[Feature] Mt. Chitose! Winter hike of this landmark of Yamagata City
I work mainly as a writer & freelance announcer in Yamagata Prefecture. I will discover and introduce information that can be recommended only because I live in the area, and spots that even locals will want to visit! Using my qualifications as a wine expert, I will also tell you about Yamagata's wineries and stories of my latest hobby, mountain climbing (trekking)♪
Yamagata City has many local mountains that are loved by locals.
Among them, Mt. Chitose, Mt. Togami and Mt. Ooka are famous.
Many citizens enjoy climbing these mountains casually for excursions and daily physical strength since they were little.
Speaking of the enjoyment of climbing mountains, there is the beautiful scenery seen from the top, but other pleasures are the “mountain lunch” eaten at the top of the mountain and the “mountain coffee” brewed and drank there too.
Coffee in an extraordinary space has an exceptional taste.
So this time, I experienced “Winter Mountain Café,” which is having a mountain lunch and coffee at one of Yamagata’s 100 best mountains, Mt. Chitose in Yamagata City.
We will introduce the climb, the mountain café and recommendations after coming back, everything adults will enjoy on an excursion.
1. What kind of mountain is Mt. Chitose?
Mt. Chitose is a mountain shaped like a triangle onigiri that has an altitude of 471 meters.
It is located about 2.5 km east of Yamagata Station (at the Inari Shrine approach entrance), and is a landmark that everyone who lives in Yamagata City knows. It was selected as one of the 100 famous mountains of Yamagata.
There are several mountain trails to reach the summit, each allowing to reach the summit in less than an hour. There are also easy-to-spot landmarks on the mountain trail, so I think that even beginners can enjoy climbing here. The main start point is the entrance of Inari Shrine and the Bansho-ji Temple close to the Chitose-yama Konnyaku shop, but this time I will introduce a slightly maniac mountain trail that starts at the Heisen-ji Temple on the other side.
There are several mountain trails to reach the summit, each allowing to reach the summit in less than an hour.
There are also easy-to-spot landmarks on the mountain trail, so I think that even beginners can enjoy climbing here.
The main start point is the entrance of Inari Shrine and the Bansho-ji Temple close to the Chitose-yama Konnyaku shop, but this time I will introduce a slightly maniac mountain trail that starts at the Heisen-ji Temple on the other side.
2. Go to Mt. Chitose!
・ Lots of things to see at the Heisen-ji Temple
Heisen-ji Temple at the entrance of the mountain trail is located in the Hirashimizu area, known for its pottery. It is a temple of the Tendai sect to which belonged Ennin, also known as Jikaku Daishi, the priest said to have founded the Hojusan Risshaku-ji Temple, famously known as Yamadera.
The road leading to the main hall is surrounded by bamboo groves and has a stern atmosphere.
In addition, the head of the wooden giant Buddha Nyorai is stored in Dainichi-do Hall, and it seems that it can be observed only when opening the temple on the 28th of every month.
I visited here in mid-December, so time had passed, but the weeping cherry tree at the entrance of Heisen-ji Temple is designated as a designated natural monument in Yamagata City, and it is popular as a famous hidden spot.
In addition, the large gingko tree on the precincts is also a must-see.
153 Hirashimizu, Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture
Approximately a 15 minute drive from Yamagata Station
About 15 minutes by bus from Yamagata Station
Approximately a 13 minute walk after getting off at the Hirashimizu bus stop.
- Finally started climbing!
This time, we will aim for the top taking the mountain trail on the left hand side of the Dainichido main hall.
Because of the items (pots, etc.) for our mountain café, we climbed with what looked like heavy equipment, but frequent climbers and high school students doing club activities seemed to climb in light clothing.
* Please wear shoes suitable for hiking and clothes according to the season
If you look at your feet, the fallen leaves are spread out.
Here you can see the scenery after about 10 minutes walking on fallen leaves.
Up to this spot, the trail was zigzagging and I was able to climb while enjoying the conversation as well at a slow pace.
By the way, I saw a lot of stone Buddhas while climbing.
It looked to me like a new version of Shikoku’s famous 88-temple pilgrimage.
It seems that it was built so that people in Tohoku too could worship 88 sacred sites like in Shikoku, and it seems that the soil of Shikoku is buried under the stone Buddha
・ Observation deck overlooking the city of Yamagata
5 minutes on foot from the photo spot…
Hey? No way the summit?
No, that’s not the case.
It’s only been about 15 minutes since I started climbing.
This is the observation deck.
From here, you can see the cityscape of Yamagata City.
If you don’t have time for a full climb, you can still have a great time by climbing just up to here.
When I got here, there was a little snow.
In fact, on this day, there was solid snowfall observed for this season.
Now, let’s keep on climbing!
The view has changed.
A nearby mountain was visible below.
When you look at such a scenery, you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment for climbing a mountain.
Summit of Mt. Chitose and Legend of Akoya
By the way, do you know the Legend of Princess Akoya associated to Mt. Chitose?
Fukushima’s lord’s daughter Princess Akoya fell in love with a man.
To tell the truth, the man was the spirit of the pines of Mt. Chitose.
At one point, the pines of Chitoseyama were cut down, and the man disappeared from the front of Princess Akoya.
Even if many people worked together to carry the cut-down pines, they did not move at all.
However, when Princess Akoya moved neat them, they started to move…
There is a stone monument where were the pine trees of this Legend of Princess Akoya.
This stone monument is built is the summit of Mt. Chitose.
When I arrived at the top and looked around, there was someone who had written today’s date.
And there were “WA ROCK,” which are popular now, too.
“WA ROCK” is a game where someone left a rock with drawings on it at a park, a mountain, etc., and you exchange it for one of your own to take it home.
It was originally born in Western Australia, and in Japan it is said to have spread from the Ani area of Kitaakita City.
It’s a big theme right now to know who drew them.
It is an interesting game as the rocks travel from mountain to mountain.
By the way, there are many people climbing Mt. Chitose daily, I met a 90-year-old climber on the way!
It was impressive because I was climbing slower.
Well, the fun after arriving at the top is after all the mountain café.
There is such a splendid resting place here on Mt. Chitose.
Go up the stairs to the second floor!
I’m at the highest point! So I made a snowman.
First Mt. Chitose climb!
I was satisfied but now hungry.
Today lunch on the mountain is cup noodles completed just by pouring hot water.
(It is recommended to have one where there are no separate soup or toppings so that garbage does not fly in the wind…)
Warm ramen in a cold spot.
Cup ramen so delicious~ ! And
it makes everyone happy!
And next is a mountain coffee break.
Have a cup of coffee ♪
The dignified air of the mountains in winter and the smell of coffee…
A valuable time of bliss…
I think this feeling can only be felt after the climb!
Today’s snack is cookies.
At the rest area, we stayed for about 45 minutes and spent a leisurely time.
It snowed, but there was no wind, so it was fine.
・ Going down the mountain while enjoying the view
Now we will go down the mountain because the sun goes down early in winter.
The view is good on the way back.
The way back is slippery, so be careful.
It seems that some people climb every day even if the snow gets higher everyday, but everyone seems to be climbing wearing boots or spiked shoes.
Please enjoy safe winter climbing by using poles, etc., and proper preparation.
On the way back, I went around a slightly different route.
I went through a lot of torii gates lined up…
I came back to the approach of Dainichido!
It took about two and a half hours so far.
It was a good exercise.
3. Stop by on your way home
Well, I decided to stop by because there was another place of interest nearby.
I visited La Jomon, a specialized sake liquor store located in front of the Heisen-ji Temple.
La Jomon is a junmai sake specialty store that has sake not only from Yamagata Prefecture but also outside the prefecture.
There are a lot of fairly maniac sake too.
This time, I purchased a fairly rare sake with a rice polishing rate of 90%.
In addition to sake, there are also carefully selected ingredients.
I bought liquid yuzu pepper this time.
I tried using it immediately after returning home and I recommend it as it fits everything.
How was it everyone?
I hope you enjoyed the mountain coffee break feeling with me.
This time it was Mt. Chitose with snow, but you can enjoy it in each season, such as with fresh greenery or autumn leaves. This time we took an unusual route, so if you choose other mountain trails you will discover a different scenery again!
In addition to Mt. Chitose, there are many mountains and hills in Yamagata that you can easily climb.
Why don’t enjoy trekking and hiking while being close to nature?
Hirashimizu, Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture
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