The highest mountain in western Japan, worshiped as one of Seven Holy Mountains.
Mt. Ishizuchi (1982 m/ 6503 ft), the tallest mountain in western Japan, lies in Shikoku Mountain Range between Ehime Prefecture and Kochi Prefecture. It constitutes a part of the roof of Shikoku. The mountain, with the sword-like peak soaring up into the sky, has been long worshiped as a sacred place. It is also known as one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan with varieties of unspoiled nature. On the top of the mountain there is a small shrine called Ishzuchi Shrine.
Many people come to enjoy climbing the mountain from spring to autumn. In winter, the mountain peak is capped with snow. When the climbing season comes in July, many worshipers in white pay an annual visit. Please note that only on July 1st, the day the rituals to open the mountain to climbers are held, women are not allowed to climb the mountain due to an old practice.
There are two major paths to the summit: the Omote-Sando course and the Tsuchi-goya Hut course. The former is the front approach to the summit shrine (about three hours and a half to the summit). The latter route allows you to climb easily (about 2 hours and a half), since Ishizuchi Sky Line, the driveway to the Tsuchi-goya Hut takes you to 1492 meters (4895 ft) above sea level. You can enjoy walking along the ridge from the hut to the peak. Both routes meet near the top. Closer to the summit, the trails become steep and you can climb up some near-vertical kusari, giant chains bolted to the cliffs (each detour set up). On the summit the breathtaking view will reward you.
Omogo Gorge at the foot of the mountains, also a part of Ishizuchi Quasi-National Park, is proud of its scenic beauty. It offers a nice hiking along the tranquil stream. In early November you can enjoy autumn leaves here.
[Air] 1h 25 min from Haneda to Matsuyama Airport, and 20 min from the airport to Matsuyama Station by bus.
[Rail] 3h 20 min from Tokyo to Okayama Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and 2h 40 min from Okayama to Matsuyama Station by JR Seto-ohashi/Yosan Line (limited express). 3h from Matsuyama Station to Ishizuchi Tsuchi-goya by bus (served from April to November, on weekend and holidays only depending on the season).
[Air] 50 min from Itami to Matsuyama Airport.
[Rail] 45 min from Shin-Osaka to Okayama Station by Shinkansen.