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Mt. Kitadake Loop from Hirogawara

This loop course of Japan’s 2nd highest mountain offers plenty of variety.
  • Duration
    2Days / 11.5Hours
    Highest Point
    3193m
    Elevation Gain
    1668m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level
Mt. Kitadake (Elevation: 3193 meters) is the highest mountain in the Southern Japanse Alps and the 2nd-highest mountain in Japan after Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san). Referred to as the Shirane Sanzan (three peaks) collectively with Mt. Ainodake (Elevation: 3190 meters), which is tied as Japan’s third highest mountain, and Mt. Notori (Notori-dake), it can be seen as far away as the Kofu Basin. While there is a course that transverses the Shirane Sanzan as well as a course that transverses to Mt. Shiomi (Shiomi-dake), here we introduce a loop route that starts and ends in Hirogawara and offers different scenery to enjoy on the outward and return trips.

After getting off the bus at Hirogawara, cross the suspension bridge and ascend through the virgin forest. Proceed left at the fork and ascend along Okanba-sawa (Ohkanba-sawa) while crossing the few bridges located along the way and you will arrive at Futamata in approximately two and a half hours. After traversing the slope you will arrive at the Shiraneoike-goya mountain hut, which is where you will stay the night.

The next day, return to Futamata. After passing over the snowy valley of Okanba-zawa and ascending the grassland, which becomes a field of flowering alpine plans in the summer, the Mt. Kitadake buttress will come into view. After you pass over the Happonba-sawa, climbing the steep slope along the wooden steps amongst the shrubs and your field of view opens up as you enter the creeping pine zone, you will arrive at the Happonba Col (Happonba no Col).

From here, climb the scree slope, which also has some boulders, and you will arrive at the Tsurione Ridge fork. Turning right from here and ascending the scree slope of the ridge, you will reach the summit of Mt. Kitadake in approximately 20 minutes.

Descend along the ridge from the summit to the Kitadake Katano-koya mountain hut and, once you arrive at the Kotaro Ridge (Kotaro-one) fork, take the right fork and descend the steep slope through the Kusasuberi grassland. Once you return to the Shiraneoike-goya, traverse through the shrubs, and descend through the forest, you will arrive at Hirogawara in approximately 2 hours.

Other Info

Mt. Kitadake is known for being a mountain with lots of flowers. The grasslands of Kusasuberi and at the top of Okanba-zawa become carpeted in fields of flowers in the summer. The area around the scree slopes from the Happonba Col to the peak of Mt. Kitadake is dotted with flower fields in the summer. You will likely be able to observe alpine plants including Kitadakeso (Callianthemum hondoense), an endemic species.

Notes

More than three quarters of the walking time for this course is concentrated in the second day. If you have the time, we also recommend a three-day, two-night course that includes an overnight stay at the Kitadake Sanso mountain hut located after taking the left fork at Tsuri-one Fork and hiking approximately 40 minutes. The round trip to and from the Kitadake Sanso is approximately 3 hours. The course also offers a summit of Mt. Ainodake, which is tied for Japan’s third highest mountain.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
2Days / 11.5Hours
Highest Point
3193m
Elevation Gain
1668m
Horizontal Distance
11.3Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping

Hirogawara Sanso, Shiraneoike-goya, Kitadake Sanso, Kitadake Katano-koya

Eating

Kanayamazawa Onsen, Minami Alps City

Hot-Springs

Kanayamazawa Onsen, Minami Alps City

Instagram

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Access

Take the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station (Approx. 15 minutes). From Shinjuku Station, transfer to the JR Chuo Line Limited Express and get off at Kofu Station (Approx. an hour and a half).
Take to the Yamanashi Kotsu Bus from Kofu Station to Hirogawara (Approx. 2 hours).

Links

COURSES

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