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Japan’s Own Long Trail: A 50 km Route Traversing Mt. Iwate, the Mt. Hachimantai, and Appi Highlands

A trail offering a variety of enjoyable sights such as highlands, wetlands, and volcanic peaks.
  • Duration
    3Days / 21Hours
    Highest Point
    2038m
    Elevation Gain
    1469m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level
The 50 km trail introduced here spans Mt. Iwate (Iwate-san), Mt. Hachimantai, and Appi Highlands (Appi-kohgen) which are located in the Ou Mountain Range (Ohu-sanmyaku) in the west of Iwate Prefecture in Japan’s Tohoku region. The mountains lie within the Towada Hachimantai National Park. The route follows an arc-shaped course around the left edge of terrain which includes Mt. Hachimantai and Mt. Iwate, two of Japan’s 100 famous mountains. The trek introduced here follows a route from Maemoriyama (newly refurbished in 2016) and combines all the highlights of three smaller trails: the Hachimantai Appi Highlands Trail which leads to the Hachimantai Plateau with its scattered wetlands and lakes and marshes; the Hachimantai Mt. Mitsuishi (Mitsuishi-yama) Trail where you can enjoy the tranquil Ura-Iwate mountains with their coniferous forests; and the Iwate-san Matsukawa Onsen Trail whose appeal stems from vistas only seen among active volcanoes. The total distance covered is 50 km, making this an unusually long route.

After getting off the Appi Gondola, hike down from the peak of Mt. Maemori for about 30 minutes to the junction below, then follow the path through a forest belt. You can walk to the peaks of Mt. Nishimori (Nishimori-yama) and Mt. Yanomune (Yanomune-dake) and back to the path in around 10 minutes.

It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach Mt. Daikokumori after setting out from Mt. Maemori. From Mt. Daikokumori, continue on past the peak of Mt. Ebisumori and hike up the gentle slope on the other side to reach the Chausu-sanso mountain hut (approx. 45 minutes). From here, you can hike to Mt. Chausu (Chausu-dake) and back in about 20 minutes.

From the mountain hut, ease your way down the trail to arrive at a wooden walkway that passes through a marshy patch and leads to the Kuroyachi wetland with its smattering of peat bogs. During July and August, you can see fields of alpine flora in this area. From the Kuroyachi wetland, hike up the slope to Gentamori and then descend the trail toward Hachiman-numa Pond. After about an hour and 15 minutes, you will arrive at the peak of Mt. Hachimantai where you will find an observatory.

Hike down from the peak for about 30 minutes to reach the Hachimantai trailhead where you wll find a bus terminal and rest house. The first day of the hike ends here. Due to the fact that the following night will be spent in a shelter, you will want to get a good rest at a nearby accommodation like Toshichi Onsen or Hachimantai Onsen Kyo (Hachimantai Hot-spring Village).

On following day, begin your hike anew at the Hachimantai trailhead. Walk along the paved road of the Hachimantai Jukai Line until you reach the Mokkodake trailhead. Then, hike up through the conifer belt to the junction. From here, you can hike to the scenic peak of Mt. Mokko (Mokko-dake) and back in about 10 minutes.

From the junction, hike up an over the small peak and continue down the gentle slope to reach Mt. Morobi (Morobi-dake). Then, hike down through a conifer belt until you reach the shore of the Ishinuma marsh. Continue on past Mt. Maemorobi (Maemorobi-dake) until you reach Mt. Kensomori.

Hike along the ridgeline while admiring the view of Kagaminuma pond below. After about an hour of hiking from Mt. Kensomori, you will arrive at the Obuka-sanso shelter hut. From the Obuka-sanso mountain hut, hike for 30 minutes to the peak of Mt. Obuka (Obuka-dake) and hike up for a further 50 minutes to the peak of Mt. Komokko (Komokko-yama). Continue on past the Mitsunuma peat bog and hike up to Mt. Mitsuishi. Here, among stone pines and scattered boulders, beautiful autumn foliage can be seen in late September.

From Mt. Mitsuishi, hike down the trail for about 20 minutes to reach the Mitsuishi wetland. Here, you will find the Mitsuishi-sanso shelter hut where you will spend the second night of the trek. On the third day of the trek, set out from Mitsuishi-sanso and hike up and over Mt. Omatsukura (Omatsukura-yama) and continue along a forested segment of trail to reach the Inukura junction.

Traverse the slopes of Mt. Inukura (Inukura-yama) and Mt. Kurokura (Kurokura-yama) without ascending the peaks and within about an hour you will reach Ojigoku junction at a cut in the rocky terrain.

From here, hike up a steep, rocky ridge to the left for about 2 hours to Fudodaira with its shelter. Hike back up toward the Mt. Iwate ridgeline and follow the path that winds around the caldera clockwisely. After about an hour, you will arrive at Mt. Yakushi (Yakushi-dake), which is the highest point on Mt. Iwate.

Swing back by the caldera and continue northwest down a loose gravel slope toward the Hirakasafudo-hinan-goya shelter hut before traversing downward through a stone pine belt. Take the right turnoff at the Tsuruhashi junction and hike down to the Yakehashiri Course. Hike down the gravel slope for another 40 minutes and continue past the Daini Funshutsuko-ato.

After about an hour of hiking down through a forest belt, you will reach the Yakehashiri trailhead where your long trek concludes.

Other Info

It is recommended that you spend the first night of the trek at the Toshichi Onsen. A free shuttle service runs from the Hachimantai trailhead bus stop, and it is also near the Mokkodake trailhead where you start the second day of the trek.

Notes

The Mitsuishi-sanso shelter hut where you will spend the second night of the trek is an unstaffed shelter. You must bring your own sleeping bags and other necessities as well as gear needed to prepare food to facilitate a comfortable stay.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
3Days / 21Hours
Highest Point
2038m(Mt. Iwate, Mt. Yakushi)
Elevation Gain
1469m
Horizontal Distance
48.3Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping

Chausu-sanso, Ryoun-so, Ofuka-sanso, Fudodaira-hinan-goya, Hirakasafudo-hinan-goya

Eating

Iwate Yakehashiri International Exchange Village

Hot-Springs

Iwate Yakehashiri International Exchange Village

Instagram

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Access

Mt. Iwate is located in the west of Iwate Prefecture in Japan’s Tohoku region. From Tokyo Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Morioka Station (3 hours and 15 minutes). From Morioka Station, transfer to a Ginga Tetsudo train and travel to Koma Station (within 30 minutes). From Koma Station, transfer to the JR Hanawa Line and travel to Obuke Station (approx. 10minutes).
From Appi Kogen Station, all accommodations offer free shuttle bus services to Appi Highlands where you will travel to spend the night before the trek. On the following day, take the Appi Gondola from Appi Highlands to the peak of Mt. Maemori. From the Yakehashiri trailhead, take a taxi to the JR Hanawa Line entrance at Obuke Station (15 minutes). From Obuke Station, take the JR Hanawa Line to Koma Station (approx. 10 minutes). From Koma Station, take a Ginga Testudo train to Morioka Station (within 30 minutes).

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