Great snow trek in Japan ( Mt. Tsubakuro )

Great snow trek in Japan ( Mt. Tsubakuro )

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 36.40573°N / 137.71300°E
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 23, 2013
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Winter

Basic information

Location : Mt. Tsubakuro is located at Northern Japan Alps. One of the National park in Japan. 

How to get there : It takes approx 5-6 hours by Train from Tokyo Narita Airport to Hotaka train Station.  
 * You have to change train at least 3 times. 
It takes one hour from Hotaka train Station to Nakabusa Onsen Bus Station by bus. 
 *Their bus service is only from May to November. ( Weekend only for June and November ) Not regular service. So it is better to check each time if you wish to 
use bus.
 In addition, this road will be closed for winter. ( Dec to April )  So you have to take Taxi from Hotaka Station to Miyashiro Gate and walk 12 km bus route from Miyashiro gate to Nakabusa Onsen during Dec to April. Normally everyone walk 12 km bus route to Nakabusa onsen and stay one night at Nakabusan onsen and walk upto Mt. Tsubakuro on the next day for winter. 
-Bus Company web site. ( Only in Japanese )

- Japan Train time table search ( English site ! )

- Nakabusa Onsen web site ( Only in Japanese )  They open only winter hut for winter season.

-Mountain hut ( Enzanso ) web site
Entrance of this treck : Nakabusa Onsen Bus Station. 1455m 

How long it takes from Nakabusa Onsen to Mountain hut ( Enzanso ) by walk : approx 4 hours in Summer, approx 5-10 hours in Winter ( All depends on the snow condition for winter ) 

Route to the summit : Nakabusan Onsen ( 1455m ) - 1st Bench ( 1670 m ) - 2nd Bench ( 1840m )- 3rd Bench ( 1950m )- 
Mt Fuji view Bench ( 2170m )- Kassen koya ( 2375m )- Montain hut: Enzanso ( 2705m) - Summit of Mt. Tsubakuro ( 2763m ) 
*You can find English version Northern Japan Alps information & map as per below web site.

The Gears required for November's trek : Crampon , Ice axe 
*If there is no trace, it is better to have snow shoes. ( "Wakan": Japanese type of snow shoe

22nd November  

Actually I expected to go Mt. Tsubakuro with my another friend for the weekend of 23rd and 24th of November. 
However my friend was not so well, In addition, it seems that that area had a lots of snow and looks very difficult to climb up. 
So we decided not to go.

However I still cannot forget Mt. Tsubakuro and am continually thinking about this mountain.  Very fortunately another my friend offered to pick me up at Matsumoto station and 
go to this mountain with me. So I decided to go only one day before the climbing up day. In addition, I sincere appreciated him !!! 
My home town in Japan is near Tokyo. So I have to depart from my home as soon as possible in time for the meeting time at Matsumoto Station for tomorrow morning. 
I rushed to book tonight's hotel at Matsumoto and pack and depart to the mountain. 

23rd November 

 I waked up 5 o'clock in the morning and went to Mc donald  near the Matsumoto station for Breakfast, this is because Hotel restaurant has not been opened at 5 o'clock ! There are almost nobody at Mc Donald.Too early in the morning. 

I was waiting for my friends coming 6 o'clock in the morning. I can see great mountain range at  Matsumoto Station. I was so excited to see them. Actually they are
too beautiful in the pink & violet colored sky.  I cannot believe why I forgot taking photo of them. 
My friend picked me up at Matsumoto Station and brought me to Nakabusa Onsen. We met another couple on the way and went to there using two cars. We can enjoy great fresh snow view from the car. The snow just stopped early in this morning. 

The route to Nakabusa onsen is mountain road and very slippy. Special tire will be required for Winter without fail. 
We arrived at Nakabusa Onsen and met a few people and enjoyed chatting a few minutes and started to climb approx 9:00 in the morning. 
23rd November is Saturday and  good weather forecast made a lots of people head to this mountain. 
The parking is almost full at 9:00 in the morning and a lots people has already started to climb to Mt. Tsubakoro.  

          Entrance of this trek. ( Nakabusa Onsen ). 

Nakabusa Onsen

There are not so much snow around Nakabusa Onsen. So Crampon is not required at the beginning. 

1st Bench
1st Bench 
1.0 km down to Nakabusa Onsen 
4.5 km up to Mountain hut ( Enzanso )


bamboo leaf

Can you see  Mt. Fuji behind mountains ? Very small ...(^_^;)
I put Crampon on after 2nd bench. 

Small Mt. Fuji

There are too many people on that day. So you can see perfect Trace.
" Wakan " ( Japanese type of snow show. Can you see on his back pack. ) is not required on this day. 

Trace to the mountain

White Tree in white snow. 

Tree in the snow

Small Mr. Yari
4.2 km Down to Nakabusa Onsen  & 1.3 km up to Mountain hut ( Enzanso ) & 2.3 km up to Summit of Mt. Tsubakuro  

It is very hard for me to walk up this hill even if there is perfect trace..... I have to train by myself. 

Nearly Mountain hut ( Enzanso )

Mt. Tsubakuro ( left hand side peak ) and Mt. North Tsubakuro ( right hand side )

Mr. Tsubakuro behind the tree

Queue in the mountain..... This day is very very special. 23rd November is the last open weekend of Mountain hut and weather forecast mentioned
very good. So too many people climbed this mountain. 

Actually I have never seen this kind of queue in this mountain. 

Queue in the mountain

The mountain ridge to the next mountains. Only experienced people could go there in winter. However everyone can enjoy nice trekking in Summer.

Mountain Ridge

It looks like ice cream. 

like ice cream

The route to the hut. Top building on the right hand side hill is mountain hut ( Enzanso ). 

Route to the hut

Mt. Yari and Sun. Mt. Yari is very special mountain for Japanese mountaineers. 

Sun + Mr. Yari

Mt. Tsubakuro + Sign + Snow man ! We arrived approx 1500 at Mountain hut ( Enzanso ). Very nice walking ! 

Mt. Tsubakuro + Sign
Left to Mt. Yari 3180m & Right to Summit of Mt. Tsubakuro 2763m

I used to work this mountain hut before. So I joined to prepare for dinner. Normally there are not so many people coming this season. So today is clearly shortage of  staff. 
I enjoyed to help serving dinner. This remind me of the good memory at this mountain. 

24th November 

I waked up just before 5:00 am. However mountain hut staff has already started for preparing breakfast. I joined again for serving. However one of the staff kindly told me to go out and see rising sun. There are a lots of people waiting for the sun rise. It was very cold morning. I cannot find my thick grove and only wearing thin grove.  That's why I cannot take photo nicely. ( Just excuse... ) 

A lots of people who are waiting for the rising sun

Mt. Yari in the violet colored sky. ヽ(^o^)丿

Morning Mt. Yari

Rising sun. 

Rising Sun

Mt. Tsubakuro
Great view from Mountain hut ( Enzanso )

I enjoyed great view very much and happened to take above photo. It seems that a lots of people saw this photo.  Thank you very much ! 

I returned to kitchen and joined serving breakfast again. 

Eventually we started going down at 10:00 am and arrived Nakabusa Onsen approx 1300.

At Nakabusa Onsen or Ariake so ( only 700 meters away from Nakabusa onsen ) , You can enjoy "Onsen " ( Hot spring ) . 
The Onsen ( Hot spring ) after nice trek is one of the happiest moment for Japanese mountaineers.  


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socalpeakbagger - Nov 11, 2016 12:38 am - Voted 10/10


Thank you for sharing! I hope to alpine climb in Japan next time I go.

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