If you are looking for somewhere cool to walk, then we have the perfect place for you.
Shirakoma Pond (白駒池) is a natural lake (the name is pond, but in fact it is a lake with a maximum depth of 8.6 metre), located at the highest altitude in Japan.
At an altitude of 2115 metres, Shirakoma Pond is surrounded by a moss forest and a walking trail. From fresh green to autumn colours, you can enjoy a walk around the lake, breathing in the fresh air.
In this article you will find information on what to see and how to get to Shirakoma Pond, a popular tourist attraction in Nagano Prefecture.
Shirakoma Pond is a popular tourist spot in North Yatsugatake
A lake that attracts many tourists every year
Shirakoma Pond is a natural dammed lake located in the town of Koume, Minamisaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture. During the summer and autumn tourist seasons, Shirakoma Pond is visited by many visitors.
The lake is surrounded by hundreds of years old trees, alpine plants and moss forests.
Access and parking at Shirakoma Pond
How to get to Shirakoma Pond
The Shirakoma Pond is located on the north side of Yatsugatake along the Meruhen Kaido (fairy-tale road). It is now easily accessible from Karuizawa and Ueda thanks to the opening of a new motorway (the Trans-Central Expressway) to the Yachiho Kogen Interchange, which is the entrance to the fairy tale road.
After exiting the Yachiho Kogen Interchange and driving along the fairy-tale highway drive route towards Suwa, you will arrive at Shirakoma Pond in about 30 minutes.
|Parking||Available (chargeable at 500 yen)|
* The fairy-tale road is closed in winter.
Parking fees at Shirakoma Pond
Shirakoma Pond has a pay parking lot with a capacity of 160 standard cars. The Shirakoma Pond car park is open from late April to early November.
Start your walk around the Shirakoma Pond
From the car park to Shirakoma Pond
From the car park, go through the entrance marked “白駒の池”, which is right in front of the road.
A lake with a promenade
Now, after a 15-minute walk from the car park, you will arrive at the Shirakoma Pond.
The promenade is a wooden path, like the one in this picture, which means you don’t have to walk on bumpy ground. However, leather shoes or heels can be slippery, so we recommend that you wear comfortable sports shoes or hiking boots.
The walk around the lake is 1.35 km long. It should take about 40 minutes to walk around the lake.
The moss forest around the lake
Walking around the precious moss forest
As you walk along the promenade of Shirakoma Pond, you will come across places where the whole area is covered with moss.
There are 10 moss forests around the Shirakoma Pond and each type of moss has a different name. The area around Shirokoma Pond is home to 485 species of moss, including the Japanese cedar moss, the Japanese sedge moss and the Tachibai moss, which has been selected as one of Japan’s precious moss forests.
The place in this photo was named “Mononoke Forest”. The typical moss growing in the Forest of the Mononoke is called Mutsudechin moss, which is a large moss with horizontal wrinkles on its leaves.
Shirakoma Pond Villa and Takami-no-Mori Course
Rest at Shirakoma-so Lodge
In the middle of the walking course, there is a mountain lodge named Shirakoma-so. This lodge offers light meals such as udon noodles with tempura of wild vegetables, and sweet sets such as coffee and cheesecake.
Hakkoma-so lodge is open from late April to early January.
From the front of Shirakoma-so, turn off the walking trail to the right and you will see a sign saying “高見の森コース (Takami-no-mori course)”.
The Takami-no-mori course leads to the Takami-ishi lookout where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Shirakoma Pond. The path is rugged and rocky, so it is advisable to wear hiking boots when climbing.
As you can see in this picture, the path is very slippery with big rugged rocks in places. I tried to climb up to the halfway point, but the path was too stony and dangerous to walk, so I turned back halfway. I would like to wear trekking shoes next time and try this trail again.
Summary of Shirakoma Pond
Refresh yourself with a walk in a mountain lake with clean air
Shirakoma Pond is located in a quiet mountain forest. We walked around the lake while observing the plants of Kita-Yatsugatake, which we cannot usually see. It is refreshing to exercise in a place with clean air.
From early summer to autumn, why not take a walk around the Shirakoma Pond and enjoy the cool air?
Sights in the surroundings
Near Shirakoma Pond is Yachiho Highland, home to Japan’s largest colony of white birches, and Kawakami Village, famous for its lettuce and other highland vegetables.