- Jun 2012
The parking area at Iwatesan is surprisingly big, a lot of space for many cars.
Just a few cars stayed there overnight, from the early morning it started to fill up. I was one of the first hikers on the trail. There are two routes up to Iwatesan: the old one and a new one. The old one is a bit steeper and the trail is already washed out, means it is rocky. I chose the old route for the way up.
Soon I was above the clouds; before they sometimes opened the view to the parking place from where I started. On the mountain grew many different mountain flowers in all colors, it was so beautiful waling there.
Below the top, about 10 min. from七合目 鉾立 Nanagoume Hokodate, there was a huge mountain hut and a fresh water spring with delicious and refreshing water.
On the top of the mountain there are several statues and an old shrine. Unfortunately, the tori and stone lanterns are broken. I wondered, this was caused by heavy snow in winter or the earthquake? Still it remains a powerful place with a special atmosphere.
I returned quickly to the car, my hiking nowadays is about 60% of the normal time mentioned in maps or guidebooks.
岩手山 Iwatesan 16. Jun 2012
Start: 馬返し Umagaeshi (parking) 5:00 am 630 m
Trail up: 七合目 鉾立 Nanagoume Hokodate 7:15 am 1720 m
Trail up: お鉢の火口縁 Ohachinokakoufuchi crater 7:45 am 1.960 m
Top: 薬師岳 Yakushidake 7:55 am 2.038 m
Trail down: 岩手山神社 Iwatesanjinja (shrein) 8:15 am 1.800 m
Finish: 馬返し Umagaeshi (parking) 10:30 am 630 m
Duration: 5 h 30 min Distance: 11,1 km Height: 1.445 m
After the hike, the weather became worse. It was the best to visit Chusonji. This place has many temples and the famous golden hall, Konjikido, a national treasure in Japan, can be visited there.
The weather-forecast for the next day was not good. Rain crossed Japan from south to north and reached Iwateken. I postponed the hike of another mountain in north Japan and drove back south. On the way I passed Matsushima, always worth to visit.
It was the second time for me; I was here in Aug. 2009. Matsushima completely recovered from the 2011 tsunami. The main hall of the temple was still under construction (not because of tsunami) and remained closed for visitors from Sept. 2009 to March 2016. Instead of the Temple, Yotokuin´s Mausoleum (Hogeden) was opened to the public.
The rain-front already has passed Yamagata-ken and Fukushima-ken. Might be good timing to try once again to hike Nishi-Azumayama. It was the sixth time I went to hike this mountain.