Saw Mountain: GANDO-SAN (Mt. Gando)

がんどさん 

Hiking Guide to the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture

雁戸山

GANDO-SAN

Gando-san is a saw-shaped mountain on the borders of Yamagata City and Miyagi Prefecture.

Gando is another term for saw, and the steep nature of the cliffs of Gando-san gave the mountain its name. The mountain is twin-peaked, split into north and south peaks. The ridge from Kakesuga-mine to the summit of Gando-san offers spectacular views.

To the north of the summit there is a narrow rocky part of the trail called ari no to watari. This literally means ‘where the ants pass through a door’ due to its resemblance to, well, ants passing through a door.

The trailhead from Sasaya Toge is part of the traverse of the Zao Renpo, and from here you can make it to Kumano-dake in about four hours.

Along with Yamagata and Sendai Kamuro-dake to the north, a number of visitors to Gando-san climb up from the Miyagi Prefecture side.

Yamagata Trail (2.5 hours one-way)

The Yamagata Trail takes you along the Zao Renpo ridge starting along Route 286 at Sasaya Toge. The ridge is from Kakesuga-mine to the summit of Gando-san, and boasts breathtaking views. From where the trail meets The Namegawa Trail the path narrows and goes along loose rocks. You must take due care here.

There is enough space for 20 cars at the Sasaya Toge carpark, as well as public toilets. People also use the Sasaya Toge carpark to climb Yamagata and Sendai Kamuro, so make sure to come early on holidays.

Sekizawa Trail (3 hours 20 one-way)

The Sekizawa Trail starts at the Sekigawa Interchange on the Yamagata Expressway. At Kakesuga-mine, the trail meets the Yamagata Trail that starts in Sasaya Toge. There is enough space for ten cars to park in front of the trailhead (along route 286, just past the Sekizawa Interchange).

There is a public bus you can take there on the Sanko bus Sekizawa line.

Namegawa Trail (four hours one-way)

The Namegawa Trail starts near the Niyama Fishing hole along Route 286. From the fishing hole, enter the Namegawa River valley via the Utsuno forest road. Partway up Gando-San’s western slope you will walk along a mountain stream coming out along a ridge to the north of the summit. Here you will meet The Yamagata Trail from Sasaya Toge.

There is a public bus to the Niyama fishing hole on the Sekizawa line.

There is enough space for 5 cars in the unpaved area near the trailhead.

GANDO-SAN

雁戸山がんどさん 

Mt. Gando, Gandosan, Mt. Gandosan, Mt. Gando-san

Gando-san is a saw-shaped mountain on the borders of Yamagata City and Miyagi Prefecture.

Gando-san (雁戸山がんどさん) is a 1484m (4868 ft.) peak in the Murayama region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from mid-May to mid-October. Gando-san is a level 2 in terms of physical demand, which means it is relatively easy to hike, has a B technical grade, which means it doesn't require too much expertise, and you want to allow at least 2.5 hours one-way for a hike.

Mountain Range

Zao Renpo

Region

Murayama

Elevation

1484m (4868 ft.)

Technical Demand

B (requires little expertise)

Physical Demand

2 (relatively easy)

Trails

Three: 1) Yamagata Trail (2.5 hours one-way), 2) Sekizawa Trail (3 hours 20 one-way), 3) Namegawa Trail (four hours one-way)

Best time to climb

Mid-May to mid-October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

2.5 hours one-way on the Yamagata Trail

Google Map with trailheads and summit.

PDF Maps by TheHokkaidoCartographer and JapanWilds.org. See all here.

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