Apr 6, 2010

A Landmark of Akita : Mt. Akita Komagatake

What is the landmark in your hometown? These are our landmarks in Akita Prefecture.

Photo courtesy of Kazuo Nanba. Our landmarks: Lake Tazawa, Statue of Tatsuko, and Mt. Komagatake.

Mt. Akita Komagatake is a  landmark to many people in Semboku Area of Akita Prefecture. It is part of the Ou Mountain Range and one of the most popular hiking mountains in Tohoku. The area is a part of Towada-Hachimantai National Park.

“Komagatake” (駒ケ岳) is a common name for a mountain in Japan. Mountains have been worshipped as a spiritual site where the gods of Shinto,  the traditional animism of Japan, reside. Like many other Komagatake in Japan, women were prohibited to enter Akita Komagatake. It is because the mountain was considered as a place of inviolable sanctity and masculine beauty. That is how the people have admired it as a landmark in our lives.

The summit is made of three peaks, Odake (男岳“Mt. Man”), Medake (女岳“Mt. Woman”), and Onamedake (男女岳“Mt. Man-and-Woman”). Onamedake has its highest point above the sea level, 1,637m (5,370 ft), which is about the same altitude as City of Denver, Colorado in the United States. 

Akita Komagatake is home to a large variety of alpine plants of Japan! The mountain is abundant of many beautiful wild flowers throughout the Green Seasons (May through October), which is why it is dubbed as the Great Mountain of Flowers ("Hana-No-Meisan")

It is an active volcano whose most recent eruption occurred in 1970. It gathered spectators and geologists who want to catch a rare glimpse of magma eruptions! Many locals still remember it as if it was an once-in-a-lifetime festival!

Courtesy of Kazuo Nanba.  Komakusa is the symbolic flower of this Mountain of Flowers.
It co-exists with  another species, yellow Takane-sumire, which blooms right before this pink carpet.

A colony of Nikko-kisuge (Daylily)  Photo courtesy of Semboku City.

Amida-Ike Pond on the summit area (Photo courtesy of Semboku City)

Before hiking in Akita Komagatake, you are recommended to obtain permission at the local police department. (It is for your own safety and in case you are missing, for it does happen more often than you would think!)

The most popular routes are  from 8th station (“Hachigome”) to Amida Pond (“Amida-ike”) area. If you are taking a hike on one of the most popular routes, so you won’t need a permission. However, you are required to if you are taking other routes. Remember that you are not allowed to go off the trails.

Hiking with a mountain guide,Yama-no-Annainin, could give  you more fun experience!

Accessing Mt. Komagatake from the 8th station:

Driving to the 8th Station:

First, check your scheduled date in the calendar below.

If your dates shows in pink, that means you are not allowed to take your vehicle to the 8th station. This applies to all the private vehicles except for the regular bus service and taxies between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. You can park your car at Arupa Komakusa, and take the local bus line, Komagatake-sen (駒ケ岳線).

Taking the Local Bus:

Take Komagatake-sen, which takes you directly to the 8th station. Fare between JR Tazawako Station to the 8th Station is 1,000yen.  You can also take a taxi.

You can download it as a PDF file

For more information and assistance in English, write to us (sasaki@tazawako.org).

1 comment:

swisschocolatist said...

Hello! My family and I were planning on going there late April/early May. Are the hiking trails accessible then?