To Kita-dake and back in under 6 hours: barely possible
by Christos Dimitrakakis
Yesterday I tried to do a one-day hike of Kita-dake. I wasn't very optimistic, but had the bus not been significantly late (and the weather cooler so I could carry less water), it would have been possible.
All in all it took me 1:30 hr. to get to the Shirane-oike-koya (白根御池小屋) mountain hut and another 1:00 hr. to get to the ridge line (where finally the onslaught of insects subsided). At that point it was 14:00, and I had 2:40 hours to catch the last bus.
I had to decide whether to go to the peak at the same pace (risking to miss the bus and staying at the hut near the river), taking it easy and staying at the top (assuming there was space), or just going back.
I took the final option, with a view to returning the next weekend and actually spending a night in one of the huts. The rates looked reasonable enough.
So, all in all: if you are planning to get the 9 am bus from Kofu and do Kita-dake in one day, it is definitely possible, but I wouldn't recommend it, and it requires jogging most of the way downhill. In addition, the crowds make frequent stops inevitable. Unfortunately it's not really possible to get the 7 am bus, and the last bus at 16:40 is too late for a more leisurely pace. Perhaps the southern approach is a bit faster, but I haven't tried it. It would be much more enjoyable to stay overnight at the top and then visit a couple of more peaks along the way back down.
"Kita-dake (partially)" - Olethros Travels blog