Mountaineering & Trails
in Ishizuchi Mountain RangeTraveling the ridges of the highest peaks in western Japan
Mount Ishizuchi with the highest peak in western Japan, mountains covered with bamboo grass fields, and trails running along the ridges offer expansive views of the cities of Shikoku over the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Inland Sea, and across to the Chūgoku region. Over the Ishizuchi Mountain Range, various flowers welcome the arrival of spring, fresh greenery celebrates the opening of the mountain climbing season in the summer, colorful foliage decorate the fall season, and accumulated snow and frost on trees offer a mystical experience in the winter. The mountains all have their own unique features. Step into the mountains and you will be sure to discover your own ways to enjoy them as you experience many attractive features, inspirations, and surprises.
Thrills in the ever-changing beauty of nature that can only be experienced in Ishizuchi
There are so many sites on the trails of the Ishizuchi Mountain Range that could never be experienced on the ground level. The experience of walking through a green trail full of giant trees and seeing it open up to a breathtaking view across the horizon is awe-inspiring for everyone. The mountains’ expression changes with every season, day, and time. Many people return to the mountains many times, and this is perhaps because, each time, they hope to discover new aspects of the mountains they had never seen before.
Mystical mountains trails of ever-changing beauty generate a sense of well-being in the mind and body
Primeval forests, bamboo grass fields, rock-covered hills, and chain climbing—the trails on Mount Ishizuchi are full of different vegetations, sceneries, and steep and gentle hills. As there are many well-maintained paths available, anyone can enjoy hiking through the mountains, as long as careful thought is given to the routes and pacing. There are also many mountains and routes ready to welcome those who wish to go on more serious mountain climbing expeditions.
Tengu Peak at the summit of Mount Ishizuchi, a symbol of mountain worship
Walk through the rocky area that rise up from the Mount Misen at the summit of Mount Ishizuchi, and you will see the Tengu-dake at the highest peak. Because it is surrounded by precipitous cliffs, many only climb up to Mount Misen. On Mount Ishizuchi, revered by mountain worshippers, there are chains on the mountain paths. Beginning from the bottom, they go in the order of “first chain,” “second chain,” “third chain” and so forth. Before the first chain is a “test chain,” which is the steepest slope. There are alternate paths to circumvent the chains, but climbing the chains offers a chance to physically experience the history of Shugendō pilgrims.
Enjoy Long TrailLong trails of the majestic Ishizuchi Mountain Range
The Ishizuchi Mountain Range brims with rich nature and ecosystem, and is a place of powerful history and religious faith. There are landscapes and human exchanges unique to this long trail that extends about 60 kilometers east-west along the mountain range. Hikers can enjoy the long trail that offers many new discoveries along the ridges of one mountain to the next. Once at the summit, a look back over the mountain ridges will make you feel moved by the long way you have come and by the awe-inspiring landscape.
As you make your way through the long path, the beauty of the gorge and alpine plants will bring a sense of soothing comfort. The “UFO Line” is a path that is closest to the skies in western Japan, and it runs along the mountain range at elevations of 1,100 to 1,700 meters. From there, some mountains can be scaled in only about five minutes. Here, there are the Niyodo-gawa and Yoshino-gawa basins. The widely varying geography and geological conditions, beautiful gorges and highland vegetations particular to this region are also attractive features of this area. Visitors can also learn about the local history that includes the Heike no Ochūdo legend and the remaining sites of old mines.
Taking a longitudinal path will be a long aerobic exercise. Consistently taking this path will strengthens the heart and lungs and enhance physical endurance. Being in nature relaxes the mind and body, and being away from the noise of daily living is one of the great joys of being on the long trail.
Facinations of Nearby PeaksString of famous and beautiful peaks of the Ishizuchi Mountain Range
Along the Ishizuchi Mountain Range are many famous and beautiful mountain peaks. Atop the Mount Ishizuchi, designated as one of the “100 top mountains of Japan,” you will at times encounter majestic and mystical sceneries. Each season will bring about a wide range of new expressions, like flowers in the spring, opening of the climbing season in the summer, colorful foliage in the fall, and snow in the winter. As no two natural landscape is the same, you will feel newly moved by each mountain you climb and each angle you view.
The joy of hiking through Sasaga-mine (meaning “bamboo grass peak”) is completing its various routes. It gets its name from its curving summit that is covered with a type of bamboo grass called ibuki-zasa (sasa tsuboiana). At Kamega-mori Mountain, a breathtaking sight of Mount Ishizuchi can be viewed beyond the field of bamboo grass and skeletal forest. Here, you will encounter a pot that pours out water that has long been believed to cure illnesses. Iyo Fuji is a majestic mountain symbolized by the name of Mt. Fuji that offers a view of Shikoku mountains down below.
At Heike-daira, nothing blocks the expansive, scenic view of the ridge line covered by a bamboo grass field. Mount Ōzare-yama offers a spectacular view of densely growing giant beech trees that suddenly appear as you near its summit. Mount Dōga-mori has a large slope covered with bamboo grass. From the Kanpū-zan Mountain, visitors can enjoy a view of the ridgeline leading to Sasaga-mine and of the majestic Ishizuchi Mountain Range, as well as Tosa Bay that extends beyond the mountains.