Central Alps Traverse Route
Temporary Trailhead ~ Ina-gawa Dam Trailhead ~ Kanazawa-doba ~ Kisodono-koshi ~ Mt. Utsugi-dake ~ Mt. Minami-koma-gatake ~ Mt. Kosumo-yama ~ Fukutochi Bridge ~ Ina-gawa Dam Trailhead ~ Temporary Trailhead
Technical level: D
Physical strength: 8
Hike among three mountains: Mt. Utsugi-dake, Mt. Minami-koma-gatake, and Mt. Kosumo-yama
This trail is the famous course in the Central Japan Alps, which hikes from Mt. Utugi-dake, Mt. Minami-koma-gatake, to Mt. Kosomo-yama. Since this trail goes along the ridgeline at around an altitude of 2,800 m, and since the two mountain huts you are going to stay at require reservations, you must mentally and physically prepare well. Make sure you call them in advance. Let’s enjoy the mountain areas, which represent the beauty of the Central Japan Alps.
Schedule: Two nights and three days
Walking hours: 17 hours 50 minutes
Walking distance: 17.83 km
Cumulative elevation difference: 3,084 m
(Down 2,776 m)
Ina-gawa Dam Temporary Trailhead
↓ 40 minutes
Ina-gawa Dam Trailhead
↓ 1 hour 40 minutes
↓ 5 hours 50 minutes
↓ 1 hour 30minutes
↓ 1 hour 50minutes
↓ 2 hours 30 minutes
↓ 3 hours 45 minutes
↓ 45 minutes
Ina-gawa Dam Trailhead
↓ 30 minutes
Ina-gawa Dam Temporary Trailhead
Due to the damage from a typhoon in 2018, start the course from the Temporary trailhead, just before Ina-gawa Dam. There is no parking lot available. You must arrange for a taxi from here both for ascending and descending. From Ina-gawa Dam trailhead, cross Kesa-sawa bridge and walk on the logging road, which extends on the left bank of the Ina-gawa. Kanazawa-doba will be reached after you pass Ina-gawa-koya, an emergency shelter. A big sign and a road sign stand there. Take a break for a while, then enter the logging road on the right, following the road sign “Mt. Utugi-dake/Usagi-daira”. The end of the logging road is Usagi-daira. From here, the road becomes a mountain trail. The trail becomes steep all of a sudden. Calm down and climb at a steady pace. Pass Gogou-me and one peak. When the slope becomes gradual, Rokugou-me will be reached. Cross a suspension bridge and get on the ridgeline. The riverbank around the bridge is not stable, therefore you must be careful not to slip. Also, this bridge once got washed away when the water level became high. It is recommended that you check the updated information in advance.
Climb through the deep forest zone. The slope is steep so maintain a steady pace to avoid over-exhaustion. Just ahead of Nanagou-me, there is a place to replenish your water supply, called Sennin-no-izumi. If your water supply is low, refill your water bottles here. Continue to climb through the forest zone to Hachigou-me. There, Mt. Ontake lookout is just off the ridgeline. If you have time, please visit. Follow the ridgeline, another place to replenish your water supply, called “Kiso Yoshinaka-no-chikara-mizu”. About a 10-minute climb from here, Kisodono-koshi will be reached. You will stay at Kisodono-sanso Mountain hut for the night, however, you need to make a reservation in advance.
The second day starts with a steep slope for 1 hour and 30 minutes. However, colorful alpine plants at your feet should encourage you to move on. The summit of Mt. Utsugi-dake, covered by granite will be reached after passing rocky zones. This mountain is located almost in the center of the Central Japan Alps and the South Japan Alps, the North Japan Alps such as Mt. Norikura-dake, Mt. Yari-gatake, the Hotaka mountains, Mt. Ontake-san and Mt. Shiro-yama can be viewed. It is a beautiful summit where you might want to stay for hours if weather permits.
Descend south on the main ridgeline from Mt. Utsugi-dake. Go around a hump-like upheaval to the right and hike along the side of Kiso to proceed. Descend the slippery trail, in which the granite has weathered. The trail descends straight down from the saddle, but the slope is gradual. When scattered rocks cover the trail, the powerful Nakata-kiri- valley, whose left side is deeply cut, comes into sight. Make sure that you stop to view it. From here, the trail ascends a slope covered by gravel. The end of the slope is Mt. Aka-yashi-dake. The summit extends east to west, and big rocks pile up here. At the peak, you may observe Suribachi-kubo cirque,Nakatakiri-hontani, or Ina-gawa gorge. It is the perfect spot for a photoshoot.
Descend about 20 minutes to the junction. The left uphill leads to Suribachi-kubo emgergency shelter. If you go straight at the junction, the summit of Mt. Minami-koma-gatake will be reached. Take a break here. It is a plateau-like summit with a great view. Descend south on the main ridgeline from Mt. Minami-koma-gatake towards Sengai-rei. The trail runs through a Pinus Pumila belt and is covered by a mix of rocks. Descend carefully to avoid a slip. The rocky zone ends when you hike for a while after passing Sengai-rei. The summit of Mt. Kosumo-yama will be reached after ascending a wide ridgeline. From Mt. Kosumo-yama, descend Toomi O’ne. In about 40 minutes, the hut for the second night, Kosumo-koya Mountain Hut will be reached. Just like Kisodono-sanso Mountain Hut, you need to make a reservation in advance.
Descend Toomi O’ne on the third day. From the hut, ascend slightly and proceed as you pass through the middle of the mountain. It soon becomes downhill. Pass the junction towards a place to replenish your water supply above your head and descend about 5 minutes. Mt. Ontake-san lookout will be reached. As its name says, the view of the Mt. Ontake-san area is phenomenal. Around here is Nanagou-me. When you pass Okojo-daira, Koru, and Shita-no-koru, Fukutochi bridge will be reached. The trail ends here. Descend on the logging road. Ina-gawa Dam trailhead will be reached if you descend the road along Kesa-sawa for about 45 minutes.