Hiked August 17-19
Map Number 42 (Minami Alps, Southern Section)
Duration: 2-3 days
I hiked this with my friend, Joe. You could access Tekari and Hijiri from Hatanagi Dam Area (see Arakawa/Akaishi), but I opted to hike from a trailhead on the Iida, Japan side.
The map is actually outdated because it shows a parking lot much closer to the trailhead. The road to this parking lot was closed to public vehicles about 3 miles from the trailhead. The farthest you can drive is 35.389198, 138.041725. There are private vehicles that you can hire to take you closer to the trailhead, but I don’t know where to catch them or how much they cost. Note: some people “in the know” bring bicycles to get to the trailhead.
We drove up after work and camped at the parking lot for the night so we could get an early start. The plan was to head up the trail to Irodake, then over to Tekari, stay there for the night, backtrack over to Hijiri the next day, and hike out the following morning.
After about an hour of easy walking on the private road, there’s a bridge crossing the river at 35.378046, 138.077295. Nothing but steep uphill for the next 5-6 hours. When we reached Irodake, we headed southwest toward Tekari. This route was more rolling terrain, with a pleasant water fill-up point about 20 minutes away from the Tekari Hut.
We camped at Tekari Hut and woke the next morning to strong wind, no rain, but cloudy. The moisture in the air condensed on the inside of our tent and it was basically raining inside the tent, which got everything that wasn’t in a bag wet. After packing, we headed out, but the wind was still pretty strong for the next hour. By 8 or 9 am, the sun came out and the hike was much more pleasant.
On the way to Hijiri, the terrain is rolling, with a few steep sections. The Trans Japan Alps Race was occurring in this section as we hiked through, so it was cool to see those racers passing by on the trail. Some even felt they had time to talk to us for a few minutes.
We got to the Hijiri Hut at around 1 pm, dropped off our bags, and headed up to the peak. The hike up is steep with a few sections you may need to use your hands. We got to the top around 3 pm. The clouds were in at the hut, but when you got high enough up, they cleared and we had great views at the top.
The next day we headed back down. There must have been a pretty big storm, because there were many downed trees blocking the trail that we had to navigate over, under, and around, which slowed our progress. Also, near the bottom, there is an abandoned hut. The map shows a bridge, but this bridge has long been washed away. There’s a new hand trolley that can fit about 4 people that you use to pulley yourselves across the river (pretty cool actually, but a lot of work if only 1 person).
Overall, this loop hike was nice, and we had good weather. I recommend setting aside 2-3 days to complete both peaks.