ATSUMI-DAKE

あつみだけ 

Mt. Atsumi in Atsumi Onsen, a quaint Onsen Hot Spring town in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture

温海岳

The hidden Onsen (Hot Spring) town of Atsumi’s own hidden gem

At first glance, Atsumi Onsen looks just like any other hot spring town; long river meandering its way through a narrow valley, cherry blossom trees, small family-run Ryokan inns, but a look under the hood reveals a secretive location bound to make any nature lover rejoice, the town’s very own hidden world of wonder, Atsumi-dake.

ATSUMI-DAKE

Atsumidake, Mt. Atsumi, Mt. Atsumidake

温海岳あつみだけ 

Atsumi-dake (温海岳あつみだけ) is a 736m (2414 ft.) peak in the Shonai region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from mid-May to late October. Atsumi-dake is a level 2 in terms of physical demand, which means it is relatively easy to hike, has a A technical grade, which means it requires little expertise, and you want to allow at least 5 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Atsumi-dake

Region

Shonai

Elevation

736

Technical Demand

A

Physical Demand

2

Trails

Two: 1) Atsumi-dake Trailhead (5 hour loop) 2) Hirashimizu Trailhead (5 hour loop)

Best time to climb

Mid-May to Late October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

5 hours

Reaching Peak Tranquility: Atsumi-dake (Mt. Atsumi)

Atsumi-dake is north Japan’s waterfall wonderland

The 736m Atsumi-dake lies in the north of Atsumi Onsen, a small township on the southern edge of the Shonai coast on the Sea of Japan. Also known as Mt. Atsumi (熱海岳、熱海嶽), Atsumi-dake boasts an eclectic mix of forest streams, waterfalls, shrines, cedar and beech forests, and even an abandoned Shukubo pilgrim lodge, a reminder of a time long passed. Not to mention the countless memorial stones, shrines, and caves used by ascetics during spiritual training that hark back to the ancient times when Atsumi-dake was a popular destination for followers of Shugendo. 

Reaching the peak of Atsumi-dake, loyal followers in the past would have been rewarded with the grace of Kumano, the Kami of Atsumi-dake enshrined at the summit. Equally, they would have been rewarded with the same unbeatable views over the surrounding mountains, valleys, and islands in the Sea of Japan. These days we are rewarded with a soak in a hot spring.

Peak Tranquility 

Multiple bridges cross the mountain stream up Atsumi-dake

Do not let this low-profile mountain fool you, however. Atsumi-dake is by no means an easy peak to summit. In fact, barring climbing Gassan and Yudono-san from Haguro-san, it might just be the toughest mountain to climb in the whole Shonai region, at least that was the case for me. As we all know though, the only way to truly appreciate tranquility is through having experienced hardship. Climb Atsumi-dake, and that onsen (hot spring) right after doesn’t just feel like heaven, it is heaven. 

Atsumi-dake Climbing season

The summit of Atsumi-dake seen from the path below

Put simply, Atsumi-dake is climbable when there is no snow. At a guess it would be possible to climb Atsumi-dake in snowshoes. There is a forest area with mountain stream and waterfalls that would definitely be worth exploring, but it probably wouldn’t be worth going all the way to the summit because of how far it is. 

Either way, the recommended season for hiking Atsumi-dake is from mid-May to late October. Mid-May is when the fresh greenery is out, as well as the mountain cherry blossoms, one of the best times to be anywhere outside in Japan. October is right when the autumn leaves are changing, also one of the best times to be outdoors. These two seasons are much cooler than the summer, so are much better suited to hiking, and the story is no different for Atsumi-dake. 

Getting to Atsumi-dake

Atsumi-dake and Atsumi Onsen during the winter

Like most places in rural Japan, Atsumi Onsen is best reached by car. Atsumi Onsen does have a train station on the coast, but it is a bit of a walk to get to the mountain, at least 30 minutes. If you’re coming from central Tsuruoka, there is a free highway you can use that takes you all the way to Atsumi Onsen. Coming from the south, take Route 7 north from Murakami City, and there will be a right hand turn into Atsumi Onsen. 

There are a few carparks you can use in Atsumi Onsen to climb the mountain, one is located across the Atsumi river from the entrance to the mountain and is an easy spot to drop off and pick up your car. 

Trailheads to Atsumi-dake

One of many old maps lining the hiking paths of Atsumi-dake

There are really only two trailheads up Atsumi-dake that both loop to one another; the main Atsumi-dake Trailhead, and the Hirashimizu trailhead. I would only recommend taking the main Atsumi-dake Trailhead that takes you clockwise around the mountain. The descent from the summit down to the Hirashimizu trailhead is very long and very steep, so would be better used for a downhill. There is also a trailhead from the Iragawa side of the mountain, but this trail is also known for being long and steep, a challenge for another time perhaps. 

The Atsumi-dake Trailhead

A mountain lily on Atsumi-dake

First, there is a narrow mountain road to walk up that takes you to where the trail into the mountain begins. This road takes you alongside a river basically the whole way, and there are plenty of waterfalls and other sights to check out. Before long, there will be a section with a sign featuring a map of the mountain, and a trail that leads into the mountain proper. This trail is the official Atsumi-dake Trail. 

The first part of this mountain trail takes you alongside a long stream in the middle of a natural forest featuring tons of small waterfalls, footbridges so overgrown with plants they blend into the scenery, and countless varieties of flora and fauna. 

The mountain stream has three larger waterfalls; Ichinotaki, Ninotaki, and Sannotaki, and even has a waterfall known as the lover’s waterfall from another stream that meets the main stream. Keep a look out for caves along this path as well, as these would have been used by ascetics training there. 

Mountain Views and Service Roads

The mountain road that leads to the summit of Atsumi-dake

The climb up this section is quite long, and took us probably around 90 minutes to two hours. At the top, you’ll come out at the road from earlier, and there is a map here to check your position. This road is a service road for the power lines, so should be well maintained, and in fact takes you quite high up towards the summit. 

It should be obvious, but you want to head up this road. Eventually, there will be a ‘T’ intersection. Take a left here. The path eventually evens out and if you’re tall enough to look over the trees, the view out to the west is quite spectacular. Keep following this road up the hill and a forest path that takes you to the summit will appear on your left. 

Making it to the summit of Atsumi-dake

The view from the summit of Atsumi-dake towards Shonai and The Sea of Japan in the west of Yamagata Prefecture

Kumano shrine at the summit is not very exciting, just a giant concrete box, but the views are really something. If the weather’s great, the views are basically 360°, and you can see the Asahi mountain range, Gassan, Chokai-zan, the Shonai Plains, and also to the Sea of Japan and Sado and Awashima Islands. This is a great spot to take a break and catch your breath before making the descent back down the mountain. 

The path back to the Hirashimizu Trailhead on Atsumi-dake

Some of the refreshing waterfalls of Atsumi-dake

After you’ve rested enough, it’s time to head back down the mountain. By this stage, you are about 3/4 of the way through the loop. Now all that’s left is a descent through the cedar and beech forests that lead to the Hirashimizu Trailhead. From the summit, you should see the path as it goes off into the forest. There is a sign directly in front of the shrine in case you get confused. 

Be warned though, this part of the trail is rather steep and rather long. It would be a good idea to have a stick for this part of the hike, as it can also get quite slippery with fallen leaves or especially if the ground is wet. There are also errant tree roots to watch out for. 

Former Shugendo locations on Atsumi-dake

A river near Atsumi Onsen during the changing leaves of autumn

Nearer to the bottom of this path, you will come across the Ipponsugi, the lone Cedar, and the remains of the Kyuhaiden Hall, locations formerly used by followers of Shugendo and other mountain religions. Right next to the remains of Kyuhaiden Hall is a well with fresh mountain water. This was a lifesaver for us as by this point we had both run out of water. We are both pretty sweaty guys anyway, but had gone through 2 litres of water each, if that’s any indication for how hard of a climb it was. 

Once you’ve had your chance to refresh, continue following the trail down, and eventually there will be a bamboo forest next to an abandoned building. It turns out that this building is a former Shukubo, a pilgrim lodge used for Shojin Kessai or purification of pilgrims to the mountain. The path continues downhill from here and takes you back to the Hirashimizu Trailhead. 

The Loop Closes

A butterfly-shaped leaf on Atsumi-dake

From the Hirashimizu Trailhead, simply head back along the river and you should find your way back to your car relatively easily. Once you’ve climbed Atsumi-dake, it’s definitely worthwhile checking out the surrounding town. I would go so far as to recommend making an event of it and booking a night or two in one of the local Ryokan as well.


The Hot Spring Town of Atsumi Onsen

Houses covered in snow during the early winter of Atsumi Onsen 

The name Atsumi literally means ‘hot ocean’ and comes from the fact that there is a natural hot spring that comes out at the bottom of the Atsumi river, which then flows into The Sea of Japan.

Locals separate Atsumi Onsen into two main areas; Hama-Atsumi along the coast, and the inland Yu-Atsumi along the Atsumi river. Hama-Atsumi is the area along the Sea of Japan, an ocean known for harsh winds and high waves in the winter, but great fishing year-round or swimming in the summer.

Yu-Atsumi is a traditional onsen (hot spring) town along the banks of the Atsumi River. On either side of the Atsumi River lie any number of Ryokan, big and small, a long line of cherry blossom trees, cafes, and it wouldn’t be an onsen town with foot spas for all to enjoy. Since you’re in town, why not check out, or even check in to, the numerous Ryokan (traditional inns) and other onsen facilities Atsumi Onsen has to offer.

Reward your effort in the hot springs of Atsumi Onsen

The Atsumi River flows into the Sea of Japan on the Shonai coast

Thankfully, in reward for your efforts climbing to the summit, Atsumi-dake happens to be in one of the best spots to relax in the whole of Yamagata. If you didn’t know already, Yamagata prefecture has over 500 Onsen facilities, and at least one in every municipality. Tsuruoka City is famous for having three Onsen towns; the inland Yutagawa Onsen near Kinbo-zan, the coastal Yunohama Onsen near Takadate-yama and Arakura-yama, and of course Atsumi Onsen.

Being one of the top places in the prefecture is definitely saying something. It also means that once you’re done climbing or exploring, you’re all but guaranteed a great chance for a dip in an onsen hot pool, or if you’re anything like us a tasty ice cream while enjoying a foot spa at the region’s most popular cafe, Chitto Motche.

The Quality Hot Spring Water of Atsumi Onsen

The gardens of Tachibanaya Ryokan in Atsumi Onsen during the winter

The quality of the spring water in Atsumi Onsen has led to the area becoming very popular. The water is said to be great for healing all types of scratches and bruises, or simply for a relaxing soak. The water naturally comes out at 68℃, so only needs to be cooled a little for bathing, and is clear with zero colouration containing sodium, calcium and chloride sulphate that is great on the skin, especially for those with skin problems.

Local Legends in Atsumi Onsen

There are a few stories as to the origin of the hot spring, most famously that Kukai (A.K.A. Kobodaishi, the monk who brought Buddhism to Japan) had a revelation in his dream where he stamped his stick into the ground and the earth shook which formed the hot spring to form. This story happens to coincide with an earthquake that happened in the 8th century, the very time Kukai was alive. One other story states that a lumberjack witnessed an injured crane heal its injured wing in the warm water before finally being able to fly away.

Foot Spas of Atsumi Onsen

There are three main foot spas in Yu-Atsumi that anyone is able to use for free; the Anbe foot spa, the Mokke foot spa, and the Motche foot spa. The Anbe foot spa is in the middle of the road across the bridge from Bankokuya Ryokan. The Mokke foot spa is located adjacent the river. Lastly, the Motche foot spa is located on the deck outside Chitto Motche, a café facing the river. The foot spas are known to help improve the circulation to the lower part of the body, that eases sensitivity to cold, and provides relief for swollen feet, the perfect thing after a long hike.

Large Ryokan of Atsumi Onsen

A meal at Tachibanaya Ryokan in Atsumi Onsen

There are two famous large Ryokan lodges in Atsumi Onsen, Tachibanaya and Bankokuya, of which I’ve only ever stayed in Tachibanaya. Tachibanaya has a massive onsen fit for a king that I’d recommend going to after your hike, or there is even an option for a private onsen. Tachibanaya is available for day-baths, although it is on the expensive side. There are also numerous other small Ryokan that are eager to host you, some of which can only be booked by phone or fax machine (contact me for details). 

Communal Baths

Besides the foot spas, there are three communal baths in Atsumi Onsen; the Shomen bath, the Shita bath, and the Sato bath. The Shomen and Shita baths are open from 6am to 9:30am, and 12pm to 11pm. The Sato bath is open from 2pm to 10pm. A donation of 200 yen is appreciated for general upkeep of the baths. There is an awesome sign for the Shomen bath made by the 28th Tate-gyoji (highest-ranked sumo judge) Kimura Shonosuke.

By the season

Spring

An stark red umbrella under the cherry blossoms of spring in Atsumi

Atsumi Onsen offers something for every season. Arguably the best time of year to visit is during the cherry blossom season in spring, usually around the end of April to mid-May. Each year, the 250-odd cherry blossom trees that line the river are lit up, and the soft pink and white petals reflecting in the river contrast deeply against the pale blue sky.

The Morning Market of Atsumi Onsen

Spring also brings with it the start of the Atsumi Onsen morning market. Said to have begun at least 265 years ago, the local farmers known as Aba sell pickles, such as Atsumi turnip, an heirloom vegetable grown on the nearby hills in the ‘slash-and-burn’ method, and seafood such as squid that has been dried overnight, a local delicacy called Ika-no-ichiyaboshi (lit. Squid dried overnight) in Japanese.

Other popular foods at the market include Genroku Mochi or Bero bero mochi, a locally-made soft pounded rice cake. Or try Tochi-mochi, another pounded rice cake flavoured with a paste that has been painstakingly extracted from horse-chestnuts. As with many other hot spring towns in Japan, a local variety of Onsen Manju, a rice cake filled with red bean paste cooked in the hot spring water, is available. One local delicacy is a special type of Sasamaki, rice boiled inside bamboo leaves with a distinct yellow colour attributed to the special way in which it is made in Atsumi Onsen.

The Atsumi Morning Market runs from April 1st to the beginning of December from 5:00 to 8:30am.

Summer in Atsumi Onsen

Summer is time for rock oysters from the Sea of Japan, and the rock oysters found near Atsumi Onsen are some of the freshest to be found anywhere. Couple that with some local sake. The nearby Maya-san is home to Mayasan, a local sake enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

During summer, the river attracts a whole lot of mosquitoes, and this is the reason for the name of Kajika street. When Emperor Showa visited in 1961, he was so taken aback by the sheer number and noise of the mosquitoes, he named the street after the type of mosquito found there, Kajika.

Don’t let the bugs put you off though, it’s only really a problem if you go down to the riverbed. Which, if you’re ok with it, is a great location to see fish swimming upstream, notably Ayu sweetfish in the summer heat in July, and salmon in autumn. Although the sides of the river have been concreted to combat consistent flooding, the base of the river has been left alone to allow the fish to still climb upstream.

Summer also marks the start of the Atsumi Onsen Rose Garden festival. Located in what used to be a sumo ring, the Atsumi Onsen Rose Garden is the only garden of its kind in the Shonai region that started with donations of 300 rose buds by the Tsuruoka Rose Association in 1863. A further 150 rose bushes were donated by Tachibanaya, one of Atsumi Onsen’s most famous Ryokan traditional inns. Currently over 3000 rose bushes of 90 different varieties bloom between July and September, including the Lord’s Rose (Tonosama Rose) that was moved there in 2013 from Tsuruoka Park.

Autumn in Atsumi Onsen

A truck in the hills behind Atsumi Onsen during the autumn leaves

As with much of the northern Tohoku region, Atsumi Onsen offers an excellent location for Momijigari, a pastime where you go out ‘hunting’ for the changing leaves. Japan is renowned for its photography, and it’s fair to say that this is because it is such a picturesque country. The hills surrounding Atsumi Onsen, such as Atsumi-dake or Maya-san, or the villages in the mountains behind Atsumi Onsen, provide the perfect location to capture the quintessential Japanese autumn photo.

Winter in Atsumi Onsen

Atsumi Onsen during the middle of winter

Winter in the Shonai region is cold, but thanks to Atsumi Onsen’s location next to the sea, and the abundance of hot spring water, the area is still accessible, and is even more pretty when covered in a blanket of white. The hot spring water also means that a lot of the snow simply melts as it falls or is pushed into the hot water in the drains that run through the town. 

Literary Location

Chokai-zan, The Sea of Japan, and the Shonai Plains taken from above Atsumi Onsen

Historically, Atsumi Onsen has also been a feature location for famous literary figures. Notably, Japan’s most famous Haiku poet Matsuo Basho as he returned to Edo during his journey writing The Narrow Road to the Deep North, but also other famous authors such as Akiko Yosano, and Riichi Yokomitsu. Atsuki even once inspired the Japanese Emperor to write a poem; during a visit by Emperor Showa in 1961, he wrote “A green mountain covered in drizzle, as a garden on a mountain peak”. The poem has since been inscribed at the nearby Kumano Shrine. 


The Fishing Town of Nezugaseki

Itsukushima Shrine in the fishing town of Nezugaseki south of Atsumi Onsen.

Nezugaseki is the town at the southernmost point of Tsuruoka City’s Shonai coast, and was once one of the main checkpoints into the Ou region (the other two were in Shirakawa and Nakosonoseki). According to local legend, Nezugaseki was the checkpoint where the events of the famous Kabuki play Kanjincho took place. 

The tiny fishing village of Nezugaseki has a few peculiarities worth checking out, such as Itsukushima Shrine, the Nenjunomatsu Garden, and Asahiya Sushi Restaurant. Itsukushima Shrine isn’t that grand, but it has many cool statues and artefacts and juts out on the coast where there is a pretty cool lighthouse to explore.

Nenjunomatsu Garden

Nearby, there is a traditional Japanese garden called the Nenjunomatsu Garden, home to a very special 400-year-old Bonsai tree called the Nenjunomatsu (lit. the Buddhist Rosary Pine). What makes the Nenjunomatsu pine tree special is that it is less than 4m tall, but has one branch that stretches out 20m to the east. The diameter of the main trunk is 1.16m, but the one branch that sticks out has a diameter of 1.3m.

This is because the Nenjunomatsu Garden is actually the garden of a 400-year-old former Ryokan called Murakamiya that went out of business in 1960, but the garden and Bonsai were felt to be too special to destroy. The owner of the Ryokan requested the bonsai pine be a Garyu, a pine shaped like a dragon. The Nenjunomatsu is one of only 10 such Garyu in Japan, however none of them have a branch that reaches this length.

The Nenjunomatsu was registered as a natural monument of Yamagata prefecture on August 1, 1955, and the whole garden was redesigned by world-famous landscape architect Ken Nakajima in 1994.

Asahiya Sushi Restaurant

What would a fishing village be without an eccentric sushi chef. Nezugaseki is also home to one of my favourite sushi restaurants, Asahiya. Asahiya is owned by one of the craziest guys I know who even hosts sushi parties on top of Maya-san, and who was enamoured by one of the Sokushinbutsu of Yudono-san, Tetsumonkai Shonin, and even has many of the actual tools used by Tetsumonkai Shonin as he trained to reach enlightenment in this current world. If you have a Japanese speaker, definitely take the time to listen to the chef’s speech, he’s a really knowledgable guy full of great lessons!

Conquering Japan on Nihon-koku

Not too far from Atsumi Onsen there is another mountain on the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata list, Nihon-koku. Nihon-koku literally means ‘The Country of Japan’, so if you hike to its summit, you can truthfully say ‘I conquered Japan’. 

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

Subscribe to my weekly yamabushi newsletter

SELECTED PEAKS

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata
Kamuro-san
Mt. Ubagatake in autumn
The Widow’s Peak: Ubaga-take (Mt. Ubagatake) of North Japan
100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata
Tengusumotori-yama

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM PEAKS

KINBO-ZAN

金峯山

きんぼうざん

Exploring The Yamabushi Trails of Kinbo-zan (Mt. Kinbo)

Kinbo-zan is a dynamic little peak with a deep history of Shugendo.

Yura in Tsuruoka city seen from Mt. Arakura

ARAKURA-YAMA

荒倉山

あらくらやま

Mountains of Sakura: Arakura-yama (Mt. Arakura)

Mountains of Sakura Cherry Blossoms and the amazing Arakura Shrine await.

Mt.-Takadate-and-Shimoike-lake-in-Tsuruoka

TAKADATE-YAMA

高館山

たかだてやま

Whetting your appetite for Wetlands on Takadate-yama (Mt. Takadate)

Takadate-yama is short in stature, but packs a lot of punch as home to one of the only RAMSAR wetlands in Japan

The sun sets over the ninth station of Mt. Gassan

GASSAN

月山

がっさん

Gassan, the Dewa Sanzan’s “Mountain of Death” (Mt. Gassan)

The tallest Dewa Sanzan peak with a thriving Haguro Shugendo Yamabushi culture.

Mt. Haguro's Five Story Pagoda

HAGURO-SAN

羽黒山

はぐろさん

The Dewa Sanzan’s Haguro-san (Mt. Haguro)

Home to Haguro Shugendo and the Dewa Sanzan Yamabushi mountain monks

Sign on the Nakanomata Trail up Mt. Nihonkoku

NIHON-KOKU

日本国

にほんこく

The Shogun and The Falcon: How I conquered “Japan”: Nihon-koku (Mt. Nihonkoku)

How to conquer Japan in 60 short minutes

KUMANONAGA-MINE

熊野長峰

くまのながみね

Bananas and Cokes, Leaches and Pit Vipers: Kumanonaga-mine

How a group of elderly Japanese men saved our arses

Mt. Shogadake

SHOGA-DAKE

笙ガ岳

しょうがだけ

Dancing in the Dawn Lilies: Shoga-dake and The Fuji of The North

Shoga-dake is a former Shugendo peak on Chokai-zan famous for its floral brilliance.

Mt. Atsumi in Atsumi Onsen, a quaint Onsen Hot Spring town in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture

ATSUMI-DAKE

温海岳

あつみだけ

Reaching Peak Tranquility: Atsumi-dake (Mt. Atsumi)

The hidden Onsen (Hot Spring) town of Atsumi’s own hidden gem

A Jizo statue at the top of Mt. Kyogakura in Sakata

MT. KYOGAKURA

経ヶ蔵山

きょうがくらさん

Womb Passes and Monkey Crossings: Kyogakura-san “The Shugendo Peak of Sutras”

And how the Japanese language got three alphabets

Sanze village near Mt. Fujikura surrounded by green mountains and the blue Sea of Japan can be seen through the trees in the distance through the trees of Mt. Fujikura

FUJIKURA-YAMA

藤倉山

ふじくらやま

Sanze’s Little Helper: Fantastic Fujikura-yama

Fun little peak in the tiny fishing village of Sanze, Tsuruoka City

Mt. Maya seen from the distance

MT. MAYA

摩耶山

まやさん

Mythical Beasts, Buddha’s Mother, and buried Yamabushi treasure? Welcome to Maya-san (Mt. Maya).

More than one of the best hikes in Shonai

Mt. Ubagatake in autumn

MT. UBAGATAKE

姥ヶ岳

うばがたけ

The Widow’s Peak: Ubaga-take (Mt. Ubagatake) of North Japan

Must-see autumn alpine dreamland between the two tallest Dewa Sanzan peaks with a twisted backstory

The Autumn Leaves of Mount Taizo

MT. TAIZO

胎蔵山

たいぞうさん

The Epitome of Autumn Leaves in North Japan: Taizo-san (Mt. Taizo)

Mount Taizo all but single-handedly confirms why autumn is by far the best season for hiking in Japan.

HOKARI-YAMA

母狩山

ほかりやま

Mother. Hunter. Mountain. Hokari-yama (Mt. Hokari)

Kinbo Shugen Mountain with a strange name and amazing trails amongst the autumn leaves

Mt. Chokai seen from Mt. Yonetaihei in the winter

YONETAIHEI-ZAN

米太平山

よねたいへいざん

Homer Simpson’s Heaven in North Japan: The Donut-shaped Yonetaihei-san (Mt. Yonetaihei)

Tiny donut-shaped peak in Sakegawa Village of the Mogami region worthy of a snowshoe hike.

Mt. Yudono Shrine Gates during the autumn

YUDONO-SAN

湯殿山

ゆどのさん

The Dewa Sanzan’s Mountain of Rebirth: Yudono-san (Mt. Yudono)

Yudono-san is the final Dewa Sanzan peak in the middle of Yamagata Prefecture that has been a central destination for millions over the centuries

TSUCHIYU-YAMA

土湯山

つちゆやま

Abandoned Ski Field and Phantom Forest of Tsuchiyu-yama (Mt. Tsuchiyu)

Short and quick hike with views of Chokai-zan and near the Mogami River, Shiraito Falls, and Genso no mori, the Forest of Illusions.

Mt. Yamuki (Yamuki-yama) in Shinjo City

YAMUKI-YAMA

八向山

やむきやま

The Medieval Castle and Mighty River of Yamuki-yama (Mt. Yamuki)

Tiny peak that was home to a medieval castle along the banks of the mighty Mogami River.

KITA-YAMA

北山

きたやま

Panoramas and picnics under the Sakura: Kita-yama (Mt. Kitayama)

Former ski field turned into a Sakura-lover’s paradise on the outskirts of Murayama City

KAMEWARI-YAMA

亀割山

かめわりやま

Turtles, Tigers, and a Legendary Japanese Character: Kamewari-yama

Legendary location next to a quaint Onsen (hot spring) resort along the Oguni River in Mogami Town

YOZO-SAN

与蔵山

よぞうさん

Yozo-san: White Snakes, White Monkeys and slimy salamanders

Ancient trail of primeval beech forests, legendary swamp monsters, waterfalls, snow bridges, and more.

YAKUSHI-SAN

薬師山

やくしさん

The Pyramids of… Japan? — Yakushi-san and The OG Japan content creator

Small pyramidal peak in the northern Yamagata town of Kaneyama

ZAO-SAN

蔵王山

ざおうさん

Zao-san and Why We Climb Mountains

Zao-san: Snow monsters, ski fields, mountain hags, multi-coloured crater lakes, hot springs, and more.

MOUNTAIN PREVIEWS

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KAMURO-SAN

神室山

かむろさん

Kamuro-san in the Mogami Region of Yamagata Prefecture

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

YUNOSAWA-DAKE

湯ノ沢岳

ゆのさわだけ

Kinbo Shugen mountain with great views of Gassan, Chokai-zan, and the Asahi Alps.

Chokai-zan

CHOKAI-ZAN

鳥海山

ちょうかいざん

Tallest peak entirely in Tohoku often said to resemble Mt. Fuji, leading to the name Dewa Fuji (after the former province of Dewa).

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

TODONO-SAN

頭殿山

とうどのさん

Mountain on the borders of Shirataka and Asahi Towns. Part of an ancient path to Yudono-san.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KAGIKAKE-MORI

鉤掛森

かぎかけもり

Named after a hook hung over a tree at the summit for good luck, Kagikake-mori is a great spot for a hike amongst the beech forest.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

MOKUZO-YAMA

杢蔵山

もくぞうやま

Mountain that marks the entrance to the Kamuro Alps

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

HACHIMORI-YAMA

八森山

はちもりやま

Peak along the Kamuro Alps home to legendary Tengu

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

RYUBA-SAN

竜馬山

りゅうばさん

Mountain in Kaneyama Town with a distinctive precarious cliff face.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

HIUCHI-DAKE

火打岳

ひうちだけ

Peak along the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps) offering great views

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

FUTATSU-MORI

二ツ森

ふたつもり

Twin-peaked mountain in Obanazawa City with a cool waterfall and great views.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KOMATA-YAMA

小又山

こまたやま

Tallest peak on the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps) by a whisker with striking peaks and valleys.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KASHIWAGI-YAMA

柏木山

かしわぎやま

Lowest mountain on the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata List on Tobishima Island in Sakata City.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

OKINA-SAN

翁山

おきなさん

 Legends and landscapes on an epic hike along the Ou Mountains

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

JIZOMORI-YAMA

地蔵盛山

じぞうもりやま

Mountain near Hijiori Onsen with an amazing shrine on a precarious cliff-face overlooking Gassan.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

SABANE-YAMA

猿羽根山

さばねやま

Mountain on the borders of Funagata Town and Obanazawa City in the Mogami and Murayama regions in Yamagata respectfully that was historically a difficult mountain pass.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

OASAHI-DAKE

大朝日岳

おおあさひだけ

One of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan along the borders of the Okitama, Murayama, and Shonai regions of Yamagata.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

SHOJIGA-TAKE

障子ヶ岳

しょうじがたけ

Mountain along the Asahi Renpo famous for its rockface reminiscent of Japanese paper screens (Shoji).

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KABU-YAMA

加無山

かぶやま

Twin-peaked mountain within a forest park that is home to many ancient trees and bird of prey nests.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KAMURO-DAKE

禿岳

かむろだけ

Mountain on the edge of a caldera on the borders of Mogami Town and the Onikobe part of Naruko Onsen, Miyagi Prefecture.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

KOSHIKI-YAMA

甑山

こしきやま

Twin-peaked mountain entirely in the Kabu-yama Prefectural Nature Park in Mamurogawa Town near the border of Akita Prefecture.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

ITO-DAKE

以東岳

いとうだけ

One of the main peaks famous as a starting and ending point for traverses along the Asahi Renpo, fields of alpine flowers, and the legendary Takitaro, a giant fish inhabiting the Otori-ike (lake).

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

TENGUSUMOTORI-YAMA

天狗角力取山

てんぐすもうとりやま

Peak on the borders of Tsuruoka City and Nishikawa Town at the edge of the Asahi Renpo known for sumo-wrestling Tengu.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

OTAKANE-YAMA

大高根山

おおたかねやま

Mountain straddling the borders of Oishida Town and Murayama City that is a great place for taking in the mountain cherry blossoms in Spring, and for a general bush walk.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

TARUISHI-YAMA

樽石山

たるいしやま

Mountain off Murayama Hayama famous for white snake falls, Itaya water springs, and more.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

(MURAYAMA) TENGU-YAMA

村山 天狗山

むらやま てんぐやま

(Murayama) Tengu-yama is a 403-m high peak in Nishikawa town that is home to a Tengu, a yokai or supernatural being.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

DAIZUMORI-YAMA

大頭森山

だいずもりやま

Daizumori-yama is a mountain in Oe Town on the edge of the Asahi Renpo (Mountain Range) famous for its flora and fauna.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

MURAYAMA HAYAMA

村山葉山

むらやま はやま

Former Dewa Sanzan peak in inland Yamagata Prefecture with an extensive Shugendo and Mountain Worship history.

About the author

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

TIM BUNTING – KIWI YAMABUSHI

OFFICIAL DEWA SANZAN YAMABUSHI NAME:

RYOSEN – SPREADER OF TRUTH

Hi, I'm Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I'm part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website I made). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I'm on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

Sign up for the Mountains of Wisdom mailer for updates, follow me on social (IG, FB, YT, Twitter, TikTok, CR, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email to get in touch.

Tim.

Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer Here


SOCIAL

Get In Touch

Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer

* indicates required

Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer

* indicates required

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: