Entrance to the Kamuro Renpo: MOKUZO-YAMA (Mt. Mokuzo)

もくぞうやま 

Hiking Guide to the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture

杢蔵山

MOKUZO-YAMA

Mountain that marks the entrance to the Kamuro Alps

Mokuzo-yama is most famous as the entrance to the Mogami region's pride and joy, the Kamuro Alps. The summit of Mokuzo-yama offers views of the whole Kamuro Alps, and in the distance Chokai-san, Gassan, and Murayama Hayama.

The Mokuzo-Sanso lodge on the ridge near the summit was a hut built by the Shinjo Shizen ni Shitashimu Kai. Inside there is 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 through the beech forest, you will 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.

MOKUZO-YAMA

杢蔵山もくぞうやま 

Mt. Mokuzo, Mokuzoyama

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

Google Map with trailheads and summit.

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

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