(日光白根山) Mt. Nikko-Shirane Hike

I have visited the Nikko area a couple of times, but this mountain is surprisingly not in the touristy spots in the blogs I've checked. So much for being a famous mountain. 

Then I've hiked it, and I understood - it is definitely not a touristy hike. 

Budget: JPY4,600 (~USD45)
  • JPY4,600. Nikko Pass, covering all transport from Tokyo to Nikko, and within Nikko. 
Hike Date / Difficulty (Elevation: 2,578m / 8,458ft)
  • June 8, 2019
  • Difficulty: 4 out of 5. 
  • Route below is around 12.7kilometers, with an elevation change of ▲1,556m/ ▽1,542m (8h00m)

When to Go
Hiking season is likely around latter May to November, and some people have told me of the avalanche risk in this area. However, there's a log for a hike on February 29, 2020, so maybe even winter is doable? 

We hiked mid-June and there were still some trails covered in snow, but not to the extent that we needed spikes. 

Special Notes
  • Weather forecast. English / Japanese. English more detailed, Japanese more accurate. 
  • Mt. Nikko-shirane has two peaks - 前白根山 Mae-shirane (meaning front shirane) and おく白根山Oku-shirane (meaning inner shirane). The official Nikko-shirane is the inner one. 
  • Trailheads.  There are a couple, but only Yumoto Onsen is accessible via public transportation. 
    • Yumoto Onsen (湯本温泉). Google maps pin.
      • Train, Tokyo to Nikko Station (or Tobu-Nikko Station). 
      • Bus, Nikko Station to Yumoto Onsen. Nikko is very tourist friendly, and google maps will definitely work. 
    • Nikko-shirane Ropeway (日光白根登山口ロープウェイ). Google maps pin
      • Access here. There is no public transport, but a shuttle is organized from the hotels in Yumoto Onsen to the ropeway. So you'll have to stay in the hotels, or have the guts to ask those hotels for a ride. 
    • Suganuma Parking Lot (菅沼駐車場). Google maps pin. No public transportation. It has a camp area near it. 
    • Konsei Toge (金精峠入口). Google maps pin. No public transportation. 
  • Mountain huts. 
    • Paid. None. 
    • Free. 
      • 五色沼避難小屋.  It was in a pretty sad state when we got there - inside was messy and definitely not a good place to stay at, but it'll provide a roof over your head in an emergency. 
      • 七色平避難小屋. Doesn't seem promising either. 
    • Camping. One near trailhead Suganuma.  
Itinerary
  • Train, Tokyo to Tobu-Nikko Station (we used the Nikko Pass)
  • Bus, Tobu-Nikko Station to Yumoto Onsen. 
  • 10:50am ish. Arrived at Yumoto Onsen, and tried to figure out where the trailhead is. There were maps in the area, so we followed it and started our hike
  • 01:20pm. Arrived at Mae-Shirane. I don't know why they needed a front shirane vs an inner shirane, but we continued on. 
  • 02:53pm. Arrived at the official Mt. Shirane! Yey! Unfortunately the mountain remained covered in clouds. 
  • 04:38pm. Arrived at Mt. Goshiki (五色山). The descent was the bushiest descent I've ever done in my life, with the trail visible thanks to the space in the bushes, but the footing was not visible. Muddy path that you can't really see? Not a good combination. 
  • 07:02pm. Back at Yumoto Onsen. Ending a hike at 7pm sounds bad, but take note that at this time, the sun set around 7:30pm. 
Our initial ascent, here's me looking down the trail. 

The Mae-shirane (front shirane) peak. 

The emergency hut - 五色沼避難小屋. We dropped our bags near the area before summiting. 

The official summit!

Descending from the summit back to the emergency hut. 

Did I mention it was foggy? Haha. 

Looking down at the Goshiki Marsh's Pond (五色沼). 

Almost at the pond. 

Walking alongside the pond. 

Going up to Mt. Goshiki (五色山)

Mt. Goshiki (五色山)'s Summit Marker. Can't read a thing? Look closely, it's there. 

Going down to Yumoto Onsen. 

Some snow covered trail. 

Bushy, bushy, trail. 

At the trailhead, we saw some wild deer!

At around 7:15pm. Just waiting for the bus. 


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