Highlighting JAPAN Vol.121 June 2018

The NPO Japan Long Trail Association currently oversees sixteen trails, with the Shin-Etsu Trail being one of the first. “The Shin-Etsu Trail runs about eighty kilometers along the ridges of the Sekida mountain range, which serves as the border between the prefectures of Nagano and Niigata, at an altitude of around a thousand meters,” says Kenichi Takano, secretary general of the NPO Shin-Etsu Trail Club. “Surveying began in 1996, and the whole route was finalized in September 2008. Using mainly original mountain climbing trails, service roads used by forestry workers, and old roads remaining since the Warring States era (1467-1603), we broke some ground to create new sections and connected them all.”The Shin-Etsu Trail is divided into six sections, all relatively close to roads, which makes an initial approach by car simple. Sixty lodging facilities along the course have joined Running for about eighty kilometers along the border between Niigata and Nagano prefectures, the Shin-Etsu Trail gives trekkers the chance to experience the captivating mosaic of natural features known as satoyama—and help Japan retain its singular culture and environmental diversity along the way.KATSUMI YASUKURAis mountainous, including many celebrated peaks. When someone mentions hiking in the mountains, it usually means scaling summits and conquering one peak after another. With the spread of the health boom in recent years, however, journeys taken along relatively easy trails have grown increasingly popular.18play videoA BOUT three-quarters of Japan’s terrain TREKKING THROUGH THE MOSAIC

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