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Akadake in the Yatsugadake range is one of the nihon hyakumeizan, Japan's 100 most famous mountains. Yatsugadake literally means, "8 peaks". There are eight major peaks in the range of which Akadake is the tallest standing at 2899 meters. Akadake offers some great hiking! I was a bit surprised that the hike was as challenging as it was. It took 4 hours from utsukushii no mori to the peak. The map reads 5:40 so adjust your time based on your teams abilities.
The Scarecrow Festival in Yamanashi
On my way to the parking lot and trail head at "utsukushii no mori" in Kiosato, I passed the kakashi matsuri or Scarecrow Festival on Route 141 and stopped for a few photos. Beside traditional scarecrows, some of the more interesting scarecrows included Astro Boy, Abaranger, and even a SARS technician.
The south-most trail from utsukushii no mori to Akadake is one of the more difficult trails and therefore much less crowded. I only passed a handful of hikers the entire ascent. As a result, there are opportunities like this to see some wildlife. Many hikers take this beginning of this trail to the ski lift. Once you get passed the lift, you will see less hikers.
The perfect mushroom
One of the many ladders used to reach the peak
It is a steady climb to the base of the peak where the trail only gets steeper. There are chains and ladders to help you at the steepest areas of the ascent. The hike has two false peaks where you swear you are headed to the top only to be disappointed to see the peak still in the distance. Don't give up hope here. Although it looks far, it doesn't take much to reach the peak.
Besides a good challenge, Akadake offers some great views and lots of varied terrain. The terrain includes dirt paths, grass paths, rocks, cliffs, ladders and chains. There are great views of the Southern Alps and Fujisan.
For the return trip, I took the northern trail back to utsukushii no mori. This trail makes for a slightly easier descent, but changes to asphalt road at the ski lift. I returned via this trail for a change in scenery.
View of Fujisan
I highly recommend this hike for many reasons. It is challenging, quiet, close to Kofu and full of great views. As hiking goes I thought the quality of this hike was much higher than that of Hakusan 6 hours away.