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Newer Page 17 of 966 Older Full Trip Report
Japan Hiking Mount Bandai

13 November 2019

No ice just blue skies

Climbing Mount Bandai from Inawashiro station

Today was the longest hike of the trip so far. Unless I get lost somewhere on my 3 remaining hiking days, it will likely remain the longest hike of the trip.
The weather was absolutely SUPERB. I cannot overstate that. I had seen photos taken just 4 or 5 days ago from near the summit of Mount Bandai that showed a similar amount of ice to that which I experienced on Mount Zao. Probably taken on the same day as I climbed Mount Zao then I guess. There was no ice at all today, and taking my jacket was a mistake. Shorts would have been fine!

The hike today can be split into 5 distinct sections.
1. From the station to the ski fields.
2. From the bottom of the ski fields to the hiking trail.
3. From the hiking trail to the plateau.
4. From the plateau to the emergency shelter.
5. From the emergency shelter to the summit.

Then you have to do them all again in reverse.
Most people would not walk, or run as I did from the station to the ski fields. In fact most people use a completely different much shorter trail approaching from the west which meets up with the trail I used at the Emergency shelter. Going this way requires a car, but would halve the time taken.

Getting back to the station at the end of the day was a mad sprint. I ran the last 5km at ridiculous speed, wearing my jacket, and had a full sweat going on as I made the train by 5 seconds. Missing it meant a 90 minute wait for the next one! It sure was exhilarating to run so fast at the end of a long day. Then the train was quite full of people looking at me trying to figure out why I was wearing a jacket and sweating profusely.

Lots of pics today, the very bright sun ruined some of them, as did the farmers smoke which created a terrible haze. The sky was amazingly blue at times, the difference between bright sun and dark shadows made it impossible not to clip exposure levels in some shots.
Thats enough text, lets do the photos.

Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The peak at the back is Mount Bandai. Theres a cliff with rocks that you will see later, so you have to hike around the back to get to the summit.

The peak at the back is Mount Bandai. Theres a cliff with rocks that you will see later, so you have to hike around the back to get to the summit.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I passed a shrine on my way up to the ski field but had no time to explore, just enough time for this leaf shot. As you can see a tv crew was filming

I passed a shrine on my way up to the ski field but had no time to explore, just enough time for this leaf shot. As you can see a tv crew was filming below. I ruined their live cross to NHK.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The view from the ski field car park is pretty good, apart from that damn smoke rising into the sky everywhere.

The view from the ski field car park is pretty good, apart from that damn smoke rising into the sky everywhere.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Time to start my ascent through the ski fields. There are not as many ski runs as Mount Zao, and there is no sightseeing cable car at all, just the sk

Time to start my ascent through the ski fields. There are not as many ski runs as Mount Zao, and there is no sightseeing cable car at all, just the ski lifts which obviously are not yet operating.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The view back down remained great. I was following a yamap map again to know which ski slopes to run up.

The view back down remained great. I was following a yamap map again to know which ski slopes to run up.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I can assure you its much steeper than it looks. The only vehicles using that service road have caterpillar tracks.

I can assure you its much steeper than it looks. The only vehicles using that service road have caterpillar tracks.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Lots of mountains around here.

Lots of mountains around here.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The peak does not seem to be getting any closer.

The peak does not seem to be getting any closer.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - You will see a lot of Lake Inawashiro today. It is the fourth largest in Japan.

You will see a lot of Lake Inawashiro today. It is the fourth largest in Japan.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Here is the view from the very top of the ski fields.

Here is the view from the very top of the ski fields.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Time to start phase 3 of the hike, ski fields to plateau.

Time to start phase 3 of the hike, ski fields to plateau.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I thought the weather could change at any point, even though it never did, so I was getting every kind of photo while the sky was still clear, includi

I thought the weather could change at any point, even though it never did, so I was getting every kind of photo while the sky was still clear, including one of these.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - This is the start of the plateau section, with the peak of Mount Bandai in the distance.

This is the start of the plateau section, with the peak of Mount Bandai in the distance.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - There are a number of small lakes and marshes in this area. It was a great part of the hike, quite flat, I ran most of it.

There are a number of small lakes and marshes in this area. It was a great part of the hike, quite flat, I ran most of it.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - A small shrine of some kind.

A small shrine of some kind.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Now its time to get out of the trees and start appreciating the view. Below is what I have been referring to as the plateau. Word of the day is platea

Now its time to get out of the trees and start appreciating the view. Below is what I have been referring to as the plateau. Word of the day is plateau, you will hear it some more.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - It still looks like a long way up from here!

It still looks like a long way up from here!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - There is nowhere you can really plummet on this hike, but this area has been roped off, the ridge was very fine volcanic looking rock. Also, check out

There is nowhere you can really plummet on this hike, but this area has been roped off, the ridge was very fine volcanic looking rock. Also, check out those snow capped peaks in the distance, those are the ones I saw on the train from Niigata to Yamagata.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I believe that area is off limits.

I believe that area is off limits.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Now this is the far side of the mountain, and its a high plateau where all those blue lakes are. It does not look anywhere near as far down as the ski

Now this is the far side of the mountain, and its a high plateau where all those blue lakes are. It does not look anywhere near as far down as the ski field side to Lake Inawashiro. Keep scrolling I will show you.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - This part of the hike had great views of cliffs.

This part of the hike had great views of cliffs.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The peak STILL seemed far off, but I was enjoying myself.

The peak STILL seemed far off, but I was enjoying myself.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Looks like a quarry has destroyed the mountain, I suspect a volcanic eruption did.

Looks like a quarry has destroyed the mountain, I suspect a volcanic eruption did.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Here is the emergency shelter, it is where the main trail from a road joins on. I saw only one other person before getting to this hut. After the hut

Here is the emergency shelter, it is where the main trail from a road joins on. I saw only one other person before getting to this hut. After the hut to the summit there were lots of people.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Bonus pic of small lake plateau.

Bonus pic of small lake plateau.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Cool cliff, tricky light. This kind of shows how I had hiked around to the back of the mountain to get up.

Cool cliff, tricky light. This kind of shows how I had hiked around to the back of the mountain to get up.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Some more snowy peaks, very near the top now.

Some more snowy peaks, very near the top now.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Here is the summit. It was actually an easier hike than I thought, it took a long time because I had to get from the station to the ski slopes, but th

Here is the summit. It was actually an easier hike than I thought, it took a long time because I had to get from the station to the ski slopes, but the path was well maintained, no ropes or ladders anywhere.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Now for some summit views, there are those yellowy looking sandy ridges.

Now for some summit views, there are those yellowy looking sandy ridges.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I think this is looking back towards Koriyama over smaller mountains.

I think this is looking back towards Koriyama over smaller mountains.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - And there is all of Lake Inawashiro. It fits in one shot! It looks a long way down! I started from very close to the lake where the station is.

And there is all of Lake Inawashiro. It fits in one shot! It looks a long way down! I started from very close to the lake where the station is.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Time for another shot of my big old head.

Time for another shot of my big old head.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - There were a few others at the summit.

There were a few others at the summit.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I am on my way down here. This side is mainly in shade this time of year, and its where I saw an ice tunnel in recent photos. No ice today.

I am on my way down here. This side is mainly in shade this time of year, and its where I saw an ice tunnel in recent photos. No ice today.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The light was better on the way down, but I did not take as many photos. I am sure you are all relieved.

The light was better on the way down, but I did not take as many photos. I am sure you are all relieved.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - A nice green area. Slimy.

A nice green area. Slimy.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Oh, its the plateau again. Both on the way up and down I had this all to myself.

Oh, its the plateau again. Both on the way up and down I had this all to myself.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - The path down was rockier than I remembered on the way up!

The path down was rockier than I remembered on the way up!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I had made very good time, so I decided to take a slight detour on the way down to another peak. It only adds 20 minutes or so. Here is the view from

I had made very good time, so I decided to take a slight detour on the way down to another peak. It only adds 20 minutes or so. Here is the view from unnamed peak looking back at Mount Bandai.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Of course I had hiked back up hill so I could hike futher down hill.

Of course I had hiked back up hill so I could hike futher down hill.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - But it did allow me to complete THE STANCE. Note these are my mountain clothes. They appear in many photos on many trips for many years now! The top i

But it did allow me to complete THE STANCE. Note these are my mountain clothes. They appear in many photos on many trips for many years now! The top in particular is more than ten years old, and looks it. It was soaked through on my back with sweat!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Cool view down. I am over half way down at this point, better light, better detail. Oh look, some cloud on the horizon.

Cool view down. I am over half way down at this point, better light, better detail. Oh look, some cloud on the horizon.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Back at the ski fields, now I can run!

Back at the ski fields, now I can run!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - I did not run the whole way, but should have, I should have checked earlier when the train was coming....

I did not run the whole way, but should have, I should have checked earlier when the train was coming....


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - It does not take long to get back to the ski field parking lot. I NARUTO RAN the last bit. Look that up.

It does not take long to get back to the ski field parking lot. I NARUTO RAN the last bit. Look that up.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Then I checked the train timetable, and realised I had about 25 minutes to run 5km. At least it was down hill, but remember by now I had hiked up a mo

Then I checked the train timetable, and realised I had about 25 minutes to run 5km. At least it was down hill, but remember by now I had hiked up a mountain and already travelled over 20km. TIME TO GET RUNNING. I made it onto the platform just as the train arrived, no joke!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Bandai - Here I am, sweating profusely as I board the train. Another great day in the mountains today, the weather really helped make it excellent!

Here I am, sweating profusely as I board the train. Another great day in the mountains today, the weather really helped make it excellent!


NewerPage 17 of 966OlderFull Trip Report