Asama-sansō (浅間山荘) ~ Maekake-yama (前掛山)

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The storm hits us, lightnings strike, thunder is loud, it rains cats and dogs. It takes no more than a minute to get completely soaked…

As we took a cab from Sakudaira (佐久平) train station, we were able to start early. Although we started into the fog, it clears out when we arrive at Kazankan (火山館) shelter. While the trail to Kazankan goes through a very dense forest, it changes completely at the entrance of the old Kurofu-yama (黒斑山) crater. Vegetation becomes less dense and as light goes through the trees, the forest becomes suddently brighter and let us see the cliffs from the old caldera, which summits, still lost into the myst, look threatenning.

just before kazakan 1just before kazakan 2just before kazakan 3it smells sulphur 3

Then we enter the Yu-no-hara (湯の原) forest which spreads at the bottom of the Kurofu-yama calderra. It feels like we are walking through Eden’s garden, which is not too far from the truth. Thanks to the volcano’s rich soil, the forest is magnificent

yu-no-hira forest 1yu-no-hira forest 2yu-no-hira forest 3

and there is large variety of beautiful flowers all along the trail.

Veronicastrum japonicum - クガイソウAdenophora triphylla var japonica - ツリガネニンジンClematis stans - クサボタンSalvia lutescens var crenata - ミヤマタムラソウCampanula punctata Lam var hondoensis - ヤマホタルブクロAnemonopsis macrophylla - レンゲショウマImpatiens noli-tangere - キツリフネSerratula coronata subsp. insularis - カワラナデシコGeranium yesoemse var nipponicum - ハクサンフウロAquilegia buergeriana forma flavescens - キバナノヤマオダマキLigularia dentata - マルバタケブキveratrum grandiflorum 3 - バイケイソウ

As we start the uphill trail to Maekake-yama‘s (前掛山) crater, plants starts to decrease in size, type and number to almost diapear near the crater. Near the top, with just rocks and sand, it suddenly feels like we are walking on the moon.

attack of maekakeyama summitabove yu-no-hira 1above yu-no-hira 2above yu-no-hira 3on the volcano side

We hoped, without really beleiving in it, that we would be lucky enough and that the clouds would temporariliy clear off to let us enjoy the panorma. But it turned out differently. As we reach the Maekake-yama crater, clouds are getting darker and the fog deeper. Despite it is lunch time, we decide to go for the summit first and postpone the lunch. That was a good decision!

on maekakeyama summit ridge 1on maekakeyama summit ridge 2on maekakeyama summit ridge 3on maekakeyama summit ridge 4

As we leave the summit, we feel few rain drops and rain start to fall in the middle of the descent. When the rain gets stronger, we are already at Kazankan shelter eating our lunch and when we start hiking down again, rain makes a break. The storm hits us, lightnings strike, thunder is loud, it rains cats aand dogs. It takes no more than a minute to get completely soaked… but we are already on the onsen bath of Asama (浅間山荘). We almost avoided rain the all day. That was perfectly managed!

Maps

Necessary maps are:
1/25000地形図、浅間山、長野6号-4、 NJ-54-36-6-4 (Asamayama, Nagano 6-4, NJ-54-36-6-4)
1/25000地形図、車坂峠、長野10号-2、 NJ-54-36-10-2 (Kurumazakatoge, Nagano 10-2, NJ-54-36-10-2)

Elevation Profile

GPX file GPS: asamasanso-maekakeyama.gpx.

Read the disclaimer before using the GPX files.

Facts about Mount Asama

You will find all the information (mountain lodges, access, security…) regarding the Mount Asama area in this article.

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