Visit To The Alps And Famous Mountains. Let’s Enjoy Great View From Top of The Mountain (Part 2)

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Visit To The Alps And Famous Mountains. Let’s Enjoy Great View From Top of The Mountain (Part 2)

After taking a break at Umanose Heutte - at an altitude of 2,630m - resume climbing to the summit of the Queen of the Southern Alps, Mt. Senjogatake. Walk along a ridge and enter a trail surrounded by creeping pine and Japanese rowan. You will soon arrive at Yabusawa Cirque, an amphitheatre-like landscape formed by glacial erosion 20,000 years ago. From here, it’s a steep climb to the summit of Mt. Senjogatake. After climbing for a total of five hours, you will finally reach the top of the mountain, which is 3,033m high. Besides enjoying the gorgeous leaves, you can also witness a panoramic view of Mt. Kita, Mt Fuji and Mt. Kaikoma.

Let’s challenge the Hakuba Mountains – part of the North Alps - next. Our target is Mt. Hakuba Norikura, which has a height of 2,436m. It is known for its splendid autumn leaves. Start by travelling along the Chuo Line from Shinjuku and later transferring to the Oito Line. Alight at Hakuba Station and take a 25-minute bus ride to the entrance of the mountain trail, Tsugaike Kogen. It stands at an altitude of 820m. From here, take a gondola lift to Tsuganomori Station, which has an altitude of 1,582m. The scenic ride lasts about 20 minutes. From the station, walk for about five minutes to a ropeway station and climb to Shizenen Station, located at an altitude of 1,829m. During the gondola and ropeway rides, you can admire the beautiful landscape, featuring Erman’s birch trees and Maries’ fir trees.

After alighting from the ropeway, visit the picturesque Chubu Sangaku National Park to see even more autumn leaves. Another scenic spot worth checking out is Tsugaike Shizenen, a well-known 100-hectare alpine marshland. Various trees boasting a colourful panorama of yellow, orange and red autumn leaves can be found here. Stay the night at Tsugaike Hyutte, which has comfortable Japanese-style rooms. You can see Mt. Hakuba Norikura and Mt. Shirouma from the mountain hut. For dinner, you can choose between white fish meuniere and grilled pork loin marinated with salted rice malt.

Wake up bright and early the next day and get prepared to climb Mt. Hakuba Norikura. Head to the entrance of the mountain trail, situated beside Shizenen. After climbing a wooden path for about an hour, you will reach Tengubara, an alpine marshland located at a height of 2,180m. After this comes a steep rocky path, which you have to overcome to reach the mountain’s summit. After climbing for three hours, you will finally reach the top of Mt. Hakuba Norikura Admire the dazzling autumn colours before heading down to your final goal, Hakuba Ooike, a gorgeous pond. Located at an altitude of 2,379m, it has a perimeter of about 1km. This spot is known as one of Hakuba Mountains’ best places to view autumn leaves.

Mt. Kurikoma, a famous mountain in Tohoku, stretches over Iwate, Miyagi and Akita. Its height is 1,627m and the surface is covered with autumn leaves, making it a popular scenic spot. Travel by Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Ichinoseki Station. Ichinoseki-shi is the gateway to Hiraizumi, a cultural heritage site. Then, take a bus to Sukawa Onsen, the entrance of trail to the summit. You will arrive at Sukawa Onsen, at an altitude of 1,126m, after 1.5 hours. As you climb, enjoy the surrounding kaleidoscope of autumn colours, which start from the foot of the mountain. As you climb higher, the colours get more vivid. Walk along a narrow path and after a while, the view opens out to reveal a breathtaking view of the mountain and autumn leaves. Continue hiking to Nagorigahara, situated at an altitude of 1,160m, where alpine plants blossom beautifully.

Nagorigahara leads to a steep slope, after which comes Jigokudani, a place where hydrogen sulphide rises. The scene is rather dreary due to the presence of several trees which have dried out due to the poisonous gas. The contrast between the surrounding red leaves and “dead” trees is rather startling. Continue climbing until you reach the mysterious Lake Showa, with its emerald green water. It was formed by the eruption of Mt. Kurikoma in 1944. This lake on the mountain is located in the middle of the hiking course.

After resting for a while at the scenic lake, head towards the hardest and steepest section of the trail, called Munatsuki-zak. You will pass through an observatory before reaching Tengu-daira after 1.5 hours. It is located at a height of 1,540m on the ridge of Mt. Kurikoma. The summit of the mountain is 800m away from here. After a total of two hours, you will finally make it to the top of Mt. Kurikoma. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Ou Mountains.

Head down to Sukawa Kogen Onsen, which was founded in the Edo period. The spring water here gushes out at 6,000L per minute. Soaking in the fresh spring water known for its therapeutic effects is the perfect way to end your trip to Mt. Kurikoma.


THIS WEEK'S TIPS:

  • Look out for rock ptarmigan, a special natural monument, when climbing Mt. Hakuba Norikura
  • To alleviate fatigue after a tough hiking trip, soak in a hot spring bath

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