The night, at michi-no-eki ‘Shizukuishi Anekko‘, was much cooler than expected. I found it necessary to put on a sweater around 4 am.
The morning is bright and clear as we arrive at Alpa Komakusa. Here we leave the car and take the bus to Mt. Komagatake Eighth Station, to begin our walk. Our plan is to walk to Amidaike, a small pond/lake between two fairly accessible peaks.
The climb to this point is quite steep, the path bordered by thick bushes and sasa grasses. It is like walking through jungle especially as the day is hot and oppressive. There is relief from this as, every so often, the path widens out into clearings of red lava or more pink when dry. Of course, the higher you go the more the vegetation thins and the expansive views over the valleys and distant peaks burst into view more frequently.
At last, free of the sasa, the trail passes through a wide area on a wooden walkway. This is where the famous flowers abound, or would abound, if we were not too late in the season. As it is only a few remnants are visible. D. takes lots of pictures and we arrive at the pond, Amidaike, around noon.
We decide to climb the small peak on our right, Onamedake, before having lunch. This is a bit of a scramble but really an easy climb. It is along a narrow ridge, however and D. begins to worry about her vertigo, so we decide not to push on to the summit but content ourselves with what we have climbed.
From where we are, the views are splendid. Very steep valleys, quite rugged, with patches of volcanic activity stretching all the way down to the distant plains and, when the sun is shining, to the even more distant peaks. Frequently, though the clouds drift in and a chill, damp breeze envelops us. As, by this time I am hot and sweaty this is a welcome cooling shower. Each cloud incursion is brief and the sun and the view return. We can see Lake Tazawa far below and watch as the clouds sweep in to obscure it.
We lunch, as many others do, by the pond. It being the middle of a long Obon Holiday there are a lot of people about but not so many as to make walking unpleasant. I am surprised to see tadpoles in the water and to note a couple, with a coffee mill, grinding beans to make coffee over their primus stove. The coffee did smell good though.
Alpa Komakusa Onsen
Back down at Alpa Komakusa, we take advantage of the onsen there. We, or more specifically, I was concerned that this would prove hideously crowded remembering the onsen at Sounkyo, Hokkaido. This was not the case. The onsen was very good and, as the day was still hot, the water not so, – very comfortable. Recommended.
There was view of Lake Tazawa from the men’s bath but not the women’s D. complains. The baths are probably switched on a daily basis but I can’t be sure.
After our bath we check out michi no eki ‘Karinosato Sennan ‘. but decide not to stay. The toilets are fine but the parking is close to the main road and the road busy. We move on to michi no eki ‘Sannai‘ a much quieter spot.
＊michi-no-eki ‘Sannai’ elevation ; 140m
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.