June 14, 2003 I hiked Mizugakiyama, one of Japan's 100 famous mountains. Mizugaki is in Yamanashi and neighbors Kinpusan which I hiked two years prior. Mizugakiyama is one of the many great mountains with hiking trails only about an hour or so from Kofu. Mizugakiyama is a relatively short hike but has a 700 meter change in elevation making it a good workout. There is free parking and a restaurant at the trailhead. According to a local guide, the hike takes 5 hours and 30 minutes round trip without breaks. If you are a strong hiker you can cut this down a bit.

The Hike

The tree-sheltered trail of Mizugakiyama

The trail from the parking lot to the summit is covered by a canopy of trees. The trail opens up once when it reaches the river and then soon enters the trees again. June is the rainy season in Yamanashi and there was plenty of lush greenery. But the ground and rocks were very slippery so proper footwear is a must.

Rock cairns mark the trail

Rock cairns are often used the mark the trail at critical points. The trail is well marked with red flagging and signs with various messages like, "Let's keep Mizugaki clean forever", and "Protecting nature is everyone's responsibility".

Huge bolder split into two

A group of 23 hikers slowly trek up the mountain.

Mizugaki is not nearly as crowded as some of the more well know mountains. However not being an overly difficult hike I encountered a few large groups slowly trek up the mountain. Most hikers will politely invite faster hiker to pass.

Hikers enjoy the good weather on the summit while it lasted

The Japanese seem to know how to enjoy their mountains. Where as I generally travel light and try to make good time, the hikers around me unpack stoves and make hot coffee, soup, and take their time at the summit. I reached the summit at 2230 meters and relaxed for about 45 minutes until it started drizzling. I headed down and under the cover of the trees.