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.