KOMATA-YAMA (Mt. Komata)

こまたやま 

Hiking Guide to the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture

小又山

KOMATA-YAMA

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

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. 

KOMATA-YAMA

小又山こまたやま 

Mt. Komata, Mt. Komatayama, Komatayama

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

Google Map with trailheads and summit.

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

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