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槍ヶ岳

Yarigatake

Elevation: 3180m

Prefecture

Nagano

Distance

42 km

Elevation Change

➚ 1880m    ➘ 1880m

Time

2 Days

Difficulty

5/5

Accommodation

Huts & Campgrounds

Overview

Yarigatake, sometimes referred to as the Matterhorn of Japan, is the 5th highest mountain in Japan and the most recognisable peak in the Japanese Alps. It's one of the most popular hikes in the Alps and in Kamikochi. There are multiple trails leading to the peak, with the two main hikes starting from Kamikochi or the Shinhotaka Ropeway, both requiring 2 days of hiking. It features a mountain lodge just below the peak and is often included as part of a famous 3 day hike to Mt. Hotaka via the notorious Daikiretto ridgeline. There are many options for accommodation, the Yarigatake Sanso is the closest mountain hut (20 mins from the peak) and offers both beds and tent sites. Check the map to decide on where you would like to stay and make a reservation in advance if you want to sleep in one of the huts. You can make the hike easier if you plan for 3 days instead of 2.

Due to its location and popularity, it's extremely crowded on public holidays, and also best to avoid on weekends. If hiking on the weekend, starting on a Sunday will help you to avoid some of the crowds.

Access

Car

If you're using a car you'll need to catch a bus from the Sawando Parking Area (Closer to Matsumoto) or the Hirayu Parking Area, the bus will take about 30 minutes from the parking lot.

Direct Bus

There is a direct bus from Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. You can view all the details and make reservations here. The price ranges from ¥10,000 to ¥13,000.

Cheapest Option

For Kyoto and Osaka, there is a direct bus to the Shinhotaka ropeway which can also be used to access the mountains in Kamikochi. You can make reservations here, it's only ¥7500.

Train + Bus

You can also come from Matsumoto Station or from Gifu prefecture's Takayama Station. The official Kamikochi website provides a detailed overview of all the travel times and options.

Note: Kamikochi is closed from 15th Nov to the end of April

Maps

GPS map: Day 1  Day 2

Japanese Online Map: Yamap.com

Trail Description

Day 1

From Kamikochi

Kamikochi to Yarigatake Mountain Hut via the Nishidake ridge

GPS Hiking Map: outdooractive.com

Time: 8-10 hrs

Distance: 20km

Elevation change: ➚ 1700m gain  ➘ 136m loss

From the bus stop at Kamikochi, you will have a nice leisurely walk along the river for 3 hours before the elevation starts to increase. About 4 hours from the bus stop you'll reach an intersection, the trail straight ahead continues up the valley, the trail to your right heads up to the ridgeline. Ironically, the most popular trail up the valley is very boring and monotonous, you will spend hours on uninteresting switchbacks with no views and only save about 30 mins. By comparison, the ridgeline trail is full of interesting features, a variety of terrain, and stunning views. Once you reach the Yarigatake Mountain Hut, where you will spend the night, drop off your gear and hike another 20 minutes to catch the sunset from the peak.

Day 1

From Shinhotaka

Shinhotaka to Yarigatake Mountain Hut

GPS Hiking Map: outdooractive.com

Time: 8-10 hrs

Distance: 13km

Elevation change: 2000m gain  ➘ 50m loss

Once you get off the bus at Shinhotaka, you will need to follow a forest road for about 25 minutes until you reach an intersection and the start of the actual hiking trail. Continue walking along the river and after 2 hours you'll reach another intersection. The easiest trail is straight ahead, but if you have good weather and enough energy, the ridgeline trail on the left will give you much nicer views. It takes you up to Mt. Oku-Maru for an extra 150m gain and +1km distance. Once you reach the Yarigatake Mountain Hut, where you will spend the night, drop off your gear and hike another 20 minutes to catch the sunset from the peak. If you're returning to Shinhotaka the next day, simply check the map and head back down your desired trail.

Day 2

Yarigatake Mountain Hut to Kamikochi

GPS Hiking Map: outdooractive.com

Time: 9-11 hrs

Distance: 22km

Elevation change:  180m gain  ➘ 1750m loss

If you missed the sunset from Yarigatake, wake up early and try to catch the sunrise, then make your way across the ridgeline to Minamidake. Once you reach Minamidake, head down into the valley and reconnect with the trail you were hiking yesterday. From here it's a gradual descent to get back to Kamikochi, although it's the same trail, those beautiful views will look different heading in the opposite direction.

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Shinhotaka

The final climb to the peak

Elevation Profile

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Day 1Kamikochi to Yarigatake Mountain Hut

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Day 1Shinhotaka to Yarigatake Mountain Hut

Day 2 Yarigatake to Kamikochi via Minamidake

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Weather  and  Seasons

Summer and autumn, from June to October, are the best times for this hike. There is likely to be snow hanging around until June. The autumn leaves will be colourful from mid-September to mid-October. Kamikochi is closed during winter, from November to April.

Useful links

Cautions

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Altitude

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Rock climbing

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Monkeys

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Bears (rare)

© Copyright

Gallery

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Difficulty: 5/5

Hiking Distance: 42km 

Time: 2 days

Elev. Change: ➚ ➘ 1880m

Prefecture: Nagano

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