Firestarter Mountain: HIUCHI-DAKE


Hiking Guide to the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture



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

Hiuchi-dake lies in the southwest of the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps). The mountain catches a lot of snow during winter, and is famous for overhanging snow. The snow mainly comes from the east, and settles at the edge of the low-lying forests along the ridge.

Geologically speaking, the mountain is andesite rock from the tertiary period with wide exposed areas of granite. As such, the valleys are much deeper than their elevation and there are numerous waterfalls and gorges. The eastern face of Hiuchi-dake between Komata-yama and Yaritate appears to flow into the Oyokogawa River.

Hiuchi Shindo Trail (3.5 hours one way)

The Hiuchi Shindo trail, or Tomiki Shindo trail after the person who made it, is comparatively new. Once past the Tsuchiuchi hamlet in Shinjo city, there is a suspension bridge over the Tsuchiuchi-kawa river. This is where the trailhead and a carpark lies.

Cross the suspension bridge, climb a steep ridge, and you will come out at the remains of a steel mine. Follow the ridge via Nishi-Hiuchi-dake (West Hiuchi-dake) and you will make it to the summit. This trail is even accessible when the Tsuchiuchi River is high, and is becoming more and more popular each year.

Shinkurami Trail (4 hours 25 minutes one way)

This trailhead starts in Shinkurami in Mogami Town at the Torii gates right next to the Shinkurami car park. There is a water source just past the small hut near the trailhead. Once past the giant red pines, you will enter a forest, and the trail takes you up the hill. Then at the top of a long steep straight you will arrive at a place called Yarigasaki. Head north on the main ridge then pass the Chusaki and Oshaku-yama peaks. Soon you will arrive at the summit of Hiuchi-dake.

The Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps)

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 Renpo (Kamuro Alps) 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.

Since there are many narrow trails along the Kamuro Mountain Range, take care of sudden strong winds and slipping. 



Mt. Hiuchi, Hiuchidake, Hiuchi

Hiuchi-dake (火打岳ひうちだけ) is a 1238m (4061 ft.) peak in the Mogami region of Yamagata prefecture. Hiuchi-dake is best climbed from June to October. Hiuchi-dake is a level 3 in terms of physical demand, which means it is moderate to hike, has a B technical grade, which means it doesn't require too much expertise, and you want to allow at least 7 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Kamuro Renpo




1238m (4061 ft.)

Technical Demand

B (requires some expertise)

Physical Demand

3 (moderate hike)


Two. 1) Hiuchi Shindo Trail (7 hours return), 2) Shinkurami Trail (8 hours 50 return)

Best time to climb

June to October

Day trip possible?


Minimum Time Required

7 hours

Google Map with trailheads and summit.

PDF Maps by TheHokkaidoCartographer and See all here.


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