The Ragged Rocks and Ascetic Training Ground of ICHINEN-BO

いちねんぼう 

Hiking Guide to the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture

一念峰

ICHINEN-BO

Peak covered in baffling rocks founded for ascetic practice by the same monk who founded Risshaku-ji, AKA Yamadera.

Located along the borders of Yonezawa City and Takahata Town, Ichinen-bo is a mountain said to have been opened as training grounds by Jikaku Daishi, AKA Ennin, the monk who founded Risshaku-ji temple at Yamadera. In 860, Ennin spent one year in training on this peak. He then left a disciple here before moving on to Yamadera. This is where the name comes from, as Ichinen-bo means ‘peak of one year’.

For the mountains of Yamagata, Ichinen-bo is rare in that it is solid rock. Over the centuries, the peak has been eroded due to the strong winds. This means there are a number of oddly-shaped rocks and huge boulders. There are also some amazing vantage points to boot. At the summit there is the Kamitobashi Rock offering 360° panoramas. As such, Ichinen-bo has been loved by locals and non-locals alike for a very long time.

Ichinen-bo Hiking Trail (one-hour one way)

The Ichinen-bo Hiking Trail starts from the Kamiumi-jo (reading?) hamlet with its views of the sprawling rice fields. There is enough space for three cars across from the trailhead where there is a trail signpost.

Following the trail, once past the remains of Ichinenbo Hondo (main hall), the ascent starts gradually and you will start to see more and more rocks. Along the way, you can get great views at the Hatago (weaver) Rock, the Maku (curtain) Rock, and the Tengu-no-sumo (Tengu Sumo) Rock. Ichinen-bo is great for beginners. However, from about halfway up there are parts with chains and ladders to contend with. There are even rocks that you have to physically pass through.

It’s not possible to climb the final Kamitobashi Rock. Instead, wind your way around to the left and go via the Jikoku and Tengu Rock to the summit. From there, to the north you can see Gassan and Murayama Hayama. To the east Zao-san and the mountains of Miyagi. To the west the Asahi Renpo. Lastly, to the south the Ide and Azuma Renpo.

Access to Ichinen-bo is on a sealed road and there is enough parking for eight cars at the trailhead.

ICHINEN-BO

一念峰いちねんぼう 

Ichinen-po, Mt. Ichinenbo, Mt. Ichinenpo, Ichinenbo, Ichinenpo

Ichinen-bo (Ichinen-po) (一念峰(一年峰)いちねんぼう(いちねんぽう)) is a 470m (1541 ft.) peak in the Okitama Region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from June to October. Ichinen-bo (Ichinenpo) is a level 1 in terms of physical demand, which means it is easy to hike, has a C technical grade, which means it requires a moderate level of expertise. Allow at least 1 hour one-way for a climb.

Mountain Range

Ichinen-bo

Region

Okitama

Elevation

470m (1541 ft.)

Technical Demand

C (requires expertise)

Physical Demand

1 (easy to hike)

Trails

Ichinen-bo Hiking Trail (one-hour one way)

Best time to climb

June to October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

One hour one-way on the Ichinen-bo Hiking Trail

Google Map with trailheads and summit.

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

FROM THE REGION

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Mother. Hunter. Mountain. Hokari-yama (Mt. Hokari)
Mt. Yudono Shrine Gates during the autumn
The Dewa Sanzan’s Mountain of Rebirth: Yudono-san (Mt. Yudono)

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