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Traverse of Mt. Kurikoma from Iwakagami-daira to Sukawa Onsen (hot spring)

From the scenic ridgeline, towards beautiful wetland and secret hot spring.
  • Duration
    1Day / 4Hours
    Highest Point
    1627m
    Elevation Gain
    513m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level

Mt. Kurikoma (Kurikoma-yama) is located in the center of the Tohoku region, where the borders of Miyagi, Iwate and Akita prefectures meet, and is selected as Kurikoma Quasi-National Park. It is an active volcano, and fumarolic activities can be observed in various spots of the mountain today. Out of nine trailheads, this route introduces the traverse route that originates in Iwakagami-daira, which is on the Miyagi prefecture-side and has convenient access. It continues on to the summit of Mt. Kurikoma, and comes down to Sukawa Onsen hot spring on Iwate prefecture-side through the Ubu-numa course via Ubu-numa Swamp, Sanzuno-kawa River and Nagorigahara Wetland.

From Iwakagami-daira, take the Higashi-kurikoma course that separates from the main course. Proceeding along the swampy trail and over the ladder-equipped rocky section, the trail enters a shrub zone. After a total of about 40 minutes of hiking, you will arrive at Shin-Yuzawa.

Hiking up the rocky section of the riverbed along the swamp for about 100 meters, the trail turns back to shrub zone with a steep slope. The surrounding area changes to creeping pine belt and shrubs in a grassy plain, which opens wide as you continue on.

Mt. Higashi-Kurikoma (Higashi-Kurikoma-yama) is about 20 minutes away from Shin-yuzawa, and about 30 minutes more to the Higashi-Kurikoma fork. The trail continues on through a gently sloping grassy field, and turns into wooden stairs. It takes about 30 minutes to Mt. Kurikoma.

To get to Sukawa Onsen, descend Ubu-numa course (nature observation course) via Ubu-numa Swamp, since the route via Lake Showa (Showa-ko) is off-limits due to hydrogen sulfide gas eruption. Descend the trail with small bamboo and grass growing thick for about 40 minutes, and you will arrive at Ubu-numa Swamp.

Take a left at the fork and descend for approximately 30 minutes, and cross a stream called Sanzuno-kawa River, which name comes from Japanese mythological river that is believed souls must across after physical death.

Traverse on a small ridge for approximately 15 minutes, and you will arrive at Nagorigahara Swamp. Continue hiking on a flat wooden walkway through a grassy field and descend through a shrub zone, and you will get to Sukawa Onsen in about 20 minutes.

Other Info

Though the beauty of alpine plants that blossom from July to August cannot be missed, Mt Kurikoma is the busiest with many hikers during the autumn foliage season, which is from late September to mid-October. The combination of colors consisting of red and orange of trees such as nanakamado (Japanese rowan) and the green of creeping pine and bamboo leaves, adorns the entire surface of the mountain, earning the alias of “divine carpet.“ Nagorigahara grass field also pleases visitors’ eyes with golden autumn foliage.


High Season:June to October

Notes

The Higashi-Kurikoma route introduced in this course will become a stream when it rains due to its swampy geographical feature. There are wet places that need to be crossed so hiking from the main route is recommended when raining.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
1Day / 4Hours
Highest Point
1627m(Mt. Kurikoma)
Elevation Gain
513m
Horizontal Distance
7.8Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping

Iwakagami-daira-hinan-goya, Sukawa-kogen Onsen, Kurikoma-sanso

Eating

Iwakagami-daira Kurikoma Rest House

Hot-Springs

Sukawa-kogen Onsen

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Access

Mt. Kurikoma is located in the center of the Tohoku region, where the borders of Miyagi, Iwate and Akita prefectures meet. From Tokyo station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to get to Kurikoma-Kogen Station in approximately 2 hours.
From Kurikoma-Kogen station, transfer to Kurikoma-yama Access Bus, which will get to Iwakagami-daira in approximately an hour and 10 minutes. However, the bus operates only on weekends and holidays during late September to mid-October for the autumn foliage season and requires advance reservation. When they are not operating, taking a taxi is the only way to get to Iwakagami-daira. Take an Iwateken Kotsu bus from Sukawa-kogen Onsen bus stop to get to Ichinoseki station for Tohoku Shinkansen (approx. one and a half hours).

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