The awesome peaks of Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳), elev. 3033m, and Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake (甲斐駒ヶ岳), elev. 2967m, in the northern section of the Southern Japan Alps (南アルプス) are two of the couplet mountains I mentioned on my Mt. Suisho-dake/Mt. Washiba-dake page that you can climb in tandem.
Although unlike the other couplet peaks among Japan's highest mountains, the trailhead at Kitazawa-toge (北沢峠) is between the two peaks, so you have to hike all the way back down to the bottom before you can hike up to the top of the other one. But they're both pretty easy, so it doesn't really matter much.
If you're only going to do these two main peaks as I did, rather than tackling other prominent peaks in the immediate area, such as Mt. Nokogiri-dake (鋸岳), Mt. Kita-dake, or Mt. Ho-o-sanzan (鳳凰三山), I'm not sure whether there is any particular strategy on which of the two peaks you do first.
Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) and its trademark cirque,
as seen from the Mt. Ko-senjo-ga-take (小仙丈ヶ岳) summit
In my case, I chose to climb Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) first, so I could stay overnight at the Sensui-goya (仙水小屋) mountain hut, which is about 45 min. along the Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake (甲斐駒ヶ岳) trail from the Kitazawa-toge (北沢峠) trailhead.
Another option that many hikers choose, is to stay at one of the mountain huts at or near the Kitazawa-toge (北沢峠) trailhead, including Choei-so (長衛荘), Kitazawa-koma-sen-goya (北沢駒仙小屋), or Ohira-sanso (小平山荘). This way you can park your heavy gear at the hut and climb both peaks with a light day pack.
One of the things I like best about the Southern Japan Alps (南アルプス) is their proximity to Tokyo. Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) and Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake (甲斐駒ヶ岳), the 18th and 24th highest mountains in Japan, were another set of peaks that I did in only two days. During my Obon holidays, I left Shinjuku just before midnight on Monday, August 11, 1997 and arrived back in Shinjuku around 6:30 pm two days later on August 13.
Day 1 – Tues. August 12, 1997
After arriving at JR Kofu Station, I caught a 3:00 am bus for Hirogawara where after arriving there, I transferred a couple of hours later @ 6:50 am to a microbus which drove me 25 min. to the Kitazawa-toge (北沢峠) trailhead. After hitting the trail around 7:20 am, the approximate three-hour trek to the summit of Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) was very pleasant, where you first pass through a very dense forest before reaching a fork in the trail at Go-go-me (五合目, Fifth Stage), the theoretical halfway point.
The right fork will take around 30 minutes longer to the Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) summit, but also has three mountain huts along the way, in case you would need to seek refuge or are looking for a place to stay. In ascending order, these mountain huts are Senjo-yabusawa-goya (仙丈薮沢小屋), Uma-no-se-hyutte (馬の背ヒュッテ, "Horseback Hut"), and Senjo-goya (仙丈小屋).
In my case, I chose the left fork, both up and down. By the time you reach Mt. Ko-senjo-ga-take (小仙丈ヶ岳), you'll be above the tree line and will have some absolutely stunning views of other peaks in the vicinity, including not only nearby Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake, but Mt. Nokogiri-dake (鋸岳), Mt. Kita-dake (北岳), Mt. Ai-no-dake (間ノ岳), Mt. Fuji (富士山), Ho-o-sanzan (鳳凰三山), and on a clear day, even the Central Japan Alps (中 央アルプス) and Northern Japan Alps (北 アルプス).
There is also a 3rd trail to the Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) summit, starting from near the Ohira-sanso (小平山荘) mountain hut, which is known as the Yabusawa Route (薮沢ルート) and can be viewed in the map on this page.
After hiking back down to the Kitazawa-toge (北沢峠) trailhead, I trekked 45 min. or so over to the Sensui-goya (仙水小屋) mountain hut, my sleeping spot for the end of Day 1, arriving there around 3 pm. This mountain hut was one of the more interesting parts of my trip, where I easily made many new friends, getting lots of special attention from being the only gaijin in the area.
My new friends @ the Sensui-goya (仙水小屋) mountain hut
To be honest, this is one of the many reasons I enjoy living in Japan so much. Because here I am frequently made to feel special, almost on a daily basis, I in effect often feel like a big fish in a small pond, rather than just a small fish in a big pond…..which is the way I'm usually treated back in my home state of Texas.
The Sensui-goya (仙水小屋) mountain hut was pretty small, sleeping only about 30, but I was impressed with their solar stove, and a couple of the guys staying there were artists. One fellow was a watercolor painter and another was a profile sketch artist, pics of both which are in my photo album below.
Day 2 – Wed. August 13, 1997
Starting my hiking at 5:15 am, from the Sensui-goya (仙水小屋) mountain hut to the summit of Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake, Japan's 24th highest peak, was not too difficult a trek, albeit a tad steep, passing Sensui-toge (仙水峠) and Mt. Komatsumine (駒津峰) along the way. Again, like Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳), the views from the summit of Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake (甲斐駒ヶ岳) were to die for.
mandatory slight detour near the summit of Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake
(甲斐駒ヶ岳) is its sidekick
subpeak, a large granite outcropping just below it and to the
as Marishiten (摩利支天, from
in Sanskrit), named after a 3-headed, 6-armed female warrior goddess
different weapon in each hand and riding on the back of a boar.
Check out the
picture of the very impressive Marishiten (摩利支天) monument
there in my photo album below.
The trek back down to the Kitazawa-toge (北沢峠) trailhead was fairly uneventful, albeit SO beautiful, passing Mt. Komatsumine (駒津峰) once again as well as Mt. Futagoyama (双 児山). I caught the 13:10 microbus back to Hirogawara and shared a taxi back to JR Kofu Station. Catching an express train there around 3:30 pm allowed me to arrive back at JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo by 6:30 pm.
My Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳)
Japan Mountain Pages:
Climbing Mt. Fuji - FAQ
& Mt. Yari-ga-take
Gary J. Wolff
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