TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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GOSHO-ZAN (Mt. Gosho)

ごしょざん 

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

御所山

Main peak of the Gosho-zan Prefectural Park known for its beautiful mountain valleys, alpine vegetation, and primeval beech forests.

Main peak of the Gosho-zan Prefectural Park known for its beautiful mountain valleys, alpine vegetation, and primeval beech forests.

GOSHO-ZAN

Mt. Gosho, Goshozan, Mt. Goshozan, Funagata-yama, Mt. Funagata, Mt. Funagatayama, Funagatayama

御所山ごしょざん 

Gosho-zan (御所山 (船形山)ごしょざん (ふながたやま)) is a 1500m (4921 ft.) peak in the Murayama region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from mid-June to October. Gosho-zan is a level 5 in terms of physical demand, which means it is hard to hike, has a B technical grade, which means it doesn’t require too much expertise, and you want to allow at least 1.5 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Gosho Renpo

Region

Murayama

Elevation

1500m (4921 ft.)

Technical Demand

B (requires some expertise)

Physical Demand

5 (hard to hike)

Trails

Two. 1) Obanazawa Trail (5 to 6 hours one-way), 2) Kannonji Trail (3 hours one-way)

Best time to climb

mid-June to October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

6 hours return

GOSHO-ZAN

Also known as Funagata-yama, Gosho-zan is a mountain on the borders of Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures that is the main peak of the Gosho-zan mountain range. The mountain and surrounds are part of the Gosho-zan Prefectural Park known for gorgeous valleys and alpine vegetation, or the primeval beech forests. In the vicinity lies Mecca for rock climbers; Kurobushi-yama’s 300m high rock face.

Obanazawa Trail (5 to 6 hours one-way)

The Obanazawa Trail starts from a forest road next to the Gosho Sanso mountain hut. The trail continues through the soothing forest along a wide path from the trailhead to the Ochiai junction.

Turn to the east (left) at the Ochiai junction to get on the Kurabi trail. This part of the trail often has potholes, falling rock, and bad footing overall, so it’s recommended to bring a helmet and rope. Be careful not to get lost when crossing the rivers, or at the junctions.

Take a southern turn (right) at the Ochiai junction for the Sounkyo trail. This trail takes you up a mountain stream, so you’ll need appropriate gear for that. It’s highly recommended that you go with someone experienced if you are a beginner at this. This part can be extremely dangerous when the water level is high, so don’t even attempt it if that is the case. Partway along the trail lies the Osawa Emergency Hut. The path from Otaki to Oiwake is inaccessible as it is covered in potholes and thick bush.

Kannonji Trail (3 hours one-way)

The Kannonji Trail starts in Higashine City with the trailhead lying at the end of a forest road just past Jangle Jungle, the Kurobushi Kogen Ski Field.

After climbing for about 30 minutes you will come across the Kurihata junction. Head straight here, and once past the Sendai Kago and Kusu-mine the path continues gradually through a beech forest. This part is all fine and dandy, but the last 400m can be quite intense.

Nearby locations worth visiting 

Ginzan Onsen

Ginzan Onsen located in Obanazawa City is one of the most well-known parts of Yamagata Prefecture. Famous for its Ryokan along a river that looks like they came straight out of a Ghibli film, Ginzan Onsen is an excellent location to relax after a few hours on the mountains of Yamagata. 

Switch on coffee

One day I was passing through Obanazawa on my way home from Sendai and I found this awesome little cafe had only recently opened. They had amazing cheesecakes, and their selection of beans was something special. 

Odo-Mori

Odo-mori (御堂森おどうもり) is a 1057m (3467 ft.) peak in the Murayama region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from May to October. Odo-mori is a level 3 in terms of physical demand, which means it is moderate to hike, has a A technical grade, which means it requires little expertise, and you want to allow at least 6 hours for a climb.

Ohira-yama

Ohira-yama (大平山おおひらやま) is a 814m (2670 ft.) peak in the Murayama region of Yamagata prefecture best hiked from late May to early November. Ohira-yama is a level 1 in terms of physical demand, which means it is easy to hike, has an A technical grade, which means it requires little expertise, and you want to allow at least 3 hours for a climb.

Kita-yama

Kita-yama is the perfect spot for a picnic amongst the Sakura that offers panoramic views over the rice fields and mountains of inland Yamagata Prefecture.

Koshiki-dake 

The summit of Koshiki-dake in autumn

Koshiki-dake is a mountain in Murayama City that is an active Shugendo peak loved by many.

Futatsu-mori 

Futatsu-mori is a distinctive twin-peaked mountain in Obanazawa City near the border with Miyagi Prefecture.

Venerable Old Man Mountain — The Mist and Mystery of Okina-san

Okina-san with its summit shrouded in mist.
Okina-san with its summit shrouded in mist. This turned out to be a godsend, however.

Lying along The Ou Mountains, Japan’s longest mountain range stretching over 500km across the length of the Tohoku Region, the landscapes and legends of Okina-san make this 1075m (3526 ft.) peak not only a 100 Famous Mountain of Yamagata, but also one of the 100 Famous Mountains of Tohoku.

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

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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.

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