Shiga Kōgen, Nagano Prefecture: The Soothing Emerald Green of Lake Ōnumaike

Guide to Japan Travel

Shiga Kōgen (Shiga Highlands) in Nagano Prefecture has many bodies of water created by volcanic activity. The largest in area is Lake Ōnumaike, whose emerald green surface matches the surrounding greenery. It is a soothing site and a not-to-be-missed destination for visitors to the area.

Trekking on courses around these bodies of water is a popular activity. And it is also possible to walk to the summit of Mount Urashiga (2,040 meters) and look down at Lake Ōnumaike from this vantage point. A brilliant red torii (Shintō shrine gate) on the shore of the lake stands out against the natural greenery.

In 1980 UNESCO recognized Shiga Kōgen as a biosphere reserve, along with Mount Haku (Hakusan) and some other natural sites in Japan. It was the first time for this designation to be granted to sites in Japan, where they are called UNESCO eco-parks. And the environs of Mount Shiga and Lake Ōnumaike are designated as the core area of this reserve.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with Goolight.)

nature Nagano Goolight Shiga Kōgen