Hiked September 27, 28, 29, 2018
Map number 37. You can also get map 36, which includes Goryu and Kashimayari, but you get less map detail than if you had 37.
I drove to Ogizawa after work the night before and slept in my car at the free parking lot. The parking lot is close to the Alpen-Route ticket counter. The ticket counter opens at 6:50, but I’d recommend getting in line well before that if you want to maximize your chances of getting on the first trolley bus. The round trip ticket to/from Murodo costs 9,050 yen and includes all the transfers to Murodo. You can also buy a one-way ticket and buy the ticket back down from Murodo (I think this method costs marginally more). Once you board the Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus, you should be able to get to Murodo in about an hour.
There are many trail choices from Murodo. I was intent on summiting Tsurugi the same day and staying at the Kenzanso hut so I didn’t waste too much time soaking in the views. The weather was great and it was hard to pass by Tateyama, but I stuck to the plan and headed to Tsurugi.
It took about 1.5 hrs to reach Kenzanso, where I had a snack and dropped off my pack before starting up Tsurugi. The trail to Tsurugi has a good amount of exposure in some areas, chains, ladders, ledges, and scree, so be careful and don’t attempt in bad whether. I did the daikiretto about a month previously, which in my opinion was much more dangerous and difficult than Tsurugi. It was about 3 hrs to Tsurugi’s summit and views were amazing at the top.
It took another 2 hrs to get back down to the hut, arrived a little after 4 pm, just as the sun was setting. Kenzanso hut is clean, and has friendly, partially English-speaking staff. I brought my own beer up, which was warm by then, but they let me put it in their cooler for a while. There are also a couple nearby tarns that will do the trick. Added bonus, if you’re there by 5, you can take a shower. It’s the only hut I’ve been to so far where I could get a shower.
The next day was not as favorable whether-wise (honestly it was really s****y), and conditions quickly deteriorated as I headed over to Tateyama. When I reached the ridge line, the wind and rain was so strong that I had to put on another layer, but my gloves (which were supposed to be waterproof) were soaked through. My hands were so cold I couldn’t hold my hiking poles. I put them away and stuck my hands inside my pants to try and keep them warm. Complete opposite of the great day yesterday. Just an example of how quickly the weather can change in the mountains, so you always need to be prepared.
I reached Tateyama’s summit about 2 hrs after I left the hut, about 8 am. There was no view, it was cold and windy, so I wasted no time to head back down the other side towards Murodo. Tateyama to Murodo took about 1.5 hrs including a rest under a covering at a hut near the top.