Hiking: Mt. Hououzan

Starting the descent from Mt. Hououzan. Clear skies reveal Mt. Fuji in the distance.

You‘re never alone in Japan. 

Ever.

How do you explain to someone that hasn’t hiked much in Japan than despite hiking to over 2700m, despite walking (which felt more like climbing – actual climbing – almost vertically non-stop for 6 solid hours), and despite being in the least visited of the three major mountain ranges, that the campsite would be full and there would be at least 100 other hikers on the mountain?

I guess you don’t.

But I’m okay with that. It means hiking and being outdoors in nature is booming. 

And that’s absolutely how it should be.

Mt. Hououzan (鳳凰山) is in the northern section of the Southern Alps and comprises three peaks: Jizodake (地蔵岳 – 2764m), Kannondake (観音岳 – 2841m), and Yakushidake (薬師岳 – 2780m). 

And on a clear day it offers superb views of Mt. Fuji.

This is what hiking is for. Being in nature and feeling good about it.

We slept at Aokikousen (青木鉱泉) on Friday night, started hiking at 5am Saturday morning, reached the campsite around lunch time, set up tents and then climbed Jizodake. We woke on Sunday morning around 4am, went to the Mt. Fuji lookout for spectacular views at sunrise, returned to camp, packed up and then headed up Kannondake and Yakushidake for equally awesome 360° views of all the central Japan mountain ranges before the long decent back to the car, finishing the weekend at a nearby hot spring for a well-earned soak in the hot (and cold!) baths.

I want more of this.

Much more while I still can. While I’m still fit and healthy. You never know when your health will taken away from you.


The data for the two-day hike, including the route, can be found here on YAMAP.

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