My friend, who is also a big hiking enthusiast, invited me to climb Mt. Eboshi together, and I could not refuse her offer. Before I came to Akita, I searched for places to hike, saw this place and I already knew it was a beautiful spot with rich nature, and I thought that mid-autumn would be the best time to go there to fully enjoy fall landscapes.
Eboshi-dake (烏帽子岳), also known as Nyuto-zan (乳頭山), is a part of Ou Mountains and located on the border of Akita and Iwate prefectures. It can be accessed from Tazawako JR station by taxi or bus heading to Nyutou Onsen, but you will need to call to make a reservation (more information here).
Our trail started from Magoroku Onsen (孫六温泉). As in most cases of hiking in Japan, we first had to walk through a forest. This was perhaps the most difficult part of the elevation as the trail was quite slippery and rough, so we had to take care. Fortunately, it was not very long so after a while we reached a beautiful field with a great view of surrounding mountains and Lake Tazawa. After spending some time walking around, we wandered into a pretty mountain hut where all hikers can have a rest and warm a bit. In the hut, we found a cute notebook with lovely drawings and encouraging messages from local as well as international tourists. Sadly, we didn't have a pen to leave our trace there too.
Then we started to climb further, which was even more enjoyable as we could actually see the peak and it gave us more motivation to reach it. While going up, we couldn't stop looking back and taking numerous pictures as the view behind us was even more charming than in front of us. But we were highly determined to reach the top, so we gave it our best to climb up.
On the Summit
After some time, we finally reached the peak–1477.5 m. It took us less than 2 hours to get from the bottom to the top, which is considerably quick. The first thing we faced on the peak was a strong and cool wind but it didn't prevent us from enjoying the spectacular views. On the east side, we were able to see Iwate prefecture, and on the west side Akita prefecture. Furthermore, we got an amazing view on Komagatake Volcano and Lake Tazawa, which looked even more impressive from the top of the mountain than from the water level.
It was also interesting to see how the colours were gradually changing from warm, vivid red and orange to more cold shades of green, brown, and even gold. And the bizarre shapes of hills looked as if they were covered with soft velvet.
When returning back, we chose another trail which went through Zammoriyama. Although it took a bit longer, we got to see quite a lot of interesting things. Firstly, on our way back we kept seeing an amazing panorama of the surrounding mountains and forests, and we barely could keep the balance between enjoying the views and watching our step (which was really important as the trail was quite steep in some places). Secondly, after one hour of descent we found some cozy hot springs where we could dip our legs into hot water and relax for a while after a hard day. And if the small onsen (this is how hot springs are called in Japanese) was not enough, you can visit any of the numerous onsens located in that area, such as Magoroku Onsen, Ganiba Onsen, or Nyutoonsenkyo Tsuru no yu.
Finally, before we reached the initial point, we walked along a mountain river while appreciating the beautiful scenery of colorful autumn leaves and the calming sound of gently flowing water. Is there any better way to end the hike?
All in all, Eboshi-dake is a mountain I'd recommend everyone to hike regardless your hiking experience or skills. For me, it was one of the easiest mountains I've ever climbed, while the views were far more impressive than any previous hikes I have done in Japan. After reading this, if you got inspired and decided to hike Mt. Eboshi too, bear in mind that you should plan your trip as soon as possible since the foliage season will be close to ending quite soon. Dress in warm clothes, take enough water, bring your camera and enjoy!