TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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OHIRA-YAMA (Mt. Ohira)

おおひらやま 

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

大平山

Ohira-yama is a mountain in the Murayama region loved by locals since long ago.

Ohira-yama is a mountain in the Murayama region loved by locals since long ago.

OHIRA-YAMA

Mt. Ohira, Mt. Ohirayama

大平山おおひらやま 

Ohira-yama (大平山おおひらやま) is a 814m (2670 ft.) peak in the Murayama region of Yamagata prefecture best hiked from late May to early November. Ohira-yama is a level 1 in terms of physical demand, which means it is easy 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

Gosho-zan Range

Region

Murayama

Elevation

814m (2670 ft.)

Technical Demand

A (doesn’t require much expertise)

Physical Demand

1 (easy to hike)

Trails

Ohira-yama Trail (3 hours return)

Best time to climb

Late May to early November

Day trip possible?

Yes

Minimum Time Required

3 hours return

OHIRA-YAMA

Ohira-yama is a conical-shaped mountain in Obanazawa City. Near the summit of Ohira-yama there are two rocks that were said to be left behind by a high priest, the Shishi-iwa rock (after the mythical [Chinese guardian lion]), and the Eboshi rock (after [a form of Heian-era headwear], like that a Shinto priest would wear). There is also a summit marker, and Man’nendo, a group of rocks in the shape of a small hall. Plus, the view from the summit is excellent, and you can see panoramic views of [Koshiki-dake], [Gosho-zan], and the [Asahi Renpo].

Every year in spring locals from the Hosono area hold a ‘Takai yama unbiraki’ ritual with many people coming from the surrounding areas to pray for safety in the region. Ohira-yama is also used in the local school song, showing just how much this mountain has been loved since long ago.

Ohira-yama Trail (3 hours return)

The start of the trail takes you through a forest of thin cedar trees, but after a while you will come across a broad-leafed forest where the climb gets increasingly steeper. There are parts where you need to use the ropes so be warned. You can take a break at the lookout, and then once through the beech forest there is one last part until you arrive at the summit.

Nearby locations worth visiting 

Ginzan Onsen

Okina-san is only a short 20 minute drive from Ginzan Onsen, one of the most well-known parts of Yamagata Prefecture. Famous for its Ryokan along a river that looks like they came straight out of a Ghibli film, Ginzan Onsen is an excellent location to relax after a few hours on the mountains of Yamagata. 

Switch on coffee

One day I was passing through Obanazawa on my way home from Sendai and I found this awesome little cafe had only recently opened. They had amazing cheesecakes, and their selection of beans was something special. 

Kita-yama

Kita-yama is the perfect spot for a picnic amongst the Sakura that offers panoramic views over the rice fields and mountains of inland Yamagata Prefecture.

Kamuro-dake 

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

Futatsu-mori 

Futatsu-mori is a distinctive twin-peaked mountain in Obanazawa City near the border with Miyagi Prefecture.

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

Okina-san with its summit shrouded in mist.
Okina-san with its summit shrouded in mist. This turned out to be a godsend, however.

Lying along The Ou Mountains, Japan’s longest mountain range stretching over 500km across the length of the Tohoku Region, the landscapes and legends of Okina-san make this 1075m (3526 ft.) peak not only a 100 Famous Mountain of Yamagata, but also one of the 100 Famous Mountains of Tohoku.

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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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