The crown jewel of the Yatsugatake area is the volcanic eight-peak ridge. The mountain range rises to an altitude of almost 2900 m above the southern end of Nagano, near the Yamanashi border. With a climate a few degrees cooler than the cities, the Yatsugatake area is great for a summer escape, too.

In the winter, the snow-capped peaks draw serious mountaineers, cross-country skiers and regular snow enthusiasts. On the slopes of Yatsugadake are the Shirakaba, Pilatus and Fujimi Kogen ski resorts.

hiking yatsugatake
Photo by Chris Kirkland

From late spring to early fall and especially in the summer, Yatsugatake is a popular hiking destination for mountain enthusiasts. There are many possible trails from day trips to multi-day ridge hikes. See our full guide on hiking the Yatsugadake mountain range.

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lake tateshina
Photo by Chris Kirkland

Tokyoites are probably familiar with the Yatsugatake characters 八ヶ岳 on milk cartons and may want to make a trip to the farmlands to meet some of the resident cows and goats. The Shirakaba Ski Resort transforms to a summer beauty spot complete with farm animals and a golonda ski lift. The lift takes visitors up to enjoy views of Megami Lake, forests and mountains beyond. There’s also the option of hanging out among the goats grazing around Lake Tateshina.

Lake Tateshina, yatsugatake area
Lake Tateshina | Photo by Chris Kirkland

If you have a (rental) car, the “Venus Line” road—stretching from Chino, across the north slopes of Yatsugatake, then up to Utsukushigahara Highland—makes for some spectacular highland driving, reaching altitudes over 2000 meters.

Venus Line
Venus Line | Photo by Kaori Kato

Finally, for art lovers, there’s the Keith Haring Nakamura Collection in Kobuchizawa and an open-air sculpture museum by Tateshina Lake.

Photo by Chris Kirkland

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