Mt. Ena (恵那山)

Mt. Ena is a long, round, hump-shaped peak located on the border of Nagano and Gifu Prefectures. It’s easily accessible from Nagoya city, and the views along the way are outstanding.

The view from Mt. Ena

The hike: From the small parking lot at Misakatouge (神坂峠), there are two trails, but you want to take the one towards Oobanyama (大判山). It should take you about 90 minutes to reach this peak, which has excellent panoramic views of the Minami and Chuo Alps, as well as Mt. Ondake. You can also see Mt. Ena in front of you. From the peak, the trail curves toward the right and goes down! You’ll lose about 100m of altitude before the trail flattens out and follows the contour of the mountain. The trail will start climbing again, and won’t let up until the summit ridge. It should take about 2 hours or so to reach the Ena ridgeline, as the final climb is quite steep and rough going if there’s any snow or ice. Once you reach the ridge, the trail will veer off to the left and become very flat and easy. In about 20 minutes or so, you’ll come to a mountain hut named Enasan-sanchou-goya (恵那山山頂小屋). The area is heavily wooded, but if you climb the rock behind the hut you’ll be rewarded with terrific views of the Minami Alps and Mt. Fuji. The true summit is another 10 minutes or so past the hut, and there’s a small shrine at the top, but no view. The hut itself is unmanned and free to stay in, but there’s no water source so bring plenty of water with you if you’re planning an overnight stay. In fact, there are no water sources at all on this hike (not even at the trailhead), so stock up at the train station before setting out. After resting at the top, head back the way you came.

When to go: This mountain gets its fair share of snow in the winter, and I’ve got the feeling that the forest road to the trailhead isn’t plowed, which means a winter assault may be difficult. The snow should melt sometime in March though. I did this hike in October and it snowed!

Access: From Nagoya station. Take the JR Limited Express “Shinano” train bound for Nagano and get off at Nakatsugawa station (中津川駅). If you’d like to save money, then take a local train. From the station, there is NO bus service to the trailhead. You’ve either got to take a taxi (that’ll cost around 7000 yen) or try your luck hitching. The trail starts at Misakatouge (神坂峠). I was lucky enough to go with a friend who had a car. If you’ve got a few days off, you could try walking to the trailhead and camping there, before starting your hike the following day.

Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5 (elevation change 622m)

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8 Comments on “Mt. Ena (恵那山)”

  1. Hi Wes
    I have a question on this Mt Ena blog – it isn’t clear for me whether the times mentioned (90mins, 2hours, 20mins and 10mins) are all cumulative – that is, around 4 hours hike time to the summit – or whether the 2hour time mentioned includes the first 90mins mentioned – that is, around 2 and a half hours to the summit. Could you please clarify?

    More broadly, thank you for your valuable website. It is a very useful reference for this Australian who makes periodic trips to Japan to progress a hyakumeizan addiction.


    • wes Says:


      Thanks for checking out the site and for the question. Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond.

      Yes, I just realized that my description is a bit ambiguous! Let me clarify it for you if I can. It’s a 6km one-way trip to the summit, with a 600 meter elevation change, which means you’ll do a lot of up-and-down between the trailhead and the peak. My Japanese map says that it’ll take 8-1/2 hours for the entire hike. These times are relatively conservative, since they’re written for old folks without much fitness. I can’t remember exactly how long it took me to get to the top, but I think it was about 3 hours (it was in the snow and cloud, so I didn’t take a lot of breaks). I’m not sure how fit you are, but if you hike at a steady pace there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to reach the peak in 2-1/2 to 3 hours. It all depends on your level of fitness and experience.

      I hope that helps. Feel free to ask more questions.



      • That is helpful, thank you. Do you know (roughly) how far from Nakatsugawa to Misakatouge?

      • wes Says:

        It’s about 22km from Nakatsugawa station to Misakatouge, so I guess it would pretty much take all day to walk there. The road to the pass has a lot of switchbacks, so you might be able to cut some of the distance by cutting through the forest.

  2. Ta Says:


    Thank you very much for all the precious information you give on Japan hikes.

    My husband is getting prepared for climbing Mount Fuji at the end of this month.

    We are going for family hikes. Meaning my husband, myself and our 13 months old daughter. My husband is carrying her in a special backpack.

    We climbed Mount Sanage last wee and to be honest it took us 5 hours and a few breaks to complete the hike from and back to the parking.

    We are looking for hikes to do in Nagoya area. We can go to Mie and Gifu prefectures. The only thing is we are looking for family friendly hikes as we are limited with the baby.

    Can you please give us some advices on where to go and if there is any parking where we can put our car?

    Next week, we are going to Okinawa and we would like to hike there as well in the same conditions, we might take the public transports though. Do you have any advice for hikes in Okinawa too?

    If I compare our level of fitness to the one of the elder Japanese hikers we’ve met on Mount Sanage, let´s say that we are far from being that fit!

    Thank you very much for any information, maps and tips you can give us.


    • wes Says:


      There is a lot of good hiking in the Suzuka mountains in Mie Prefecture. I’d wait until the autumn though, as the leeches can be pretty nasty in those peaks.

      Okinawa has some nice hikes if you head down to Ishigaki and Iriomote islands. If you’re on the main island, then you’ll need to head to the northern part of the island.

      I hope that helps. I usually go hiking alone or with friends, so don’t have any experience hiking with a young child. If you use Facebook you can join the Hiking in Japan group and ask for more specific advice there if you’d like.

      All the best,


  3. David Says:

    For those wishing to climb Mt Ena from Tokyo there is also a hiking trail starting from hirogawahara 広川原, about 20 minutes on foot from a parking area, that can accommodate about 20 cars. The last section of road is in terrible condition with some huge potholes so drive slowly (luckily it is only a few kilometres).

    It’s about 3 km to the top, divided into ten sections marked by fairly new wooden signposts. It took me a little over 2 hours to get to the top but map time is 3-4 hours. The start is fairly rocky but afterwards the trail is relatively easy to walk – I did it in light hiking shoes and was able to job along some of the middle sections.

    There is now a small observation tower at the top but not quite high enough to see the view or so I was told since the day I was there the summit was in the clouds. The rock behind the hut is still the best place. Going down is via the same route.

    It may be possible to get pretty close to the start of the trail by public transportation – I saw a bus stop near Gessen onsen 月川温泉 which should be less than an hour on foot from the parking area but I didn’t investigate. The Iida line is pretty far though.

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