Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I would like to introduce Takabocchi Plateau, which I toured by motorcycle from Tokyo. Takabocchi Plateau is a flat area within the Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen Quasi-National Park in Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture, and from the summit, which offers a 360-degree view, you can see famous mountains such as the Northern Alps, Southern Alps, and Mt. Fuji. The season when Astragalus azaleas and alpine plants bloom, and the scenery where cows graze are also attractive. It is also known for hosting the highest grass horse race in Japan. I would like to tell you about the motorcycle touring to Takabocchi Plateau.
What is Takabocchi Plateau?
The Takabocchi Plateau is a vast grassland with gently undulating hills, including Mt. Hachibuse as its main peak, and Mt. Futatsuyama and Mt. Takabocchi. The altitude is 1,665m, and there are no obstructions in the surrounding area, with Mt. Fuji and Lake Suwa to the east, and the Hotaka Mountain Range and the Northern Alps to the west. In the morning you can see the divine sun, in the evening the sun shines brightly, and at night you can see a sky full of sparkling stars. It is crowded with many visitors from spring to autumn.
There are several theories about the origin of the name Takabocchi Plateau, but one theory is that the Ainu word
bocchi'', which meanshuge plateau,” was used. Another theory is that this is the place where the giant “Daidarabocchi”, which is said to have been passed down in various parts of Japan, sat down to rest. Either way, the name is appropriate for its size and beauty.
Route to Takabocchi Plateau
This time, I started from central Tokyo and entered the Nagano Expressway via the Shuto Expressway Inner Loop Line and the Chuo Expressway. On the Nagano Expressway, take the Okaya JCT towards Matsumoto/Nagano and exit at the Shiojiri IC. From the Shiojiri IC, I took the Shiojiri bypass of National Route 20, but on the way I turned onto a road called Shinonome no Michi, which offers views of the Alps. This road is called the Shiojiri City Road Upward Side Road Minami Kumai Nagaune Line, but if you keep going, you will come to an intersection called Kagainoyuguchi. From here, turn right onto the Shiojiri City Road Takabocchi Line. This road is unpaved, so you need to be careful, but after driving about 7km you will arrive at Takabocchi Plateau.
Overall, it was a comfortable ride, but there is a possibility of getting stuck in traffic on the Chuo Expressway, and you need to be careful about road conditions and passing each other on the Shiojiri City Road Takabocchi Line. Additionally, the road may be closed during the winter, so we recommend checking in advance.
Highlights of Takabocchi Highlands
Takabocchi Highlands has many spots where you can enjoy nature and scenery. When I visited, the azaleas were in full bloom and the whole plateau was dyed red. The azaleas reach their peak in mid-June, but other alpine plants such as the Japanese lily and the daylily also bloom. Flowers on the highlands are resistant to wind and sunlight and emit beautiful colors.
In the center of Takabocchi Plateau is the Takabocchi Plateau Nature Conservation Center. Here you can find exhibits and pamphlets about the nature and history of Takabocchi Plateau. There are also restrooms and vending machines. From the nature conservation center, there are view points such as Takabocchi Ranch and the three major altitudes. At Takabocchi Ranch, dairy cows graze from early summer to autumn. The cows are relaxing and eating grass and lying down, which is soothing. The view point that pledges love to the three major elevations is an observation deck that offers a panoramic view of the Northern Alps, Southern Alps, and Mt. Fuji. There is a legend that if you take a commemorative photo with your lover here, you will find eternal love.
What impressed me the most was the summit of Mt. Takabocchi. The summit of Mt. Takabocchi is located approximately 400m walk from the second parking lot. Along with the summit of Mt. Hachibuse, this is an observation deck hill where you can see a spectacular view. From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a 360 degree panorama. You can see not only the Northern and Southern Alps, but also Mt. Fuji and Lake Suwa. If the air is clear, you can see far away. I went on a sunny day so I was very lucky. The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular.
Takabocchi Kogen motorcycle parking lot
Takabocchi Kogen has two parking lots: Parking Lot 1 and Parking Lot 2. Both are available for free. Parking lot 1 is located next to the racetrack and has space for approximately 80 cars. The second parking lot is located at the summit entrance and has space for approximately 30 cars. I parked in the second parking lot, and it took about 10 minutes to walk to the top of Mt. Takabocchi from there. It’s a little further from parking lot 1.
One thing to keep in mind when parking your bike is the condition of the road surface. Be careful of gravel, mud, etc. It is also important to secure your bike so that it does not fall over when the wind is strong. The Takabocchi Kogen Nature Conservation Center is located near the parking lot, so you can use it for restrooms and breaks.
This time, I introduced Takabocchi Plateau, which I toured by motorcycle from Tokyo. Takabocchi Plateau is a scenic spot where you can see all of Japan’s famous mountains. The season when Astragalus azaleas and alpine plants bloom, and the scenery of cows grazing are also highlights. It is also known for hosting the highest grass horse race in Japan. The road to Takabocchi Plateau is partly unpaved, so you need to be careful, but it’s a pleasant ride on a bike. I went with my favorite Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide, and it was a comfortable ride. Takabocchi Plateau is a recommended spot for motorcycle touring.
English: Takabocchi Plateau