Tag Archives: nasu

Nasudake Autumn Hike

Oct. 16, 2016 Hike

Yes, autumn kōyō fever has started  and we are on a roll! After Gunma last week, now it’s time for Nasudake. My goal is basically to tick off the list of hikes for “kōyō migoro” or autumn foliage peak season. Thank god the weather forecast was for sunny skies! Weathernews lists Nasudake as “migoro” or “peak for viewing” – perfect timing!

We were going to do a day hike to Mt. Nasudake. It can be done from Tokyo but we decided to stay overnight in Nasu.

So yesterday, our chill day, we arrived mid-day in Nasu. Had an outdoor barbecue for lunch, among other random highland activities at Minamigaoka Bokujo (南ヶ丘牧場), before arriving at our ryokan in Nasu Onsen. 

OMG. Cheese ice cream tastes like Tokyo Milk Cheese!


Nasu has really good onsen! Shika no Yu had creamy white water, which I found to be great for the skin. I had the best sleep, but still woke up 3am to see the starry sky outside the ryokan window. Too bad it was a full moon though, the sky was too bright!

A starry night in Nasu Onsen
The next day, we hopped on the bus bound for Nasu Ropeway. Traffic was heavy on the way. I guess everyone wants to be out and about on a sunny day!

After a 4-minute ride on the ropeway, we got to the 9th stop (9合目) of Nasudake. There are many trails from the ropeway station, but we chose the course that brings us to beautiful autumn foliage of Ubagataira (姥ヶ平).


Nasudake is a volcano, and the peak is a pile of rocks. We hiked south of Nasudake for abour 15 minutes, and we start to see some beautiful scenery.

Grassy terrain with some volcanic rocks


On our left hand side, we see the view of the rest of Tochigi and some fog covering the towns.

Hiking the path is not difficult at all.

After a few more minutes hiking along the path, we are greeted by beautiful red foliage spreading out before us.



It’s amazing how it can be completely rocky on our side but just lush red foliage on the other! And it’s perfectly migoro!


Look at that close up shot!


The view was calling us like a flame to a moth. We hiked a bit more towards it, and decided to have some snacks at a viewing spot. We were very near Ushigakubi 牛ヶ首.

View from nearby Ushigakubi
Bears love this sweet and sour berries. Humans who go deep into the mountain picking these berries may encounter bears.
 

It was the most beautiful view! We stayed there half an hour just staring at the beauty of nature. With a heavy heart, we say good bye and hike up back to the path. And a new view that was initially hidden spread out before our eyes. 

View of Ubagataira
This is looking over at Ubagataira 姥ヶ平 from Ushigakubi 牛ヶ首. So that’s our goal! We hike down a very rocky path for half an hour, and finally reach Ubagataira. It’s a flatland with beautiful autumn foliage and green shrubs. Many hikers were having lunch in the area. 


The view of Nasudake from down here is priceless! The red, the green, the blue sky, and the cute gas gushing from the volcano. 

 

From here there was a pond nearby, so we followed a wooden path for about 10 minutes. We were rewarded with a beautiful view of Nasudake reflected in the tiniest pond ever! 

ひょうたん池 Nasudake and its reflection on Hyoutan Ike

Nasudake is really beautiful and easy to hike. At every point there is a spectacular view to behold. We were so lucky to be blessed with perfect weather during the peak colors. I honestly believe that it would be so hard to top this trip this year. 

Very satisfied, we went back to Nasu Onsen and went in Shika no Yu for another time, before finally boarding the highway bus back to Shinjuku.

Who knew Nasu would be this beautiful!

How to get there?

JR highway buses from Shinjuku to Nasu Onsen, reservations required. Tranfer to Nasu Ropeway.