KOMATA-YAMA

こまたやま 

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

小又山

Tallest peak on the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps) by a whisker with striking peaks and valleys.

Tallest peak on the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps) by a whisker with striking peaks and valleys.

KOMATA-YAMA

Mt. Komata, Mt. Komatayama, Komatayama

小又山こまたやま 

Komata-yama (Mt. Komata, 小又山こまたやま,おまたやま,) is a 1367m (4484 ft.) peak in the Mogami region of Yamagata prefecture. Komata-yama is best climbed from June to October. Komata-yama 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 (Kamuro Alps)

Region

Mogami

Elevation

1367m (4484 ft.)

Technical Demand

B (requires little expertise)

Physical Demand

3 (moderate)

Trails

Two. 1) Nishino-mata Trail (7 hours return), 2) O-mata Trail (4 hours return)

Best time to climb

June to October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

7 hours

Komata-yama (Mt. Komata, Mt. Omata)

At just 2m of elevation (6.5 ft.) above Kamuro-san, Komata-yama is the tallest peak in the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps) by a whisker. Komata-yama and the Kamuro Renpo are parts of the Ou mountain range that cuts across the Shinjo and Mukai Town basins along the border between Shinjo City and Mogami Town. Kamuro-san is the northernmost peak, and 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.

During the winter, Komata-yama catches a lot of the snow meaning the edge of the forest is at a comparatively low elevation. 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, and at the same time we can see the development of remarkably asymmetrical mountain ridges due to the snow settling on the eastern ridges.

There are two trails up Komata-yama, the Nishinomata-sawa Trail (3.5 hours one way) and the O-mata Trail (4 hours one way).

Nishino-mata Trail (3.5 hours one way)

The Nishino-mata trailhead is on the opposite bank of the Akakura-mata stream at the end of the Nishino-mata forest road. At the start of spring or after torrential rainfall, this stream becomes hard to cross. Once through the man-made cedar forest and the Yamakamisama (I’m not entirely sure what this is), there is a sharp rise to the peak at 1111m of elevation. Follow the ridge from there covered in giant beech trees, and at a place called Koeto, the trail links up with the O-mata trail. Right before the summit there is an exposed area with grass, so just be warned.

For the Nishinomata-sawa Trail, make sure you check the conditions in advance. The Nishinomata-sawa stream becomes impossible to cross when the snow is melting or after torrential rain.

O-mata Trail (4 hours one way)

The O-mata trail up Komata-yama starts without crossing the river. Heading north from the car park, there is the Sakisawa Trailhead on the Kamuro ridge. The climb up until about the 3rd station (3 Gome) is quite steep. Soon after entering the primeval beech forest where Osabagusa grasses grow, you will arrive at Koeto, where the trail links up with the Nishinomata-sawa Trail. From here it’s also possible to reach Tengu-mori in 70 minutes, Kamuro-san in 2 hours, and the Sakiguchi Trailhead in 3.5 hours.

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 (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. 

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

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荒倉山

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Mountains of Sakura: Arakura-yama (Mt. Arakura)

Mountains of Sakura Cherry Blossoms and the amazing Arakura Shrine await.

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高館山

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Whetting your appetite for Wetlands on Takadate-yama (Mt. Takadate)

Takadate-yama is short in stature, but packs a lot of punch as home to one of the only RAMSAR wetlands in Japan

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GASSAN

月山

がっさん

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The tallest Dewa Sanzan peak with a thriving Haguro Shugendo Yamabushi culture.

Mt. Haguro's Five Story Pagoda

HAGURO-SAN

羽黒山

はぐろさん

The Dewa Sanzan’s Haguro-san (Mt. Haguro)

Home to Haguro Shugendo and the Dewa Sanzan Yamabushi mountain monks

Sign on the Nakanomata Trail up Mt. Nihonkoku

NIHON-KOKU

日本国

にほんこく

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熊野長峰

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Mt. Shogadake

SHOGA-DAKE

笙ガ岳

しょうがだけ

Dancing in the Dawn Lilies: Shoga-dake and The Fuji of The North

Shoga-dake is a former Shugendo peak on Chokai-zan famous for its floral brilliance.

Mt. Atsumi in Atsumi Onsen, a quaint Onsen Hot Spring town in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture

ATSUMI-DAKE

温海岳

あつみだけ

Reaching Peak Tranquility: Atsumi-dake (Mt. Atsumi)

The hidden Onsen (Hot Spring) town of Atsumi’s own hidden gem

A Jizo statue at the top of Mt. Kyogakura in Sakata

MT. KYOGAKURA

経ヶ蔵山

きょうがくらさん

Womb Passes and Monkey Crossings: Kyogakura-san “The Shugendo Peak of Sutras”

And how the Japanese language got three alphabets

Sanze village near Mt. Fujikura surrounded by green mountains and the blue Sea of Japan can be seen through the trees in the distance through the trees of Mt. Fujikura

FUJIKURA-YAMA

藤倉山

ふじくらやま

Sanze’s Little Helper: Fantastic Fujikura-yama

Fun little peak in the tiny fishing village of Sanze, Tsuruoka City

Mt. Maya seen from the distance

MT. MAYA

摩耶山

まやさん

Mythical Beasts, Buddha’s Mother, and buried Yamabushi treasure? Welcome to Maya-san (Mt. Maya).

More than one of the best hikes in Shonai

Mt. Ubagatake in autumn

MT. UBAGATAKE

姥ヶ岳

うばがたけ

The Widow’s Peak: Ubaga-take (Mt. Ubagatake) of North Japan

Must-see autumn alpine dreamland between the two tallest Dewa Sanzan peaks with a twisted backstory

The Autumn Leaves of Mount Taizo

MT. TAIZO

胎蔵山

たいぞうさん

The Epitome of Autumn Leaves in North Japan: Taizo-san (Mt. Taizo)

Mount Taizo all but single-handedly confirms why autumn is by far the best season for hiking in Japan.

HOKARI-YAMA

母狩山

ほかりやま

Mother. Hunter. Mountain. Hokari-yama (Mt. Hokari)

Kinbo Shugen Mountain with a strange name and amazing trails amongst the autumn leaves

Mt. Chokai seen from Mt. Yonetaihei in the winter

YONETAIHEI-ZAN

米太平山

よねたいへいざん

Homer Simpson’s Heaven in North Japan: The Donut-shaped Yonetaihei-san (Mt. Yonetaihei)

Tiny donut-shaped peak in Sakegawa Village of the Mogami region worthy of a snowshoe hike.

Mt. Yudono Shrine Gates during the autumn

YUDONO-SAN

湯殿山

ゆどのさん

The Dewa Sanzan’s Mountain of Rebirth: Yudono-san (Mt. Yudono)

Yudono-san is the final Dewa Sanzan peak in the middle of Yamagata Prefecture that has been a central destination for millions over the centuries

TSUCHIYU-YAMA

土湯山

つちゆやま

Abandoned Ski Field and Phantom Forest of Tsuchiyu-yama (Mt. Tsuchiyu)

Short and quick hike with views of Chokai-zan and near the Mogami River, Shiraito Falls, and Genso no mori, the Forest of Illusions.

Mt. Yamuki (Yamuki-yama) in Shinjo City

YAMUKI-YAMA

八向山

やむきやま

The Medieval Castle and Mighty River of Yamuki-yama (Mt. Yamuki)

Tiny peak that was home to a medieval castle along the banks of the mighty Mogami River.

KITA-YAMA

北山

きたやま

Panoramas and picnics under the Sakura: Kita-yama (Mt. Kitayama)

Former ski field turned into a Sakura-lover’s paradise on the outskirts of Murayama City

KAMEWARI-YAMA

亀割山

かめわりやま

Turtles, Tigers, and a Legendary Japanese Character: Kamewari-yama

Legendary location next to a quaint Onsen (hot spring) resort along the Oguni River in Mogami Town

YOZO-SAN

与蔵山

よぞうさん

Yozo-san: White Snakes, White Monkeys and slimy salamanders

Ancient trail of primeval beech forests, legendary swamp monsters, waterfalls, snow bridges, and more.

YAKUSHI-SAN

薬師山

やくしさん

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Small pyramidal peak in the northern Yamagata town of Kaneyama

ZAO-SAN

蔵王山

ざおうさん

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OKINA-SAN

翁山

おきなさん

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KAMURO-SAN

神室山

かむろさん

Kamuro-san in the Mogami Region of Yamagata Prefecture

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YUNOSAWA-DAKE

湯ノ沢岳

ゆのさわだけ

Kinbo Shugen mountain with great views of Gassan, Chokai-zan, and the Asahi Alps.

Chokai-zan

CHOKAI-ZAN

鳥海山

ちょうかいざん

Tallest peak entirely in Tohoku often said to resemble Mt. Fuji, leading to the name Dewa Fuji (after the former province of Dewa).

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TODONO-SAN

頭殿山

とうどのさん

Mountain on the borders of Shirataka and Asahi Towns. Part of an ancient path to Yudono-san.

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KAGIKAKE-MORI

鉤掛森

かぎかけもり

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.

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MOKUZO-YAMA

杢蔵山

もくぞうやま

Mountain that marks the entrance to the Kamuro Alps

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HACHIMORI-YAMA

八森山

はちもりやま

Peak along the Kamuro Alps home to legendary Tengu

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RYUBA-SAN

竜馬山

りゅうばさん

Mountain in Kaneyama Town with a distinctive precarious cliff face.

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HIUCHI-DAKE

火打岳

ひうちだけ

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

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FUTATSU-MORI

二ツ森

ふたつもり

Twin-peaked mountain in Obanazawa City with a cool waterfall and great views.

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KOMATA-YAMA

小又山

こまたやま

Tallest peak on the Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps) by a whisker with striking peaks and valleys.

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KASHIWAGI-YAMA

柏木山

かしわぎやま

Lowest mountain on the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata List on Tobishima Island in Sakata City.

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JIZOMORI-YAMA

地蔵盛山

じぞうもりやま

Mountain near Hijiori Onsen with an amazing shrine on a precarious cliff-face overlooking Gassan.

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SABANE-YAMA

猿羽根山

さばねやま

Mountain on the borders of Funagata Town and Obanazawa City in the Mogami and Murayama regions in Yamagata respectfully that was historically a difficult mountain pass.

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OASAHI-DAKE

大朝日岳

おおあさひだけ

One of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan along the borders of the Okitama, Murayama, and Shonai regions of Yamagata.

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SHOJIGA-TAKE

障子ヶ岳

しょうじがたけ

Mountain along the Asahi Renpo famous for its rockface reminiscent of Japanese paper screens (Shoji).

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KABU-YAMA

加無山

かぶやま

Twin-peaked mountain within a forest park that is home to many ancient trees and bird of prey nests.

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KAMURO-DAKE

禿岳

かむろだけ

Mountain on the edge of a caldera on the borders of Mogami Town and the Onikobe part of Naruko Onsen, Miyagi Prefecture.

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KOSHIKI-YAMA

甑山

こしきやま

Twin-peaked mountain entirely in the Kabu-yama Prefectural Nature Park in Mamurogawa Town near the border of Akita Prefecture.

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ITO-DAKE

以東岳

いとうだけ

One of the main peaks famous as a starting and ending point for traverses along the Asahi Renpo, fields of alpine flowers, and the legendary Takitaro, a giant fish inhabiting the Otori-ike (lake).

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TENGUSUMOTORI-YAMA

天狗角力取山

てんぐすもうとりやま

Peak on the borders of Tsuruoka City and Nishikawa Town at the edge of the Asahi Renpo known for sumo-wrestling Tengu.

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OTAKANE-YAMA

大高根山

おおたかねやま

Mountain straddling the borders of Oishida Town and Murayama City that is a great place for taking in the mountain cherry blossoms in Spring, and for a general bush walk.

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TARUISHI-YAMA

樽石山

たるいしやま

Mountain off Murayama Hayama famous for white snake falls, Itaya water springs, and more.

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(MURAYAMA) TENGU-YAMA

村山 天狗山

むらやま てんぐやま

(Murayama) Tengu-yama is a 403-m high peak in Nishikawa town that is home to a Tengu, a yokai or supernatural being.

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DAIZUMORI-YAMA

大頭森山

だいずもりやま

Daizumori-yama is a mountain in Oe Town on the edge of the Asahi Renpo (Mountain Range) famous for its flora and fauna.

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MURAYAMA HAYAMA

村山葉山

むらやま はやま

Former Dewa Sanzan peak in inland Yamagata Prefecture with an extensive Shugendo and Mountain Worship history.

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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