September 1-3, 2019
Amakazari, Hiuchi, Takatsuma (Map# 18)
The Amakazari trailhead has a small restroom, car parking, and a place to set up a tent. The trail to the peak is easy to follow and should take about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the peak. I brought a new water bladder that I haven’t tested before, which was a mistake because the water tasted like rubber and I couldn’t drink it. The trail crosses a mountain stream with clean fresh water, which came in very useful to me because I couldn’t drink the water I brought with me. Although it did not rain, the summit was cloudy and I could only get small glimpses of the surrounding area. When I got back to my car at the trailhead, I cleaned off with the hose (for boots) at the restroom, and started my way to Hiuchi.
From Amakazari, you can get to Hiuchi the long way around (via expressway) or you can take the gravel road 8 km or so. I opted for the gravel road because I had a 4×4, but if you don’t have a 4×4, I recommend the long way around because the road has a few washouts from rain along the way. The Hiuchi trailhead has a large parking lot with restrooms. There is also a campground nearby. I slept in my car that night.
At the start of Hiuchi, there was a booth set up asking for donations to help keep up the Hiuchi trail. Recommend donating a little if you can. The 1st hour of hiking is on wood planks set up to preserve the vegetation from hikers. After you pass the hut, the wooden planks start back up and you cross meadows with small lakes until the final climb to the summit. Although it wasn’t raining, the summit only had small breaks in the clouds to see other nearby peaks. The whole hike should take around 4 hours to complete.
It was raining steadily by the time I got back to my car. I took the opportunity to rinse off with my rooftop mounted shower, and headed toward Takazuma trailhead. I stopped off at cafe ranpuya (lamp) for coffee and a small bite before resting at the large car park near the Takazuma campground.
The start of the hike to Takazuma goes through the Takazuma campground. There are some signs, but I recommend you use you Mapple map to find the way. There are two routes up, I chose the route without the water features up, which was very steep. After about 2 hrs of hard climbing, the trail leveled off a bit for the next hour to the rocky summit. I took the other route on the return. Most of this route was okay, except there are couple areas where you need to climb down a chain and a waterfall, which is difficult unless you have a dry towel or handkerchief to grip the chain. It could be quite dangerous if you can’t properly grip the chain so make sure you bring an extra towel. After the water features, the trail crosses a docile stream a dozen or so times, then through a cow pasture, back to the campground.
On the way back, I gave a few friendly hitchhikers a ride to Tokaguchi a few miles up the road, and headed back home.