An Ancient Trail, Beckons Today

Mt. Togakushi, held as a sacred mountain for centuries, abounds in myths (like that of Japan’s Creation) and legends (as of the mystical 9-Headed Dragon). Shugendo ascetics consider it to be among Japan’s holiest mountains along with Mt. Koya and Mt. Hiei. The Togakushi Kodo ancient trail is the pilgrimage road leading from Zenkoji Temple, a national treasure and the heart and soul of Nagano City, to Okusha the Inner Shrine nestled at the base of Togakushi Mountain. Carved by Shugendo monks and worn smooth by the feet of waves of pilgrims, it is lined by historical spots and important remains, with inns and soba restaurants, bamboo ware shops etc. catering to travelers on the road even today.

What drew our ancestors to worship at this spiritual mountain? What were they thinking of when they traveled to Togakushi? As we follow in their footsteps and feel the signs of their devotion, we can attain a new perspective. For us used to racing along modern highways, strolling Togakushi’s ancient road is a chance to reflect on our inner selves

Booklet Set (with pen)

500 yen
Throughout Togakushi there are 30 posts each with a different etching.
Use the booklet to collect rubbings at each location. On sale at area gift shops and the Information Center.

Recommended spotsICHINOTORII

The first gate of Togakushi kodo stands on the hill at the foot of Mt.Iizuna. It is a famous sightseeing spot welcoming pilgrims to Okusha Shrine. Today the gate itself is no longer there, as it was destroyed by the “Zenkoji earthquake” in 1847.

Recommended spotsFUSHIOGAMISYO

In ancient times, this place offered pilgrims a view to Okusha and they could pray from here. Nowadays, Okusha is not visible because of trees all around.

Recommended spotsSUZURIISHI

Located half way on the path between Kotori pond and Kagami pond. The name of this stone comes from her shape which is quite similar to the shape of a ink stone used for traditional calligraphy. Breathtaking view on the northern Alps from here.

Please note

  • Please take all your litter with you.
  • Do not take away any plants, wildlife or stones. And do not bring any with you to here.
  • Togakushi is a natural bear habitat and parts of the trail are forested so as a precaution take a bear bell or other noise devices with you.
  • TTogakushi Tourism Association is working to preserve Togakushi’s wilderness, maintain the walking trails, etc. If any concerns contact the Togakushi Tourist Information Center (Tel. 026-254-2888)