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Traverse of Mt. Iwate from Yakehashiri to Nana-taki Falls

Enjoy the signs and scars of volcanic activity on this still-active volcano.
  • Duration
    1Day / 7.5Hours
    Highest Point
    2038m
    Elevation Gain
    1469m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level
Mt. Iwate (Iwate-san) is located in western Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku region. Part of the Ou Mountains, it has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains. It is also part of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. The mountain, which is formed of overlapping eastern and western crater rims, changes appearance depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The mountain has earned the nickname “Nanbu-Katafuji” for the striking contrast between the gentle slopes of the eastern face and precipitous ridgeline of the western face. There are seven trails to the summit. However, here we will introduce a route up the Yakehashiri course, which follows lava flows created by an 18th-century eruption, and down the Nanataki course, which offers a variety of scenery to enjoy including marshlands, lakes, and waterfalls.

Hike up through the forest belt from the Yakehashiri trailhead and you will arrive at the Daini Funshutsuko-ato spout in about one and a half hours. After coming out the forest belt, the trail will transition to a surface covered in volcanic pebbles and in about an hour and 10 minutes you will arrive at Tsuruhashi, where the trail meets with the Uwabo course.

Once again you will traverse up the trail through a shrub zone you will arrive at the Hirakasafudo-hinan-goya shelter hut about an hour from Tsuruhashi. From the Hirakasafudo-hinan-goya you will hike up a pebbled trail over the shrub zone and arrive at the ridgeline of the somma of the summit. From here you will circle the crater rim clockwise. About 40 minutes from the Hirakasafudo-hinangoya you will arrive at Mt. Yakushi (Yakushi-dake), the highest peak of Mt. Iwate.

Proceed further around the crater rim ridgeline while looking down at the summit crater to the right. You will eventually arrive at the fork that leads down to Fudo-daira. From here you will leave the crater rim ridgeline and hike down a pebbled trail through a stone pine belt. You will arrive back at the Fudotai-hinan-goya shelter hut about 30 minutes after leaving Mt. Yakushi.

As you hike down a slope with stone pines and bamboo grass and proceed through a gently-sloping conifer forest belt, you will arrive at the Ohanabatake fork, which is surrounded by marshlands, in about 40 minutes.
Proceed along the mountain stream while looking up the Onigajo rock ridge to the left and the slope of the crater rim to the right before hiking back up. You will arrive at the Ohjigoku fork in about 30 minutes.

Descend the steep and slippery pebbled slope, which has ropes installed at the important points. As you cross the left bank of Ohjigoku Valley you will come upon a trail that traverses through a forest belt along a stream. Along the way you will be able to see a number of waterfalls including Nana-taki Falls.

After leaving the stream and hiking down through a conifer forest belt you will arrive at the Nanataki trailhead in about an hour and 40 minutes after passing the Ohjigoku fork.

Other Info

In July hikers can enjoy seeing the massive colony of komakusa (dicentra) that grows on the pebbled slopes of the Yakehashiri course. The surrounding shrubs and trees are also decorated in brilliant autumn colors from late September to early October.

Notes

The Nanataki course that hikers take down the mountain on this route offers a good variety of scenery to enjoy. However, hikers must be aware of the slippery slopes, fumaroles, and other hazards around the Ohjigoku area. Because the course is quite long, hikers may need to consider taking the outbound route back down the mountain depending on what time they arrive at the summit of Mt. Yakushi, their physical condition, and other factors.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
1Day / 7.5Hours
Highest Point
2038m(Mt. Iwate・Mt. Yakushi)
Elevation Gain
1469m
Horizontal Distance
16.4Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping

Hirakasafudo-hinan-goya, Fudotai-hinan-goya

Eating

Hachimantai Onsenkan Morinoyu

Hot-Springs

Hachimantai Onsenkan Morinoyu

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Access

Mt. Iwate is located in western Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku region. Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and you will arrive at Morioka Station in approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes. At Morioka Station, transfer to the Iwate Ginga Railway line and you will arrive at Koma Station within 30 minutes. At Koma Station, transfer to the JR Hanawa Line and get off at Obuke Station (approx. 10 minutes).
Take a taxi from Obuke Station and you will arrive at the Yakehashiri trailhead in approximately 15 minutes. Take the Iwate Kenpoku bus (Northern Iwate Transportation) from the Kenmin-no-Mori facility, which is where the Nanataki trailhead is located, and you will arrive back at Morioka Station in approximately an hour and 40 minutes.

Links

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