiful view opens here looking across to Nozawa Onsen, with the aging ski resort infrastructure providing novel foreground footage.
You'll be transferred to your accommodation. Stay in this simple and comfortable countryside inn with hot spring and home cooked meals.
Ensuite western style
Shikisanino Yado Kanoe
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner