Experience another world at 790m high: Winter is perfect time to climb Mt. Takami, the Matterhorn of Kinki area, Japan

by Nami

Mt.Takami, the Matterhorn of Kinki area, Japan

I had often heard ‘Snow-mountain climbing, but had never done it myself. I had avoided it as I hate cold. But this time, I did it…due to my work.

I guessed I would have to be equipped well, but I wanted to avoid purchasing items that I may end up using only once. Accordingly, the items I prepared are as follows:

  • My daughter’s ski wear (I was happy to have contributed funds when she bought it)
  • UGG boots and ‘mini’ snow spike
  • Rather tick pair of gloves
  • A neck warmer

These should do.

Two days before the date, I was practising to apply the snow spike to my UGG boots. My colleague (who is an experienced snow-mountain climber) begged me to stop. One should never wear non-waterproof boots, according to her, as you cannot walk when your toes are frozen. It had snowed over a few days. The mountain ranges I saw in distance reminded me of ‘Shin-shu (one of the heaviest snow covered areas in Japan)’. Surely one of those mountains can be Mt. Takami. I promptly gave up UGG and borrowed a pair of more suitable boots from my friend. Now I am ready. 9 am. We departed at the foot of Mt. Takami. It took one hour to arrive the first 300m-high path. It was quite a steep from there. The world I used to belong was already seen below me.

The world I used to belong is seen below me

Suddenly I am sounded by white. I put on the snow spike, while thanking my wise colleague, who had persuaded me against UGG boots. The snow became deeper and deeper. I repeated a process of one step forward and a half step down. ‘Is this spike working…’, I wondered. But the rime is simply breathtaking.

It is all white!

‘It’s windy at the peak. Don’t get blown’, the group passing by from the peak warned us. ‘How?’, I wondered, but soon I understood even before reaching the peak. Adults wouldn’t get blown, but I was hit by big snow balls, falling off trees above us, all over my body and face. Two hours since the first path. Suddenly the sky opens up with a 360-degree view. It’s the peak. I wasn’t cold at all, as I was stunned by the incredible view.

Takasumi Shrine at the peak celebrates ‘Seoritsu-hime (God/Princess of rivers/water falls) and Yata-garasu (a legendary crow, which is said to have led the way for Japan’s first emperor, Jinmu, at his famous Eastern expedition).

Only three hours to the peak, it is a perfect place where you can rather easily experience a totally different world away from your daily life.

One can return by bus from Takasumi Onsen (Hot spring). The ‘Rime’ bus runs directly to and from  Haibara station during the winter only. Again, this mountain is at its best in the winter.

  • There is a toilet at the foot of Mt. Takami
  • Bus to and from Haibara station – Foot of Mt. Takami: 1,080 yen for adult, 540 yen for child (one way)
  • To and from Haibara station – Takasumi Onsen-mae: 1,120 yen for adult, 560 yen for child (one way)
  • Information about the Muhyo (Rime) bus promotion and Mt. Takami: Higashi Yoshino mura village council, local promotion section. Tel: 0746-42-0441.
  • Information about the bus time table: Nara kotsu, Haibara brunch. 0745-82-2201.

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