MURAYAMA HAYAMA

むらやま はやま 

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

村山葉山

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

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

MURAYAMA HAYAMA

Hayama (Murayama), Ha-yama, Murayama Ha-yama, Mt. Hayama, Mt. Hayama (Murayama)

村山葉山むらやま はやま 

Murayama Hayama ((村山)葉山(むらやま)はやま) is a 1462m (4796 ft.) peak in the Shonai region of Yamagata prefecture. Murayama Hayama is open from June to October. Murayama Hayama is a level 3 in terms of physical demand, which means it is moderate to hike, has an A technical grade, which means it requires little expertise, and you want to allow at least 3 hours for a climb.

Mountain Range

Gassan

Region

Murayama, Mogami

Elevation

1462m (4796 ft.)

Technical Demand

A (requires little expertise)

Physical Demand

3 (moderate hike)

Trails

Four. 1) Hata Trail (3 hours one-way) , 2) Yamano-uchi Trail (4 hours one-way), 3) Jubuichi-Toge Trail (90 minutes one-way) (Access road currently closed), 4) Hijiori Trail (2 hours 30 one-way)

Best time to climb

June to October

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

3 hours

Murayama Hayama

The summit of Murayama Hamaya (not to be confused with Okitama Hayama) lies where Sagae City, Murayama City, and Okuramura Village converge. Murayama Hayama is a mountain with a history of Shugendo worship dating back to the Nara Period (710–784). Murayama Hayama itself is believed to be where the Kami of crops resides so has been an object of mountain worship (sangake suhai) prayed to for an abundant harvest. 

Up until the beginning of the Edo Period (103–1868), along with Haguro-san and Gassan, Murayama Hayama was one of the Dewa Sanzan peaks. Yudono-san was known as the Oku-no-in, rather than one of the three mountains at the time. These days the mountain is loved by locals for the fresh greenery of summer until the autumn leaves, and its ease of hiking. 

There are beech forests near the summit, as well as alpine flowers such as Ranzania (Togakushishoma), Enkianthus campanulatus (Sarasadodan), Hakusan Rhododendron (Hakusanshakunage), and avens (Chinguruma), that are designated prefectural natural monuments. Also on the mountain reside raccoon dogs, Japanese marten, Asian black bears, and civets.

The view from the summit of Murayama Hayama is second to none, and is rare in that you can see the summits of all six 100 famous mountains of Japan that lie in Yamagata prefecture; Gassan, Oasahi-dake, Chokai-zan, Zao-san, Ide-san, and Azuma-yama

Hata Trail (3 hours one-way) 

The Hata Trail includes many recommended spots such as the primeval forests, lookout over the Murayama region, and the Ostubo Rock with its amazing views. The trail takes you to the Oku-no-in (Hakuban Jinja) and over Kozo-mori, Ozo-mori, and Murayama Hayama’s summit. 

For a car park, make use of the Hayama Shimin-so, a free rest area. There is also an area to buy local produce direct from the farmer, and spring water called ‘Chomei-sui’ that was selected as one of the best spring waters in Yamagata Prefecture. 

The Iwano Trail from the Murayama City side, and Shamu Trail meet the Hata Trail at the field of flowers. The road to the Hayama Shimin-so is paved, but the road from there to the trailhead isn’t.

Yamano-uchi Trail (4 hours one-way)

Although the longest and most demanding trail with a difficult rocky area in the area along the way, the Yamano-uchi trail is blessed with great views. The trailhead begins at the Otori gates at the end of the forest road, where you can park your car. After about one hour along the steep ridge that goes through the primeval beech forest, you will come across the beautiful Takimi-dai waterfall. 

Following that there is a rock called the Toriboshi-ishi (bird’s hat rock) that requires the use of a rope to get past. A little while after weaving your way past the steep slopes of Kogomuro-yama (uncertain reading, 古御室山), you will come across some marshlands. Then, keep following the path while keeping an eye on the Zazen-ishi (Zazen rock) to the left, and you will come to a junction leading to the summit and Oku-no-in. The view from the Oku-no-in is more open. 

The road to the trailhead is unpaved and there are bumps along the way, but normal cars should be able to get there fine. 

Jubuichi-Toge Trail (90 minutes one-way) (Access road currently closed)

The Jubuichi Toge trail is considered the easiest of all trails up Murayama Hayama. The road among the forest up to the trailhead is narrow and made of dirt, so be careful when using it. Also, there is only limited space for cars to park, so be aware of this when parking. For winter, Route 458 to the Jubuichi trailhead closes from mid-November to June the following year.

Hijiori Trail (2 hours 30 one-way)

The Hijiori Trail is more suited to intermediate and above hikers due to the constant incline from the start, and the narrow and slippery-at-times trail. This does mean that the sense of accomplishment at the summit is something special, however. The Hijiori Trail offers a large variety of mountain vegetation, including, depending on the season, fresh mountain vegetables and mushrooms. At the trailhead there is space for about five cars. The same as the Jubuichi-toge trail, the road to the trailhead, Route 458, closes from November to mid-June. 

Nearby locations worth visiting

Gassan and Ubagatake

Haguro-san and Yudono-san are on the opposite side of Gassan from where Murayama Hayama lies, however Murayama Hayama has trailheads to Gassan. The other option would be to go to the Gassan Ski Lift in Nishikawa Town from where Ubaga-take and Gassan are accessible.

Dewaya Ryokan in Nishikawa

Famous for its unique take on Dewa Sanzan mountain vegetable cuisine, Dewaya Ryokan in Nishikawa is a must-see / must-stay Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) in Nishikawa Town.

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

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荒倉山

あらくらやま

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

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

Mt.-Takadate-and-Shimoike-lake-in-Tsuruoka

TAKADATE-YAMA

高館山

たかだてやま

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

The sun sets over the ninth station of Mt. Gassan

GASSAN

月山

がっさん

Gassan, the Dewa Sanzan’s “Mountain of Death” (Mt. Gassan)

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

The Shogun and The Falcon: How I conquered “Japan”: Nihon-koku (Mt. Nihonkoku)

How to conquer Japan in 60 short minutes

KUMANONAGA-MINE

熊野長峰

くまのながみね

Bananas and Cokes, Leaches and Pit Vipers: Kumanonaga-mine

How a group of elderly Japanese men saved our arses

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

The Pyramids of… Japan? — Yakushi-san and The OG Japan content creator

Small pyramidal peak in the northern Yamagata town of Kaneyama

ZAO-SAN

蔵王山

ざおうさん

Zao-san and Why We Climb Mountains

Zao-san: Snow monsters, ski fields, mountain hags, multi-coloured crater lakes, hot springs, and more.

OKINA-SAN

翁山

おきなさん

Venerable Old Man Mountain — The Mist and Mystery of Okina-san

 Legends and landscapes on an epic hike along the Ou Mountains

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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).

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

HIUCHI-DAKE

火打岳

ひうちだけ

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

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

FUTATSU-MORI

二ツ森

ふたつもり

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

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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).

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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).

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

(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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

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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