Nestled in the Southern Alps on the island of Honshu, Hokuto lies at the heart of a spectacular natural area. It’s a popular destination for walkers and mountain climbers and is also home to hot springs, art galleries and a whiskey distillery.
Things to do in Hokuto
Go hiking through the magnificent Ojiragawa Valley, where the Hakushu and Oshiro rivers have created picturesque waterfalls and deep swimming holes. Follow the trail along the riverbed or participate in one of the cultural programs, such as miso-making, wooden toy building and cloth dyeing.
Are you a fan of whiskey? Visit the nearby Suntory Hakushu Distillery where single malt whiskey is produced using natural water from the Southern Alps. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the whiskey is distilled and visit the on-site water factory, then sample the finished product in the restaurant.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Kobuchizawa Art Village where an impressive collection of works by American artist Keith Haring is on display. The complex also includes a relaxation spa and the Secret Place Misen that boasts a private hot spring.
A short drive away is the Misogi-jinja, a shrine dedicated to the purification of the heart according to the teachings of the Misogikyo Shinto sect. In addition to its ornate shrine building, the complex is home to one of Japan’s best Noh theatre stages where performances of this 14th-century music, dance and drama form are often held.
Getting around Hokuto
Kobuchizawa Station is the closest rail station to Hokuto, with trains making the two-hour journey to Tokyo. Buses travel throughout the region, but having your own vehicle gives you greater flexibility.