Aug 3, 2010

Akita Komagatake 101: Accsess to the 8th Station and Basic Routes to Amida Pond

Akita Komagatake is the highest mountain in Akita Prefecture and popular for the diversity of alpine plants through the green season. The area welcomes 50,000 hikers each year!

6 Trailheads to the Amida Pond:

Akita Komagatake is a large area that stretches over two Prefectures, Akita Prefecture and  Iwate Prefecture.

From Akita side, there are mainly 5 trailheads for Komagatake: Hachigome Guchi (八合目), Nakaobonai Guchi (中生保内口), Mizusawa Onsen Guchi (水沢温泉口), Nyuto Onsen Guchi (乳頭温泉口), and Nyutosan Juso Course (乳頭山縦走コース).

From Iwate side, a trailhead called Kunimi Onsen Guchi (国見温泉口)is available.

All the routes reach up to a pond called the Amida Pond(阿弥陀池), which is situated at the summit area.

Routes from the 8th Station Trailhead:

All the routes -- except for the ones from Hachigome Trailhead -- are strenuous, more suitable for the experienced hikers. Some parts might be deteriorated, so we recommend you to check with the local mountain guide in advance. (or Folake)

On the other hand, routes from Hachigome (the 8th Station) is suitable and enjoyeable for all-level hikers. Some parts are rocky and steep but easy enough  for children as well. It takes about 3 hours out and back. Ideal for a pleasant day-trip for your family!

Three Routes from Hachigome, the 8th Station Trailhead:
  1. Shindo Course (新道コース), or the ‘New Route’ Course
  2. Yakemori Course (焼森コース), or the “Shakunage Course” (シャクナゲコース)
  3. Kyudo Course (旧道コース),or the ‘Old Route’ Course
Shindo Course is known for the diversity of alpine plants and the panoramic view of Lake Tazawa. The trail goes through Katakura-dake Viewpoint, (片倉岳展望台)  and it loopes around the Mt. Onamedake (女男岳), and eventually becomes gentle uphill. It takes about 60 minutes to the Amida Pond.

Yakemori Course is known for the colony of Shakunage (Rhododendron subg. Hymenanthes). That is why it is called “Shakunage Course”. You will cross a stream and continue hiking up to the summit of the Mt.Yakemori (1,551m): That is where you will find clusters of Komakusa (Dicentra peregrine) and Takane-sumire (Viola Crassa Makino). After you pass by Mt. Yokodake (1,583m), the Amida Pond appears very soon. About 70 minutes.

Kyudo Course is not recommended for beginning hikers. It is very steep and partially deteriorated. In recent years, many hikers have witnessed a pair of bears, apparently dwelling near the hiking route. This route is CURRENTLY CLOSED. We are mentioning it here just so you can avoid  the confusion at the diverging point.

Extending Your Hike:

(Only) If you have plenty of time, you might want to consider extending your hike  to the summits of Mt. Odake(男岳)or Mt. Onamadake (男女岳) - each takes another 20 minutes to the top.

Hiking Back to the Trailhead:

You can go back on the same route, or take an alternative route to go back to the 8th Station. Make sure you arrive before the last bus leaves! Plan ahead and check the schedule.

Access from JR Station to the Trailhead:

To access to the 8th Station trailhead, it is recommended to take a bus. A bus line called Komagatake-sen (駒ケ岳線)takes you directly from JR Tazawako Station.

The buses are available only on the days shown in pink below. Those are the days when private vehicles are not allowed to access to the 8th Station (“Hachigome”)  If you wish to access on days shown in white, you can access by a taxi.

To see the 2011 version, click here.

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