Found at the top of Tsugaike resort, Tengu no Hara is a beautiful half-day hike that takes you from the Tsugaike gondola to just below Mt. Norikura. The hike is relatively steep with over 340m of vertical and may be challenging if your legs are not in hiking shape.
July 22nd, 2021 | by Mike Humphrey
Tengu no Hara is a great early season hike and is open as soon as the snow melts above the Tusgaike ropeway (early-mid June). It’s the gateway to Mt. Norikura, Hakuba Ike, and the Hakuba ridgeline. If you are looking to hike above Tengu no Hara in June, you will likely require crampons as there is often still snow at this elevation. By July the snow has usually melted and the mountain huts are also open. Find out about the mountain hut opening dates in our article How to Plan Your Next Hakuba Hike.
Location: Tsugaike Kogen
Duration: 2 hrs (1 way)
Elevation Change: 340m
Trail Length: 1.6Km (1 way)
Access to the hike is from the top of the Tsugaike Ropeway. Take the Tsugaike Eve Gondola to the top station and walk 5 minutes to the ropeway. From the top of the ropeway head up the paved path towards Tsugaike Hutte and the national park. Stop in the national park information center and fill out your hiking route safety form and check out some of the exhibits. The trailhead can be found just in front of the information center.
After heading between the buildings, you will find yourself at the beginning of your uphill hike. Although a shorter hike in length than the Iwatake day Hike, the gradient is twice as steep (340m of vertical for a distance of 1.6km for Tengu no Hara vs 500m of vertical for a distance of 4.6km for Iwatake).
As you hike your way up, you will meet a series of switchbacks that offer splendid views of the highland marsh below. On a clear day, you will be greeted by Hakuba’s peaks to the South.
As you climb higher, you will come out of the standing forest. The ridges that you see to the north and south are well-known backcountry skiing spots in the winter. The photo below is from just below the Tengu no Hara plateau. Hakuba is just visible at the valley bottom as well as the very North side of the Happo Ski resort.
Tengu no Hara, or Tengu field is the second plateau above the Tsugaike gondola and is found at the foot of the last pitch before Mt. Norikura. The area is a small marshland with beautiful views of the Hakuba valley. When you reach the top take a stroll on the wooden walkway and stop for a bite to eat at the sitting area. The shrine, a short distance from the walkway is a great spot for a toast of sake or a green tea. If you are looking to head further you can find your way up Mt. Norikura towards Hakuba Ike, or there are also trails that follow the Hi-Odori ridge back down to the bottom of the valley (another well-known backcountry ski spot).
To get back down, you follow the trail that you took up. The hike down is significantly faster. If you find hiking downhill a strain on your knees, be sure to consider a pair of good hiking poles. We also recommend stopping in at Tsugaike Hutte for some well-deserved ice cream (the Saru Nashi flavor is our favorite).
Finish off the journey by taking the ropeway and then the gondola down. You can stop halfway and try your hand at the Tsugaike Wow ropes courses or head all the way to the bottom. At the bottom of the gondola, have a seat and relax in the soothing foot onsen. Your feet and legs deserve to be pampered after the hard hike.
Hi there! I’m Mike, I love the mountains and the outdoors. I’m lucky enough to live in Hakuba, Japan where, in the winter you will find me out skiing or snowboarding and in the summer hiking the local mountain peaks.