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Mt.Oku-shirane-san (#37 of the 100 Famous Mountains in Japan)

2015.05.06

What is one hundred mountains in Japan?: http://beauty-of-japan.com/article/japan-one-hundred-best-mountains/

Shirane-san is often divided into Oku-shirane-san (2578m), referring to the back and highest peak of this range, and Mae-shirane (2373m) at the front. As there are Shirane-sans all over Japan, it is sometimes known as Nikko Shirane-san to avoid confusion. This is a loop hike so you won't need to take gear, just rainwear, food, drinks and a camera - unless of course you are starting late and intending to use the hut in which case you will need sleeping bag and food provisions.
The track starts near the camping ground and heads up next to the ski-field lifts. From the top of the lifts the track turns left, climbing steeply through forest onto the ridge high above. It then climbs along the ridge line through areas of rhododendrons to Mae-shirane-san, three hours or so from Yumoto Onsen. From the peak the view down on Goshiki-numa, a small crater lake in the basin below, and across to Oku-shirane-san is impressive.
The track now descends for 30 minutes and at the low-point passes an emergency hut, which is not too attractive but sleeps 30 people. Using this free hut would be one way of adding this walk onto the Senjo-ga-hara walk from Chuzenji to Yumoto Onsen accommodation costs down.
From here the track basically circuits the crater rim around Goshiki-numa, initially climbing steeply for almost one hour to the peak of Oku-Shirane-san the highest point in Nikko National Park (2578m, 8459ft). The peak with the shrine on it isn't the summit - the next one over with the weathered, wooden sign marks the actual top.

Carry on over the high-point and down to the north. The track winds around and down to the right to a small pond called Mida-ga-ike. At the junction at the southern end of the lake turn right towards Goshiki-numa, but soon afterwards, turn left to stay high on the ridge and up Goshiki-yama, rather than the one down to Goshiki-numa. You may notice an area fenced off, protecting a patch of shirane aoi (rare Japanese wood poppies), delicate pink flowers that are endemic to Japan and bloom in mid-June. From the top of Goshiki-yama head left (northeast), then right at a track junction reached after 15 minutes or so. (This junction is the turn-off for the alternative route to Oshimizu and Oze.) It's about 1.5 hours back to Yumoto Onsen, making a total time for the return leg from Oku-shirane-san of three hours or so.

Reference:
http://goo.gl/35RtCA
http://goo.gl/KlA2IG
http://goo.gl/9QNW2m
http://goo.gl/vZYGNw

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Higashiogawa, Katashina, Tone District, Gunma