➚ 1150m ➘ 1150m
Mt. Ibuki is the largest mountain in Shiga prefecture and listed as one of Japan's hyakumeizan. It's popular due to its panoramic views, easy summit access, and wide range of alpine flowers. In this case, the easy access is not so popular among hikers - right below the summit there's a 300-car parking lot, complete with regular tour busses, which makes the summit quite a different experience compared to most hikes. However, Mt. Ibuki can be a beautiful and peaceful experience if one chooses to avoid the weekends or aim for the sunrise. If you start at 4am, you can reach the summit in 2 hours and often won't see anyone at all during this time. The road to the summit parking lot opens at 8am, so plan accordingly if you want to avoid the crowds.
The hike up Mt. Ibuki takes you through a lovely forest, which quickly changes into a rich green landscape, complete with rocky terrain and heaps of deer. It's an easy hike that doesn't feel like 1000+ meters of elevation gain. The summit is quite large and flat, offering amazing views of Lake Biwa and the surrounding mountains.
Car or Taxi: If you're using a car you can park next to the trailhead which is located here. Alternatively, if you're hiking at sunrise, you can save 45mins and skip the first section, by parking at the top of the old ropeway, located here - but be aware there is no official parking here, and not much space for cars, so it's unsuitable during normal daytime hours. Taxis can take you here too.
Summit Parking Lot: The road to the summit parking lot is open from 8am - 8pm, it's a very beautiful road, costing a little over ¥3000.
Osaka & Kyoto: You'll need to catch a train to Omi-Nagaoka Station, and then a bus or taxi to the trailhead. From Kyoto the cheapest option takes about 1hr 30 mins and costs ¥1300. From Osaka, the cheapest option takes around 1hr 35 mins, costing ¥2000. There are also Shinkansen options if you're looking to save some time.
Trailhead Bus: The bus only runs from May to November, the timetable info online is pretty confusing, I've found two websites for you to confirm, here and here.
Trailhead: Google maps
Omi-Nagaoka station: Google maps
The trail is well-marked and easy to follow with no intersections. Your first 45 mins are in the forest until you reach a large space where the old gondola used to be, from here you'll easily see the top of Mt. Ibuki. After another 1.5 hours, you'll reach the peak, it's a large summit so you can spend some time walking around to take in the various viewpoints.
Weather and Seasons
Late spring and early autumn are the best times for this hike, with the leaves becoming vibrant and green around early May. Summer is possible but there's very little shade. Winter hiking is possible if you have experience with snow and ice.