See Shiga Kogen’s most famous views on one of the area’s best-loved hiking trails. On this 10km trek, you’ll take in the rich natural landscape of brightly-colored volcanic lakes, rich wetlands and soaring mountains.
Centuries of volcanic activity have made Shiga Kogen (Shiga Highland) into a vast and varied national park. Nowhere is this more evident than in its many lakes and ponds, which range from acidic, electric-blue lakes to marshlands full of life. These lakes will form the basis of your guided trekking tour. After meeting your guide, you’ll ascend Mt. Maeyama to an altitude of over 1,800 meters. With views of Mt. Kasuga’s distinctive peak, Mt. Yokoteyama, and the crater lake of Mt. Hachiyama, you’ll get a taste of what’s to come as you set off into the wetlands around the mountain. Next, you’ll come across Shibuike Pond. It’s known for its floating islands of water plants, and is surrounded by untouched primeval forests. They’re said to have existed in the area since the last ice age. After a hike through the pristine forest around Mt. Shiga, you'll arrive as Shijuhachiike Marshland. Its name literally means “48 ponds,” and it’s easy to see why. As you walk along the wooden walkway, you’ll see dozens of tiny lakes peppered around the emerald landscape. It’s full of aquatic life, from bright water plants to tree frogs and salamanders. Following the walkway, you’ll reach your last stop: Lake Onuma. It’s the largest lake in Shiga Kogen and known for its remarkable color. Depending on where and when you visit, it ranges from bright, electric blue to emerald green. Unlike the other ponds, Lake Onuma is extremely acidic, so very little life can survive here. After that, it's time to head home, walking along the edge of the lake until you reach ‘Ikeshiri.’ Here, the lake contracts sharply, giving you a view across the whole body of water from a single spot. Depending on your group's ability and the weather conditions, you'll take a detour to Sakasaike Pond. Its name means “reverse,” and it’s so named because the area around it is sloped in the opposite direction to that of the mountain. Otherwise, you'll head straight to Onumaike Iriguchi Bus Station, and homeward. On the tour, you’ll be accompanied by an English-speaking guide who’ll show you what to look out for and explain the nature of each site. The tour also includes a rice-ball bento lunch, and you’ll have space to store any luggage, so you won’t need to take a suitcase up the mountain!
- You’ll meet your guide at Shiga Kogen Yama no Eki Bus Stop, and from there take a bus to the Maeyama Lift to start the hike. The tour will also end at the Yama no Eki Bus Stop - You can leave luggage at the guide office in front of the Yama no Eki Bus Stop