Transnational Trail Collaboration: Shinetsu Trail Club Visit

June 9, 2023

Throughout its history, the Appalachian Trail has been a source of inspiration to people from all over the world. The time and space it provides for contemplation, as well as the perspective it offers on daily life, give rise to big dreams and ideas. Trail time has truly been life-changing for many. 

In 2005, an A.T. thru-hiker from Japan named Noriyoshi Kato returned home determined to establish a long-distance trail in his home country. He connected with an emerging, locally driven project to build a trail along the border between the Nagano and Niigata prefectures northwest of Tokyo. Three years later, in 2008, a 50-mile section of the Shinetsu Trail opened for the first time. 

Today, the Shinetsu Trail is 70 miles long and traces the ridgeline of the Sekida Mountains for most of the way, then summits the 6,500-foot Mount Naeba. Along the way, it passes through small towns, farmland, and beech forests. 

In May 2023, two representatives of the Shinetsu Trail Club, which manages the trail, visited the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail. Hiroshi Kimura and Yukiko Satoh met with ATC staff as well as members of the Konnarock Trail Crew, Georgia A.T. Club, Carolina Mountain Club, and Roanoke A.T. Club. Among the topics they discussed were volunteer recruitment and training, visitor use management, and trail maintenance practices. 

Want to learn more? The Summer edition of A.T. Journeys magazine will include a feature-length story about the partnership between the ATC and the Shinetsu Trail Club. ATC members receive a print or digital version of A.T. Journeys. Become a member today