One of the seven sacred mountains of Japan, Mt. Ishizuchi is known as “The Stone Hammer” for its rugged, craggy peak. The hike up to this summit is far from the easiest climb in the country, but it’s well rewarded with fantastic views from a peak 1982 meters high. Look out over the Seto Inland sea, and if you’re lucky with the weather you might even see as far as Kyushu.
There are shrines dotted along the routes to the top, most of which are still active; here the devout train in ascetic principles, as they’ve done on this mountainside for centuries. You won’t have to trek up to these sites right from the base as the religious folk fooled did, though — there’s now a ropeway lift which gives you a good head start.
When choosing which route you want to take from here to the top, you should plan based on your ability. The Omotesando Route takes 3.5 hours and is only recommended for experienced hikers. The Tsuchigoya Hut Trail takes only 2.5 hours, and is easier on the legs.
You can either choose to make your way back down on the same day, or stay overnight at one of the mountain’s ryokan traditional inns. It’s really worth spending the extra time and money on this, as the views of the night sky and morning sunrise are truly fantastic.