Kagami-ike (Lake Kagami)
Located just outside Nagano City in the beautiful region of Togakushi, Kagami-ike or Lake Kagami is a renowned nature spot known for its beauty and tranquility. Translating as ‘mirror lake’, Kagami-ike is named for the beautiful reflection of Mount Togakushi and surrounding forests seen on its surface on clear and calm days. On the right day, the reflection appears near perfect – a sight you are most likely to catch in the morning.
The lake can be accessed by car – with parking and café situated a short walk from the lake – or along walking trails that criss-cross the Togakushi area running through the forests to its famous Shinto shrines and nearby Togakushi Forest Botanical Garden. Part of the larger Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park, this is a beautiful pocket of Central Japan where natural and cultural significance overlap.
Kagami-ike reflects the seasonal beauty of the surrounding landscape with spring, summer, autumn and winter each providing their own reasons to visit. Through spring and the summer the surrounding forest is green and lush, with birdlife and animals frequently spotted along the waking trails around the lake.
Autumn is perhaps the most spectacular as the forests burst into colour with some of Central Japan’s most spectacular autumn leaves before they fall from the trees and the snow of winter arrives. The lake freezes over during winter and can be walked on using snowshoes. Visitors heading there in winter will have to do so on-foot as roads leading to the lake will be snowed-in.
All year round (requires snowshoes to access during winter)
Approximately 70-minutes drive from the Jigokudani Monkey Parl
From Nagano Station: Kagami-ike is accessible from Nagano Station using local Alpico bus services bound for Togakushi Campground. Exit the station via the Zenkoji Exit and head to your left, across the major intersection. The Alpico bus stand is directly outside of their office. Bus No.70 stops nearby Kagami-ike from April until mid-December, taking around 55 minutes to reach the Kagami-ike Stop from Nagano Station. Please note, the bus will not stop there in winter meaning you will need to arrange your own transport to and from the lake and will require snowshoes