The following information is taken from the Naeba-Sanroku Geopark Guide Map. It is an awesome resource in English that takes you around all the fascinating points (and there are masses of them) in this geopark located in the Tsunan/Sakae Village area. There is so much here to do, see, and learn, so if you love the outdoors, this should definitely be on your list.
A rich history of volcanoes, rivers, snow, and the plants, animals, and people that have called this place home.
A member of Geoparks Japan, Naeba-Sanroku takes its name from Mt. Naeba, an extinct volcanic plateau, and “sanroku”, or piedmont, referring to formations at the base of the mountain.
The municipalities of Tsunan, Niigata Prefecture and Sakae, Nagano Prefecture make up the political boundaries of this Geopark. The physical geography is defined by the heights of Mt. Naeba (2145m) and Mt. Torikabuto (2037m) in the south, and the Sekita Range (approx. 1000m) which form the northern border. Two principal waterways are also vital to the definition of this Geopark. From the mountainous areas to the south of Naeba-Sanroku rise the Nakatsu River and its gorge which separates the old volcanoes of Naeba and Torikabuto, exposing several examples of columnar jointing and other remarkable geological formations on its journey north to join the Shinano River in the center of Tsunan Town. The Shinano River, Japan’s longest, flows from west to northeast along a dividing line between uplifted seas beds on its left bank, and a combination of volcanic formation and fluvial terraces on its right.
This Geopark is also characterized by the unusual amount of snow that falls here, reaching an accumulation of 3 meters every winter, along the Shinano valley floor. Seasonal winds from the Eurasian continent crossing the Seao of Japan, accumulate water vapor from the warm sea currents, rise as they meet the Mikuni Range (watershed), forming snow clouds, resulting in heavy snowfall across the Naeba-Sanroku area.
In the midst of such an environment, humans have lived here since Paleolithic times, enduring the hardships and enjoying the many benefits of this land. Learning from the Jomon people who thrived with the forests, we can rediscover living together with nature. A place where we can learn with our five senses how to live alongside the earth and nature from now into the future: this is the Naeba Sanroku Geopark.
Naeba-Sanroku Geopark Promotion Council (Agriculture and Jomon Experience “Najomon”) Shimofunato-Otsu 835, Tsunan, Niigata, 949-8201 Tel: 025-765-1600 Fax: 025-765-5511 URL: http://naeba-geo.jpn.org/
English Tour Guides are available. Please enquire and request by email to Tsunan Town Tourist Association, including “Geopark Guide Request” in the subject line Email: kanko(at)tsunan.info