(鳥海山) Mt. Chokai Hike

Today is August 2020, and I have realized that schedule wise, this is only doable for me next year - so writing the fruit of my research and will revisit this again. 

Budget: JPY26,000 (~USD246)

  • JPY20,000ish. Bus, Tokyo Station < > Kisakata Station.
  • JPY6,000. Shuttle, Kisakata Station to Hokodate Trailhead.

Hike Date / Difficulty (Elevation: 2,236m / 7,336ft)

  • Target: September 2021
  • Difficulty: 
  • Route below is around 13.4kilometers, with an elevation change of ▲1,285m/ ▽1,285m
  • PDF Map Link

When to Go

The shuttle is only running from June to early October, so that's a restriction. 

Special Notes

  • The summit is called Shinyama (新山). 
  • This is doable as a dayhike, with Kisakata Station as a point of reference, both via public shuttle or private car.
  • Mountain huts. Quite a couple of mountain huts, but I do not see any free ones nor camping spaces. 
    • Paid. 頂上参篭所(御室小屋). Hut near the summit, JPY4,200 no meals, reservations at 0234-77-2301. This is closed for 2020 though. 
    • Paid. 御浜小屋. Hut near the summit, reservations at 0234-77-2301. This is closed for 2020 though. 
    • Paid. Hokodate Sansou (鉾立山荘). Hut at the trailhead, JPY1,370 but futons etc are for rent (JPY500 ish). Reservations at 090-3124-2288. 
  • Trailheads. There's quite a lot of options... if you have a car. Otherwise, it's just Hokodate. 
    • Hokodate (鉾立) / 象潟口. There is a shuttle from Kisakata Station (象潟駅), reservations needed (Call 0184-43-2030) . JPY3,000 one way, 45 minutes. This is available daily from June to September, and on weekends for the first two weeks of October. And then you'll need your own car. Schedule below. 
    • Haraigawa (祓川) / 矢島口 . No public transport.
    • Takinokoya (滝ノ小屋). Highest point, and shortest route to the top. No public transport, closest station is Sakata Station (酒田駅), a 1.5 hour taxi ride if ever. 
    • Fukura-guchi (吹浦口) . No public transport, closest station is Sakata Station (吹浦駅), a 20 minute taxi ride if ever.
    • Ichinotaki (一ノ滝) . No public transport, closest station is Yuza Station (遊佐駅), a 40 minute taxi ride if ever. 
    • Momoyakeguchi (百宅口). No public transport, closest station is Yashima Station (矢島駅).
  • Access. The biggest hurdle is getting into Kisakata Station. Once that is over, the shuttle is pretty straightforward. 
    • Train/bus to Kisakata Station.
      • Train. Bullet train from Tokyo to Niigata (JPY10,960, 125 minutes), then express train from Niigata to Kisakata (JPY3,740, 146 minutes). If you leave in the morning, the earliest you can get there is 11:08am (nevermind the JPY15,000 one way fare)
      • Bus. There is one bus a day direct from Tokyo to Kisakata Station, JPY8,000-10,000 depending on the season. Reservations here
        • 09:50pm. ETD: Tokyo Station, 05:45am. ETA: Kisakata Station
        • 10:20pm. ETD: Kisakata Station. 06:15am. ETA: Tokyo Station.
      • If coming from up north, Kisakata Station is also a 74 minute, JPY1,170 train ride away from Akita Station. 
    • Bus. Kisakata Station to Hokodate. Reservations needed (Call 0184-43-2030) . JPY3,000 one way, 45 minutes. This is available daily from June to September, and on weekends for the first two weeks of October. 
Bus schedule, Kisakata Station (象潟駅) < > Hokodate (鉾立)

Itinerary

Friday

  • 09:50pm. Bus, Tokyo Station to Kisakata Station. 

Saturday

  • 05:45am. ETA: Kisakata Station.
  • 06:20am. Shuttle, Kisakata Station to Hokodate Trailhead.
  • 06:55am. ETA: Hokodate Trailhead. Start hike
  • 11:15am. ETA: Summit.
  • 02:40pm. ETA: Hokodate Trailhead.
  • 4:20pm. Shuttle, Hokodate to Kisakata Station.


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