TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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MOKUZO-YAMA (Mt. Mokuzo)

もくぞうやま 

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

杢蔵山

Mountain that marks the entrance to the Kamuro Alps

Mountain at the southern edge of the Kamuro Alps with mountain hut adored by locals

MOKUZO-YAMA

Mt. Mokuzo, Mokuzoyama

杢蔵山もくぞうやま 

Mokuzo-yama (杢蔵山もくぞうやま) is a 1026m (3366 ft.) peak in the Mogami region of Yamagata prefecture best climbed from mid-May to late October. Mokuzo-yama 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 5 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps)

Region

Mogami

Elevation

1026m (3366 ft.)

Technical Demand

A (requires little expertise)

Physical Demand

2 (relatively easy to hike)

Trails

1) Yamaya Trail (2.5 hours one way)

Best time to climb

Mid-May to late October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

5 hours

MOKUZO-YAMA

Situated at the southern edge of the Kamuro Alps, Mokuzo-yama is best known as the trailhead for traversing the Kamuro Alps, and as a relatively easy mountain to hike among citizens of Shinjo City. The summit of Mokuzo-yama offers views of the Kamuro Alps, and in the distance Chokai-zan, Gassan, and Hayama (Murayama).

The Mokuzo-Sanso lodge that is visible as soon as you come out on the ridge to the summit from the trail is a hut built by the Shinjo Shizen ni Shitashimu Kai that has bedding, a firewood stove and biomass toilet. 

Yamaya Trail (2.5 hours one way)

Follow the unpaved road from the former Yamaya camping area, and the trailhead is on the left. Once past the forest of planted cedars you will be able to hear the sound of the Ichi-no-taki falls, and there is a path down to it too. When past the San-no-taki falls, take the path to the right where it splits at the stream. As the stream gets thinner the trail gets steeper. When you’re out on the ridge, after about 5 minutes there is a spot for water amongst the beech forest. Then when you’re through the beech forest you come out on a ridge and the summit is to the left. 

Nearby Locations Worth Checking Out

The Kamuro Renpo (Kamuro Alps)

From the Kamuro-san page.

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 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.

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.

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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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