- Nov 2011
Together with two colleges we planned to hike Kisokomagatake and planned to stay in the mountain hotel overnight. It has been raining for two days, then the weather cleared up.
We started Saturday morning at 6:00 am in Tomioka. On the way, we called the mountain hotel to make a reservation, but only high class rooms where available. After the rain many people decided to hike and stay overnight, all standard rooms already have been booked out. The price for a high class room was about 14.000 JPY which was little bit too expensive for our budget. Besides, one college was worrying about the next day’s tour – 19 km – mainly down – but the distance scared him. We then changed our plan from a two days hike to a one day hike and choose another mountain – Yakedake near Kamikotshi.
At Matzumoto we went off the highway and took small road to Kamikotshi-valley from where we wanted to start our tour. But it was forbidden to enter Kamikotshi-valley by car. The car has to be parked several km ahead from where bus or taxi can be used to enter the mountain area.
On the map we found a trail from the south side – but the road to the parking area was closed, too. Tired from driving around and searching we decided to park the car in front of the closed road and went back to the valley entrance of Kamikotshi-valley, from where a trail starts (on the map). But this trail was closed due to landslides. After the big earthquake on March 11th , many earthquakes occurred also in this area. I remember the quake early morning, around 3:00 am, on March 12th which caused many damage in Niigata and Nagano area. Those earthquakes caused a lot of landslides in 2011, as those here.
We walked back to the car and there was no other possibility as walking up the closed road. After some minutes, a small bus passed by. It was the bus of a local onzen and permitted to use this road. The driver stopped and gave us a lift for free up to the onzen-hotel. Lucky no need to walk on the road. Finally out hike started at the Onzen-hotel. The path was easy to walk and followed a small mountain road. Long time ago, this was the only way to cross the mountains, but today there is a long tunnel available and it is much easier to go to Takayama from Nagano-ken.
We found an old car upside down on the hiking path. What happened here? Anybody left inside?
The path was easy to walk – through beautiful forest with a lot of small bamboo plants covering the ground. Later the hike became more difficult – the way leads through rock-fields – can be mastered but please be careful.
Yakedake is an active volcano. Yake – means burn, dake – means steep mountain.
Stinky smoke comes out of the mountain at many places. For us this was a thrilling and exciting experience. We never hiked through so many sulfur smokers before.
After a short rest on the top, we started our way back down – the same way.
We just passed the onzen-hotel, worrying about the long walk on the road, when the onzen bus passed and once again offered us a lift. We have been very happy about that kind service.
On our way back we took a bath in another local onzen near the road to refresh and relax us, and then continued the drive back home.
After passing Karuizawa, using highway with many tunnels town towards Tokyo, I recognized a strange sound and stopped at an emergency space. The front-left tire was broken. A patrol car came by and supported us with light. It would have taken about 1 hour for JAF automobile service to come, which considering the location is quite fast, but we decided to change the tire by ourselves.
It took us only 15 min. to change to spare tire and we continued our way back home. Around 7.30 pm we arrived in Takasaki. The next day I went to my friend and car dealer, and changed all tire to winter tire. In spring 2012 I will have to buy new front tires anyhow, mine have been down after driving to so many hiking places all over Japan.
焼岳 Yakedake 12. Nov. 2011
Start 中ノ湯温泉旅館 Nakanoyuonsenryokan 9:50 am 1.550 m
Trail 新中ノ湯コース New Nakanoyu- course
Top 焼岳 Yakedake 12:30 pm 2.444 m
Finish 中ノ湯温泉旅館 Nakanoyuonsenryokan 3:00 pm 1.550 m
Duration: 5 h 30 min Distance: 8 km Height: 900 m