View of the Kofu basin from near the summit of Mt Yogai
This was a hike from my mountains of Yamanashi guidebook. I chose it mainly because it seemed to follow fire breaks through the forest and would thus be free from spiders and their webs (or so I hoped), a real problem when doing low altitude hiking in the autumn. I also chose it because it ended at Isawa Onsen, a hot spring town and a limited express station; I hadn’t been there since 2020 so I was looking forward to visiting again. Finally, I could reach the trail entrance next to Yogai Onsen via a short taxi ride from Kofu station, making it almost a station to station hike.
An easy to follow trail at the start of the hike
Nearing the summit of Mt Yogai, the site of an ancient fort
At 10h15, I started up a well-maintained trail for the summit of Mt Yogai (要害山 ようがいさん yougaisan), the site of an old castle; signposts marked the various sections of the fort, but apart from mounds and ditches, there wasn’t much to see (except for a huge snake – see video). The summit was a grassy, rectangular area surrounded by trees, through which I had glimpses of the Kofu basin. The next part of the hike, a level trail along the mountainside, led to Fukakusa Kanon (深草観音); the main attraction is a long metallic ladder leading to a tiny cave in a cliff, also accessible via a small path on the right side (this is not part of the hiking trail).
Beautiful red pine trees along the way
The ladder leads to a small cave
After a short climb next to a rocky, dried-up river bed, I reached Iwado Pass (岩堂峠) and then followed an easy, level path through beautiful forest. I soon reached a junction at Shishiana (鹿穴) where I turned southeast along the ridgeline. The path suddenly became harder to follow. It was obvious that fewer people had followed it and I soon walked into a spider web; fortunately its owner remained dangling above my head. After some ups and downs, I arrived at the peaceful summit of Mt Fukasaka (深草山 ふかくさやま fukasamayama), also completely in the trees.
The ladder at Fukakusa Kannon, from the side and looking up
View of the Kofu basin between Mt Fukakusa and Mt Daizokyoji
Past this point, the trail started to descend steeply. I had some more glimpses of the Kofu basin on the right side, and spotted another large snake slither off the trail and into the bushes, before arriving at Mt Daizokyoji (大蔵経寺山 だいぞうきょうじやま daizoukyoujiyama). Oddly enough, the summit maker was about 100 meters from the highest point, and surrounded by thick forest. I chose to take the panorama route down, but had to wait till the lower half of the trail for some good views of the Kofu basin and surrounding mountains.
View towards the Mt Fuji area from the Panorama trail
View toward the South Alps from the Panorama trail
I arrived at Isawa Onsen at 4h30, in time to enjoy some wine tasting from the wine server at the Fukeki Tourist Office on the 1st floor of the station building (ends at 5pm). After a nice hot bath at the nearby Hotel Hana Isawa, I boarded the Chuo line limited express for the 90 minute ride back to Shinjuku.
See the views on the Mt Yogai – Mt Daizokyoji hike