TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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HACHIMORI-YAMA (Mt. Hachimori)

はちもりやま 

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

八森山

Peak along the Kamuro Alps home to legendary Tengu

Peak along the Kamuro Alps home to legendary Tengu.

HACHIMORI-YAMA

Mt. Hachimori, Mt. Hachimoriyama, Hachimoriyama

八森山はちもりやま 

Hachimori-yama (八森山はちもりやま) is a 1098m (3602 ft.) peak in the Mogami region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from June to October. Hachimori-yama 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 5.5 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Kamuro Alps

Region

Mogami

Elevation

1098m (3602 ft.)

Technical Demand

A (requires little expertise)

Physical Demand

2 (relatively easy to hike)

Trails

Two) 1) Yakushihara Trial (2 hours 45 one-way) 2) Hagino Trail (2 hours 45 one-way)

Best time to climb

June to October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

5.5 hours

HACHIMORI-YAMA

Located along the border of Shinjo City and Mogami Town to the south west of Kamuro-san, Hachimori-yama is the Okunoin of Kamuro-san and historically has been prayed to for rain or fine weather. There are also legends of Tengu (Wikipedia, or see this write up on Curious Ordinary), yokai (mythical Japanese monsters) or Shinto kami (deities), living on Hachimori-yama. Oddly there is sand and piles of rocks in the middle of the mountains, which is where the Tengu are said to sumo wrestle. There are also some puddles dotted along the ridge, where the Tengu are believed to perform water ablutions. Tengu are associated with followers of Shugendo, yamabushi, and are seen wearing their distinctive Shiroshozoku white garments.

Hachimori-yama is in the shape of a trapezoid with a flat top split into east and west peaks. The proper summit is to the east, but there is no path there so the western peak that boasts 360° views is the de facto summit.

Yakushibara Trail (2 hours 45 one-way)

The Yakushibara Trail is the general trail up Hachimori-yama. The trailhead is at the end of a forest road that follows the Katanaba river going straight at the bridge. The trail starts proper once across the stream. From the start there is a long steep climb, so make sure to take periodic rests. The climb starts through a cedar forest that turns into a beech forest and goes up along a steep ridge to the town border. 

Facing north on the ridge, climb one section and you’ll arrive at an intersection that heads towards Kamuro-san. This area is the summit, but there isn’t a clear peak, nor is there a sign to let you know you’re at the summit. Take a left at the junction and in ten minutes you’ll find yourself at the western de facto summit. There are many signs here from local elementary schools, showing just how much this mountain is loved by the locals. 

Hagino Trail (2 hours 45 one-way)

Head east from the Hagino hamlet of Shinjo City, and keep going straight at the junction that meets the Tsuchirakusawa* forest road. The trailhead is along this service road. After following the service road for cutting down trees you will reach the proper trail before long. The trail starts off in a cedar forest that gradually turns into beech. Parts of the trail are overgrown, and the trail can be very steep so due care must be taken.

After a few ups and downs and then a sharp rise along the ridge, the trail meets the trail that cuts across the Kamuro Alps. Take a right here and you will get to Mokuzo-yama, and a left will take you to Hachimori-yama. First you will come across Ippai-mori (Mt. Ippaimori) from where you can see Chokai-zan and the rest of the Kamuro Alps. Keep following the trail to the east, and take a right at the junction. Go down a little bit and there is an area with water, and the last climb to the western summit.

Nearby Locations Worth Checking Out

The Kamuro Alps

From the Kamuro-san page.

Also known as the ‘Michinoku Alps’ (Michinoku is the former collective name of the provinces of Dewa and Mutsu), or the ‘Tohoku Mini Alps’, the Kamuro Mountain Range isn’t especially tall compared to other mountain ranges, but the sheer amount of snow means there is a large number of alpine vegetation that is rare for such low elevation. There are also some very precious birds of prey that live in the area such as the Golden Eagle (inuwashi) and mountain hawk eagle or Hodgson’s hawk-eagle (kumataka). 

The well-maintained paths also make it a popular destination for mountain climbers, and the stretch south from the summit of Kamuro-san to Mokuzo-yama is more than 25km. After Kamuro-san, the mountains heading south in the Kamuro Mountain Range (on the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata List) are Komata-yama (1,366), Hiuchi-dake (1,237), Hachimori-yama (1,098m), and Mokuzo-yama (1,026m). Kamewari-yama (594m) is also nearby. All of these mountains (except Kamewari-yama) are part of the Kurikoma Quasi-National Park.

Kamewari-yama

From the Kamewari-yama page.

Kamewari-yama is located on the borders of Shinjo City and Mogami Town. Legend has it that Yoshitsune and his band of followers passed through the Kamewari-toge mountain pass, and in the vicinity lie the Benkei no Nagematsu, and the Yoshitsune Benkei Inkstone.

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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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