Hiking Distance: 38km
Time: 3 Days
Elevation change: ➚2500m ➘2350m
➚ 2500m ➘ 2350m
Huts & Campgrounds
Mt. Hakkyo is the highest mountain in Kansai and part of the Omine mountain range, accessible from Dorogawa onsen or Tenkawa. It features the Mt. Misen mountain hut for camping and has a variety of trail options. We'll cover two trails here, one is for the bus stop and the other is only accessible with a car. If you're taking the bus you will need to spend at least one night here due to the logistics of public transport. We've included other options but the main focus is on an amazing 3 day hike starting in Tenkawa and finishing in Dorogawa onsen.
One notable mention, the second night is spent camping on Sanjogatake, which is a religious mountain with an ancient custom of not allowing women to enter a specific area. But don't worry, there's an alternative trail for camping on the second day.
Car - If you're using a car, the most popular trail is from this parking lot. It's a somewhat shorter hike than the bus stop so it's perfect for a day trip, it also has more interesting terrain and nicer views. The parking fee is ¥1000. If you want something a bit longer, you can start from the bus stop trailhead in Tenkawa.
Train + Bus/Taxi - If going by public transport, you'll need to reach Shimoichiguchi station, from there you'll need to catch a bus to Tenkawa-kawai bus stop, the bus will take about 1 hour and costs around ¥1100. Click here for the bus timetable.
Bus Trailhead: Google Maps
Carpark Trailhead: Google Maps
Kyoto & Osaka: Shimoichiguchi station is 2 hours by train and costs ¥1200.
Tenkawa to Mt. Hakkyo
Time: 6-7 hrs
Distance: 12.5 km
Elevation change: ➚ 1450m gain ➘ 200m loss
From the Tenkawa bus stop you will walk through the town for about 5 mins until you reach the forest and the start of the hike. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. This trail is mostly in a forest of pine trees, it doesn't contain interesting features like boulders, ladders, or chains and for the most part you will not have any views. But rest assured once you reach the top the views are quite amazing, especially during the sunset. Moreover, the second day hiking along the ridgeline to Daifugen is absolutely incredible.
Once you reach the peak of Hakkyo you can either stay here and wait for the sunset, or continue toward Mt. Misen to set up camp. The hike from Hakkyo to Misen will take about 30-40 mins, if you have enough time it's a good idea to claim your campsite and then return to Hakkyo for the sunset.
Mt. Misen to Sanjogatake via Daifugen
Time: 8 hrs
Distance: 14 km
Elevation change: ➚ 800m gain ➘ 1100m loss
The most exciting day of the hike! You will encounter a wide variety of terrain, see many different views, and finish up at a peaceful free campsite with drinkable water flowing from a mossy river.
You begin by descending down about 450 meters and eventually level out to a nice relaxed ridgeline trail, soon you will reach the intersection for the popular carpark hike. Be attentive once you pass this intersection as a bear was sighted around this area. From here it's only another 1-2 hours until you reach a mountain hut at Gyojagaeri, this is where the fun climbing begins. You will cross ladders, chains, and rocky features as you gradually make your way to Daifugen. After another 1-2 hours you'll arrive at the beautiful Sanjogatake campsite, please be respectful and quiet as you're now in a sacred pilgrimage area.
Note: Women are forbidden from Sanjogatake, see below for an alternative plan for female hikers.
Sanjogatake to Inamura & Dorogawa onsen
Time: 6 hrs
Distance: 12 km
Elevation change: ➚ 250m gain ➘ 1050m loss
The final day, your campsite is only a 50 min hike from the viewpoint at Sanjogatake so it's a good spot for breakfast or for watching the sunrise. After Sanjo you will hike toward Inamuragatake, affectionately known as the ladies Sanjogatake. Inamura (an extra 200m and 2km) is an optional hike along your journey home as you will first reach an intersection at the Inamura mountain hut, so here you can decide to hike to the peak or continue down the mountain. The trail is an easy descent from here, and Dorogawa is a great town to explore before the bus home, you can go swimming in the river, bathing in the onsen, or have lunch at one of the many nice restaurants.
Days 2 and 3 for female hikers
Mt. Misen to Daifugen & Mt. Wasamata Lodge
Time: 9 hrs
Elevation change: ➚ 650m gain ➘ 1400m loss
After studying the map we have decided the best option for avoiding Sanjogatake is to head for the Mt. Wasamata Lodge after reaching Daifugen. It's a great place to spend the night, fully equipped with water and snacks, and you might be able to have dinner there too. There is a bus stop only 1 hours walk from the lodge that will take you to Yamato-Kamiichi station where you can catch your train home, you can use Google maps for the bus times. I've created another GPX of the hiking route that you can view here, you can compare it with the photo of the official map. I've never been to this hut, so please share any extra information and photos if you go :)
Weather and Seasons
Summer and autumn are the best times for this hike. There is likely to be snow hanging around until April. The autumn leaves will be colourful in the second half of October. If you're hiking in summer, make sure you bring insect repellant as there are a lot of bugs on these trails.
Day 1.. Tenkawa to Mt. Misen via Hakkyo
Day 2.. Mt. Misen to Sanjogatake via Daifugen
The view of Daifugen on day 2
Day 3.. Sanjogatake to Dorogawa
Hiking Distance: 38 km
Time: 3 Days
Elevation gain: 2500m