KAGIKAKE-MORI (Mt. Kagikake)

かぎかけもり 

Hiking Guide to the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture

鉤掛森

KAGIKAKE-MORI

Named after a hook hung over a tree at the summit for good luck, Kagikake-mori is a great spot for a hike amongst the beech forest.

Kagikake-mori is located along a ridge connecting Kaneyama Town with Yakunai Town in Akita Prefecture. The name translates to ‘a hook hung on a tree'. This is because a hook made out of a tree branch was hung over a huge tree at the summit to pray to the Kami of the mountain pass for safe travels.

The beech forest that leads all the way up to the summit is a real highlight. The yellow-green tinge on the leaves, the willow-leafed magnolia (magnolia salicifolia), Iwauchiwa (shortia uniflora) flowers that line the path amongst the remaining snow of spring, and autumn leaves sure make Kagikake-mori a great spot to hike.

Kagikakemori Trail (90 minutes to two hours one way)

Once past the Kamuro Ski Field, keep following the road up through the forest. The trailhead is at the end. There is enough space here for 10 cars. The well-maintained path weaves through the beech forest, and there are two rest spots and a lookout along the way. 

Most of the trail is smooth, but there are some steep switchbacks until a peak at 790m of elevation. From there the trail makes a beeline to the summit in the north. 

If you keep following the path, it takes you via Hinoki-mori and Kuro-mori to the Usukunai part of Yuzawa City in Akita Prefecture (along the Ariya Toge Shinsetsu Trail). 

Nearby locations worth checking out

Schones Heim Kaneyama German-style Hotel and the Kamuro Ski Field

Offering Onsen hot springs, accommodation, cuisine, and many outdoor activities, Schones Heim is a German-style resort hotel located near Kagikake-mori.

While you won't be able to ski in the same season as your hike, this area is known as snow country. The nearby Kamuro Ski Field is popular among people from all around.

The Kamuro Renpo

From the Kamuro-san page.

The Kamuro Renpo (Mountain Range )AKA ‘Michinoku Alps’, or the ‘Tohoku Mini Alps’, isn’t especially tall compared to other mountain ranges. However, the sheer amount of snow means there is a large number of alpine vegetation rare for such low elevation. There are also some very precious birds of prey that live in the area. Look out for the Golden Eagle (inuwashi) and mountain hawk eagle or Hodgson’s hawk-eagle (kumataka). 

The good trails also make the Kamuro Renpo a popular destination for mountain climbers. Plus, 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.

KAGIKAKE-MORI

鉤掛森かぎかけもり 

Mt. Kagikakemori, Kagikakemori

Kagikake-mori (鉤掛森かぎかけもり) is a 838m (2749 ft.) peak in the Mogami region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from May to October. Kagikake-mori 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 3 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Kagikake-mori

Region

Mogami

Elevation

838m (2749 ft.)

Technical Demand

A (requires little expertise)

Physical Demand

Level 2 (relatively easy to hike)

Trails

One) Kagikakemori Trail (although the shape of the mountain means there are lots of paths to take)

Best time to climb

May to October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

3 hours

Google Map with trailheads and summit.

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

FROM THE REGION

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A Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) at Semi Onsen Hot Spring Resort
Turtles, Tigers, and a Legendary Japanese Character: Kamewari-yama (Mt. Kamewari)

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