Huts & Campsites
Mt. Shibutsu is an amazing mountain located in Oze National Park. It features a beautiful mix of lush forests, stunning views, and the boardwalk trails that Oze is known for. As you ascend above the forest the terrain features large boulders and rocky peaks which contrast nicely amongst the evergreen shrubs. Mt. Shibutsu can either be completed as an out-and-back hike, or a loop trail which starts by heading deeper into the forest and towards the marshland. However, the loop hike can only be completed in one direction due to a one-way trail that heads up from the marshland.
Oze National Park is a vast wetland of marshes, old natural forests, and beautiful mountains. Oze features 3 mountains that are included in the Hyakumeizan: Mt. Shibutsu, Mt. Hiuchi, and Mt. Aizu-Komagatake. Both Shibutsu and Hiuchi can hiked as part of an overnight trip by sleeping at one of the mountain huts.
The drive from Tokyo to Hatimachi Pass will take about 3 hours. There is a car park located next to the trailhead at Hatomachi Pass, however, to manage traffic congestion it's not accessible during the summer to autumn hiking period. Instead, you'll need to park at the Oze Parking Lot in Tokura and catch a small shuttle bus. The first bus leaves at 5am and takes 20 mins to reach the trailhead. Tickets can be purchased at the car park's vending machine and cost ¥1000.
There is a highway bus from Shinjuku to the Oze Parking Lot in Tokura, which costs around ¥4000. Another option is to continue on to the Oshimizu parking lot, which is often used for hiking Mt. Hiuchi.
If you prefer sleeping in a tent, then the Yamanohana camp site is only an hour's walk from the trailhead, and 2 hours from the peak of Mt. Shibutsu.
If you're also planning to hike Mt. Hiuchi, then the Miharashi Campsite is located between the two mountains.
If you would like to stay in a mountain hut, there are many options and it's best to check the maps to decide on a place that suits your itinerary.
Weather and Seasons
The peak hiking season for Oze is from May to October, snow will hang around until June and begins falling again in mid-October. The summer weather is beautiful with daytime temperatures about 8 degrees cooler than Tokyo. The autumn leaves reach their peak around the end of September and last until mid-October, which is also the busiest time of year.
The quickest route to catch the sunrise or the soft morning light is through the forest and straight up the mountain, however, this means you'll be forced to complete the hike as an out-and-back trail. Despite the lack of signs, for some reason the trail from the Yamahana mountain hut is one-directional, and you will be stopped by oji-sans if you attempt to descend via this route. So if you prefer a loop hike, first head deeper into the forest and toward the Yamahana mountain hut, once you reach the hut you can head up toward Mt. Shibutsu.
Either way, the trails take you through a stunning forest filled with a variety of trees and boardwalks to guide you over the terrain. As you get closer to the peaks, you'll be greeted by large boulders and dramatic rock formations, along with stunning panoramic views. The trails are well-marked with no alternative routes, so navigation shouldn't be a problem.
Altitude & Weather
Time: 6 Hrs
Distance: 10.5 km
Elev. gain: 850m
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