[Scenic Touring Spot] [Nagano Prefecture] Bike trip to Tsuetsuki Pass! Travel alone on a Harley through Japan’s 100 Famous Mountain Passes and their charms!

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I went on a bike tour to Tsuetsuki Pass in Nagano Prefecture. Tsuetsuki Pass is a mountain pass on the border of Chino City and Ina City, and is 1,247 meters above sea level. In ancient times, it was an important road called Tosando or Tsuetsuki Kaido, and now National Route 152 runs through it. It has also been selected as one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountain Passes. This time, we departed from central Tokyo and arrived in about 3 and a half hours via the Chuo Expressway and National Route 20. On the way back, I drove south on National Route 152, looking at Lake Suwa and Mt. Yatsugatake. We will tell you about the charms and highlights of Tsuetsuki Pass, as well as information on motorcycle parking lots.


What is Tsuetuki Pass?


Tsuetsuki Pass is a pass located at the northern end of the Akaishi Mountains (Southern Alps), and the area around the pass is called “Harugamine.” The Ina side is a road that follows the valley where the Fujisawa River flows, and has a relatively gentle slope. On the other hand, the Chino side is a steep slope due to the Itoigawa-Shizuoka tectonic line passing through it. Mount Moriya, considered the sacred object of Suwa Taisha Shrine, rises west-southwest of the pass.

The name Tsuetsuki Pass is said to have come from the fact that in the past, people used to climb this steep slope using sticks. Until the end of the Taisho era, the event of burning a discarded cane at the summit and holding a memorial service was held. Another theory is that it was the place where the gods who descended to earth through rituals used their staffs.

Tsuetuki Pass was a historically important place. Since ancient times, the Tosando road has passed through this area, and it was the main road connecting the Ina and Suwa areas. During the Sengoku period, it was considered a military strategic point, and during the battle between Takeda Shingen and Suwa Yorishige, Takato Yoritsugu, responding to Shingen, attacked Suwa by crossing the mountain pass from Ina. In the Edo period, the mountain pass road came to be called Jotsuki Kaido'' orFujisawa Kaido,” and it became a popular place for horseback traffic. Supplies such as salt, fish, and tea from the Koshu area were transported to Ina through this road.

Route to Tsuetsuki Pass

This time, I started from central Tokyo, transferred from the Shuto Expressway’s Inner Loop Line to the Shuto Expressway No. 4 Shinjuku Line, and entered the Chuo Expressway. Although I was able to drive comfortably on the Chuo Expressway, I sometimes got stuck in traffic jams along the way. In particular, the sections from Miyakezaka JCT to Takaido JCT and from Hachioji JCT to Sagamiko IC are prone to congestion, so be careful. Also, the Chuo Expressway has many tunnels, so don’t forget to adjust your bike’s lights and helmet visor.

I drove about 190 kilometers on the Chuo Expressway and got off at Suwa IC. From Suwa IC, enter National Route 152 via the Suwa Bypass of National Route 20. National Route 152 is a road called Tsuetsuki Kaido, which connects Ina City and Chino City. This road is scenic and fun, but there are many curves and hills, and it is narrow at times. Drive while paying attention to oncoming cars and pedestrians. We drove about 10 kilometers along National Route 152 and arrived at Tsuetuki Pass.

Highlights of Tsuetsuki Pass


The highlight of Tsuetsuki Pass is definitely the observation deck. There is an observation deck on the second floor of a building called Toge no Chaya that you can enter for free. (It seems that it is not open to the public now.) From here, you can see a panoramic view of the Suwa Basin, the Yatsugatake Mountain Range, Kirigamine, and even the Hida Mountains (Northern Alps) in the distance. If the weather is good, you can clearly see Lake Suwa and Mt. Moriya. There are also binoculars and a map at the observation deck, so you can look at the mountains and towns while checking their names.

The scenery from the observation deck changes depending on the time of day. In the morning, Yatsugatake and the Hida Mountains look beautiful illuminated by the morning sun. During the day, blue skies and white clouds spread out. In the evening, the sun setting over the Hida Mountains shines through, creating a beautiful view of Lake Suwa and Mt. Yatsugatake illuminated in red. At night, you can enjoy the starry sky and the night view of the Suwa Basin.

There are other things to see at Tsuetuki Pass other than the observation deck. At the teahouse on the mountain pass, you can enjoy dishes and sweets made with locally grown vegetables and fruits.

The trailhead to Mt. Moriya is a short walk from the teahouse on the pass. There is a trailhead to Mt. Moriya. Moriyayama is a mountain with an altitude of 1,418 meters and is considered the sacred object of Suwa Taisha Shrine. The mountain trail is well maintained and it takes about an hour and a half to reach the summit. From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy an even wider view than the observation deck at Tsuetsuki Pass. Moriyayama has been a place of worship since ancient times, and there are shrines and stone monuments at the top of the mountain. Additionally, the Moriyayama Festival is held every August and attracts many worshipers.

Motorcycle parking lot at Tsuetsuki Pass

There is a motorcycle parking lot at Tsuetsuki Pass. There is a dedicated parking space for motorcycles in the parking lot right next to Toge no Chaya. Approximately 20 motorcycles can be parked here. Parking is free. However, the parking lot can get crowded, so we recommend arriving early.


This time, I went on a Harley tour from central Tokyo to Tsuetsuki Pass. Tsuetsuki Pass is one of the 100 famous mountain passes in Japan and is a historically important place. From the observation deck, you can see spectacular views of the Suwa Basin, the Yatsugatake Mountain Range, the Hida Mountain Range, and more. You can also enjoy dishes and sweets made with locally produced ingredients at the teahouse on the mountain pass. You can also enjoy climbing Mt. Moriya. I think Tsuetsuki Pass is a spot worth visiting by bike. Everyone should definitely go and try it at least once.