Ainodake. About twice I attempted to do this hike, and in both cases I stopped at Kitadake, all worn out. Haha. Wonder if third time's the charm.
Budget: JPY8,260 (~USD81)
- JPY4,360. Local trains, Tokyo area < > Kofu Station. (JPY2,180 one way)
- JPY3,900. Bus, Kofu Station < > 広河原. (JPY1,950 one way)
- Target 2021
- Difficulty: 4 out of 5.
- Route below is around 16.6kilometers, with an elevation change of ▲2,345m/ ▽2,345m (13h30m)
- Map Link
When to Go
The bus only runs from latter June to early November, and private cars are not allowed to the trailhead, so that's a restriction. Others go as far as possible though and just walk a couple of hours to the trailhead.
If climbing before mid-July, there may be some snow left on the trail that passes through the lower part of the mountains and locals actually strongly discourage taking that route (the right trail on the map above).
- Weather forecast. English / Japanese. English more detailed, Japanese more accurate.
- If hiking from July, make sure to bring a net for your head, as there is plenty of bugs particularly past Shirakane-Oike. Once you reach the ridge the bugs are gone, but that's quite some time just waving your hands in front of your face.
- Trailhead: Hirakawara (広河原). There are some porta-toilets here.
- Train, Tokyo to Kofu Station (甲府駅)
- Bus, Kofu Station (甲府駅) to 広河原.
- Buses are not running for 2020, but here's the schedule for 2019. JPY1,950 one way. Cash only, and if you're taking the earliest bus, the collectors may not have a lot of change so do try to make it exact.
- Cars are not allowed to the trailhead, so if you're driving, you'll need to drive and park, then take the bus.
- Mountain huts.
- Paid. I've actually been to all these three. Starting 2021, some reservations are online, some still sticking to good old phone.
- Shirakane-oike (白根御池小屋). Futon type, with women and men separated rooms. Plenty of tables inside and outside.
- Katanogoya (北岳肩の小屋). Less than an hour from the summit, but the hut is the biggest no-no. Imagine a big floor, and you are given half a meter wide space to put your sleeping bag on, and if you don't have a sleeping bag, you pay an additional JPY1,000 fee! And this is after paying JPY4,700! And you are not even allowed to go inside the hut or anything! Really, worst deal ever. If possible, push on the next hour and go to Kitadake-sansou. However, the camp site in the area has a great view of Mt. Fuji.
- Kitadake-sansou (北岳山荘). Futon type. The place is huge, has wifi if I remember correctly, and free charging! Highly recommended. It is also in between Kitadake and Ainodake, so it's a perfect spot to try to summit both mountains.
- Free. None.
- Camping. Next to all of the paid mountain huts above. In 2021, reservations also needed, same link above.
- I would recommend doing this with Kitadake, climbing via Kitadake summit and staying at Kitakade-sansou for day 1, and the summiting Ainodake at day 2.
- In one hike, we arrived at Katanogoya camp site before 2pm and my partner just did Ainodake while I sleep, and was back in two or three hours.
- Train, Tokyo to Kofu Station. Stay in Kofu Station area. Some people sleep in front of the station. In our case, we camped in the castle nearby (google maps pin). Someone did see us set up camp, but he just let us be. Simple rule - leave no trace.
- 04:35am. Bus, Kofu Station to 広河原
- 06:28am. ETA: 広河原
- 06:30am. Start hike.
- 12:35pm. Arrive at Kitadake-sanso, set up camp. Rest... or summit Ainodake. If summiting Ainodake, ETA to the summit is 2:15pm and be back at the camp spot at 3:35pm.
- 06:00am. Enjoy the sunrise, head back down. Going to Ainodake is a 5km, 3 hour back and forth, 505m gain/loss.
- 10:25am. Back at 広河原.
- 11:00am. Bus, 広河原 to Kofu Station.
- 12:55pm. ETA: Kofu Station. Train, Kofu Station to Tokyo.