Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mt. Ibuki - 伊吹山

For some reason, Mt. Ibuki had been avoiding me for a long time. My hiking club in Nagoya had organized several hikes to Mt. Ibuki, some of them at night, but something would always happen to make my attendance impossible. So I'm especially glad that I finally made it to Ibuki!.

Mt. Ibuki is a 1,377m high mountain located near Maibara, at the east side of Biwa lake. Although this time we went by car, it is possible to get there by public transportation. You just need to take a JR train to Ominagaoka (近江長岡) and change to a bus bound for Ibuki-yama-tozan-guchi. (伊吹山登山口). Here is the bus timetable. From Nagoya, it should be around 1460 yen each way.

Despite it is a rather high mountain, Mt. Ibuki is normally rather easy to hike. In fact, there is a road on the other side of the mountain that let's you drive your car almost to the top. This time we climbed it in early April, so there was still a lot of snow and we needed crampons though.

There were quite nice views of the Biwa lake during the climb. However, once we reached the summit we wouldn't be able to see any landscape due to the fog.

Around the 5th station (Japanese mountains are divided in 10 stations or steps) the weather became colder and there was quite a lot of snow.

The climb became quite complicated because some parts where very slippery and my crampons where not really appropriate. In fact, some people had to give up and return. Fortunately, the rest of us managed to get to the top without any accident. On the top, there was a small shrine where we had lunch and got strength for the return.

The way back was much easier and we enjoyed good views of the sunset over the Biwa lake. It was a tough hike because of the snow but also lots of fun.

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