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Tue, Nov. 29, 2016 Sacred Mt. Ishizuchi: Autumn Trekking
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At a height of 1,982 meters, Mt. Ishizuchi is the tallest peak in western Japan. It takes about three and a half hours to the summit if you board the ropeway for part of the journey. During the fall season many people hike up to view the autumn leaves. Mt. Ishizuchi has been revered as sacred since ancient times. Mountain ascetics worship here to this day. It is also called "the mountain of life" by neighboring residents. At the foot of the mountain lies Saijo City, where its plains' annual rainfall registers only 1,400 millimeters. But the rainfall on Mt. Ishizuchi is two to three times that amount, most of which flows into the city. The rich groundwater is said to rank among the tastiest in Japan. There are many public water fountains in Saijo.

Mt. Ishizuchi
Mt. Ishizuchi
At 1,982 meters, Mt. Ishizuchi is the tallest peak in western Japan and is a sacred ground that extends over Ehime and Kochi Prefectures. When the official climbing season opens in early July the mountain springs to life with climbers enjoying day trips. The season lasts until fall.
Iron Chain Climb (Kusariba)
Iron Chain Climb (Kusariba)
The kusariba is a set of iron chains embedded in the mountain's rock face over 300 years ago. There are four chains that lead to the summit, but there is also a circuitous path to reach the top.
Chugu Joju-sha,Ishizuchi Shrine
Chugu Joju-sha,Ishizuchi Shrine
At this shrine, located halfway up Mt. Ishizuchi at an elevation of 1,450 meters, the mountain itself is the object of worship. The shrine attracts many people who pray for entrance and admission exams, as well as safety in the household.
Address: 422 Aza-kamikurokawa, Ishizuchi, Komatsu-cho, Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture
Phone: (+81) 897-59-0106 (Japanese only)
Ishizuchi Tozan Ropeway
Ishizuchi Tozan Ropeway
Enjoy an eight-minute ride in the sky, rising from 455 meters to 1,300.
Fee: 1,030 yen one-way, 1,950 yen return (adult)
Address: 81 Shimoyako, Nishinokawa, Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture
Phone: (+81) 897-59-0331 (Japanese only)
A mountain hut close to the summit of Mt. Ishizuchi. It's a popular place for visitors who want to greet the sunrise from the summit
Operating period: From early May to early November
Fee: 8,700 yen per night with two meals
Phone: (+81) 897-55-4168 (Japanese only)
Kamo Shrine
Kamo Shrine
In 1995 and 1996 an environment ministry designated the groundwater springing here as Japan's most delicious.
Address: 645 Teizui, Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture
To reach Mount Ishizuchi, it's a 90-minute flight from Tokyo's Haneda to Matsuyama Airport.
From there, it's 90 minutes by bus.
Travel Log

Traveler: Janni Olsson > More Info


Occupation:Translator and model

Length of residence in Japan:About 3 years

Reason:About ten years ago, my brother asked me if I wanted to go on a trip to Japan with him. I fell in love with the country and have been coming back regularly ever since.

I have traveled to many different parts of Japan but this was actually my first time visiting Shikoku. I arrived in Saijo, which is known as "The City of Water" and it definitely lived up to its name. It felt like walking around in a Japanese version of Venice!

It is such a beautiful city. Everywhere you look there are pools and canals of cold mountain water running past. You can drink the water just as it is, and I tell you, I have never tasted more delicious, more refreshing water in my life!

The highlight of the trip was definitely climbing Mount Ishizuchi. It's such a beautiful mountain and using the old iron chains to navigate my way up was so exciting! In my free time, I love to go bouldering and hiking, so this was a great way to enjoy a little bit of both.

When I started my climb up the mountainside, the fog was so thick that I couldn't see anything. At first, I thought it was a bit unfortunate since I wouldn't be able to see the view, but once I started my climb I realized that it was quite the opposite. Thanks to the fog I got to enjoy a view that I had never seen before-a mysterious mountain landscape veiled in thick mist-and when I came out of the mist, I got to see the most beautiful view I have seen in my entire life!

Below me a sea of clouds was spreading out as far as my eyes could see with mountain peaks piercing the clouds, which looked like small floating islands.

What this journey has taught me is that, sometimes everything isn't what it first seems to be. What I first thought was bad luck actually turned out to be good luck.

What an amazing journey it was!

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