Mount Togakushi [戸隠山]

Mount Togakushi in winter
Mount Togakushi in winter

Approach to Togakushi Shrine
Approach to Togakushi Shrine

Mount Togakushi is a rocky mountain located about 20 km northwest of Nagano city.
Its altitude is 1,904 meters.

Japanese myths say as follows.

A god Susanoo was a brother of Amaterasu, the sun goddess.
Susanoo had always done mischief.

So, Amaterasu had hidden in a rock cave to take responsibility, and she shut a large rock door.
In a result, the world became dark, then various evils had occured.

Other gods thought out a plan.
In front of the cave, they did various amusing events.

Amaterasu wanted to watch the events, then she opened the rock door to peek through a gap.

In that instant, Tajikarao, a god of power, opened the rock door and threw it.
Amaterasu appeared again, so the world became bright again.

At that time, it is said that the thrown rock door came flying to Mount Togakushi.
"Togakushi" means "hiding with a door".

Since the 9th century, this mountain became a place to perform the ascetic practices.

Togakushi Shrine (戸隠神社)

Houkousha shrine
Houkousha shrine
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
with approval by Togakushi Shrine

Hinomikosha shrine
Hinomikosha shrine
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
with approval by Togakushi Shrine

Map of Togakushi Shrine

Togakushi Shrine has been the important religious site in this mountain.

It is on the southeastern slope of Mount Togakushi.
The shrine has five precincts and they are dotted on the mountainside from the foot to near the top.

Three precincts at the lower position are near the main road.

Other two precincts at the higher position are about 2 km far away from the bus stop on the main road, and there is an approach for walking.

There are Houkousha (宝光社) founded in 1058, Hinomikosha (火之御子社) founded in 1233 and Chûsha (中社) founded in 1087 around the foot of the mountain.

The distance between Houkousha and Chûsha is about 2 km.

Chusha shrine
Chusha shrine
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
with approval by Togakushi Shrine

Okusha
Okusha
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
with approval by Togakushi Shrine

Near the top of the mountain, there are Kuzuryusha (九頭龍社) and Okusha (奥社).

Okusha is the main and the oldest shrine, but the time of foundation and development are not clear. (Some say it was founded in 210 B.C. and the other say it was founded in 849.)

The distance between Chusha and Okusha is about 4 km.
The length of approach is about 2 km and runs through a forest.
There is Zuishinmon gate (随神門) on the way of the approach.

Kuzuryusha shrine
Kuzuryusha shrine
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
with approval by Togakushi Shrine

Zuishinmon gate
Zuishinmon gate
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
with approval by Togakushi Shrine

From Houkousha at the foot to Okusha, there is a walking trail in the forest apart from the main road.
You can visit all precincts and reach Okusha after 2 hours walking.

Lake Kagami-ike (鏡池)

Kagami-ike
Kagami-ike
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau

Kagami-ike in autumn
Kagami-ike in autumn

Kagami-ike is a small lake located about 2.5 km west-northwest of Chûsha shrine.

"Kagami-ike" means "pond like a mirror".
As the name suggests, it is a calm lake reflecting the beautiful Togakushi mountains.

By route bus, walk for about 2 km from Kagami-ike Iriguchi stop.
And there is a walking trail about 1.5 km long from Zuishinmon gate.

Togakushi soba

Soba field on Togakushi highland
Soba field on Togakushi highland
Photo by Nagano Tourism Organization

Togakushi soba
Togakushi soba
Photo by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau

Togakushi area is known as a production center of buckwheat (soba).

Of course, soba is one of popular Japanese noodles.
And the whole Nagano Prefecture is also known for soba.

"Togakushi soba" is slightly different to general soba noodle in terms of making and serving.

Because buckwheat flour includes the epidermis a little, the noodle is darker than the other soba and tastes wild.

And five small lumps of the noodle are served on a bamboo basket for one person.

There are many Togakushi soba restaurants around Togakushi Shrine.

In addition, there is Soba Museum near the entrance to Togakushi Shrine.

The museum introduces the history of Togakushi soba, and has the workshop for soba making.
Of course, there is a Togakushi soba restaurant.

How to get here

By route bus, from Nagano station, about 1 hour 5 minutes to Chusha, about 1 hour 10 minutes to Okusha.
(From mid-December to March, all buses are terminated at Chusha.)

Hotels around Togakushi Shrine

Hotels around Togakushi Shrine

Other Tourist Attractions in Nagano Prefecture

Northern part

Mount Asama Karuizawa Kaikoen Bessho Onsen Sugadaira highland Zenkoji temple Obuse town Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen towns Jigokudani Monkey Park Shiga highland Nozawa Onsen Lake Nojiri

Central part

Tateshina highland Kirigamine highland Lake Suwa Matsumoto Castle Azumino town Utsukushigahara

Along Northern Alps

Kamikochi Norikura highland Lake Aoki Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Hakuba village

Along Kiso Valley

Narai post station Mount Ontake Nezame-no-toko gorge Tsumago & Magome post stations

Along Ina Valley

Mount Kiso-Komagatake Takatô Castle Ruins Park Tenryukyo gorge

Return to Nagano Prefecture Return to Koshin-etsu Region

Other prefectures in Koshin-etsu Region