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Climbing Mt. Mizugaki

STORY

 

Climbing Up and Camping Out on Mt. Mizugaki

 

 
 
by guest writer Stephen Unger

There are so many impressive mountains in and around the greater Tokyo area that it's difficult to choose which to climb first. For this adventure I decided to head out to Yamanashi Prefecture and acquaint myself with Mt. Mizugaki, a proud member of the Nihon Hyaku Meizan— Japan's Top 100 Mountains.
 
Mt. Mizugaki view of Mt. Fuji
The view of Mt. Fuji from the summit of Mt. Mizugaki.
 

Getting There

The bus to Mt. Mizugaki
The bus from JR Nirasaki Station to the Mizugakisansou stop.

Getting to the start of the trail is easy, albeit a little time consuming. It takes about two hours to JR Nirasaki Station from Shinjuku Station via the Chuo Line, and then a little over an hour via bus to the Mizugakisansou stop at the foot of the mountain. 
 
Mt. Mizugaki Mt. Fuji as seen from the bus
A gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji as seen from the bus. 

Though the journey is a little long, there's some beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way especially from the bus. A crystal clear river lined with Japanese maples runs along the mountain road and the unobstructed views of Mt. Fuji and the South Alps are, as the bus driver will happily tell you, the best in the country. Mizugakisansou is the last stop on the route, so you can put your headphones on, take a nap, or just go Zen staring out the window without fear of missing your stop.
 

The Trail

Mt. Mizugaki scenery 1
A river rushing through the forest. 

The climb itself doesn't require a great deal of mountaineering ability and anyone in reasonable shape should have no problem. Indeed, I encountered more than a few fellow climbers that had to be over 70! Under normal conditions, reaching the 2,230 meter high peak should take no more than 3 hours, so you can comfortably make it a day trip.
 
Mt. Mizugaki scenery 2
Another example of the beautiful scenery on the mountain. 

A late start combined with (ahem) getting lost and walking in the wrong direction for an hour unfortunately denied me the summit this time, but did provide me a great excuse to set up camp early at Fujimidairagoya Lodge and campsite. 
 

The Campsite

Mt. Mizugaki Fujimidairagoya lodge
The entrance to Fujimidairagoya Lodge.

If you decide to camp out for the night instead of doing a day trip, I recommend Fujimidairagoya Lodge. Nestled in the woods at 1,810 meters up the mountain, it's the perfect place to spend a night either on your way up or down the mountain. There's plenty of shade from the sun, but the area still feels very bright and airy. The lodge also offers drinks and simple meals. 
 
Mt. Mizugaki Fujimidairagoya campsite tent
My home for the night. 

As an added bonus, they even brew their own beer. What better way to enjoy relaxing in the crisp mountain air than with a local beer? Sitting outside my tent in the evening I saw squirrels and even a deer who eyed me cautiously. The 1,000 yen charge to set up a tent includes use of the site facilities, a fair price considering the work the lodge staff does to keep everything tidy and operational.
 
Fujimidairagoya  beer
Relaxing in the evening with a delicious beer.

Happy climbing!

Information

Mt. Mizugaki | 瑞牆山

About Transportation

Train times and costs will depend on what you use. The quickest and easiest is a limited express, of which there are a few kinds. They depart from Shinjuku quite frequently and will get you to JR Nirasaki Station (JR韮崎駅) in under 2 hours for about 4,000 yen. Buses for Mizugakisansou (みずがき山荘) depart from right in front of JR Nirasaki Station. Bus fare to Mizugakisansou was 2,060 yen at the time of writing.

Buses bound for Mizugakisansou depart from JR Nirasaki Station at the following times: 8:50am, 9:30am, 10:55am, 12:50pm, 1:30pm, 2:45pm. 

Buses bound for JR Nirasaki Station depart from Mizugakisansou at the following times: 9:03am, 10:15am, 11:25am, 12:55pm, 2:25pm; 3:25pm, 4:35pm.*
*Weekends and holidays only. 

Please note that the above bus schedule is accurate as of August 2016. Please consult this bus time table before traveling (Japanese only).

About Fujimidairagoya Lodge and campsite
There is unfortunately no English language website for Fujimidairagoya at the time of writing. If you're interested in making a reservation, please ask your hotel concierge to assist you. 
Website: http://www.fujimidairagoya.jp/index.html

About the author 
Stephen Unger is a freelance writer from Canberra, working out of Tokyo, with an appreciation for music, literature, nature, and all things art.

 

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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 07 28,2016 Author:DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team

 

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