Akaishi-dake Roundabout Route
②Sawara-jima ~ Hijiri-daiya koya Mountain hut ~ Mt. Hijiri-dake ~ Mt. Akaishi-dake ~ Sawara-jima
Technical level: D
Physical strength level: 10
Difficulty level: ⛰️⛰️⛰️⛰️⛰️
Walk a long traversing trail to Hijiri-daira koya Mountain hut, located right below the summit of Mt. Hijiri-dake
Schedule: four nights and five days
Walking hours: 24 hours 45 minutes
(Up: 18 hours 25 minutes/Down: 6 hours 20 minutes)
Walking distance: 30.3 km
Difference in elevation: 4,100 m
↓ 50 minutes
↓ 6 hours 10 minutes
↓ 2 hours 55 minutes
↓ 2 hours 45 minutes
↓ 3 hours 30 minutes
↓ 3 hours 45 minutes
The route is set to stay at Sawara-jima for the first night, Hijiri-daira koya Mountain hut for the second night, Hyakuken-bora-yama-no-ie Mountain hut for the third night, and Akaishi koya Mountain hut for the fourth night. If you have physical strength, you might be able to descend all the way to Sawara-jima from Hyakuken-bora-yama-no-ie Mountain hut. It usually requires 9 hours 50 minutes to descend. One of the attractive points of hiking through the Southern Japan Alps is that you can enjoy a long trail.
On the next day after staying at Sawara-jima, start early. After about a 50 minutes-walk on Higashimata Rindo, Hijiri-sawa trailhead appears on your right. Enter the trail and head to Hijiri-daira koya Mountain hut, where you will spend the second night. From this point, the trail crosses streams and graveled zones here and there. The trail gets maintained quite often, however, some areas are difficult to walk on. Caution needs to be employed. Occasional peeks of the big shape of Mt. Hijiri-dake must cheer you up. Take a break at the Gantou falls lookout. The view of Mt. Hijiri-dake and the two-streams falls is beautifully impressive from here. From the lookout to Hijiri-daira-koya Mountain hut, the traversing trail continues. Hijiri-daira-koya Mountain hut appears in your direction on your right side.
You will be encountering the most impressive views of this course during hiking on the next day. Let’s start early. Pass the flower field and enter a trail from Azami-batake to Mt. Hijiri-dake. The trail gets closer to the tree line. Pass Mt. Ko-hijiri-dake, where the view of Mt. Usagi-dake is phenomenal, and proceed climbing on a narrow ridgeline. Pay attention to your feet. The summit of Mt. Hijiri-dake is reached after climbing the steep graveled slope. The powerful view of Mt. Akaishi-dake might be overwhelming. From the summit to Mt. Usagi-dake, the trail becomes challenging. It becomes a graveled and narrow ridgeline walk. Also the trail becomes steep so focus on walking at a steady pace. From Mt. Usagi-dake to Mt. Nakamori-maru-yama, there are hard ups and downs so take a break often to avoid over exhaustion. From the Hyakuken-bora-yama-no-ie Mountain hut descending point, proceed to Hyakuken-bora-yama-no-ie Mountain hut. Be careful walking on the unstable trail. The hut will appear in your direction, where you are staying tonight. It is also a popular camping site.
Return to the ridgeline from Hyakuken-bora-yama-no-ie Mountain hut. The ridgeline walk is surprisingly enjoyable. After passing Hyakuken-daira, the view of Mt. Arakawa-dake and Mt. Hijiri-dake spreads out in front of you. The trail traverses a slope from Umanose to Mt. Akaishi-dake. Where Mt. Akaishidake emergency shelter stands is the peak of Mt. Akaishi-dake. The view from this elevation of 3,120 m renders you speechless. It is literally a 360 degree view. The summit is so wide that it is recommended to take a break here.
From Mt. Akaishi-dake, return to the Sawara-jima descending point. From there, descend towards Sawara-jima. The trail will be all downhill. Walk through flower fields. It is a great view from the trail but make sure to stop to admire the view. Akaishi koya Mountain hut will be reached and the last night spent here. The view of Mt. Akaishi-dake and Mt. Hijiri-dake is fantastic from the hut. On the next day, descend the same route used for ascending.