This nice stroll is *almost* PWD friendly.
Budget: JPY14,700 (~USD140)
- JPY2,700. Bus, Morioka Station to Hachimantai JPY(1,350 one way)
- JPY12,000. JR Welcome Rail Pass 2020.
- October 18, 2020
- Difficulty: 0 out of 5.
- Route below is around 2.4kilometers, with an elevation change of ▲93m/ ▽94m
- PDF Map Link
- I did this as a "Osorezan, Hachimantai and Hakkoda" trip, with the detailed itinerary here.
When to Go
For 2020, Buses run from April 26 to October 18, so that is probably the restriction.
- Hike with Mt. Iwaki. The trail is actually linked with Hachimantai, so if you plan to do Mt. Iwaki too then consider staying in the free mountain huts. Or, skip that and take the bus from Hachimantai-choujou to Matsumoto-onsen (trailhead for Mt. Iwaki). Or start early and just trek all the way there (free huts on the way)
- Mountain huts. There's a LOT of free ones (no paid ones!) and very close to the summit, right next to the big lake (pictures below). So just look at the map and enjoy!
- Trailhead: There's quite a lot of them, but I'm going to be lazy and just write about the one closest to the summit: Hachimantai-choujou. Most trailheads use the same bus though, so if you check the map, you can match the trailheads with the bus stop in the schedule provided below.
- Bus. Here's the bus schedule off the official website, but let me share the simpler one off the another website I found.
- Buses do not necessarily run daily. The company decide on the day of at 8:30am, so there's no way to know in advance. Call 0195783500 if you wanna know around that time.
- If there are more people in the line, another bus will come to get them. There were a total of 3 buses on the day I went.
- There's only one departure per day, schedule depends on season. Say for September, bus leaves at 9:10am and gets there at 11am, and the return bus is at 3:20pm and will get to Morioka Station at 5:10pm.
- 行き means Morioka Station (盛岡駅前) to Hachimantai-choujou (八幡平頂上)
- 帰り means Hachimantai-choujou (八幡平頂上) to Morioka Station (盛岡駅前).
- 06:14am. Arrived at Tokyo Station. Tokyo Station is huge, so an allowance of at least 15 minutes is definitely needed. There are signs for the bullet train schedule and platform that don't change every second, so it's easy to confirm the platform to go to. In my case, my stop was at platform 20. I simply put in the JR Welcome Pass at the turnstile, it punched a hole on it, and by 6:26am I was seated. All cars are reserved, so seat reservation is needed. Train splits at Morioka. Cars 1 to 10 goes to Aomori/Hakodate, cars 11 to 17 goes to Akita.
- 06:32am. Bullet train, Tokyo to Morioka Station. The train has wifi and a plug, so I made full use of those.
- 08:45am. Arrived Morioka Station. I went down the escalator, North Gate, East Bus (Exit). There's a small escalator to the right about 5 meters from the turnstiles. Went down the escalator, and exited (only one door to the left). Kept going straight, there's a little sign at the ceiling pointing to the bus stop. Once I've exited the building, the first stop to my left with a line (bus stop 3) was my bus stop. I put my bag down to save my spot, then ran across the street to the ticket center, and bought my ticket, paid via credit card. They recommended to buy one way, just in case there are some problems with the bus and I would have to take another way down (it requires transfers, but I think there'll be shuttles if the buses can't make it back for the return trip). There is no discount to buying a roundtrip bus, so I just bought one way. The bus came on time as expected, and I got in.
- 09:55am. The bus took a ten minute break at Sakura-kouen. Here a guy came in the bus saying that free guides are available for those interested. Soon enough we were back on the road.
- 11:14am. Arrived at Hachimantai Choujou. I entered the Resthouse (レストハウス), went up two flights of stairs, turned left at the exit, and crossed the street to the trailhead.
- 11:22am. Start of the hike. This place was definitely crowded, and plenty of ladies wearing high heeled boots. Also groups of people blocking the way, as they were having a guided tour.
- 11:26am. The first fork. The one to the left will allow a full loop, the one straight is the quickest way back and forth the summit. I turned left. It was a cemented road, and very little elevation change.
- 11:42am. Arrived at another fork, turned right to go to the summit. Take note of the Japanese characters: 八幡平頂上, which means Hachimantai Summit.
- 11:44am. Arrived at the summit, which has a huge marker and an observation deck. There's a little marker at the deck. I went up the deck, took some pictures, and continued on my loop.
- 11:54am. Arrived at the fork, where I had the option to go straight down back to the bus stop, or do a loop. I turned left to do the loop.
- 11:59am. Arrived at the free mountain hut. I decided to sit on the nearby bench and pass the time.
- 12:26pm. Started walking again. This time it's a nice stroll on the marshland, which has turned a nice shade of brown. Soon enough, there was some planks to to the right (two paths), which were not on the map. The actual fork is right next to the lake/pond, so I ignored these.
- 12:44pm. Arrived at the fork. I decided to take a little segue to Mt. Gentamori (源太森), so I took the left turn. Otherwise, the right turn will lead straight back to the bus stop. The path to Gentamori is definitely not as well maintained as the main route. There was a section even when there are no planks and the path was not cemented!
- 12:53pm. Another fork, I followed the sign to Mt. Gentamori to the left, up the stairs.
- 12:55pm. Summit! Mt. Gentamori! Way better view than that in the summit of Hachimantai. I took some photos, retraced my steps, and when I got back at the fork, turned left to go back the bus stop. It was just more of the planks, until I got into the cemented walkway.
- 01:30pm. Arrived at a major fork called "見返り峠". Kept left.
- 01:41pm. Back at the bus stop. I just walked around and tried to kill time.
- 02:00pm. Bought the tickets at the counter at the lowest floor. Cash only. I then waited at the bus stop early as there were three buses worth of passengers, and it was on a first come, first served basis. I'd rather play it safe.
- 02:25pm. The bus arrived, and was soon full. There were some people still waiting outside, and I could hear the driver shouting from outside asking people to wait and not rush. Another bus came, and everybody was able to board.
- 02:45pm. It started raining, and soon enough there was zero visibility.
- 02:50pm. The bus left. There was heavy traffic going down, and so the driver decided to skip the rest room break, as some people might be trying to catch the bullet train, he says.
- 05:16pm. Back at Morioka Station. We were about 20 minutes late.
- 05:18pm. Arrived at Pyonpyon-sha to try Morioka's "reimen", and the restaurant was practically empty. I was soon seated in a big table, separated by transparent boards, with my own little grill in front of me. I ordered an entire platter of meat and half the reimen, and enjoyed my meal.
- 06:37pm. Bullet train, Morioka Station to Shin-Aomori Station. Or, back to Tokyo?
|This is at Morioka Station. Upon exiting the gate and going down the escalator, I exited to the left. |
|There's a little sign on the upper left pointing to the bus stops. |
|Upon exiting these doors, the bus stop is to my left, and the ticket place is across.|
|Finally bought the ticket!|
|The bus showing off the "Dragon's Eye", which can only be seen during the transition from winter to spring - which is latter May to early June. |
|The bus ride was very picturesque. |
|Finally arrived at the trailhead!|
|Right there at the hill is the actual trailhead.|
|There it is, the entrance to the summit. |
|...which was already blocked by the people in the guided tour! |
|Do not be misled - this is a well timed photo of a few seconds with no crowds.|
|At the first fork, turned left. |
|More or less a flat path.|
|The pond for the "Dragon's Eye". It is called a mirror pond, and you can see the clouds reflected on the water. |
|The next fork, I turned right for the summit. In the little blue sign right there says "八幡平頂上" which means summit. |
|There it is! The summit with its very own observation deck. |
|The tallest marker I have seen to date. Feels like it's compensating for the lack of elevation gain in this "hike".|
|Another summit marker! This one is at the observation deck. I think that mountain in the background is Mt. Iwate. |
|Soon I was done taking pictures and back to my stroll around the area. |
|The next fork. I turned left to go to the free mountain hut. |
|Not sure if you can see it - the mountain hut is at the left. |
|There are a couple of benches next to the hut, and that's where I had my coffee and lunch. |
|Inside the mountain hut - there's a FURNACE! O.O There are some wood too under the beds. |
|Pretty spacious, and well maintained. |
|Back to my stroll!|
|It was a beautiful stroll too.|
|I took the left one. |
|The path is definitely not as well maintained as that of the main loop. |
|What a shocker! No planks and not cemented!|
|The turn for Gentamori. I turned left. |
|The marshlands of Hachimantai, as seen from the summit of Gentamori. |
|Gentamori's summit marker. |
|Time to head back down. I took a different route down.|
|At the end was a little sign pointing to the summit of Hachimantai. |
|The one time I've seen the pink trail marker, other than the one at the trailhead. |
|Back at the fork. |
|...and the unlimited planks. |
|I can see the free mountain hut on the other side of the lake. |
|Heavy, heavy traffic going up the trailhead. I can see the cars moving slowly. This does not bode well for the trip back. |
|One of the few toilets in the area, this one close to "見返り峠". Unfortunately, the entire thing was boarded shut.|
|見返り峠. In this fork, I kept left.|
|Back at the very first fork close to the trailhead. New people coming in. |
|There's the rest house. |
|The rest house has an area to wash muddy shoes clean. You know, just in case those planks did not protect you from the mud of the swamps. |
|When our bus left, it suddenly started raining and soon enough, zero visibility. |
|Beautiful gorge on the way down, but the bus did not stop, so I only got to see it from the window. |
|The famous food in Morioka - cold noodles (reimen) and korean bbq. |
|Pyonpyon sha is close to Hot Jaja and the docomo shop. The crowd of people in this picture, if you can see them, is the line for Pyonpyonsha.|