Hakusan

Hakusan is one of the nihon sanmeizan, or Japan's 3 most famous mountains, famous because they are the 3 most significant and holiest Buddhist mountains in Japan. The other two are Fujisan in Yamanashi, and Tateyama in Toyama, both of which I have previously climbed. Our climb this time was July 5-6, 2003. The season officially starts July 1, but there is a start of the season matsuri around the second week and it is after this that it starts getting more crowded. It was a 6 hour drive out to Hakusan from Yamanashi prefecture, through Nagano, Niigata, Toyama, to Ishikawa prefecture where the Hakusan trailhead parking log is located. On the return trip we took a different route which was more direct.

rest
Taking a rest at one of the 5 mountain huts in the area

There were large patches of snow that completely covered the trail in places. To avoid the rush, we decided on this week which was 1 week before the official start of the mountain season festival. We ran into 1 group of 40 on the way up and another of 40 on the way down. But other than those two groups we only ran into the occupational couple here and there.

snowtrail
Large patches of snow from winter cover the trail

front
The front desk at the Murodo mountain hut

This is a huge facility that can accommodate over 700 people! After only 4 hours of hiking we reached the mountain hut and got signed in.

diningroom
The Murodo mountain hut dinning room

shrine
The Hakusan Shrine at the Murodo mountain hut

prayer
Someone prays at the shrine atop Hakusan

The summit was just over a kilometer from the mountain hut. One of the disappointment of the hike was the amount of effort put into building wooded platforms, benches, rock pathways, and rock staircases. All were made from natural rock, but there is something about climbing a staircase to the top of a mountain that just takes a little fun out of it. The weather had really degraded since the previous day and we were unfortunately unable to enjoy the view of the surrounding areas. Hakusan stands at 2702 meters, and is not that tall of a mountain compared to many of its 3000+ meter competitors in Japan.

raindrops

flower leaves

jungle
The jungle-like surrounding of the return trail

onsen
Natural hot spring across from the parking lot

thatchedhut

The return trip was a different route back that was cheaper, faster, and more scenic which started which the "Super Rindo" and winds through a small village of thatched-roof houses see above. Because 360 was close, it ended up taking about the same time, but was still cheaper and more scenic.