Mt. Kita-dake 北岳 is second highest mountain (3193m) in Japan after Mt.Fuji, where you can hike in the weekend from areas around Tokyo.
Mt.Kita-dake is located in the Southern Alps, where is part of Minami Alps National park. The view from summit is astonishing. There are many alpine plants, sea of clouds, long ridge line and so on.
The best time to hike Mt.Kita-dake is between early July and late October.
However, more recommendation season is from early July to early August, because there are so many alpine plants.
How to access
Hirogawara 広河原 at 1530m, is the gate of trailhead to access .Kita-dake
From Kofu station, Yamanashi Kotsu operates buses running regularly from late June to early November. http://yamanashikotsu.co.jp/noriai/2016hirogawara.htm (Japanese)
It takes 2 hours from Kofu station to Hirogawara by bus and the fee is 1950 yen per person. They also have direct buses from Shinjuku station to Hirogawara at 10pm on Friday night and arrive at Hirogawara in the morning.
The difference elevation is almost 1650m to reach summit at first day. At first , head up the right of the river on the asphalt road for a few minutes. There is a hut and tent site at near the road.
(with/without meal: 8200 yen / 5200 yen, Campsite is 500 yen per person)
From there, take the track up the tributary valley towards Kita-dake. There is a junction after walking 20 minutes or so. The rail on the left runs parallel to the stream, that is the trail you will come down the next day.
Note that when you pass this trail, Ookaba-sawa 大樺沢, you need crampon because there is covered by snow.
Take the trail on the right, which a steep climb through forest, gradually increase in altitude. 5 or 6 hours from Hirogwara, you will reach Kata-no-koya 肩の小屋 (http://katanokoya.com) at 3000m. This hut is operates from middle of June to early November, charges 7500yen /3500yen with/without meals, and has capacity for 150.There is a tent site area for 50 tents and its charge is 500 per person. If you go down via summit of Kita-dake next day, it will take about 4 and half hours to the Hirogawara.
If you have DSLR camera, wide angle lens and macro lens are best choice for hiking Kita-dake. There are so many plants and the landscape from peak is so marvelous! Have a enjoy!
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