Mt. Kumano/Mt. Katta
Mt. Kumano/Mt. Katta Zao Reviews
A Mountain guide to Mt. Kumano/Mt. Katta Aug 06, 2011
Mt. Zao is listed in “Nihon 100 mei zan (100 famous Japanese mountains), and Mr. Kyuya Fukada, who made this list took this trail.
This trail didn’t have so much influence from the earthquake, and I didn’t see anywhere dangerous or damaged, but it was a bit less maintained and you would need to crawl in the tall grass. And there was a few big trees preventing you to move forward so you need to be careful for a bit. But the trail itself wasn’t very tricky and you can’t get lost as long as you are following the signs.
There was a bit of elevation gain but it was pretty moderate. Around top of Mt. Kumano, the trail was covered with rocks and you need proper shoes to try this trail.
The weather can be changed easily in the afternoon so I would recommend you to make plans to get to the top as early as possible. I was caught by a thunderstorm at 3:00pm. And I heard the sound of thunders at the same time on the following day. I would recommend everyone to check the location where you can escape.
From the top of Mt. Kumano/Mt. Katta, you can enjoy a great view of Okama crater lake.
2. How to get there
The nearest train station is Shiroishi station ( JR Tohoku line) or Shiroishi Zao station (Tohoku Shinkansen line). It takes about half an hour either from Sendai or Fukushima by local train.
From Shiroishi/Shiroishi Zao, the bus is available to Royal Hotel. You could also get to Gaga Onsen bus stop but the first bus will be like 9:30ish, and it’s not recommended for a slow hiker.
From Royal Hotel to the Gaga Onsen trail, you will need to take a taxi. I did hitch-hike from the store nearby.
From the top of Mt. Zao, there’s bus available but the last bus is around noon. Hitchhike to Shiroishi or Yamagata may be possible since tourists there drive to see the Okama lake.
*Miyako bus time table: http://www.zao-machi.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/12723b302ff431b111abbebc318231f9.pdf
3. Where to sleep
If you don’t have a car, it’s almost impossible for you to come back within a day.
There are 3 manless huts around Mt. Kumano and Mt. Katta. You can also stay there to escape from the sudden rain or thunderstorm.
- Katta Dake Sancho Hinan Goya
This is the one I stayed for a night. It’s located right on the top of Mt. Katta. It’s made for bivouac so there was some basic equipment such as candles, matchboxes, blankets, 2 silver mats, oil stoves, gasoline, etc. There was no toilet at the hut and if you want to go to the toilet, you will need to go on to the trail and cross several roads to get one. And there’s no water supply either so you need to bring enough water to sleep in this hut. Or you can get some water at the “Rest House” on the top of Mt. Katta which opens until 5pm. Up to 10 people can sleep there together.
- Kumano Toge Hinan Goya
It’s located on the top of Mt. Kumano, and spec is same as Katta Dake Sancho Hinan Goya.
- Katta Toge Hinan Goya
This hut is with a toilet. But there’s no water supply, so you need to bring enough water for the hike next day and cooking. The floor was covered with Tatami pad so it would be more comfy to sleep compared to other 2 huts. It will take 20-30mins walk from the top of the mountain.
- Rest House
On top of Mt. Katta, there’s a shop & Restaurant that opens from 9am till 5pm. You can’t stay there for a night but you can get some supplemental water and snacks there if you need. And the restroom they have was quite decent and clean. If you are staying at either Kumano Toge Hinan Goya or Katta Sancho Hinan Goya, you should go there before going to the hut to sleep!
4. In case of emergency
Shiroishi Police Station is taking care of this area, and in case of the emergency, you should contact them or call 110.
Togatta Onsen: On the way from Shiroishi to Gaga Onsen, there’s a place called “Togatta Onsen Kyo”, and you can enjoy great hotspring there.
There are 2 public bathhouses near the bus stop, and it costs you about 300 yen to enjoy the bath. It’s very popular among local people as well.
And if you want better equipment and outdoor bath, you should hit “Baden ya Soho”, which is a hotel but you can enjoy bath for 500 yen. Shampoo and body soap are equipped in the bathrooms.
If you can drive to the trail, Aone Onsen is also a good option. It’s a member of Traditional Onsen Preservation Organization and it has a long history. It has male and female mixed hotspring so it may be a good idea to visit there if you are a couple.
Part of the I hike on mountains, because they are there, travel blog
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