Iiyama’s heart-shaped Hokuryu Lake is hidden in a valley on mystical Kosuge Mountain. Not fed by any rivers or streams, the pristine lake is filled only with snow melt run-off and natural springs.
Recently my daughter and I had the opportunity to appreciate the lake doing SUP.
Stand-Up Paddling, a combination of surfboarding and canoeing, is a relatively new sport but it is gaining in popularity and is scheduled to make it’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Despite it being our first time, thanks to some skillful coaching by Powerdrive R117‘s charismatic owner, Gyaruman, we got the hang of SUP surprisingly quickly. Soon we were skimming across Hokuryu Lake and enjoying the mountain scenery. As we got more comfortable with the paddling, we tried a few rounds of SUP Sumo. Losing was actually rewarding as it meant falling into the lake for a refreshingly cool splash.
Nagano is blessed with many scenic mountain lakes, and SUP is a perfect way to appreciate their natural beauty. Friendly outfitters make it easy to enjoy even for beginners. Besides Gyaruman and Powerdrive R117 at Hokuryu Lake in Iiyama, other popular alternatives include Evergreen Outdoor Center / Hakuba’s Lake Aoki and Sunday Planning / Nojiri Lake in northern Nagano.