Kirigamine and Tateshina are map number 33
I hiked Kirigamine, Tateshina, Yatsugatake, Mizugaki, and Kinpu over the period of 3 days, sleeping in my car at the trail heads at night. I started the week after Golden Week, which was the second week in May.
I chose the first hike to be Kirigamine because of how short as easy this hike is, and would be a good one to do after a 2.5 hour drive. I considered tacking on Utsugushigahara onto this trip, but I didn’t think I’d be able to do this hike, Kirigamine, and Tateshina in the same day. Plus, if Utsugushigahara is a hike at all, it’s such an easy hike that I could easily do it going to or coming back from hikes in the Kita Alps.
There’s plenty of parking at Kirigamine, complete with ramen and souvenir shops. When you get to the top, there are also building up there. It was rather grey when I went, but the view was still pretty decent at the top.
The parking lot for Tateshina is a 30 minute drive away. There are at least two access points, one from the north the other from the south. I parked at the one on the south, which had enough space for about 20 or 30 cars, and it had clean bathrooms.
I got a spot in the back, away from the cars and started the hike. You’ll hike along the road for a few minutes and then see the trail head sign on the left. The trail starts off flat or gently rolling, then turns steep pretty much the rest of the way to the top. At this time of year there was snow in some low-lying areas, but still easy to get through without crampons. I’d recommend waterproof boots though. I had on Saucony Xodus 6.0 GTX waterproof trail-running shoes and that worked fine too.
A couple hours later and I was almost at the top. I got to a boulder outcrop and you can’t really see a trail here so you have to follow the arrows. This can be tricky when the arrows are spaced far apart so just pay attention to the dirt tracks on the top of the rocks left from preceding hikers.
There’s a hut near the top, and the summit is marked by a weathered wooden white staff, anchored between the boulders. It was quite windy and chilly up there, but plenty of boulders to hide behind and cook food. I headed back down with enough time to get to the parking lot before dark. Pulled out a folding chair and a beer and relaxed, basking in the shadow of the Yatsugatake range off in the distance.
I woke up at first light the next morning. Made breakfast and started on my way to the trail head for Yatsugatake.