Konze Alps (金勝アルプス)



Located near the shores of Lake Biwa in southern Shiga Prefecture, the Konze Alps offers a refreshing escape from the urban sprawl of Kansai. The hike features not only gigantic sandstone formations and ancient Buddhist carvings, but also a chance to experience a forest relatively untouched by human encroachment.




From Osaka or Kyoto stations, take the JR Shinkaisoku (新快速) either bound for Maibara (米原) or Nagahama (長浜) and get off at Kusatsu (草津) station. Go out the ticket gates and turn left towards the East Exit (東口). Go down the stairs on your left and you’ll find bus stop #4 directly in front of you. Take bus #153 bound for Kami-Kiryuu (上桐生) and get off at the final stop. Click here for the schedule.

Route: From the bus stop, walk up the narrow paved road that runs upstream parallel to the river. The road will soon branch, so turn left and follow the sign to Mt. Tosaka (鶏冠山) and Tengu-iwa (天狗岩). Walk through the parking lot, past the toilets, and up the paved forest road that may or may not have a chain over it. You’ll soon pass by a small pond on your left, followed by another pond a little further along. The trailhead starts just after the second pond and is marked with a white sign reading  落ヶ滝線 1900m 50分. Turn right here and follow the gravel road. You’ll pass by a small lake and log cabin shack before entering the woods.

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